Dear Moms Who Try to Influence Their Kids' Tastes: I Will Judge You, But I Shouldn't
Recently when Roan and I were shopping for clothes I overheard a mother trying to shame her son out of buying a pink shirt. She wasn't outright saying "NO," but she was saying in that sing-song voice that mothers use to hypnotize their children, "Ok ... if you think you'll feel ... comfortable in pink ... in front of your friends ... " and all I could do was finish the sentence in my head with that scene from Carrie where the mother says, "They're all gonna laugh at you. They're all gonna laugh at you." Cue the pig's blood, and I was outta there.
Now. I know all too well that it's totally unfair to judge a mom you don't know, based on a 10-second exchange. How many snippets of conversations have I had with my son that could rightfully raise an eyebrow or two? More than a few. On a daily basis. It could be that the mother was protecting her son from ongoing bullying at school. Or it could be that she's totally bananas and still believes that girls own some colors, and boys own the others, and if the two are somehow mixed up, then that thar is what causes The Homosexuality. I don't know. But it made me feel a little superior for a moment that I, being of the utmost open-minded status on the planet, I am enlightened enough to not force these types of things on my child. Not me. No way. Totally enlightened.
Ah ... but not so much. Our next stop was the Sony Wonder Lab, where kids get to make little ID badges with their pictures and then make voice imprints, and then chose a type of music that represents them. As Roan flipped by Good Charlotte and Rhiana and landed on some guy with a gigantor cowboy hat and the words, "Country Western!" flashing on the screen, my voice became very hypnotic and sing-song-y while I suggested, "Hey Roan? You don't really like that? Do you? Like, you don't enjoy that more than the rock'n'roll guy? Or the techno guy? Or hells bells c'mon ... R & B? Noooo ... really ... do you ... ?"
And he did. Even though I was right there trying to push my tastes, preferences and opinions on him. When he was finishing up his ID badge, it occurred to me that I was really no different from the pink-fearing mother. While she shames her son into sharing her conservative views, I do the same thing with my liberal views. If Roan wants to dye his hair pink, blue, green, and yellow, the answer is yes. If Roan asks to get a mullet, the answer is no. If you ask Roan who the worst president in history was, he'd likely say George W. Bush. If you ask him if two men or two women loving each other is wrong, he'd probably say no. Whaddya know -- all these answers are the same as mine! Shocking.
And so. To the mother who I was silently (and now publicly) judging: I was wrong. I'm not saying she was right. But it's not mine to say. And to all the people who heard my son asking for a whiskey and water while we walked through the park yesterday -- don't judge me. He picked that up from an Anime he was watching and won't let it go. I would only ever serve him beer and wine at age six. See? Enlightened.
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