Maybe I’m Not so Open-Minded

Posted on | May 12, 2015 | 1 Comment

If you ask his teachers or the parents of his friends, everyone will tell you my kid is “all boy.” He plays loud, messy, and hard, and if it shoots or launches or in some way represents super powers, it is his most favorite thing. He just likes all that so-called “boy” stuff. And for the entirety of his short life, I’ve always thought that I’d be the mom who would be okay with whatever he wanted. If he wanted pink bows for his hair, he’d have them. If he wanted his toes painted pink or purple or glittery blue… he’d have it.

I never once thought I’d balk at any request for experimentation of any kind because colors are just colors, toy are just toys, and there’s no such thing as “girl” or “boy” things. (Except genitalia, obviously.)

Yesterday, J came in my room while I was putting on my make up. He watched as I put the foundation on and then blush and eye shadow and mascara. With each application, he asked what it was and why I put it on. He stood there, picking up each piece of make up and turning it over in his hand as though it were something strange and unique and interesting and all of a sudden, I found myself wanting to slap it out of his hand and tell him that boys don’t wear make up.

Yes. Me. Little old liberal-esque me. I wanted to quickly and carefully snuff out any interest he might possibly have in putting on make up of any kind.

And that feeling overtook me without him ever asking once to put on any of it. I was mortified by myself. I was horrified and sad and honestly, it made me question so much about who I’m inadvertently raising my son to be. Does he sense that revulsion from me? Will he grow up to make fun of boys who try on nail polish or lipstick?

We went to a party not too long ago where one of the little boys had nail polish on his toes. At the time, I thought “what a brave momma” and wanted to go out of my way to tell her that I thought it was great she let her child be whoever he was. Now, I can’t help but wonder why I felt it was commendable in another parent yet worrisome in me. I feel like I’ve let myself down or maybe let J down, without even doing anything at all. Just by internally balking at the possibility of him wanting to try something “girly” have I condemned him to live a life where he condemns?

I don’t know the answer. I don’t know what I would have done had he asked to try on something.

But I know that even I have a lot of learning and a lot of understanding left to do.



One Response to “Maybe I’m Not so Open-Minded”

  1. Lola M.
    May 12th, 2015 @ 3:48 pm

    Honestly? I feel that parenting is hard enough without having to deal with the social pressure to be the all-inclusive, accepting parent. Your natural reaction is just that – natural. There is nothing wrong with his interest or your response. Let it go and relax, you’ve got enough to worry about (like making dinner, being nice to people, making J happy, going to work) without bringing the whole world view into your house where it makes all sorts of noise in your head. He will be who he is and you will let him because you love him, not because anyone else says so – it doesn’t have to look any certain way. Whatever your training or views/codes/values on childrearing, it is right for J. You are J’s perfect mom.

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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