Most of the time I feel like I am failing at parenting. Life is in a constant state of chaos. There are so many choices to make that you never really know if you have made the right one or not. Then there are days like yesterday where it doesn't take long for me to realize I am rockin' this Mama thing and it feels good!
I was raised in the 90's where everything was gender specific. Girls could have pink/purple while boys had blue/green. However, as an adult, I feel like this is nonsense. Who cares if a boy wants a pink backpack or a girl wants blue tennis shoes?! If they like it... let them live. Does it mean they are gay, straight, or transgender? Nope! It means they like a certain color. Not everything has a deeper meaning.
If it does have a deeper meaning, I hope you open the lines of communication and listento your child. I hope that you are the solid foundation of love and support for them.
So, onto my awesome story!
I was painting my nails and Mr.Feefs came over and brought me the black nail polish (my favorite)."Mom, paint my nails!" My first thought was "no, nail polish is for girls." Surprised by my own knee-jerk reaction, I took a moment. Luckily, I have been practicing self control and regulating my own feelings. So, instead of making him feel bad for wanting to try something, I asked "are you sure you want to paint your nails?" He got really excited and replied, "Yup! Paint them black!" with a smile, I said "Okay, c'mon over and sit down." I started applying black nail polish to my five year old boys nails. He laughed and thought it was so cool to see his little nails turn into something completely different. This wasn't his way of expressing himself, this was his way of trying something new. Something he thought was interesting. We chatted while I finished and he was upset the black was not solid. I explained to him that we have to do multiple coats and it had to dry in between. He was learning a new process and wasn't thrilled he had to wait to reach the end result! As most of us can relate, the invention of quick-dry nail polish saved our sanity. But of course, we were using gel polish not the quick-dry. Watching a 5 year old, mine specifically, let his nails dry was hilarious! He had his hands awkwardly by his face while he watched a cartoon. "Is it dry yet?" He kept asking. He practiced self control and patience, two things I hadn't seen much of in his little life :) By the time the first coat dried it was well past his bed time. I told him we'd have to finish later. Walking up the stairs he says as he chuckles, "Mom, I don't know why I wanted to paint my nails, how am I going to get this off?!" "Haha there's this stuff called nail polish remover and it'll come right off! Do you want to take it off?" "Oh okay, yeah"
It was merely just something he was curious about but, had it been more, I would have been okay with that too. Instead of going with my first instinct "What?! No!" I would have hurt his feelings for asking and confused him as to why he couldn't paint his nails. Instead I had an awesome time with my boy, taught him a new process, and watched him be patient. I would have missed all of that, he would have missed all of that if I had shut him down.
When we laid down I let him know that if he ever wants to paint his nails, he just has to ask. Most of the time girls paint their nails but boys can too and if he sees a someone with pretty nails, he should compliment them! Whether it is a girl or a boy, does not matter. I want him to see beauty in life. I want him to accept everyone as they are, as long as they are kind. There is a zero tolerance policy in our house for bully's and ugliness.
Unconditional love and support for my children is extremely important to me. We may not always see eye to eye but I want to lift them up, not tear them down. We talk about everything even the things we don't understand. Do I understand why some men feel like women and visa versa? Nope, because I am a woman that feels like a woman. But I don't judge things I don't understand and I definitely will not project negative feelings for my children to learn. I want to promote and encourage inclusion. We celebrate differences and accept everyone as they are. I may not understand, agree, or feel the same way but I will respect those who respect me and I will treat everyone with kindness. My children will learn from my actions.
Such a big lesson came from such a small request.
What an awesome moment! We are not born with prejudice, it is taught. We have to end the cycle and it starts in our home, with our own children.
Here is something to think about today, what are your actions teaching your children about life?
Peace & Love,