- the daughter of a monarch
- a close female relative of monarch, especially a son's daughter.
- the wife or widow of a prince.
- the female ruler of a small state, actually, nominally, or originally subject to a king or emperor.
- a spoiled or arrogant young woman.
I'm not even going to put what the Urban Dictionary described for the word princess, but let's assume that it is a definition none of us moms would want to describe our precious little girls.
With that being said, I have a really hard time when someone calls one or both my daughters a princess. Ok, maybe a "hard time" is a bit of an exaggeration. If I'm being truly honest, I want to ask, "Why did you want to call her a princess?" Not because I'm rude but because I truly am curious. I guess because the way I understand the meaning of the word, it just doesn't seem to relate to my little girls. In my mind, I don't see any likeness.
So why do people say it? Is it the fairy tale Disney version that people are referring too? But even then, I can't grasp the likeness. I mean let's be honest, while the Disney princesses are royalty and daughters of kings and own land like the dictionary says, many of them seem to be damsels in distress waiting for prince charming. I don't think my 7 month olds are looking for any prince charming right now. If they're looking for anything, it's another chew toy to put in their mouths, their next bottle of milk, the organic apple sauce they love so much or more importantly, more hugs and kisses from mom and dad. So see, I have a hard time understanding this fascination with calling our young girls or even infants princesses. In fact, if you really think about it, what does a princess do as property of a king or soon, property of a prince? She didn't earn the land she owns. She didn't sew that dress she wears, and she probably has people who make her food. Now please don't email with, "Princess Kate does amazing things!" Yes she does, and she is lovely; but if I had tons of money, I would have time to fly around the world and do amazing things too.
Ok, let's get back to the Disney idea of princess because I have to think this is why parents call their daughters princess right? (Although I don't remember my parents or any of my friends' parents calling their daughters this.) Even if this is the case, it just seems to me that by calling your daughter a princess all the time is to say she is royalty and that she deserves to be treated that way.
So here's my question... "Are we setting our girls up for failure?" I'm not saying I know the answer to that. I'm just asking the question. Because in the real world, people don't treat you like royalty or wait on you hand and foot. Life is often not easy or at least cluttered with disappointments. I'm not saying be a doomsday parent. I'm just saying, isn't it enough to call her other terms of endearment that don't have a distinct social status? Can't we empower her with the idea that being a doctor or veterinarian or scientist is just as powerful and worth celebrating as a princess? I'm not saying you should NEVER call your daughter a princess. Let me be very, very clear about that! But I have been witness to parents and grandparents using the word incessantly to the point where I wonder if this little person will ever grow up to know their legal name. I've also been in the presence of a father calling his "tween" princess as he hustled to buy her that outfit she's having an absolute fit about.
Balance is all I'm suggesting. If she's playing dress up trying to emulate the fairytale princess on that video she's watched over and over again, I get it. Have fun! Play that princess and put on your shining crown on! But maybe as parents, when they're not playing dress up, we are a little more discerning about when we choose to call them "our little princess." Perhaps we could be a little more vocal about how cool being an astronaut would be... that her observation of planet Earth from space would garner great envy from others. Because after all, let's be honest; she has a BETTER shot at being an ASTRONAUT than being a PRINCESS.