Creating a Comfortable World For Your Child
There are questions parents ask themselves, every day. “Should my son like the color pink more than blue?” “Is it okay for my daughter to want to play football rather than dance?” “Are toy guns dangerous or simply apart of pretend play?” “Should my child eat meat if I don’t?” There’s no rulebook to being a parent and at the end of the day we know our children better than anyone, but our children are also their own people. Even at a very young age, they have their own opinions, thoughts, and ideas. Sometimes, Greyson is my absolute twin and other times he’s a totally unique, independent kid. I was always incredibly girly, obsessed with fashion, dolls, and glitter, but I was also in love with sports, nature, and animals. I spent hours on end playing in the dirt with my dogs, riding my horses bare back, and crawling through bushes and climbing trees. I wasn’t one, single descriptive word. Your son can love the color pink and also play football better than anyone. Your daughter can play with cars and love sports but hate dance and dolls. You can choose to keep toy guns and video games out of your home, but you can also introduce them in simple, innocent ways, if you choose. Unfortunately, we can’t shelter our children from everything and they deserve to learn and grow, despite the weird, crazy world we live in.
I believe there’s nothing wrong with little kids playing with toy guns, swords, and light sabers, fighting off monsters, zombies, and bad guys. I think pretend play is so important and we’ve all been doing it since the beginning of time. But, I think it’s also so important for your child to understand that if they ever see a real gun, to stay away from it, and to tell a parent or an adult. It’s crucial for them to understand that weapons kill people, innocent people, children included, and that they don’t just exist in pretend play situations. Especially with all of the violence surrounding us, children need to know right from wrong, peace from war, fear from strength, and love from hate. They need to know how to be kind, inspirational, and creative. Spend more time raising a strong, independent, happy child than worrying about whether or not your son wears a lot of pink. They will discover who they are as they wonder, grow, and learn, but it’s our job to provide them with a comfortable, loving environment. It’s our job to allow them to be who they truly are. If we don’t believe in them, who will? It’s a big, scary world and home should always be a safe place. I’ve already taught Greyson so much and although he’s only eighteen months old and has a mind of his own, I know that the lessons that Andrew and I teach him will make a real difference in his life. The love that we show him every single day will impact him in beautiful ways.
Beyond teaching Greyson to always say “I love you”, to be kind and polite to others, and to brush his teeth at least twice a day, I also teach him the fun, sparkly life lessons. I teach him to never stop believing in magic, to never be too old to search the skies on Christmas Eve, to never be too old to play with toys, and to be unapologetically himself in a world filled with people pretending to be something they’re not. You can ask yourself those questions every day, but the answer is up to your child. You might not always like the same things as your children and that’s okay. You might’ve loved baseball as a child, but your child may love bugs and books about different bugs. I see so much of myself and Andrew in Greyson, but he’s so unique and special. I love that even at eighteen months my son has his own mind, spirit, and interests. I know without a doubt that I’ve created a comfortable world for him to grow up in.
We live in a world where even little kids are judged for who they are and that’s the saddest thing I’ve come to learn as an adult. It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but you don’t tell your child who they are, they tell you and the world. I’ve heard dads say that they’d never allow their son to play with dolls, or to push a baby stroller because that isn’t manly…well, my husband is one of the strongest men I’ve ever met and he pushed Greyson in a stroller everywhere we went, he also carried my diaper bag for me, and would never tell our son who to be. Why shouldn’t a little boy learn at a young age that taking care of someone else is significant? I read a beautiful article the other day in a parenting magazine where a dad explains that he, just like my husband pushes his baby girl in a stroller every single day and is a burly, thirty-year old man. He supports boys playing with dolls, girls learning to play sports with the boys, and children exploring who they are. It made me feel better reading that there are real men out there, like my husband, in this scary world that are supportive of their children and who they are. Boys playing with dolls is just a simple example for a much larger, deeper topic, but the point is let your child be whoever they want to be. There will be plenty of obstacles in their way as they grow up. Don’t be one of them.
I’ve heard moms say that they’d never let their daughters play basketball or football because they should be dancing or singing. Well, tell that to all of the women who’ve fought so hard for their place in sports, at The Olympics, and in the world today. I don’t think you’d appreciate being told who to be and your daughters deserve the right to be whoever they choose and to explore their passions. Creating a comfortable world for your children starts at home, from the day they come home from the hospital. There’s nothing wrong with showing our children what we love, but it’s so important to show interest in what they love, too.
To all of the mamas and daddy’s out there doing their absolute best in a world filled with hate and chaos, you matter so much. Raising our children to be kind, honest, passionate individuals is the most valuable job in the world. I’m so proud to be a mama and to be doing what I love every single day.