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“No girls allowed.” That’s what the sign said, propped up against the opening of my son’s makeshift fort. He was curled up in there with his Chromebook, a lamp and a bowl of snacks. He was in his “boy cave”, not to be disturbed under any circumstances. The sign was directed at me, obviously. I’m the only girl in the house. Even our cats are boys.

Raising a boy as a single mom brings unique challenges. It’s a lot of pressure. It’s intimidating to represent what girls grow into. I spent some time pondering the words he wrote on the sign.

My son is being raised by a feminist who wants to raise a feminist. I want him to believe women can do anything men can do. I want him to respect the women in his life. I knew I succeeded when we were talking about career aspirations.

I have made no secret that at 31, I’m still not entirely sure I know what I want to be when I grow up. Thanks to his handy dandy report card, I noticed he was “meeting expectations” in Health and Career Development. I don’t know what that involves exactly when you are 7. I never felt like I was meet expectations in Career Development, but I’m also kind of a perfectionist. At any rate, I asked my son for some career advice. “What should I be when I grow up?”

He asked me questions about my interests. “Do you like houses? Do you like taking pictures? Do you like building things?” he probed. I smiled, not entirely sure where he was going with this line of questioning.

He smiled at me. “You could build houses like my daddy. You could be a real estate developer! You could be a girl real estate developer!” He was so excited that he had solved my problem once and for all. I asked him why he thought that was a good idea. “Because, mommy, there aren’t enough girl real estate developers. I noticed at the houses daddy builds, they don’t have much light. They are kind of dark. If there were more girl real estate developers, houses would have better lighting!”

I doubled over laughing. Girls might not be allowed in my son’s living room fort, but he thinks there’s more than enough room for us in the real estate industry. I guess I’m just flattered he thinks my presence would light up a room.

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