Raising Multiracial Babies: Expectations vs Reality
I love taking a walk down memory lane and seeing the crazy things I used to say on this here blog. Oh man, if I could time travel–Wait, I think I wrote about that already.
But really, if I could go back in time at this very moment to the day I was writing these posts about raising multiracial babies, I’d have a lot to say to her–me–myself. But mostly it would be: SIT DOWN!
Let’s start with #1.
#1 My baby face generator obsession
I spent way too much time playing with online tools that left me worrying my baby might come out looking nothing like me and more like someone from the Addams family.
And I quote myself from seven years ago “I’m going to be honest here… I would like a baby girl but really all I want is 1. A healthy baby and 2. A cute baby. Boy or girl, if Spawnie is cute (not just to me, but like to everyone) I’ll be happy!”
I’m not sure if I was really being as honest as I said I was. I kind of don’t doubt her… That silly young girl who thought how her baby looked would affect her love for her child.
Reality: Your kids are cute to you. No matter if they’re 10 shades darker or 10 shades lighter than yourself, have brown, blond or red hair, you are going to love that child of yours with all your heart.
#2: Nanny mixups
“My friend mentioned earlier said people have mistaken her as the nanny before and see — I’m not sure I’d be able to handle that in a nice way. Or what if our daughter takes more of my complexion, and when my husband’s out he’s asked where he got our daughter from, implying she’s adopted.”
Reality: Been there, done that, we survived. I think there’s a little bit of shock the first time it happens when your baby is tiny and sitting still and you’re more aware of glances and whatnot. Now? Goodness gracious I can make it through an entire shopping trip without making eye contact with anyone, much less notice if anyone gives us awkward glances. And when someone does flat out ask what’s up, we usually laugh it off. Because honestly? We pick our battles.
Now when someone says this … That’s a different story.
#3: Will our kids drive us further apart?
“I’ve heard children can bring you closer together but I’ve also heard they can drive you further apart… I hope our love for the Lord can keep us from driving each other crazy after kids!”
Reality: This was something on my mind before kids and from time to time it creeps back up. In fact, out of all of handful of pre-baby worries I’m re-living today, this one is probably the most valid. Funny enough, this one has nothing specifically to do with raising multiracial babies, it is a fear any parent could find on their mind.
Kids DEFINITELY change things. We don’t get nearly enough alone time to have adult conversations much less date nights. Our kids are both finally sleeping in their own rooms for most of the night–That’s something. But our children haven’t gotten between us emotionally. In that regard they’ve brought us closer together.
I’d tell my younger self to enjoy those pre-kid moments together. As insanely boring as they seem, they’re the last boring moments we’ll share together in the foreseeable future.
#4: My multiracial kid won’t have anyone to date
“I worry especially that my daughters will face the same [dating] challenges I faced growing up, but won’t deal with it as I did…I worry my sons will have a hard time finding women to date because their parents don’t want their daughter child “dating a black boy.”
Reality: HA HA HA. My kids are never dating, and I like it that way. Seriously, this was a non-issue. Next!
#5: A desire for open-minded friends
“I hope as my children grow up they meet other children who are taught to have friends of all races, and date people of all nationalities.”
Reality: Right now, this actually falls a lot more on me than I expected. I’m with my kids way more than I imagined I’d be (I don’t know why in my mind I imagined them schlepping off to slumber parties with acquaintances at the mere age of 3). I meet the other kids’ parents and 99% of the time, I’m talking to mom and/or dad while my kids are playing with their friends. You can tell pretty quick if someone is going to have a problem with you or your relationship and I can choose to distance ourselves from those people. We have been blessed with amazing neighbors, church friends and now homeschool friends from all backgrounds. Beyond that, we are branching out of our own bubbles as well. Consuming books and literature about people and places that are different from us.
I think like tends to attract like and we’ll keep meeting families and friends who have the same wish for their children.
Many of these worries have deescalated or dissolved since having my kids, and others have had new ones take their place.
For us, parenting has been much less about bracing ourselves for the hardships that can come from raising multiracial children, and much more about raising children to become compassionate members of society who know where they come from and where they want to go.
Were your pre-baby expectations different than your reality?
Today I’m linking up with some other wonderful mamas who are sharing their stories of multicultural motherhood.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting Multiracial Babies/ De Su Mama
Will My Child Look Like Me? Thoughts from a Multicultural Mom /Raising Whasians
How to Prepare for a Multicultural Family / Almost Indian Wife
Books for the Multicultural Family / Are Those Your Kids
Tags: biracial, family, love, multiracial, parenting
It seems like you’re doing a great job. 🙂 I think it’s good that your kids have access to both sides of their family and cultures.
I’m mixed race, my dad was African (Cameroonian) and my mum is English. I was born in Southern Africa and also lived in Fiji so I was exposed to different cultures for the first 4 years of my life. When I was 4 my mum came back to the UK and brought me with her. I didn’t see my dad after that but had occasional contact with him. I didn’t know hardly anthing about his family and my mum never met any of them. But in recent years I asked him more about his family and he put me in touch with one of my cousins who has told me some things. It’s been really nice to learn more about that side of my family.
My cousin is from Cameroon orginally but has lived in America a long time. He lives in Illinois and is married to an American woman and they have a son. I’ve never met any of them but I’d really like to one day.
There are so many more mixed race families these days. I commented to my mum yesterday actually how there are more than when I was young in the 90s. I was always the only mixed race girl in my class (there were a couple of boys who were different mixes but not black and white) and there were only a few black and mixed race kids in the whole school. I like seeing the variety of people around these days. 🙂
Thanks mama! I’m with you, it’s great when kids can see and appreciate both sides of their culture. That’s really cool that you’re getting to know your dad’s side of the family now. I hope you continue to get the chance to do so! And I also love seeing the beautiful variety of people growing!
Great post! I think you hit on so many of the expectations that parents of multiracial children have. I don’t have children, but have talked to so many friends about this. And many of them have said the same things.