When I pregnant with my first baby, I use to spend countless hours daydreaming about what she would look like.
I tried to imagine every detail of her appearance–especially on the days that followed an ultrasound. When my daughter was born, she had fair skin that was often the topic of conversation about strangers and associates.
It bothered me at first because it felt like I had to defend my position as her mother because our skin color didn’t match.
With age comes wisdom, so by the third time around, my children’s complexions no longer are an issue for me, despite curious looks from strangers.
I’ve been lucky, I haven’t received any negative or rude comments, but mostly compliments and curious questions. Now that two out of my three children are school aged, we have more candid conversations about–well–everything!
When I visit their classrooms, sometimes their classmates are surprised when they find out that I’m their mom. I take those cues to know that I have some hard work teaching some important life lessons to my children.
I’m sure the questions from classmates might get a little more invasive as they get older, so I’m determined to share with them that our similarities are more than skin deep.
My daughters are very girly, but my husband and I have tried to expose them to a variety of activities that doesn’t limit them to gender stereotypes.
We spend many of our days on the farm, chasing animals, digging in the dirt, collecting eggs, and riding the tractor. They have as much fun doing outside labor and play as they do shopping with me. Our goal is to provide them with a myriad of experiences and let them choose the ones that they truly enjoy.
Isn’t it funny how children take on your mannerisms as early as the womb? All 3 of my children crossed their ankles while they were growing inside my stomach and my son, who is 11 months old does it too!
We’ve also noticed how my oldest is very type A like me–-sometimes way more over the top!
Our personalities are often a topic of conversation and our kids seem to take pride in being like my husband and I. The older they get, the more their personalities begin to shine. Our parents take great joy in comparing some of their trying moments to moments that we tested their patience when we were little.
I don’t know about your kids, but my kids ask A LOT of questions.
They ask things like, “Momma, why is your hair short and mine is long?” “Why are daddy’s eyes green and ours are brown?”
They ask questions to gain an understanding of the world around them. As annoying as it may seem at times, it’s important to answer those questions to frame their realities.
Kids begin noticing differeces in the world around them as toddlers. When they begin making observations, there are no negatives attached until adults teach them that those differences are wrong.
As a multiracial family, I know that the contact questions about my children’s hair and complexion may cause them to internalize that our family differences are wrong, so I’ve chosen to focus on our similarities.
When they start asking questions about our skin or our hair, I talk about how different and beautiful those differences are, but then redirect our conversations to our positive similarities.
I say things to them like, “You are a good writer like mama.” or “You take good care of the chickens just like daddy. I can tell that you really love animals.”
These tips work even if you aren’t in a multiracial family. If you have a child that has low self esteem, try reminding them of the positive qualities they have in common with you.