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Everyone knows that there are glaring differences between girls’ clothes and boys’ clothes. It’s no secret. Stores keep them in different sections, after all! As a feminist and a queer person, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about gender inequalities for both adults and children.


When I finally became a parent myself, I was determined to give my own child more freedom and more options. I would not dictate what he was “allowed” to wear based on what was between his legs. I prepared myself to offer him boy clothing, girl clothing, as well as more neutral clothing, and let him decide what was best for him over time.

I also prepared myself to deal with the inevitable push-back my family would receive in our gender stratified society.

Yet, just like with basically everything else about parenting, thinking about it beforehand couldn’t possibly prepare me for some of this stuff. As my son and I have entered the world of kid clothes together, I’m continually surprised by how heavily gendered it all is, and the weird ways that manifests.

The clothes fit differently, even in the same size

This was the first thing I noticed that really threw me for a loop. When my kid was a newborn wearing hand-me-downs from a variety of friends and family members, the clothing was heavily gendered, but it was the same stuff underneath. In other words, while each brand offered the usual pinks and blues, a six-month onesie was a six-month onesie.

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Sure, one had an airplane on it and the other had a kitten wearing a leopard print dress (who comes up with this stuff?), and the girls’ option might also feature weird ruffles around the sleeves, but that was it. I could say “my kid is wearing twelve-month clothes right now,” and that would remain true, whether we were talking about girls’ clothes or boys’ clothes.

But at some point, that stopped being the case. Once you reach a certain size in many brands (I’ve noticed this particularly with Carter’s and Old Navy, but there are others), clothing intended for boys and the same clothing intended for girls are wildly different sizes.

These days, my child wears a 2T in Old Navy boys’, but if you want to get anything from the girls’ section (he loves sparkles, so sometimes we do), you’re better off choosing a 3T.

Now I know what you’re about to say: little boys are often a bit bigger than little girls. That would make total sense to me, if it weren’t for the fact that the size charts don’t reflect it. I’ve checked them. According the data feeding U.S. size charts, 2T should mean the same thing regardless of which gender we’re talking about, both in pounds and height. The clothing companies disagree.

This means, of course, that if you’re buying clothes according to the chart and according to your child’s gender, your little girls will constantly be in clothing that’s just a little bit too snug.

The garments are often cut differently

In addition to these sizing issues, the shape of clothing for male and female toddlers are completely different even though, at this age, boys and girls are shaped more or less the same. This one has an easy explanation: They’re cut that way to mimic the clothing of male and female adults.

For me, that doesn’t make it any less troubling. Men and women are independent individuals, they have the ability to search for the clothing they want, and their clothing options are at least to some degree based on sexual expectations. A four-year-old doesn’t need to be dressed in what society views as sexy for a 22-year-old.

Why is it that a long sleeve t-shirt from the boys’ section is square and boxy with loose sleeves that allow for plenty of movement, and the same item from the girls’ section has tight sleeves, a plunging neckline, and might even be cinched at the waist?

The necklines in and of themselves pose a huge problem, especially in the wintertime. No toddler needs a shirt cut so low that you can nearly see their nipples, and all that exposed skin gets cold.

The unexpected symbolism of gendered clothing

Princesses are for girls and superheroes are for boys. You knew that already, and if you’re a progressive parent, you’ve probably thought about how ridiculous it is more than once. But the reality is that those big, glaring, differences are just the tip of the iceberg.

Pink and blue might be the easiest things to rail against, but they’re far from the only things that serve as gender markers for our children. Smaller, more insidious, differences are everywhere. And I wonder if some of them might be, well, worse.

A few months back, we received a bunch of handed down clothing all at the same time. Most of it was from boys, so there was a lot of gray and dark blue, but there was also one box of cast offs from a three-year-old girl. One afternoon, while my wife was at work, the kid and I put all the new/old clothes in a heap and sorted through them. He reached into the giant pile of fabric and pulled out a pair of gray tights covered in multi-color hearts. He was instantly in love with them. In fact, he wanted to wear them every day.

This got me thinking about symbolism and gender in a brand new way. We know that our culture expects women and femmes to do the vast majority of emotional labor. What I realized on that day is that clothing intended for little girls is often covered with symbolism promoting that very labor.

Clothing for little boys? Not so much. A heart is an organ we all have, and all children have emotions and need to learn to deal with them. Yet, a heart is a gendered symbol. Little boys get trucks and superheroes and trains and dinosaurs, and all sorts of fun stuff on their clothes…but you’ll be hard pressed to find a boy’s shirt with a heart on it.

