My 5 Year Old Is Transgender, And I Don’t Want Your Advice.

My 5 year old is transgender, and everyone seems to know what I should do about it. As if this is a “problem” that needs to be addressed.

Everyone seems to think they know my child better than me, and they know how to “fix” this.

When he started socially transitioning and it became more obvious to family that big changes were happening, the first reaction I got from most were causes. Lists of reasons why my child was expressing gender confusion, but wasn’t *actually* transgender. You see, there were just so many other facets to our lives that I hadn’t even considered {insert sarcasm and huge eye roll}

The excuses of what was going on in our lives that most definitely caused this were endless…

“She is doing this for the attention. ”

“She’s just a tomboy.”

“She is around too many boys.”

“She doesn’t know what she wants.”

“She’s too young to understand what she feels.”

“You can’t “allow” this. What will people think?”

“She will get bullied out of school!”

And (my personal favorite) “Can’t she just be gay? She’s probably just gay!”

As if I hadn’t considered ALL possibilities before realizing the inevitable. As if the concerns for his future, the fear, the potential for my child to be bullied, to be misunderstood, hadn’t been on the forefront of my fears from day one.

Everyone had a reason as to why my son must be feeling this way, but very few agreed that it was because he was, in fact, transgender.

Anyone that I spoke with seemed to have unsolicited advice; a slew of examples on ways I could change this. Stop it in it’s tracks and reverse what was going on.

I just needed to introduce my kid to more “girl” things (as if he didn’t grow up around pink and dolls and princesses to begin with).

I had to show my child the attention he was yearning for (being the first born girl, my kid was my mini-me, my sidekick. Attention was sure as hell not lacking in our family).

I had to make sure not to encourage this because this was a manipulation tactic on the part of my five year old and I must tread very carefully (apparently along with being transgender, my kid is a freakin GENIUS because he has concocted this huge gender confusion plan to dupe us all into doing what he wants. Especially considering he had never even met or heard the word transgender before IN.HIS.LIFE.). I moved to fast, I need to stop, rewind, back up.

And all of these “reasons” and lists of acceptable reactions to this “problem” I heard from various people were cloaked in a guise of guidance and sympathy. They all said the same thing, and it was that they were just trying to “help”. But telling me horror stories of other trans kids being bullied out of school, reminding me that this is a population of people that has historically been discriminated against, giving me every piece of their mind (without merit) evoked even more fear in me. magnified my worries ten-fold because the exact people giving me this so called “advice” were the ones that scared me most. The ones that absolutely refused to accept and understand. The ones that hid behind their explanations of MY child and HIS feelings instead of admitting their ignorance and fear themselves.

All of this may have changed my perspective on how I chose to open up to people, but it sure as shit didn’t change my perspective on how to react to my child.

If I learned anything after starting to tell family, it was to proceed with caution. So after months of listening and defending his choices, my choices as a parent, I started avoiding. I stopped going to family parties as often (or not at all) and didn’t invite certain family to mine either. I avoided them like the plague because they didn’t get it and they refused to stop trying to “help me” by showing me the other side of things. Insisting every time that they had come up with some new idea that explained this all away. When really, if they truly wanted to help, they needed to stop worrying about me and my child and start taking the time to learn and understand him for who he is.

It became blatantly clear to me that the adults in our life had the largest concerns and were most alarmed by the news and after reflecting on this it was obvious that they were trying to convince me to change the way I supported my son through his journey in order to make them feel better. It was becoming so clear that this wasn’t an issue about my son at all, but an issue on how they were reacting to the news and how their mission was to fix their uncomfortable feelings by making it go away. Changing my kid, or trying to change the way I parented my kid.

Once I understood fully that this was beyond them trying to grasp their own distress but more a situation of grown adults expecting my young child to adjust to make them feel more agreeable in a place that made them uneasy, that’s when I stopped trying to educate. It’s not worth my efforts to consistently try to change someone’s mind who never had any intention of understanding to begin with.

