Good morning, and happy Monday! Today I am excited to take part in a great series called #MotherhoodMonday which was started by Lisa over at The Mother Blog.
I had big plans for today’s topic, “Motherhood Misconceptions.” But, as anyone who follows me on Instagram knows, my family has been dealing with a nasty sickness all week and unfortunately I have also succumbed to it. So please forgive me if my fever addled brain doesn’t allow me to convey my thoughts as I had hoped!
The misconception I want to tackle today is this –
Children will look like their parents.
We all know that this isn’t true. There are so many reasons why kids wouldn’t be little copies of their parents: adoption, foster care, biracialism, the randomness of genes in general, and in the case of 2 of my kids – a variant in their MCR1 gene. But despite logically knowing this, when I was younger I still often imagined my kids round faced, white/blonde haired, blue eyed, and fair skinned just as I was as a child. Not exact copies of me, but very similar.
Despite the fact that my Mom has very dark/almost black hair, sharper features than me, and was oftened asked if her kids were actually her kids, I still had this idea of mini-me children in my head.
clockwise from middle – my grandma, my great grandmother, me, and my mom.
I never envisioned that after having kids I would be asked questions and hear comments like “They must look like their Dad.” “Their Dad must have that feature.” and “Where did they get ____ from?” And here is the thing – my kids DO look like me. There is a strong resemblance. It’s just that my oldest son and youngest daughter have that aforementioned variant in their MCR1 gene or, in other words, they have red hair. BRIGHT red hair, pale skin, and the tendency to develop freckles. Because of this and people’s misconception that kids will look like their parents I am asked about where their looks come from, everytime I leave the house.
And here’s another misconception that comes into play here – the misconception that these small, innocent remarks don’t affect the kids they are said in front of.
My kids are biological mine. There is no baggage associated with them having dissimilar hair. They do strongly resemble me in a lot of ways. They come from a family where red hair is part of the norm. They have always been loved, and cherished, and overall their looks are spoken of positively. (We have heard a couple not so nice “ginger” remarks as jokes, but I’m quick to shut them down) And despite all the positivity about their hair color there has been times that their differences have caused hurt feelings. The redheads have dealt with unwanted attention, my other 2 kids have dealt with feeling left out because they don’t receive the same attention. There has been comments made by them about wishing they had different colored hair.
my kids playing piano together
Each small public comment is usually a gesture by the person to make conversation or compliment my kids, and to that person it is just a little thing but to my kids that hear “red hair this, red hair that” multiple times, every time we go out, it can build up.
I try to be gracious and explain how my kids came to be blessed with such unique hair. (I strive to be a good example like Sharla from The Chaos and The Clutter talks about.) I am not the speech police. I don’t try to teach people a lesson about commenting on appearances.
I instead focus on MY job. My job is to teach my kids how to deal with these situations. It’s the reality that 2 of them are part of only 2% of the world’s population that has red hair and 2 of them have dark blonde hair “just like mommy.” I teach them that there is more to them than their looks.
People will sometimes say nice, thoughtful things. People will sometimes say mean, hurtful things. People will sometimes say careless, insensitive, but not purposefully malicious things. I teach my kids that they are in charge of their reactions no matter which category the people speaking to them fall under.
But sometimes kids don’t get the guidance my kids receive. Sometimes there is deeper feelings about a family not looking like each other. Sometimes adoption, foster care, remarriage, or biracialism come into play. This is why I try to avoid making comments about children’s apperances or asking questions about why a child looks different even if I am genuinely interested in hearing that family’s story.
As my friend Jessica, who grew up in foster care, told me “It shouldn’t be a concern…they’re family.
Differentiation should be the last thing in people’s minds. Kids just want to feel accepted, and loved or liked by others.”
And I don’t think there’s much more I can add to that! – With Love, Amber
For more information on when children don’t look like their parents check out The Almost Indian Wife’s post titled “Mommy, why don’t I look like you?” It was a major part of the inspiration for my post today.
And definitely don’t forget to CHECK OUT all the other Motherhood Monday contributors to read their takes on other Motherhood Misconceptions! –
Lisa @ http://www.themotherblog.com/
Alexis @ http://www.mrsmombie.com/
Lindsey @ http://www.moderatemomma.com/
Christy @ http://www.engineertosahm.blogspot.com/
Racheal @ http://www.mommieisntmadeofmoney.com/
Rebekah @ http://www.mymspibaby.com/
Amber Joy @ http://www.simplythewildside.net