I don’t know if any other mom has faced this problem, but about a dozen years ago my daughter Maggie, then 5 years old, uttered the dreaded words, “Mom, I want to get a Barbie doll with my birthday money.” Yep. You heard me. The one toy that feminists and traditional moms both hate. My precious child, who loved her baby doll more than many mothers love their own children, wanted a BARBIE DOLL, the arch nemesis of everything I stood against. What was I going to do?
Then there was my mother, who kept saying things like, “You know, Susan, if you say no, she’s just going to want it that much more.” Ack! Now what?
After some prayer and much discussion with my husband, we came up with the following plan, which I hope will help someone out there facing a similar situation.
We decided that she could indeed buy a Barbie doll, and that I would take her shopping for it. When we got to the toy store, we made our way straight to the Barbie aisle that I had previously so carefully avoided. Once there, I began the following sort of conversation. As we looked at each Barbie doll, we discussed whether or not the outfit she was wearing was appropriate. We talked about modesty and what Jesus would want us to wear. We talked about being covered up. I noted how pretty the long dresses are, especially when compared to tight pants or jeans. By the end of the day, we had a Barbie we could all live with, and Maggie’s favorite new word was appropriate.
But while we were there, something else really great happened. Maggie saw the set with “Teacher Barbie” and the two little kids at their two little desks, pointed to it and said, “Oooo! I want Homeschooling Barbie next!” Sure enough, the next time she got money for her birthday, she chose that for herself. Even better, she walked right past the other “career Barbies” and never looked back.
The best thing, though, is that after a few months with each Barbie, she grew bored with them and happily returned to her baby doll, Mary Catherine. Today Maggie is 17 years old and, while I haven’t seen little Miss Barbie in years, Mary Catherine still sleeps on her Mommy’s bed. When Maggie heard that I was writing this, she asked in passing, “I had a Barbie?” Mission accomplished!
In addition to being the wife of 1 and mom of 3, Susan Mathis blogs for thecouponcupboard.com and several other sites.