I try to treat my children fairly. I think I succeed, by and large, but there are a few areas where I am unsure of how to proceed. I don’t want to treat them as interchangeable kids. I want to acknowledge and respect the differences, both as individuals and as a girl and boy, respectively. I have a feeling this will become even more important as they grow, and the similarities and differences are highlighted.
I get some strange looks when I talk about Viri being a big boy, or Arkaedi being pretty. I imagine some people are worried that I am projecting stereotypical roles upon them. To a certain extent, perhaps I am. I’m not always sure where to draw the line between traditional and repressive. I’m not sure I am even capable of doing so. I am a product of my culture, good and bad. I don’t think a philosophical response to a visceral emotional stimulus is even a good idea. I try and mitigate the worst of my culture. I was lucky enough to be raised without racism or other hateful influences in my home, so I don’t need to raise my own children above that. My parents did that work for me. To what extent do I need to work on my gender bias?
I know I will love my kids no matter what they do, or how they choose to live. I will, when they are old enough, try and explain to them I am pushing them to be the best they can be, not necessarily what I or anyone else imagines they should be. I hope they’ll understand that. I have nothing but love and respect for my parents, for all the work they did. They wanted me to be me, and even when they didn’t get what I was doing or why, they loved me. I imagine my kids will see the same thing, and forgive me if I do make mistakes. I’m sure I will; I’m not perfect.
A funny story about how I talk to my kids: Viri and I were leaving the restroom at a public park, and he had been pretending to be a chicken all day. I got yelled at several times when I said his name. “I’m a chicken! Call me chicken!” So, as we passed this group of grandmothers, I urged him along, “Come on, chicken!” “I’m not a chicken!” he yelled. The grandma’s scowled at me. Great, thanks Viri, now it sounds like I was mocking your cowardice! They think I’m a jerk!
Now when they hear me calling Arkaedi a pretty princess they’re really going to hate me.