I don’t consider myself to be exceptionally woke by any means, and there are definite #momfail moments peppered throughout my tenure, but when it comes to gender, I’ve mastered the openness.
Even as a young mother in the year 2000, I was doing it right. Although my boy was dressed in blue and wore gendered plaid shirts for all those horrid Sears picture moments, whenever he leaned the other way, I said yes. I specifically remember him reaching for a pink doll toy with a rattle in it and I bought it for him without thinking twice. It was his father (ahem, my first ex-husband), that didn’t agree with this purchase. He said a few things about it in a certain way that only an Army man would, which caused the kind of turmoil that could only end in divorce.
I have zero tolerance when it comes to raising my kids. If they want to explore who they are in terms of gender creativity, get the actual f*ck out of the way. Who am I, or anyone for that matter, to be an obstacle? No thanks.
That said, I still have a lot to learn. I think we all do. Just the other day I said to my 17 year old gender fluid kid: “How amazing that you kids have all these choices! This didn’t exist when I was your age.” She said: “Mom, it’s not a choice. It’s who I am.” Well said.
So being a gender creative support for your kid means that when your daughter wants to wear a tuxedo to prom and not a flowery dress, you say yes AND let’s find your size. When your 7 year old boy wants to wear a tutu to the store, you say yes AND I’ll tie your shoes since you can’t see your feet with it on. When he refuses to cut his hair because he wants to grow it long like his sister, you let it be long AND show him how to take care of it. If your senior step-son wants to borrow your head to toe sequins for homecoming, you say yes AND ask that he doesn’t party so hard he looses sparkles everywhere.
I have never been into coloring inside the lines of life. Normal is boring…whatever in the hell normal is anyway. Life is scribbles and mistakes. It’s unplanned and messy. It’s guaranteed chaos. It’s I know my birth certificate says I’m a boy, but I think they made a mistake. Can you help me fix it? Out of all the things I know I have screwed up on while raising these seven kids, I know it’s not related to misplaced gender identity.
None of us are perfect. By any means. But Moms (and dads!), this is something you can do almost perfectly. It just takes self-education, an open mind, a desire to understand, consciousness and heart.
So Called Mom