Small things I learned after having children.
Life is a journey full of learning opportunities. Kids. With their superior ways of enchanting and torturing us, they help us to arrive at a new level of enlightenment. I used to think parents do certain things because they are ignorant, and I would be different. But I now learned that we choose to do not-so-recommendable things because small vices allow us to achieve bigger goals.
1. Gender colors are pervasive because they make parents' lives easier.
I used to think that giving blue to boys and pink to girls is so absurd that I would never do that. I pretty much followed that philosophy with my boy. He liked yellow. Anything yellow. So that was easy. But now I look for pink underwear, pink shoes, pink dresses, anything pink for my two-year-old girl. She has strong opinions about what she puts on herself. At the moment she's really into pink, not just clothes and shoes, but pink books, pink food, pink pens, and pink animals. She wouldn't put on underwear unless it's pink. But if it is pink, she refuses any adult help but does it "by myself!" Where did she develop her obsession with pink? Not from me (although my husband jokingly blames me for exacerbating it by not giving her enough pink in the first year of her life). It is likely from her daycare socialization. She is learning and perhaps copying behavior of other girls. Sure, the origin of other girls' obsession with pink probably came from advertisements or bigger girls. Is that a bad thing? Learning how to "fit in" and detect the "social norm" is an important stage before they can unlearn it, in my opinion. Do I care about gendered colors? Not any more. Because as long as she's happy and she eats slightly better food thanks to raspberries we put in her smoothies, I can live with that.
2. Parents flip out screen-devices because the surrounding people are not tolerant of kids' noises.
We tend to mess up our children's screen time when we travel, especially when we have to take flights and train rides. Otherwise the young one gets 0-10 minutes of Pepper Pig (because she's pink); the older one watches about 30 minutes of cartoon daily. We become a lot more dependent on an iPad when we fear that we are upsetting other adults around us with the kids' noises. They are happy communicators and kinetic learners, that means they are loud! We see so much warning about the harmful effect of screen time. Sure. But parents wouldn't resort to it if people around us won't give us a look when kids are being kids. So here's my suggestion to society in order to save children from screens. Instead of frowning upon noisy kids, play with them, ask them questions, engage with them. Don't pretend you have nothing to do with their well-being. They are everyone's future. And stop shaming parents for using a device. It's because of YOUR intolerance, not because of the children.
3. Parents on their phones while children are in the playground might be reading important news or finally getting to students' inquiries. Even if they are not, so what.
Another thing I used to think I wouldn't do is to look at smartphones while kids are playing outside. And I was wrong. When I play with them indoors, I barely have time to do anything else. They demand full attention and max brain power for creative interactions. When they play with other kids or playground toys outside, it is finally the time to do *my* important things. Phones make it look like parents are on social media. But that's not always the case-phones could show news, documents, emails, remember? With that technology, even busy mothers could do five minutes of work now and then, remember? And even if caregivers are on social media, so what? It is finally a break from full-attention seekers.
Sometimes, when I see parents are helicoptering their children (at swimming lessons especially!), I tend to think it might be healthier for them to be occupied by something else instead.
Anyway, there are so many ways society judges parents. Stop that!