I do have to point out, not everyone in my life as reacted this way to my son. I have a handful of friends that have supported us to the moon and back and a few family members that “get it”. But to the rest of them, maybe one day, when they are ready… things will change and they will finally be ready and open to receive the information and the facts surrounding my son and his life. I have my arsenal of resources ready when they are. Until then, I don’t need that shit in my life, and neither does he.

And to anyone I meet in the future I will always be aware, be vigilant. There are plenty of times I ask for advice, sure. But unless I have asked… I sure as hell don’t need your opinions on how to raise my child, trans or not. Thanks.

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What If This Is Just A Phase – Every Parent’s Concern

Many parents with transgender kids discuss the changes their children are making or are talking about with fear and concern. Fear of the unknown, fear of others, fear for their futures. And one I hear people express most often (and that rolled in my own head the most in the beginning) is “what if this is just a phase?” What if we “allow” this and we (as parents) are WRONG? What if in two, or five, or seven years my son realizes he was a girl all along and he made a mistake? WE made a mistake?

Every single parent I have talked to in a similar situation as mine, has said this at some point.

And I think the bigger question we should be worrying about as parents is… what if it’s NOT a phase.

If this turns out to be a phase later, our kids will have spent years with supportive parents. They will know that no matter what they are loved and accepted and appreciated as themselves and for their strength, courage, and their individuality. They will see that their parents love them unconditionally and without judgement. But if we don’t take our kids sincerely and allow this to play out – wherever it is going – the repercussions of NOT are potentially catastrophic.

No parent ever wants their child to feel badly. It starts as soon as they enter this world. The first cry – we jump. We instantly want to fix whatever the problem is. We spend endless days and nights awake trying to solve the messages the new being we brought into this world is sending us.

The little one that has taken over every inch of extra space we have in our hearts from the second we laid eyes on them. We spend months or years perfecting how to translate their cries, their whines, their grunts. So we can eventually understand, without words, what they need most in the moment.

As kids grow older, our love and protection towards them doesn’t change, but morphs into something more intense. More fierce. We started with worrying about bumps on the head while learning to crawl and falls from the furniture, to fights on the playground, grades, and bullies at school. Our number of worries increases with every year our kids spend on this earth and our reactions become less of an instant need to fix the problem and more of an incessant need to analyze and dissect and understand. We need to comprehend them in their complexity, but my question to you is WHY?

Why in order to love unconditionally and be the parent that jumps instantly to their aid do we necessarily need to understand? Need an explanation? Why do we need proof that this won’t change? As humans aren’t we always changing? Ever evolving?

When it comes to something like gender, some children can’t put into words the exact way they are feeling because it’s beyond their scope of understanding. They just know things aren’t what they seem. They are different, they can tell. They know this. They could express that inside they feel opposite of what their body shows and it could be that they are gender fluid, it could be that they are transgender, it could be a number of things. But why can’t we take it for what it is and just be parents without over-thinking it until we need to? The supportive parents that they need MOST in this moment.

The “why” is obviously our fear. As parents we want to protect them. Make sure that every decision we make and every decision they make will not ultimately be one that haunts us. In my research and understanding of how you react and handle a transgender kid, pushing against what they are expressing, making them take time to prove they are who they say, dissecting everything they say and do, waiting for them to slip up…. the haunting outcome is suicide. Transgender individuals that feel supported by their families have a suicide rate of about 4%. Transgender people who were not supported? That statistic spikes up to almost 50%. That’s almost than half. It’s astonishing and more so, it’s terrifying. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell do not want to take my chances with odds like that. AT. ALL.

When my son came out and expressed to me that he was a boy trapped in a girl’s body, he was 4. And yet, I didn’t question it. (I asked questions, sure, but I didn’t doubt him). I encouraged him to share with me how he felt. I expressed my concerns to everyone but him.

And I let him lead the way which ultimately led us down a road of fully socially transitioning before school started this year. (Which is NOTHING that’s not reversible. It’s his name, his pronouns, his hair, and his wardrobe. That’s it.). 

