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  • RENATA POLEON

Conversations with Kids: Not Because I Have to


One morning when my older daughter was 5, I walked into the bathroom to help her put toothpaste on her toothbrush. She looked at me with her big brown eyes ready to ask a question. For about two weeks at that point, she has been talking and asking a lot about marriage, getting older and being a mummy or daddy.


A few days prior, she said “I can’t wait to be six so that I can get married.”


I said, “We’ll wait a while after six years old,” doing my best to contain my laughter.


That particular morning’s question was, “Is Scar going to be a mummy when she grows up?” I responded, “If Scar wants to be a mummy, she can be a mummy.” Then she asked if her friend is going to be a daddy. I told her, “Only if he decides he wants to be a daddy.”


Not too long after saying these words, I realized that I was normalizing choice over an imposition. Rather than simply saying, “Girls become mommies and boys become daddies,” I laid the groundwork for my daughter to know that she has a choice in her life.


My only expectations for my children are that they are respectful, kind to themselves and others, they love themselves, have curious minds and have a love of learning. I don’t expect grandchildren. I don’t expect a specific profession, because I will not live vicariously through my children. I simply want that whatever they pursue in life, they love it.


I want my children to look forward to family gatherings, rather than avoid them due to question like when are they getting married or having babies. That kind of pressure is insane and is possibly the cause of so many poor choices, just to fit into an ideal or expectation.


It’s difficult to change mindsets, but let’s start normalizing responses like, “If he or she wants to, he or she will....” This sets the right tone for young minds. Be a daddy or mummy if you want to, not because someone else or the world expects you to.



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