I always seem to be behind the curve. Not quite sure what to make of Doc Martens or slouchy hospital pants, chunky streaks or rollerblading– that is how I would best define my teen-aged years. I watched as friends tried on the newest fads and sometimes I would join in, but mostly, I was a spectator.
As a parent, not much has changed. When I first read the Toronto Star’s recent article about the “genderless” baby, Storm, I couldn’t help but sigh. I don’t get it. It seems to me, that the envelope for provocative parenting was just pushed that much further.
My children have generic names – centuries old and the five of us share the same last name. They were born in a hospital and I was on lots of drugs. We sleep in our own beds, and they call me “mom”. I didn’t breastfeed them until they could eat a steak nor did I forgo the stroller for exclusive baby wearing. We try to eat organic food but sometimes McDonalds is just easier. We like supporting our local stores but a Costco shop is akin to retail therapy. The craziest things get around here is when friends stop by, drink too much pinot, and stumble home. Maybe one day it will be hip to be square?
Storm’s parents are free to do what ever they feel is best for their children, providing no laws are broken. Who is to say what is best? Don’t we all impose our ideologies on our children? Whether we clothe them in a Che Guevara onesie or let them express their inner sartorialist, we are ultimately raising them in accordance of values and principles that we, as their parents, hold dear.
To be honest, after reading the names of the three children: Jazz, Kio and Storm, I knew that I would not agree with much that these parents are choosing for their children and my guess is that Storm’s parents would feel the same way if they met me.
That is, until I read Storm’s mother Kathy Witterick’s, thoughtful and articulate response to the media outcry. It made me wish that she, in her own words, had been the one to share Storm’s story with the world.
In an instant, I could identify with her vulnerability. And truly what mother can’t? She is struggling to be supportive of her children and their decisions. She is anxious for her children because she knows that there is only so much and for so long that she can shelter her children from the harsh realities of life. This rings true for me.
It seems to me that the real story is less about raising a genderless baby but more about raising children who do not conform to the society’s defined gender roles. More so, it’s about holding firm to the ideals that you as a parent want to uphold. And that, regardless of your ideals, is a challenge in and of its self. Any parent can attest to that.
Could I do what Kathy and Dave have chosen for their family? No. Do I think what they are doing is right? No more than what I think I am doing is right. Because in the end, we’re all just trying our best to raise confident, respectful, contributing members of society. Or at least that’s what we should be doing.
What do you think about this Storm of controversy? You must have an opinion – share it with us.
Photo credit: http://www.blippitt.com