One thing that I expected upon finding out I was pregnant was the onslaught of 'advice', solicited and otherwise. I have no qualms with advice for which I've asked, of course. But the unsolicited opinions are starting to get rather tiresome. Frustrating...infuriating, even.
Sure, I've long learned how to just smile and nod and tune out the birthing horror stories (I don't really need to know that you were torn five ways from Friday without any medication...shall I give you a medal?). I've made peace with the women who insist on going over and over and over how I should be eating and how much I should be gaining. I can even handle the misinformation about pregnancy from people who have never experienced it.
What's officially pissed me off is the parenting advice. No...not even advice. The demands. Yes, demands! Made by strangers!
One of the most prevalent is that we should raise our daughter gender neutral. Now, in its simplest form, the plan that Corey and I have pretty much fits the bill. Raine will be allowed to play with what brings her joy, whether it be Barbie or Batman. That seems fairly gender neutral to me. And it's not something that we're planning with that purpose. We just want her to be happy, whatever that may be.
But apparently that's not right, you see. No. According to a few people (again, complete strangers), Corey and I MUST ensure that Raine does not see a glimmer of pink. No doll shall grace her room at a fancy tea party. We don't want her to grow up to simply fall into a stereotype. Don't want to raise her to think that it's okay to embrace her femininity. She is capable of so much more.
Fine, Batman it is! Surely that'll keep the people happy. To hell with dollies and dresses. If my little girl is to be looked down upon for being, well...a little girl, then we'll just go the other way, right? That's what these strangers seem to be demanding.
Nope! Keep her away from the action figures and Tonka Trucks! Banish lego from this artist's home! Don't want her to turn into a little lesbian, now, do we? We can't have her growing up thinking that it's alright to be tough and masculine. She's a little girl after all!
Well, now. What the hell are we supposed to do? Give her dolls, and we're setting her up to be the little missus making babies all her own. Give her Hot Wheels and we'll have a drum circling, unkempt, hippy, lesbian with no social purpose.
Screw it! She'll play with what she wants to play with. If she's happy, then I'm happy. If that means she asks her Daddy to join her for tea, and asks her Mum to build an epic lego fortress, then that's totally awesome by us. Because, at the end of the day, my child is MY child. And I will not raise her to be some stranger's poster child for some diluted societal 'cause'.
Talk about a first world problem. Seriously, to those who insist on making such demands on new parents, take your opinions and shove them! If we were in need of guidance, we would ask.