Sunday, July 14, 2013

the positive side to alternative parents

When I use the word "alternative" throughout this post, I am speaking about those who are different from the norm.  Personally, my husband and I have a bit of a rocker edge; we like punk and metal, and we have tattoos and piercings. As I move throughout this post, this is the lifestyle I will focus on- but this ideal can be used with almost any "alternative" lifestyle.

dressed up for the Rolling Stones concert

Depending on where you live, as I've learned from talking to other mom's around the country, judgement against alternative parents can be harsh.  Where I live, it's hit or miss.  Some will accept you for who you are, while others will look down on you for the way you look.

In my experience, I have seen both sides.  I have been respected and disrespected for my tattoos, piercings, and rock style.  I have received negative looks and comments, especially when I'm out and about with my son.  You know the look I'm talking about- the look where you KNOW they are casting some sort of judgement in their head.  Usually, I smile and say hello, and continue my day.  They don't know me, and the stigma against those with tattoos and piercings is dated.

Halloween, 2011

 Halloween 2011. Yes, I was very pregnant! 
My husband was Slash, and I was a punk rocker. 
(80's costume party). Not Far from our real style!

There was a point where I began to hide this part of myself and cover my tattoos, especially around other moms.  For the first time, I feared judgement.  Not for my own sake, however, but for my son.  I was afraid that if a mom thought I was a bad influence that they would not allow their child to play with mine.  But eventually I realized that I was leading a poor example for my son.  What would this be saying to him?  To change who you are to please others?

No more.

While my style has matured, it still has a rock edge to it.  I love my leather jacket, my heavy eye liner, and my interesting shoes.  But besides clothing, the attitude is important too.  I don't care what people think.  I am who I am, and you can take it or leave it.

So, what are some positive aspects to having alternative parents?
*I by no means mean to say the following can't be taught by someone who is not "alternative"*

#1: Be Yourself

Be who you are, son.  Like what you like- and don't let anyone stop you.  Real friends will like you for who you are, and would never ask you to change.  Be an individual, and don't mold to what others feel you should be.

My hope is that he will look to us for this trait, and feel more comfortable in expressing himself.  I want him to be confident, and to have self worth, and to not let bullies get him down. I want him to have friends who are genuine, and I don't want him to feel pressured to dress or act a certain way.

My husband and I are not into gender roles.  My son loves to play with trucks and tools, but when he really liked another child's baby doll, we got him one as well.  He likes to help me brush my hair, and will snag my makeup brushes if I'm not careful.  He likes to listen to Rancid, the Ramones, and Psy! All in all, he has quite the personality, and he knows what he likes! He's even starting to pick out his clothes for the day (at 18 months old).  We want to keep this going throughout his life- allowing him to fully express himself.

#2: Respect the Differences of Others

I want to teach my son to have an open mind.  Perhaps because mom and dad are different from other locals, he'll be okay with differences.  I want him to understand that everyone has their own style, religion, morals, likes, dislikes (the list goes on).  On the flip side of #1, I don't want my son to pressure others to change to be more like him.  My husband and I are fairly open minded, and we would like to pass on that trait.

Alternative or not, we should all be teaching our children how to respect others, and respect themselves.

I'm sure I'll add to this idea in the future.  Please feel free to comment with your own experiences!
xo SC

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