Little boys are being told, from a very young age, that feelings don’t matter, or at least shouldn’t matter to them. They’re learning that feelings are for girls alone.

Even the edging on garments are heavily gender coded

Remember earlier when we were talking about onesies? I said the boys’ onesies and girls’ onesies were the same, right? Well, that’s only partly right. I had expected to see onesies for girls with kittens and pink flowers, and onesies for boys with frogs riding motorcycles. I was more or less ready for that, but I wasn’t ready for decorative edges.

The edging for a piece of clothing intended for a boy was plain, but for a girl, it never ever was. Starting in newborn sizes, a multi pack of onesies labeled “girl” featured teeny-tiny bows made of teeny-tiny ribbons with scalloped edging around the neck and sleeves. Baby pants for boys were simple and utilitarian. Girls’ pants featured ruffles or lace around the ankles.

In larger sizes, the trend continues. Girls get ruffles and lace, tiny decorative details constantly differentiating them from their male peers. And while I have nothing against a cute pair of jeans with lacy trim (I’d wear it!), I do wonder about the prevalence of such details. To have nearly all of your clothing – or absolutely none of it – adorned with decorative edging for as long as you can remember is a very particular experience.

The quality of the fabric often differs

I’m going to be honest. Other parents warned me about this one, and I just did not believe them. I’ll repeat, friends of mine who were already parents told me about a marked quality difference between girls’ clothes and boys’ clothes. I thought they were full of crap.

Why? They were mostly the parents of male children, male children who loved “girly” things, and yet they kept putting those children in masculine attire. The pressure to force children to gender conform is enormous, and so when I heard “the boys’ stuff is just higher quality,” I unfairly assumed that some of those parents were grasping at straws.

But let me tell you something. The boys’ stuff is higher quality. The fabrics are thicker, sturdier, and longer wearing. The clothing is less flimsy. It’s also just plain warmer. Shopping for my son on the cusp of winter last year inspired my mother-in-law to say “don’t little girls get cold?”

I’m sure they must! And when they do, their parents have the option of handing them a thin, useless cardigan, or braving the boys’ section for an actual sweater.

Treating children in markedly different ways according to gender lines definitely affects them later down the line. The question is how much, and in which ways. What does it mean for our children if the clothes we put on their bodies – long before they’re able to articulate their own wishes in that department – are so drastically and utterly gendered?

I don’t have all the answers, but the questions continue to unsettle me.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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If there's one thing you learn as a new mama, it's that routine is your friend. Routine keeps your world spinning, even when you're trucking along on less than four hours of sleep. Routine fends off tantrums by making sure bellies are always full and errands aren't run when everyone's patience is wearing thin. And routine means naps are taken when they're supposed to, helping everyone get through the day with needed breaks.

The only problem? Life doesn't always go perfectly with the routine. When my daughter was born, I realized quickly that, while her naps were the key to a successful (and nearly tear-free!) day, living my life according to her nap schedule wasn't always possible. There were groceries to fetch, dry cleaning to pick up, and―if I wanted to maintain any kind of social life―lunch dates with friends to enjoy.

Which is why the Ergobaby Metro Compact City Stroller was such a life-saver. While I loved that it was just 14 pounds (perfect for hoisting up the stairs to the subway or in the park) and folds down small enough to fit in an airplane overhead compartment (you know, when I'm brave enough to travel again!), the real genius of this pint-sized powerhouse is that it doesn't skimp on comfort.

Nearly every surface your baby touches is padded with plush cushions to provide side and lumbar support to everything from their sweet head to their tiny tush―it has 40% more padding than other compact strollers. When nap time rolls around, I could simply switch the seat to its reclined position with an adjustable leg rest to create an instant cozy nest for my little one.

There's even a large UV 50 sun canopy to throw a little shade on those sleepy eyes. And my baby wasn't the only one benefiting from the comfortable design― the Metro is the only stroller certified "back healthy" by the AGR of Germany, meaning mamas get a much-needed break too.

I also appreciate how the Metro fits comfortably into my life. The sleek profile fits through narrow store aisles as easily as it slides up to a table when I'm able to meet a pal for brunch. Plus, the spring suspension means the tires absorb any bumps along our way―helping baby stay asleep no matter where life takes us. When it's time to take my daughter out, it folds easily with one hand and has an ergonomic carry handle to travel anywhere we want to go.

Life will probably never be as predictable as I'd like, but at least with our Metro stroller, I know my child will be cradled with care no matter what crosses our path.

