Boxes are for moving, not for babies

One of the things that I said needed it’s own upcoming post is that not finding out the sex of your baby is not brave. We decided that we didn’t want to know the sex of our baby for a number of reasons.

1. Our kiddo has it’s whole life to be shoved into boxes based on what people think it should be, why start before it’s even born?

2. It would be a fun surprise

3. We don’t want a bunch of gender specific clothes, toys, diapers books, etc.

We have received a number of responses in reaction to us not finding out the sex of Bubbles. Most people are surprisingly quite upset. We have also been told we are brave on numerous occasions. We’ve been asked how on earth we will prepare. People have said that they cannot buy Bubbles anything until it’s born because they don’t know the sex. We were told that a shower couldn’t be thrown until after the baby is born because we don’t know the sex. One friend told me it was the dumbest decision ever.

To be completely honest, the main reason we decided not to find out the sex of our baby is my mom. I love my mom. She is great and very supportive of us and our little family, but she just doesn’t get it. We have expressed our desire to raise our children open when it comes to gender and why this is important to us. One minute she says how great it is and the next she is bombarding me with stories about people with stereotypical very boy or very girl children and how funny it would be if that is how our kid turns out.

Her constant fixation on our baby’s sex beyond frustrates and aggravates me. Every single conversation we have about Bubbles turns into the sex and her disagreement with our decision to not find out what it is. She even told my sister that we’ll change our minds when the baby is born and WANT a bunch of gender specific stuff for it. Because we don’t know ourselves and the kind of family we want to create?

She insists that when the baby is born she is going to go buy tons of gender specific things for the baby. I’ve asked her not to. Told her we don’t want or need them. She just doesn’t care. In a moment of frustration I told her that maybe we’d decide not to tell anyone the sex after its born. To which she replied that she would take the baby and look in its diaper. WTF? Who does that? Or says that?

My new plan is that anyone who asks if the baby is a boy or girl doesn’t get to know. As soon as they don’t care, we will tell them 😉 kidding kidding. But it’s tempting.

I worry for our kiddo. I was raised to only want “girl” things and to only want to do “girly” things. I was taught to be passive, timid, insecure, lack confidence, be afraid, submit to others (especially men), want to be a mother before anything else, not get dirty, want to dance, hate my body, and the list goes on. If we have a girl people will try to teach her these things. If we have a boy people will try to teach him to be tough, get dirty, hide his emotions, lack empathy and compassion, only care about himself, be destructive, only want to play sports, etc. I don’t want this for my child.

It also makes me feel like I can’t enjoy stereotypical girl and boy things with my own child. I experienced this with my niece and I refuse to do so with my own kid. If I want to buy my son a football and play basketball with him, I don’t want to feel like I can’t because everyone else in his life thinks boys only like sports. If I want to buy my daughter a doll, I don’t want to feel like I can’t because that’s all anyone buys her.

There is hope right? It’s getting better? We are learning that limiting a child to one set of experiences, clothes, toys, goals, attributes is detrimental?

I’m going to talk to my mom and send her this article to read. What do you think? Do you have other non-academic articles to share on gender open parenting or the negative effects of gender stereotypes on kids?

Wish me luck

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7 thoughts on “Boxes are for moving, not for babies

  1. mamaetmaman says:

    Good luck to you! A family up in my neck of the woods kept their child gender-neutral after birth- on forms/school registration, etc, and all sorts of people became quite enraged with it. It was interesting. I agree with you on how problematic genderizing people is. I too, would be frustrated if my mom insisted on circumventing my parental preferences. I’m excited to find out how it all plays out for you. Good luck!

    • theartist says:

      Thanks! I remember hearing about that family as well, or maybe just a similar family. Turns out my sister and mom just got into a big fight about her not being a “good enough” grandparent…so I think I’ll postpone our convo for a bit but will probably post an update after it happens.

  2. colormeanew says:

    That’s a good concept I hope it works out for you all. Side note I had a professor who said she was trying to do that but her too oldest ended up fitting into gender stereotypes and gave up.
    But mostly that concept sounds good

    • theartist says:

      Thanks, we aren’t opposed to having a kiddo who fits mostly, or all, into one gender stereotype at all. We just want to make sure they are the ones that get to decide that, not us or the rest of society ya know? Wifey and I are both fairly feminine, but didn’t really become so until we were adults (other than my mom’s forcing when I was a kid). I was never really allowed to not be “girly” when I was little. I actually made a painting series about it back in undergrad, but that’s a whole different story 🙂

      • colormeanew says:

        No I understand. After I posted that I was like Damn I’m that jerk. I grew up similarly my younger brother would get the toys I had wanted and if he didn’t want to share then he didn’t have to. But it was ok for him to like “girl” things. My parents still get him gifts I would prefer and have more interest in. I didn’t even start wearing pants and jeans till middle school! Goodluck really:) also a painting series? ! Tell me more!

  3. Your reasonings are ours too. I will say that there are some “girl” clothes that we totally love that we may splurge on if we have a girl. I can get with many things but have a hard time with how girlie “girl” clothes are are don’t want to put a boy in them. It’s my last hang up.

    Our families are super supportive as neither set of our parents knew what we were before we were born. That being said, we’ve both said that we know the gender specific stuff will flow in once the baby is born. We have very specific things that we like and not knowing the sex has given us the opportunity to talk to people about what kind of stuff we like. Our biggest focus is stuff that is not disposable – clothes and toys that can be resold or passed on instead of just plastic junk. I guess I feel the same way about this that I do about whatever gendered stuff sent our way – We live 3000 miles from our families so for at least 5 years I can open the boxes that they send and decide what is appropriate for my child. I’m going to freak out when we get a princess or MVP article of clothing though.

    (this may have been my own disjointed rant – not a comment.)

    • theartist says:

      I know what you mean about the clothes. If anyone saw our baby’s closet they would think we were having a boy. I don’t understand why girl clothes have to have ruffles and bows on them, even the onesies, it’s crazy. It’s also much more acceptable to be a tomboy than it is to be a feminine boy. I’ve explored my own bias this way and am trying to challenge my own thoughts and feelings about it.

      Our parents didn’t know either, which is why I find it absurd that they are the ones that are having the hardest time with not knowing. We feel the same way about the plastic stuff. When I told my mom we didn’t want it, she proceeded to tell me I’d change my mind when the baby was born, ugh! Thanks for the disjointed rant, I enjoyed it 🙂

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