Tag Archives: parenting

Why Gender Roles Start in the Womb

My friends and I prepared a baby shower this summer. Planning the event involved a lot of frantic Facebook messaging and late-night Google Doc editing, as well as coming up with creative game ideas, such as “Pin the Sperm on the Egg.” We also spent a decent amount of time shopping for baby-related things, which led us to several gender-stereotypical items. Encountering these signals from society made me realize that gender roles really do start from within the womb – or at least they begin early enough to affect children from the beginning of their existences.

Clothing from the girls' section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys' section: the words "Future Legend" and baseballs.

Clothing from the girls’ section: a pink, cute-looking cupcake. Clothing from the boys’ section: the words “Future Legend” and baseballs. Anyone discern a difference in tone?

Studies show that children detect gender differences by the age of three Continue reading

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Lessons From My Bipolar Mother

When I was little, I fantasized about my mother’s death. Continue reading

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Is Having Babies Selfish?

Baby me. I used to be so innocent and adorable, I wonder what went wrong...

Baby me. I used to be so innocent and adorable, I wonder what went wrong…

Here’s my foreseeable future: go to college, get an undergraduate degree in English/Psychology/Philosophy, go to graduate school, solidify a successful career, get married, have kids. Sounds like a plan, especially after throwing in a mother with anger issues and the fact that I don’t know how to drive yet. As you can see, I’ve thought about my future a lot.

But here’s something I haven’t thought of yet: why do I want kids? Continue reading

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The Fight Song of the Tiger Son

My handy dandy suitcase.

My handy dandy suitcase.

Floss, Latin textbook, ratty T-shirt, notebook. As I threw these things into my suitcase, I wondered whether I would survive that day.

I ran out of my house. Wearing shorts and a thin jacket, the cold cut at me even though the sun still shone. Shouldering my backpack and holding my suitcase in both arms, I felt like a fictional character, running away from home. Except this time everything was real.

I made it a few blocks down until I saw her car approach me. Contemplating whether or not to make a run for it, I knew I wouldn’t escape – no mile time was fast enough to outpace an angry mother. Her beige car pulled up alongside the road, and she lowered her window to yell at me.

“Get back in the house, now!” my mother screamed.

Minutes before, she had threatened to kill me. Inside my house, she had started one of her angry outbursts, but it felt more dangerous than all of the other ones. In that moment, standing on the sidewalk of the road, heart racing, I defied my mother for the first time. Continue reading

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No Normal Life

I’m seventeen and I don’t know how to drive a car. Every time I see two parents talking to one another without screaming, I gaze in awe. I haven’t gone to Prom and I doubt that I will.

Sometimes I wonder how my childhood would have been if not for my mom. What would it have been like to grow up in an environment entrenched in caring as opposed to cruelty? Which friends might I have met, who might have I turned out to be, what might I have done? With only a few months left before my eighteenth birthday, every chance I have to experience an average life is slipping away. Continue reading

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A Post For My Father

A few nights ago, I wondered what it would feel like to cut off my ears.

I remember thinking something similar when I was thirteen or fourteen. I was in the car with my mom, sitting in the passenger seat as she screamed at me. This I was used to – what scared me was how she had formed her hands into fists and was punching the leather of her seat as well as the surface of the dashboard. While I cannot claim to remember exactly what had caused her anger, I do recall that it was something insignificant. Perhaps I had closed the car door a little too loudly. Maybe I looked at another boy who walked by for a little too long.

But, as she spewed poison and purged her anger, I thought to myself: I wonder what would happen if we got into a car accident right now. I wonder how much of myself I would be willing to give away for her to disappear. I proceeded to bargain mentally – would losing an arm be worth not having to put up with the abuse anymore? How about an arm and a leg? All of me?

Looking back, I realize how melodramatic and shallow those thoughts were. Continue reading

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You Can’t Be a Princess

It’s not every day you see a video about parents who purge the identities of their children.

When I was a child, I wanted to dye my hair blond.

I wanted, like every child, to explore the possibilities of my person – whether it be my physical or my mental characteristics. I doubt that there’s a single person out there who can honestly say they did not try something new as a child, that they did not crave for change or something exciting. Childhood, in essence, is about discovering the depths of your world, and who and what inhabits it.

I remember telling all of my friends in my fifth grade class that I was going to dye my hair blond. When I got home that day, I looked up at my father, eyes wide, and exclaimed my wish. He looked at me, amused, and told me we would have to ask my mother.

Of course, she shot it down immediately. Continue reading

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Spilled Milk and Staunched Fears

I grasp the carton of milk in my left hand, and a clear plastic cup in my right. As I raise the carton in preparation to pour the milk, my left hand squeezes.

Milk flies. Splatters the table. Stains my shirt. I stare in shock, as if I’ve witnessed a murder in cold blood.

Oh, no, I think to myself, as realization settles in. Oh, God, no. Continue reading

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My Pants and My Mom, Part 2 (the Happy Anti-Ending)

This takes place roughly two days after this incident. My mom and I are in the car; she is driving, and I am in the passenger seat.

“Did you see your AP Psychology grade?” she asks.

I shake my head.

“You have a 99%,” she says,” I bet you’re at the top of the class.”

“Teachers love students who work hard,” she goes on,” I’m sure it brings your teacher great happiness to have a student who works as hard as you do.”

I nod. Usually, when I’m with my mom, I don’t speak. Not because I’m afraid, though that is the case some times, but because that’s just how it is. She talks. I listen.

“I saw some people on the red carpet,” she says. I assume she is referring to the Hollywood stars.

“They wear black pants with white shirts like you wanted,” she says,” when I saw them, I thought, maybe you do have some fashion sense.”

The infamous black pants. Perhaps I will post a picture of me wearing them.

Continue reading

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My Pants and My Mom

My Science Fair presentation is coming up on Thursday. I was trying on clothes in front of my mom, as she decides what I’m allowed to wear and what I’m not allowed to wear. It was getting late, and I suggested a pair of black pants I wore to a friend’s wedding over the summer. She wasn’t happy with this, as she wanted me to wear another pair of looser pants, but she angrily asked me to try the black pants on anyway.

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I put on the black pants, my heart pulsing.

I turned to face her. Her face was a thunderstorm of emotions, precipitating the rage that was sure to come.

Continue reading

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