Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is it about her or is it about me?

Pink or blue or brown or yellow? It's starting out simple, but I can see the complexities that lie ahead. How much of it is about her and how much is about me? How do I separate them out so I can deal with myself on my own time and attempt to minimize projection of my issues onto her development, her experiences, her preferences?

The color thing is easy, or at least much easier than anything I'll have to deal with as she gets older. I don't have to create a pink-free zone and I don't have to create a pink-only zone. I just make sure her clothing, crayons, etc. have a rainbow of options so she can choose pink today and black tomorrow and green the next day.  I just have to be ok with a daughter liking pink, at least some of the time for now and possibly as the only color she likes later on.

It all gets way more complicated. Princesses, sports, dolls and toys, makeup, jewelry, gender expression, menstruation, sex, friendships, school, cooking, body image, sexuality, and way more than I could even imagine. There's also the less obvious but possibly more potentially damaging (to our relationship, to her feeling of self-worth, to her understanding and belief in the truth that I love her unconditionally to name a few) issues of my tendency to pick at things like my fingernails or her face (especially when she has a runny/stuffy nose), the way I sometimes get way too easily frustrated with my phone or my computer or cooking or other drivers or whatever, so many more seconds-long interactions that add up to influence her whole life.

I don't have any conclusions.I've read Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, which is mostly where this train of thought came from. I just know that when I hear certain songs or remember parts of my childhood or read parenting blogs I'm faced with how complicated life might get, how much of myself I have to figure out if I'm trying not to parent her like I would parent my memory of me as a child.

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