Day 27, #NaBloPoMo – Boys Can Wear Dresses Too

Ever since Harvey could walk, he wanted to be wherever his big sister was, doing whatever she was doing. He is a rough and tumble boy through and through, and he is obsessed with excavators and skid loaders and back hoes. He also LOVES to dress up in girly dresses and paint his nails. Almost every day that I come home from work he is in a dress, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Thankfully my husband and most of our friends are totally supportive of this, and there is rarely a comment made about his choice of clothing.img_3437

I’d like to believe I’m open minded about sexuality and parenting. I’ve tried hard to raise my kids in such a way that they feel supported and loved, no matter what they’re interested in at the time. There are no boy colors & girl colors or boy toys and girl toys in our house. That being said, it’s hard to shake off the judgement of society, isn’t it?

This morning I painted the kids’ nails while they were playing dress-up, and without thinking, I tried to convince Harvey to use the pale white color because it wouldn’t be so obvious on his fingers when we went to church in an hour. He was adamant about wanting pink on one hand and white on the other (just like his big sis), and when I realized it was my own insecurities that were the problem, I happily painted his left hand nails pink.img_3429


  1. I am totally with you on this. Just curious- how does Charlie handle/feel about this topic? My husband has a hard time with it- he’s fine with Nolan playing with dolls, the play kitchen, etc (traditional “girl” toys but that represent stuff that men would do in real life) but the dresses, nail polish…he would hate it. Not sure how to change his mind…

    1. In the beginning I think he was a little weirded out by it, but he honestly doesn’t care anymore (and this is one of the many reasons I love him!). Harv will be who he will be, whether or not we let him paint his nails. 🙂

  2. One of my twin boys is very into “girl things” : rainbows, the color pink, sparkles, My Little Pony. He’s never asked to paint his fingernails, but that’s probably because I don’t do it, so he hasn’t seen it. It has been challenging for my (normally quite open-minded) husband to accept, but he tries hard.

    I agree with you: children will be who they are, regardless of the arbitrary restrictions we place on them.

  3. I will not go into a child bucking traditional roles here. See: my whole entire blog 😉

    It is becoming a bit of an issue sometimes with Gracie though 🙁 That being said, I don’t see this phase of Harvey’s as anything that will “stick.” It doesn’t seem like a strong personality trait, just a willingness and eagerness to have fun with whoever is around and whatever they like to do!

  4. Our daughter really struggles with this. She is adamant that only girls can wear dresses. We always tell her, no, anyone can wear a dress, but she never sees boys where dresses so it’s hard to counter her arguments. It’s so interesting how kids internalize these gender norms so young, even when we work hard to fight against them.

    Once there was a man at the park wearing a jean skirt and made a point of pointing it out to her and telling her she should tell him she liked his skirt. Later I mentioned that I appreciated being able to point out an real-life example of “boys wearing skirts/dresses” and he had a sweet talk with my daughter about it. Since then she hasn’t said that boys can’t wear skirts or dresses. I think it really made an impression.

    1. I love this story!

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