Let Girls Be Girls

I’ve had a lot of conversations with my girlfriends recently  around the topic of marriage. We’ve all been married around the same time and we’re about equally as far into the kid-thing as eachother, so we have a lot in common on the home front. We’re all struggling under the weight of it a bit. It’s mostly fine, but we’d be lying if we said it was great for everyone all the time.

On really bad days, I personally wonder what the heck I was thinking at all. It seems there is no winning at this thing. It’s all grinding hard work and if you do it all well, you break even. But, and this always happens, I usually realize in the middle of my woe that there isn’t anyone I’d rather do this all with. My husband, for better or worse, is the only partner in crime I’d ever choose, even now, all these years later.

Yes, choose. No matter how much I whine and moan, I went into this journey of marriage with eyes wide open and willingly picked The Husband to travel with. I did it after I graduated college and had a job and knew where I was going with life (or at least I thought so at the time). I married young, but still old enough to have lived life on my terms first. Then, I waited to have kids so I was even older, and had lived a bit more before I became someone’s mom. I made decisions that worked for me and was I free to do so at every step of the way.

I can’t even imagine if it were any other way.

It seems complaining about my marriage is nothing short of a luxury compared to many of the girls in the world. It would be a luxury for 75% of the girls in Niger for example, who will be someone’s bride before they are 18. Seventy-five percent. That is one third of the female population who will be married to men before they are officially women.

They won’t have gone to college. They probably won’t have gone to any school. They won’t have options for work or travel or really, anything at all. They will be forced to marry and probably quickly bare children which puts them at increased risk for dying young as well. Young girls turned into grown women over night. Without any freedom to choose.

I have a young girl. I want nothing more than to provide a support system for her to choose the life she wants to live, when she wants to live it. Marriage at fifteen doesn’t fit and it breaks my heart to know there are moms out there who have to let that happen to their own little girls. For what better promise is there in the world than a smart, passionate little girl? Why, would be allow that to be taken away.

Marriage is hard on women. Childbirth and rearing is hard on women. Shouldn’t girls around the world be allowed to grow into women before they take either one on? More importantly, shouldn’t they have the choice? Shouldn’t we do something to make sure of it? You can. Click here and ask Secretary Clinton to do speak louder for girls. We have choices and one of them should be to shout loudly enough to ensure other girls do too.


This post supports the International Day of the Girl on October 11th on behalf of CARE.org and Charitable Influence, a network of bloggers using their voices for good. See some of the great things Care.org is doing. Then, do what you can too.

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  1. says

    Really nicely said, Cristie! I guess it’s a slightly different topic but when my teenager and I were in Guatemala, she asked, “why do women keep having babies when they can’t afford them?” It was challenging to explain that sometimes the women are not given a choice, or do what the culture dictates, or for some other reason do not have an opportunity to make a choice that creates a likelihood of wellbeing for the women of the family. I hope the Int’l Day of the Girl helps raise awareness.

    • Cristie says

      I love this story because it highlights how difficult it can be to teach our own girls how lucky they are without inadvertently imparting some sort of judgement. I hope some day to take my girl out of this country to see the world, so that she can fully understand how she is blessed and therefore called to change it for others.

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Cristie! This line gave me goosebumps:

    “For what better promise is there in the world than a smart, passionate little girl?”

    • Cristie says

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I loved writing about it and can’t wait to DO something about it.