This article is sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If you looked at the recently released list of top baby names from the Social Security Administration and thought, Those aren't popular around here, you're probably right.

While Emma and Liam are the top baby names for the entire country, when we break it down by state, the lists change.

For example, the third most common boys' name in California—Sebastian—is ranked 18 nationally, and Lucy gets the spot 51 overall, but is the fifth most common girls' name in Utah.

Skylar is in the top 5 in Mississippi but way down in the fifties nationally, and Easton is super popular in North Dakota, but is ranked 66th across the country,

Is your name pick in the top five for your state? Check out this list Motherly pulled from SSA data.

Here are the top five baby names for every state in America:

Alabama:

William, James, John, Elijah, Noah

Ava, Olivia, Harper Emma, Amelia

Alaska

Oliver, Logan, Liam, Benjamin, Michael

Aurora, Amelia, Charlotte, Olivia, Sophia

Arizona

Liam, Noah, Sebastian, Benjamin, Oliver

Emma Olivia, Mia, Isabella, Sophia

Arkansas

Noah, Elijah, William, Liam, Oliver

Ava, Olivia, Emma, Amelia, Harper

California

Noah, Liam, Sebastian, Mateo, Ethan

Emma, Mia, Olivia, Isabella, Sophia

Colorado

Liam, Oliver, William, Noah, Benjamin

Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Evelyn, Isabella

Connecticut

Noah, Liam, Benjamin, Logan, Lucas

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Olivia, Emma, Isabella, Charlotte, Ava

