Menu

Why I don't mind if my daughter asks hard questions

I grew up wondering many things but was hushed quickly. My parents would try to nurture what they could but the school I attended and the society we STILL live in doesn't like children asking hard questions. They aren't supposed to have hard questions, especially little girls, who seem to have extra layers of nonsense to contend with when they give voice to deep thoughts.

Why I don't mind if my daughter asks hard questions

My kid has always had a way with words. She is unwittingly cutting at times, and shockingly clever a lot the time. In her six years years on this planet, she has developed a most curious way to tip people off to exactly what tone she will be taking in her interrogations of them.

"So."

There are few other words that make me tremble. "So" means that she is about to lay down some bluntness. It means she is going to cut right to the chase. "So" is her cue for me to listen close and ponder what level of awkward laugh I will have to offer once she has said her piece.

One memorable moment happened a few months ago at one of our girl group meetings. About 16 girls get together—ages five and six— to do crafts and talk about friendship and other pertinent topics. The leaders (myself included) also work hard to show these girls that they are capable of whatever they put their minds to.

We invited a police officer to this particular girls group meeting, to speak to the girls about all the work it takes to become a cop. While keeping it (young) child-friendly, the officer explained some of the items on her belt, including a baton. Her explanation of why she had that ended with something along the lines of, "Sometimes we even have to break windows."

And my daughter's hand shot straight up.

And she was called on.

And she started with… "So."

Time slowed down for me in that moment. I looked back at the cop, knowing that she had no idea what was coming. Heck, I had no idea. But hearing that word was enough. I knew something was coming.

"You would break a window, but you wouldn't try the door?" The sass was thick, the indignation palpable. It was logical. Why wouldn't you just try the door? It's obvious, Miss. Police Person—isn't it? My daughter stared as if she was trying to break the officer's resolve. I imagined it was the same steely glare this officer would lay down on a criminal. I was immobilized in the seconds of silence between the question and the answer.

"Sometimes the doors don't work, so we use this as a last resort." The response assuaged my daughter's incredulity and the Q & A went on. Questions were simple from there, with the other girls asking about the radios and if the officer got much sleep. Then the call for final questions happened. My daughter's hand shot up—again.

"So."

My eyebrows raised in shock. What else could she possibly ask? The officer had been thorough, transparent and age-appropriate. What else could she come up with? What else would elicit another dreaded, "so"?

"When were you going to tell us about the gun you're carrying?"

Cue the shrieks of terror from half of the girls there who suddenly believed that the gun in the room meant imminent danger, while the other half were dazzled and asking if the officer had any cool stories to tell.

My daughter sat patiently, staring the woman down. The officer looked at me, a curious mix of pleading and...approval? Once we managed to calm the girls down, the officer explained (using yet another story of a school shooting in the news as an example), and even at five or six years old, the kids understood.

"We don't like to use our guns. But sometimes we have to in order to keep people safe. Like in schools if a bad person got in." I was impressed with the direct, but not-excessive answer. My daughter was not.

"So."

It was at this point that my own composure shook and all I could do was offer the most awkward 'I'm sorry' smile to the officer. She nodded and my daughter went on with the question. "What if you shoot and miss? There are kids in schools." The officer finally looked defeated and offered little more than a resigned sigh. "We are trained to make sure that doesn't happen."

That ended my daughter's questioning. The officer left shortly afterward, and the meeting came to an end. My daughter and I then headed home.

As I was tucking her into bed, she smiled widely, "I asked so many questions today!"

"Yes, you did!"

"Aren't you proud of me? I made the police lady think hard."

I paused. Her use of "so" made me shudder—but why? Why would I be worried? She is a child. She is a girl. And she had questions that needed answering.

I grew up wondering many things but was hushed quickly. My parents would try to nurture what they could but the school I attended and the society we STILL live in doesn't like children asking hard questions. They aren't supposed to have hard questions, especially little girls, who seem to have extra layers of nonsense to contend with when they give voice to deep thoughts.

But they do have these thoughts and questions—that need and deserve answers. So with a big smile of my own, I nodded at my girl, "I am proud of you. I want you to keep asking questions that make grown-ups think hard."

"So… I can make you think hard?"

"Yes, Bug. You can. And you always should."

You might also like:

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

Keep reading Show less
Our Partners

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

Keep reading Show less
Life