I’m a tattooed mom with blue hair who loves her family and teenage kids and live in a home full of love. Recently we’ve been working through challenges relating to mental illness — minor but requiring therapy and medication. I’ve lost some friends over it, people who could overlook the superficial style stuff, until it seemed less superficial.
My wardrobe has toned down a LOT in the six years we’ve lived here — but should I go back to being a brunette who tends to stick with long sleeves in the summer for the sake of my teen daughters?
Dear sons: it has occurred to me that I am the first generation of those who will leave a digital paper trail. This means that every withering status I’ve posted about parenthood, every unflattering baby photo of a catastrophic nappy explosion, every snigger posted online about a missing tooth, or eating your Halloween sweets after you’d gone to bed (major dick move, genuinely sorry), or self-deprecating comment about it all just being too damn much will be available to you some day. Your IT skills already intuitively surpass my own. So in advance, I am sorry.
I strongly believe that one gender does not parent better than the other. I fully believe men are just as good at parenting as women when put in the same situations. And that the societal idea that men are idiots when it comes to kids and don’t know what they are doing is ignorant.
So why is it that, as a strong feminist, I cannot help shake the guilt that I am sending my child away, or that I am a failure or a bad mom if I let my daughter live with her father?
I have a four-year-old son, and his father is very “that’s for boys and this is for girls,” and “you can’t wear/do/play with that because you’re a BOY.”
My hope is that this beautiful community of families can help me by suggesting books, movies, or other resources that might help us get the point across to our son. I have looked high and low and I’ve nabbed the materials that I feel express my feelings, but I want as many tools as I can to help my son understand that he can wear, do, or play with anything he wants.
In my town, like so many small towns, perception is everything. Thankfully over the years I’ve developed a thick skin. It didn’t matter to me what these people thought… until my daughter came into the picture. Then the fears ran rampant: Will she be invited to playdates? Will she be ashamed of me at parent-teacher meetings? Will she get in trouble for her inherited penchant for dark artwork? Is my outward appearance going to ruin her life? Will she hate me and wish I was a little more June Cleaver and a little less Morticia Addams?
I think my solution is to refrain from assumptions altogether when I’m in public. I’ll stop playing along with other’s comments about her getting married one day, or meeting a man, or whatever. At home, I’ll adopt new words into my vernacular with her. I’ll illustrate differences through play — I can show her two girl Barbies kissing and two Ken dolls kissing.
I saw my son with a mug of hot cocoa, piled high with marshmallows of course, concentrating furiously over his newest level of Angry Birds. As if in a mental split screen, I also saw him running around the ski lodge, frantically calling for my husband while nearby adults tried to help.
In our family we are firmly anti-spanking, but we realize that many of our friends and family members are not. We respect that they’re making decisions that work best for their families, but I don’t want my son to see his friends or family members being spanked.