Delaware

Liam, Noah, Mason, Logan, James

Ava, Isabella, Charlotte, Olivia, Sophia

District of Columbia

William, James, Henry, Alexander, Benjamin

Ava, Olivia, Elizabeth. Emma, Charlotte

Florida

Liam, Noah, Lucas, Elijah, Logan

Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Mia

Georgia

William, Noah, Liam, Elijah, James

Ava, Olivia, Emma, Amelia, Isabella

Hawaii

Liam, Noah, Elijah, Logan, Ethan

Emma, Isabella, Aria, Mila, Olivia

Idaho

Liam, Oliver, Henry, William, James

Olivia, Emma, Evelyn, Harper, Charlotte

Illinois

Noah, Liam, Oliver, Benjamin, Alexander

Olivia, Emma, Ava, Isabella, Sophia

Indiana

Oliver, Liam, Noah, Elijah, William

Emma, Olivia, Amelia, Charlotte Ava

Iowa

Oliver, Liam, Henry, William, Owen

Harper, Evelyn, Emma, Charlotte, Olivia

Kansas

Liam, Oliver, Henry, William, Mason

Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Evelyn, Ava

Kentucky

William, Liam, Elijah, Noah, Grayson

Emma, Olivia, Ava, Harper, Amelia

Louisiana

Noah, Liam, Elijah, James, William

Ava, Olivia, Emma, Amelia, Harper

Maine

Oliver, Liam, Owen, Wyatt, Henry

Charlotte, Amelia, Emma, Harper, Olivia

Maryland

Liam, Noah, William, Dylan, Ethan

Ava, Olivia, Charlotte, Emma, Sophia

Massachusettes

Benjamin, Liam, James, Lucas, Wiliam

Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Sophia, Isabella

Michigan

Noah, Oliver, Liam, Benjamin, William

Olivia, Ava, Emma, Charlotte, Amelia

Minnesota

Henry, Oliver, William. Liam, Theodore

Evelyn, Olivia, Charlotte, Emma, Harper

Mississippi

John, William, Noah, Elijah, James

Ava, Olivia, Emma, Amelia, Skylar

Missouri

Liam, Oliver, William, Henry, Noah

Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Harper, Ava

Montana

Liam, William, Noah, Oliver, Henry

Harper, Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Abigail

Nebraska

Liam, Henry, Oliver, William, Jack

Olivia, Emma, Evelyn, Charlotte, Harper

Nevada

Liam, Noah, Sebastian, Elijah, Daniel

Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Sophia, Ava

New Hampshire

Oliver, Jackson, Mason, Liam, Henry

Olivia, Charlotte, Emma, Ava, Amelia

New Jersey

Liam, Noah, Jacob, Michael, Matthew

Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Mia, Ava

New Mexico

Noah, Liam, Elijah, Mateo, Logan

Isabella, Sophia, Mia, Emma, Olivia

New York

Liam, Noah, Jacob, Lucas, Ethan

Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Sophia, Mia

North Carolina

Noah, William, Liam, James, Elijah

Ava, Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Harper

North Dakota

Oliver, Henry, Owen, Hudson, Easton

Olivia, Emma, Harper, Charlotte, Amelia

Ohio

Liam, Noah, William, Oliver, Owen

Ava, Emma, Olivia, Amelia, Harper

Oklahoma

Liam, Noah, William, Oliver, Elijah

Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Harper

Oregon

Oliver, William, Benjamin, Henry, Liam

Emma, Olivia, Evelyn, Charlotte, Amelia

Pennsylvania

Liam, Noah, Benjamin, Mason, Michael

Emma, Olivia, Ava, Charlotte, Sophia

Rhode Island

Liam, Noah, Benjamin, Alexander, Oliver

Amelia, Olivia, Emma, Sophia, Mia

South Carolina

William, James, Noah, Elijah, Liam, Mason

Ava, Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Harper

South Dakota

Grayson, Henry, Liam, Owen, Oliver

Harper, Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Ava

Tennessee

William, James, Liam, Noah, Elijah

Emma, Ava, Olivia, Harper, Amelia

Texas

Liam, Noah, Sebastian, Mateo, Elijah

Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Mia, Sophia

Utah

Oliver, William, Liam, James, Henry

Olivia, Charlotte, Emma, Evelyn, Lucy

Vermont

Oliver, Liam, Owen, Levi, Benjamin

Harper, Charlotte, Evelyn, Emma, Nora

Virginia

William, Liam, Noah, James, Alexander

Ava, Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Sophia

Washington

Liam, Oliver, William, Noah, Henry

Olivia, Emma, Evelyn, Amelia, Charlotte

West Virginia

Mason, Liam, Elijah, Grayson, Owen,

Emma, Olivia, Ava, Harper, Amelia

Wisconsin

Oliver, Liam, Henry, William, Logan

Evelyn, Emma, Olivia, Harper, Charlotte

Wyoming

Oliver, Logan, Jackson, Lincoln, Wyatt

Amelia, Emma, Elizabeth, Harper, Olivia

[This post was originally published May 18, 2018. It has been updated.]

