Isley has been very curious lately around gender identity and expressions, what boys can and cannot do. She associates blue with boys and pink with girls. Boys can’t paint their nails only girls can. She’s had several recent inquiries on how I identify, “mommy are you a boy or a girl”. My response “I am a boi and a girl” her reaction is a thoughtful silence and pondering of being both boy and girl. She has referred to me in the past as my partner’s boyfriend.
I am choosing to raise Isley in a gender neutral household as my way of allowing her to develop without the artificially created limitations that society has placed around gender. Unlearning what she is digesting from her interactions with the rest of the world about putting people in boxes and categories is eye opening as a parent.
At a pizza farm
A random Saturday afternoon
We’ve had conversations about not making assumptions about someone’s gender based on outward appearances. So the blue fish in “The Rainbow Fish” bedtime story book could potentially be a boy or a girl. She insisted it was a boy at first but we had a conversation about not assuming gender based on color selections. We don’t know and we are not assigning colors to any gender and boys can paint their nails if they choose to. Raising kids under strict gender guidelines is denying them an array of colors and possibilities in life.
A week ago she was asked how I identify by her other parent as a way of testing her identity development. Her response “mommy is a boi and a girl”. As I was painting her nails the other day, she wanted to know if I would paint my nails the same peachy color because she thought it would be a great look.
We avoid stereotypes and practice gender neutral parenting. There are no gender roles in our household, we are very careful about how we talk about boys and girls and choose books that expand her knowledge and imagination around gender non-conformity.
Quality time at the neighborhood park
I know at this very moment I have a free spirited soul who embodies all things girly. She loves wearing dresses, having five outfit changes in one day, getting her nails painted and pink and purple are her favorite colors.
Playtime in her bedroom
My sweet loving wild spirit baby
Sunday fun day at a neighborhood garden