Mom’s Viral Photos of Girls as Athletes and Princesses Prove That Our Daughters Don’t Have to Choose

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As women, we’re told that we can do it all. We can work full-time while raising our family. We can thrive as mothers and CEOs. We can do anything men can do, and more actually (because childbirth and breastfeeding).

If women don’t have to choose between a career and a family, little girls shouldn’t have to choose what box they belong in either. There is no box.

Sure, little girls are not yet mothers or bosses, but they still sometimes feel like they can’t have it all. They’re either the sporty girl or the girly girl. Why can’t a girly girl like sports? Why can’t a sporty girl like to dress up as a princess? She can.

Heather Mitchell is a photographer and a mom (see, she didn’t have to choose between career and family), and she has an 8-year-old daughter, Paislee, who plays softball. She also likes to wear frilly dress. (See, she didn’t have to choose between sporty and girly.)

Mitchell was raised by parents who told her that she could be whatever she wanted to be, and she believed them. She didn’t realize until recently that not everyone grew up with such open-minded parents.

When Mitchell was at her daughter’s softball practice, she was talking to another mom. This other mom mentioned that her daughter wasn’t good at sports, that she was a girly girl.

Mitchell couldn’t get this comment out of her head. It really bothered her that a mom to one of her daughter’s teammates was saying that her daughter was girly and not sporty. It really bothered her that the girl’s own mother was putting labels on her and putting her in a box.

That’s when Mitchell had an idea. As a photographer, she knew just how to express what she was feeling inside in a very visual way.

Mitchell went home and had a photo shoot with her daughter. She dressed Paislee in a frilly Princess-type dress, but she also wore sports gear like a softball glove and had softballs at her feet.

Mitchell took pictures of her daughter in the girly/sporty look and posted them on Facebook with the text, “Because you can do it all.”

Other mothers saw the pictures of Paislee and wanted similar pictures of their daughters. Now, there’s a whole series of images posted on Facebook. Mitchell told NBC’s Today show, “ “I hope that every little girl that sees this series can see that there is no box. Whatever their dreams are, they can achieve them.”

Mitchell’s Facebook post has been shared over 191,000 times, and there are thousands of positive comments. One person wrote, “These are the coolest pictures ever!You are so talented and I can’t wait to do some like these with my Granddaughter!Thank you soMuch for sharing these photos!”

Another comment reads, “This reminds me of when I was like 10 going from a beauty pageant straight to my soccer game. My mom always brought up How I threw my $80 something hair up in a pony tail and ran onto the field. These pictures are beautiful!!!”

Did you ever feel like you were put in a box as either girly or sporty? Do these photos motivate you to help your daughters understand that they don’t have to choose?