Friday, April 18, 2014

A to Z: Parents Come In All Flavors

Perhaps I'm old fashioned.  I did grow up in a traditional household, with a mom who stayed at home and a dad who went to work.  A mom who cooked and cleaned and occasionally made things for me for various school activities.  Everyone I knew lived in the same sort of household.  No variation to the plan, all through high school.   

But the times have changed, and traditional has taken on an entirely different meaning. Parents come in all flavors, like ice cream.  In the traditional environment I grew up with, certain expectations seep underneath your skin, whether you like them or not.  Expectations about what moms are supposed to be, or look like, or sound like. 

I became a mother in my forties.  I am not a stay at home mom, either.  You would think that I should know better, be more accepting, but prejudices are like cockroaches, hiding in the shadows underneath the refrigerator.   I've had to get over a few biases over the years. Some that I didn't even know I had.    

I chaperoned a field trip last year with my son's class. One of the other moms had blue hair and several piercings.  I caught myself feeling...disapproval.  This woman didn't look like my expectation of a mother, and I got a little irritated about it.  Once I realized that I was being a bit of a jerk, I got even more irritated. At myself.  My bias was showing!  This mom was obviously very interested in her child.  She stayed with him as he walked through the pumpkin patch and helped out with some of the face painting.  If a mom loves her kid, is there for her child, who cares if her hair is blue?  The piercings I'm still having difficulty with, but I'm working on it.  I can at least smile at her without wincing. (those had to hurt! especially the eyebrow!)

I've been around many different flavors of families over the years.  Some are the traditional families, but they are becoming a rarity.  What I see most often today are single moms(and occasionally single dads) trying to raise children by themselves.  I've seen families with two moms or two dads.  I've seen grandparents raising their grandchildren, something that was completely unheard of when I was a kid.  What used to be the expected form of the family has changed.  What was, served a purpose, and that purpose no longer exists in this day.  It's time to accept that, and move on.  That includes me.

Different doesn't mean bad, no matter the flavor. There are too many children abused, neglected, or thrown away out in the world. Parenting is a thankless job, and it is not for the weak. Instead of castigating a parent because they are different, embrace them for the warriors they are.  If a person loves their child and is willing to do what it takes to raise them to adulthood?  It is all to the good.


  1. Growing up I was aware of grandparents raising their grandkid...My cousin was raised by my grandparents they were really too old to be doing that but did it. I was grateful that the possible caregivers for my grandkids was someone other than me.

  2. GREAT post! "embrace them for the warriors they are" ... so true, if a parent is loving and caring for their child, give them praise, not disapproval. :)

  3. Funny you should mention the blue hair. A couple of years ago on a whiim over the summer I dyed the "underhair" sapphire blue. When it was down, no blue, but when it was in a ponytail it was blue & blonde. Truth be told, blue didn't last long so it quickly went into a weird green, but it was my way of becoming who I used to be before the ex-spousal unit did a number on my head. I too have looked at moms & dads with piercings and weird hairdos & colors (being in Austin we see that here) and have judged, but a part of me also admired the fact that they didn't care what I thought or any of us. I also have noticed that it's the elementary kids parents that look like that. The middle school & high school parents, not so much. The piercings and tats are still there, but the hair color has pretty much gone away. Would I go back to blue hair again? In a heart beat - it made people look at me different & I didn't really care.


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!