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    Alaska

    Olivia, Aurora, Isabella, Sophia

    James, Liam, Wyatt, William, Noah

    Arizona

    Emma, Isabella, Olivia, Mia, Sophia

    Liam, Noah, Sebastian, Alexander, Julian

    Arkansas

    Emma, Olivia, Ava, Harper, Isabella

    Elijah, William, Noah, Liam, Mason

    California

    Emma, Mia, Olivia, Sophia, Isabella

    Noah, Sebastian, Liam, Ethan, Matthew

    Colorado

    Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Evelyn, Isabella

    Liam, Oliver, William, Noah, Benjamin

    Connecticut 

    Olivia, Emma, Ava, Mia, Sophia

    Noah, Liam, Logan, Jacob, Michael

    Delaware

    Olivia, Ava, Charlotte, Isabella, Emma

    Logan, Noah, Liam, Mason, Michael

    District of Columbia 

    Ava, Olivia, Eleanor, Genesis, Elizabeth

    James, Henry, William, Noah, Jacob

    Florida

    Isabella, Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Ava

    Liam, Noah, Lucas, Elijah, Matthew

    Georgia 

    Ava, Olivia, Emma, Isabella, Charlotte

    William, Noah, Mason, Elijah, James

    Hawaii

    Emma, Olivia, Aria, Ava, Chloe

    Liam, Noah, Mason, Elijah, Logan

    Idaho

    Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Evelyn, Harper

    Oliver, Liam, William, James, Mason

    Illinois

    Olivia, Emma, Ava, Sophia, Isabella

    Noah, Liam, Benjamin, Logan, Alexander

    Indiana

    Emma, Olivia, Amelia, Charlotte, Harper

    Oliver, Liam, Elijah, Noah, William

    Iowa

    Harper, Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Evelyn

    Oliver, Liam, Henry, Lincoln, Wyatt

    Kansas

    Emma, Olivia, Ava, Harper, Evelyn

    Oliver, William, Liam, Jackson, Henry

    Kentucky

    Emma, Ava, Olivia, Harper, Isabella

    William, Elijah, Noah, Liam, James

    Louisiana

    Olivia, Ava, Emma, Amelia, Harper

    Liam, Noah, Mason, Elijah, William

    Maine

    Charlotte, Olivia, Emma, Harper, Amelia

    Oliver, Lincoln, Liam, Owen, Wyatt

    Maryland

    Ava, Olivia, Emma, Sophia, Charlotte

    Liam, Noah, James, Logan, Jacob

    Massachusetts

    Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Sophia, Isabella

    Benjamin, William, Liam, Lucas, Noah

    Michigan

    Emma, Ava, Olivia, Charlotte, Amelia

    Liam, Noah, Oliver, Lucas, Mason

    Minnesota 

    Olivia, Evelyn, Emma, Charlotte, Nora

    Oliver, William, Henry, Liam, Theodore

    Mississippi

    Ava, Emma, Olivia, Paisley, Amelia

    William, John, James, Mason, Elijah

    Missouri

    Olivia, Ava, Emma, Amelia, Harper

    William, Liam, Oliver, Noah, Elijah

    Montana

    Olivia, Emma, Harper, Ava, Charlotte

    James, William, Liam, Oliver, Wyatt

    Nebraska

    Emma, Olivia, Amelia, Charlotte, Evelyn

    Oliver, Liam, William, Henry, Noah

    Nevada 

    Emma, Mia, Isabella, Sophia, Olivia

    Liam, Noah, Elijah, Michael, Sebastian

    New Hampshire

    Charlotte, Evelyn, Emma, Olivia, Amelia

    Logan, Henry, Mason, Owen, Oliver

    New Jersey

    Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Mia, Sophia

    Liam, Noah, Matthew, Michael, Jacob

    New Mexico

    Mia, Sophia, Isabella, Olivia, Ava

    Noah, Santiago, Elijah, Liam, Daniel

    New York

    Olivia, Emma, Sophia, Mia, Ava

    Liam, Noah, Jacob, Lucas, Joseph

    North Carolina

    Ava, Emma, Olivia, Isabella, Charlotte

    William, Noah, Liam, James, Mason

    North Dakota 

    Emma, Harper, Olivia, Amelia, Ava

    Oliver, Henry, Liam, Noah, William

    Ohio

    Emma, Ava, Olivia, Harper, Charlotte

    Liam, Carter, Noah, William, Lucas

    Oklahoma

    Emma, Olivia, Harper, Ava, Isabella

    William, Liam, Noah, Elijah, James

    Oregon

    Emma, Olivia. Sophia, Charlotte, Evelyn

    Oliver, Liam, Henry, Benjamin, William

    Pennsylvania 

    Emma, Olivia, Ava, Charlotte, Sophia

    Liam, Noah, Logan, Benjamin, Mason

    Rhode Island

    Charlotte, Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Isabella

    Lucas, Liam, Noah, Julian, Mason

    South Carolina

    Ava, Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Harper

    William, Noah, Mason, James, Liam

    South Dakota

    Emma, Olivia, Harper, Evelyn, Nora

    Oliver, Henry, Liam, Noah, William

    Tennessee

    Ava, Olivia, Emma, Amelia, Harper

    William, Elijah, James, Noah, Mason

    Texas

    Emma, Mia, Isabella, Sophia, Olivia

    Noah, Liam, Sebastian, Mateo, Elijah

    Utah

    Olivia, Emma, Charlotte, Evelyn, Hazel

    Oliver, Liam, William, James, Benjamin

    Vermont

    Evelyn, Olivia, Charlotte, Emma, Harper

    Wyatt, William, Oliver, Liam, Noah

    Virginia

    Olivia, Ava, Emma, Charlotte, Isabella

    Liam, William, Noah, James, Benjamin

    Washington

    Olivia, Emma, Evelyn, Ava, Isabella

    Liam, Oliver, Noah, William, Benjamin

    West Virginia

    Emma, Olivia, Harper, Paisley, Amelia

    Liam, Mason, Elijah, Grayson, Carter

    Wisconsin

    Emma, Olivia, Evelyn, Charlotte, Ava

    Henry, Oliver, Liam, William, Logan

    Wyoming

    Emma, Harper, Ava, Avery, Charlotte

    Liam, Wyatt, Carter, James, Logan

    News

    After quite a wait (he was born last week) Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have finally revealed their baby boy's name and it isn't what the internet was expecting.

    While Kim had previously hinted at the name Robert, after her late father and her brother, the couple went with a name that makes sense given Kanye's new Sunday Services.

    Baby number four for the Kardashian-Wests is called Psalm West, his mom announced via Instagram.

    Psalm is the fourth child for Kim and Kanye, who are already raising 5-year-old North, 3-year-old Saint and 1-year-old Chicago.

    Welcome to the family Psalm!

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