During my first pregnancy, I had certain... ideas about how I'd raise my children.
"I'll never breastfeed!" I declared one day.
"I'll still have a super active social life!" I promised my friends while we were out having drinks, something we did almost every night.
"I'll make the rules—my children will listen to me!" I said in a room full of other moms at my baby shower.
Only now do I know why they all started laughing at me.
What you say before you become a mom—and what you do once your are a mom—are two completely different things.
I breastfed, didn't get out much when I had a new baby at home, and never made too many rules for my boys.
Everyone parents differently. I co-sleep with my three year old. I'm relaxed about my children's chocolate consumption. My boys use a stroller if they get really tired. I am a helicopter mom, and I'm a constant worrier. I educate my boys, keep them active, and travel with them as often as I can. We have memberships to all the museums in town, and we let our boys do what they want—within reason—as long as they're safe, healthy, and happy. I think taking part in extra-curricular activites is important, and I'm my children's number one cheerleader, goal or no goal.
When my youngest son asked for a pink plasma car, I said yes. When he asked to buy a doll, again, I complied. Despite this, my son is very much a little boy. It's just natural for him, and for his brother, to love play fighting, to think trucks and diggers and cement mixers are awesome, and to want to climb furniture as if they're monkeys. Trust me—I never taught my boys to act like wild animals in the home! It's something that they were born with. Of course, both boys have different personalities; my oldest son is more of a bookworm, and reserved, my youngest, more athletic and daring.
As parents, we are responsible for the well-being of our children. It is up to us to try our best to make our children normal members of society. That's not to say girls should wear pink, and boys need to have short hair; but they should know IF they are a boy or a girl. Pretty basic concept right? Not for some parents...
When I found out that a couple in Toronto was keeping the sex of their baby a secret, I rolled my eyes. And then get upset. I feel sorry for this child. And for his siblings. I think these parents are only doing this for show and for attention—not because they want the best for their offspring. Trust me. Not knowing if you're a boy or a girl is not healthy. And these parents will in turn end up spending thousands of dollars in therapy for this child named Storm. (There's a therapy session right there...)
These children are not attending school. They're not even being home-schooled the 'normal' way. The parents practice 'unschooling', (*eye roll*) and believe a child's learning should be curiosity driven. So if they're never curious about learning the alphabet, I guess... so be it?
They believe children can make choices for themselves, like how to wear their hair and choosing their own clothes. Sure, we all let our children choose what to wear from time to time, and I encourage independence in my children, but as a parent, it's ME who makes the real decisions. And if my son puts on a shirt that is dirty and stained with grape juice and we have somewhere important to be? Of course I'm going to change him!
This Toronto couple wants 4-month-old Storm to grow up free from strict social norms about males and females, so they have shared his or her sex only with their other children, Jazz and Kio, a family friend, and two midwives.
I wonder what will happen when this child is of the age to join a sports team? Will the parents protest that teams are, after a certain age, divided by gender? Will they be totally okay if Storm is a boy and chooses to only wear dresses out in public? Even for an important job interview? When Storm becomes a teenager, then what? What about rules like not wearing a hat in school? Assuming they ever enter a public or private school system, will they argue those rules, too?
I just can't accept this way of new-age parenting. It's completely unhealthy. Some people are calling this a lab experiment, and I have to agree. Some say it borders on child abuse.
Because Jazz and Kio wear pink and have long hair, they're frequently assumed to be girls. The parents don't correct people; they leave it to the kids to do it if they want to. "Though Jazz likes dressing as a girl, he doesn't seem to want to be mistaken for one," the article says. Right there, you've got yourself a problem and I'm glad I'm not the one who has to fix this. How messed up for these kids!
I'm all for raising children your own way—and I think we should all tolerate different ways that children are being raised today, within reason. We don't have to jump up and down and clap our hands just because someone is doing something so drastically different. Sometimes, it's just wrong.