Tag Archives: Parenting

Dear Friend (Letter To Moms Of Toddlers)

January 29, 2015

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Hello Mamas. I come in peace.

No judgements. No agenda. No advice on potty training or vaccinating or how to get your toddler to stop peeing in the house plants.

I know just as little as you do, which has actually ended up being quite revealing. You can read all about it in my new book, “Honestly, You Just Wait It Out.”

Because that’s what you do. You wait and wait and wait, and then one day they stop throwing peanut butter sandwiches on the kitchen floor and your google searches on child personality disorders seem a bit dramatic.

It is so startling when your precious, newborn baby suddenly becomes a toddler. It sneaks up on you at first; a small tantrum in the Target parking lot, minor hysteria over the inconsistency of socks. Then all of a sudden they are pointing their finger, stomping their feet, and throwing all their raisins into the toilet. Sometimes I feel like, who invited this guy to the party? I am not cleaning up after this guy.

I know there is a lot of great stuff out there about how you’re supposed to carpe diem or not carpe diem or how we’re supposed to stop yelling or cut ourselves a break.

Here is what I want to say to you today:

1) It gets better. Those nuggets eventually do grow up enough to communicate that they do or do not want the red crayon. One day you will wake up and realize you can have a whole conversation and maybe even clean the kitchen without someone standing in the dishwasher. And restaurants? Let me tell you about restaurants. Suddenly going out to eat becomes less like crying in the parking lot and more like eating your chicken sandwich with two hands. I cannot overemphasize this small and important joy.

2) It gets worse. Oh, did you think parenting was going to get easier? Wishing away the toddler years is easy when you’re getting kicked in the mouth during diaper changes. The thing is, every stage of parenthood has its pros and cons. I have learned the hard way that you will never enjoy parenting if you are always wishing they were older. Kids will forever and always be annoying. It just appears in different forms. If you’re feeling despondent, remember the restaurant thing.

3) Friends help. Are you so tired of hearing how it takes a village? I remember thinking, “A village sounds great, but I’m too tired to make small talk about The Bachelor.” Honey these are the golden years, but you will drown without help. Single moms, married moms, working moms, stay at home moms–everyone needs a buddy who says, “This is normal” or “Yes, me too” or “You get the wine, I’ll bring the pizza.” Suffer through the small talk to find your mom soul mate. She is out there. Just a girl, standing in front of another girl, asking for a babysitting swap.

And finally, if you are wondering if your two-year-old will ever stop pooping in his underwear, the answer is yes. Definitely yes.

Honestly. You just wait it out.

Keep on keeping on.

***

Let’s Make Room

January 19, 2015

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I’ve been seeing all these op-ed pieces lately on how it’s okay for boys to wear tutus. How no one is going to tell my son what he can and can’t wear. How girls can play with tractors so who cares if my son is breastfeeding his cabbage patch doll? EVERYBODY BE COOL.

Of course these articles are fine and good; I’m all for celebrating our three-year-old boys acting like drunk fairies. But there’s also a part of me who thinks: It’s 2015. Why are we still talking about this?

Here’s why.

Last month in Folsom, California, 12-year-old Ronin Shimizu took his own life after being relentlessly bullied by his classmates for joining the cheerleading team. Not only did they shout gay slurs and physically assault him, he was called “disgusting” and told he was “going straight to hell.”

After years of this anti-gay assault, Ronin’s parents found their son dead in their home.

The police immediately ruled it suicide. No note was found.

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It is so easy to live inside my safe bubble with my young, innocent babies and mugs of hot tea and think this world is safe. That we’ve come far enough. That we’ve made room for everyone.

Then when I hear stories of children being tormented over the idea that they might be gay, I am shocked and enraged. How could this happen? Why would anyone say such hateful things? What world is this?

There is still so much work to be done.

We need to make room. Room for our little boys with bright orange tutus and little girls with overalls and dump trucks. Room for change, safe places, and open arms. Room for the idea that we are not in control of our children’s sexuality any more than we’re in control of our own.

Recently a pair of identical twin teenage boys came out to their dad in a taped conversation that went viral on YouTube. What struck me the most about their story was not so much their father’s response, but the proof that who we are as sexual beings is in our DNA. That these identical pairs of genes led to the same sexuality. That who you love is, of course, not a choice.

Wearing tutus does not make you gay. Joining the cheerleading squad does not make you gay. Dressing up like a fairy or taking ballet or wearing bright pink does not make you gay. Being gay makes you gay. A difference in genetics, just like the color of your skin.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A day we have set aside to celebrate a man who made room for a lot of people. Last month a 12-year-old boy took his life because there was no room for him. We remember his life today. We weep for his mother and all the other mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to hopelessness.

Let’s make room.

***

Ronin

Ronin Shimizu
2002-2014

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – MLK