RAISING A BABY WITHOUT GENDER BIAS

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Image source : Steemit

When we were expecting V, we often debated the idea of knowing the gender of the baby before she was born. While it is a common practice in many countries, much to my delight it is a big ‘NO NO’ in India. I always wanted it to be a surprise and I can vouch for the fact that it is totally worth it. People around me often expressed their views on how knowing the gender beforehand helps you plan better – buy clothes fitting to a specific gender, do up the nursery in a particular color or for that matter even buy toys which are of particular interest to a baby boy/girl. It made me realize how these stereotypes are ingrained in our minds so deeply that we cannot help but create that bias with kids as young as a new born. While there is nothing wrong with girls loving dolls more than cars, I feel we should give the opportunity to explore everything until they are of the age where they can begin to work out for themselves what it means to be a boy or a girl. Few of the options that I am going to explore with V to avoid the gender stereotypes and would suggest you to try out are as follows –

1.Integration of  Toys

Research says the earlier kids learn that there are no boundaries in their playtime, the quicker they will understand that it is okay to experiment, to explore and express their instincts. I was really happy to see few baby carrier brands advertising toddler boys carrying dolls in their doll baby carriers – after all, if boys learn to care and display the so called ‘maternal instinct’ it only helps them evolve as kind and loving people.

2. Using neutral meaningful words

Having a daughter and seeing all things pink and purple automatically makes you utter the word pretty multiple times in a day. Lately, I realized that there are so many more meaningful words which can help me express my excitement and boost her confidence better. So, I have consciously moved to phrases like “Hey V, you look so confident! I love your smile, you look so happy!You are such a brave child!” These are all neutral words and after all, it is more important to be kind, brave, generous , wise – definitely more important than being just pretty.

3. Leading by example

We often assume that babies do not understand much but the reality is they are very observant and really grasp things which they notice on a regular basis.Hence, from the very beginning it is important to show them that there is no specific role to a gender.For example, the kitchen can’t be the mom’s spot all the time and in a very similar way the dad can’t be fixing the plumbing issues at home on all occasions.

4. Appreciating Interests

We as parents must not encourage or discourage our babies towards a particular interest area which is based on our choice. The best option is to just let be and observe how the baby develops his/her likes and dislikes with time.

5. Promoting common sports

Sports could start pretty early in childhood. I have a toddler who can hit a ball with the bat and I am open to let her watch and experience the game of cricket or baseball if she likes. Children must understand early in their age that extracurricular activities are really great for overall personality development and they are absolutely free to choose what they enjoy playing.

6. Using neutral colors

Let’s get out of the blues and pinks. While I strongly feel that blue would look as great on girls and it does on boys and vice versa for pink, I do understand the plight of parents whose kids get teased by their friends for not wearing a ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ color.We can go for neutrals like yellow, grey and the whites or for that matter any color that we really like irrespective of the gender stereotypes.

7 Questioning our own attitude

This is something really interesting that I picked up in one of the articles that I read recently. The way our society is saturated with gender stereotypes, we tend to adapt ourselves and cultivate the same mindset with time.I think there is absolutely no shame is introspecting and challenging our own beliefs when it comes to gender stereotyping. Probably , that would only help in getting more ideas to make this world bias free.

Stereotypes are very well entrenched in our minds and in the society .It really takes a lot of conscious parenting  to get rid of the biases with which probably we have been raised too. Starting early would only be a good decision towards making the future free of stereotypes!

SEVEN TRUTHS NO ONE TOLD YOU ABOUT MOMMYHOOD

Motherhood

Motherhood is the most beautiful feeling in the world – We have heard of this since ages, haven’t we?  Even when you google maternity shoot pictures, you get photographs of beautiful women(with no dark circles) in white flowy dresses posing with absolutely quiet and angelic babies. This is the image which was stuck in my mind till reality hit me hard right after Little Miss V was born.

  1. Guilt is your middle name : I haven’t met a new mom yet who hasn’t felt this way. We are racked with guilt when our work commitment prevents us from spending enough time with our little ones. We associate almost everything in our lives with the way we are raising our kids. On most occasions, even the best doesn’t seem to be good enough. We always find faults with ourselves and when we don’t, people around us help us find few.
  2. Hormone dance is for real : When we were counting days to our pregnancy acne to end and sore legs to be back to normal, our hormones had different plans for us. The hormonal balance throws most of us off the track right after the baby is born. The mood swings, depressing thoughts and baby blues start to get worse and just when we hit the 3 month mark and start to get better sleep, we start to lose chunks of hair. Ever wondered, why is it just us women who get to go through all of it?
  3. Time moves incoherently: When we are away from our kids, the clock stops ticking and when we are with our kids, the whole weekend passes away in the blink of an eye. No amount of planning and prioritizing can get us close to being perfect time managers when it comes to spending enough time with our babies. We constantly feel that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done and Monday blues get worse. The struggle is real.
  4. Stop shopping for yourself: Shopping was fun once upon a time. Remember, how window shopping and even scrolling through online shopping sites felt therapeutic. These days, we just pass through the apparel section and land straight in the baby care section. Baby dresses look way more alluring than the Little Black Dresses we wore all our lives (fitting into it or not is still a question though).
  5. Bye – bye to sleep : Honestly, this does not deserve to be on Point number 5. Sleep was my first and foremost priority for the longest period of time. There were enough number of articles to support my argument of direct correlation between sleep and a healthy life. Unfortunately, the dream shattered for me soon after V arrived in our lives. I lived like a zombie for months with a little less than 2 hours of sleep every night. I kept patiently waiting for that magical age when she would start sleeping through the night but each time she did, she made the following nights worse.
  6. Get used to a messy house : Until now,we thought leaving the wet towel on the bed and the shoes on the floor was called a mess. Say hello to the new idea of mess after having a baby.Kids and clutter go together like glitter and glue and we just cannot do anything about it. So, we have to make peace with a messy house. Good news is studies say, messy houses raise immuned, strong and independent children.
  7. All the parenting strategies go for a toss – Remember the last time we saw a wailing baby in the flight and gave the mother a frosty stare? Or the last time we saw a mom handing over a bag of chips to her kid while we smirked and wondered how she could be raising her child with junk eating habits? Well, now the whole universe is conspiring against us – it is all coming back, one after the other. The biggest thing I learnt as a mother is to “NOT” judge another mother. Everyone has a different way of parenting and sometimes we just give in to the whims and fancies of our child for the sake of peace of our minds. It is ok, everything is not going to be perfect all the time, it need not be.

These were the top 7 shocks motherhood gave me but the reasons to the joy of motherhood are infinite. I will be happy to know more about what shocks did my readers get post motherhood?