The following blog post was written by my husband. Take it away, Nic.
My 3-year-old son wanted his nails painted this week, and Bri totally went with it. She didn’t need to ask if I was cool with it because:
A.) She doesn’t need to.
2.) Between the two of us she normally makes the smarter decisions.
and D.) (extra points for picking up on this Buzz McAllister quote “a, 2, and d.”) She knew we wouldn’t argue about why it was cool to do this because she knew I would be totally down with it. This is a good feeling because I didn’t know how I would even feel about it until she did it, I guess she knows me well.
When I finished work that day, he was so excited to show me the red nail polish he picked out and was amazed later that night when it didn’t wash off in the tub.
Little souls are just so pure.
This made me reflect how amazing and innocent this little person is. He’s at the age where he doesn’t understand or has been influenced by the world on gender “boundaries”, he just knows that Mama wears colored nails, they are cool, and she’s beautiful (we practice telling Mama she’s beautiful, especially after we spend the afternoon together when she’s getting her hair done.)
The man in me says “painted nails are for girls” but WHY? Conditioned to believe that for my entire life, I guess. So when he asks about it and wants it, I should tell him “…well Sebastien, painted nails are for girls, so we won’t paint your nails??” — but why the fuck would I say that? Why are painted nails for girls and why would I put that in his head that some things are only for girls as if being a girl is something that’s wrong or gross or ‘less than’. It would also break my heart if someone told him that what he liked wasn’t “for him”. The same way it would break my heart if we had a daughter and someone told her she couldn’t play hockey. Hell yes she can.
Our kids are the future.
Bri and I always talk about what we think our kids might like or what they might be into and we’re always super open. We want our kids to be passionate about things, regardless what “gender” society has them labeled as. The boys can be into tap dancing, hockey, make-up, or aspire to be professional arm wrestlers… but as parents, I believe that as long as we can teach them or show them through our own actions that happiness comes from the things we are passionate about, we have done our job.
We want our kids to develop unconditional love for people, for activities, pastimes etc. (things other than the acceptance of others.) We want them to feel good about being themselves and the things they are passionate about. We want them to have respect for others and develop a sense of empathy that will allow them to be perceptive of their environment and people’s feelings, moods, emotions… Basically we want them to develop emotional intelligence (which also requires them to know themselves) and just have a general understanding of goddamn common sense (which seems like a big ask these days).
A few years ago, I found this quote on the meaning of life and it stuck with me, I can only hope that I can live up to it and ultimately that future generations of this little family find their way and use it as inspiration to do good in this world:
“The meaning of life is to find your gift, your goal is to share that gift with the world.”
This post is not about self praise or how awesome we think we are. It is intended for ALL my male friends who aren’t sure about how they would feel when they have kids or if they have kids but haven’t had a similar experience yet… Regardless of beliefs, religions or how you were raised, you have a huge opportunity to shape the future, just be a f*cking human being with feelings, do the world a favor and help your kids be happy by letting them choose who they want to be, encourage them to be passionate about things and accept that love is love.
So f*ck yeah, you can paint your nails, my dude. What color? Whatever makes you happy! (He chose red, and wants to buy brown next.) To see Sebastien look down and get excited at a pop of color on his nails is the most simple joy. Please never lose that, my sweet son.