He led us to where we are today, and because of that I feel comfortable that we have made the right decisions along the way. The worst case scenario would be that he realizes he deciphered this message his body was sending him in the wrong way and it was a phase. But my child would know that all along I supported him, I loved him, and I accepted him. I let him do what he needed to do to figure it out and my feelings for and about him never faltered or changed. He was always my child and I was always the same mama bear in his corner.

That’s the worst case scenario. Considering my son is pretty headstrong and consistent about his feelings of being a boy in his brain, I don’t see us winding up somewhere that took us in and out of a phase. I just don’t. And if we don’t find out it’s a phase… then we are left where started. Allowing him to take the time he needed in the way he needed to learn how to live as his true self. 

To be himself the way he saw fit. And, again, along the way he knew he was accepted, loved and supported unconditionally.

I would never be able to live with myself if something happened to one of my children. Especially if that something was a terrible event that could have been prevented or drastically reduced by the way I reacted to something important, something they shared with me out of confidence that I could be trusted. I would hate to know my child left this world too young trying to convince me they were someone else. Or worse, they left hiding it from me completely. And for that reason alone, phase or not, I’m going to do what I have to do to support my son 100% while he figures it out.

And so, it doesn’t matter if this is a phase. My reaction and our approach would not have changed. And if you’re a parent that loves unconditionally like me, yours won’t either.

MomTransparenting

If you connected with this post here are a few others you might want to check out

Grief and Loss Of A (Transgender) Child

When Your Child Comes Out… Family Can Be Harsh

What’s In A Name?

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My Kids Are Finally Back In School And I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

I have been talking and joking about the first day of school for months now. How I couldn’t wait for my kids to be out of the house for the whole day so I can actually get things done, work, read, clean, shower, who knows… the possibilities are endless, really.

But here I am, alone, kids at school, with a quiet house and two sleeping dogs and I literally feel lost. What the hell am I supposed to be doing?

This is the time when one of my kids is usually starting to moan that they are getting hungry because they didn’t finish their breakfast and refused a snack because they were too busy playing.

Right about now is when I start my two hour warning to my kids that I would eventually like to get into the shower today.

I would have fielded at least three fights by now, five “mahhhm, he’s copying me!!!”s, wiped one butt, kissed six boo-boo’s, and styled my girl’s hair in three different ways.

She would have changed clothes at least four times and placed each discarded outfit on the floor in a trail back to the closet. I would be picking them up shortly.

I would be thinking about what to make them for lunch that will appease all three of their palates, but not force me to make multiple selections. I would have been cursing myself for forgetting to get milk last night and making a mental note to stop when we leave the house again.

My middle child would be asking for the twentieth time if he can play Fortnite yet, forgetting that he lost that privilege after last nights refusal to eat dinner or take a bath without a complete meltdown.

My oldest would be searching the basement for papers and markers to complete templates for uniforms he “needs” to design for the imaginary baseball team he’s been constructing all summer.

My youngest would have told me at least ten times already that I’m the “bestest mom in the weh-ld”, my middle might have told me he hated me (depends on today’s mood) followed by many cuddles and apologies, my oldest would have said something like, “I’m sorry my brother isn’t being good mom, I know you’re tired”.

One of my kids surely would have released one of the dogs out of the yard at some point today and I would have spend an hour trying to wrangle her back in. Another would have attempted to get themselves a drink while I was out of sight and spilled sticky juice all over the counters and floor.

All three would have played nicely for a short time and then would have noticed me quietly on the couch and fought each other jumping on top and to each side of me to be the ones closest to my seat. And then when we finally all settled down, one surely would have asked me to get up and grab them something they could easily get themselves. But they’re “too tired”.

My son would have brought me a blanket, my youngest two would have started racing to the refrigerator to be the first to get me a soda (but can’t seem to get anything for themselves when they want it).

We might have watched a movie, colored a picture, read a few books, played outside or went for a walk, but instead I’ve been sitting here, alone, wondering what to do now that they aren’t here with all of their tiny demands, constant conversation, and incessant needs.

I would have been annoyed, frustrated, dozing off, tired or aching, and had instants where I was on the verge of tears, but I also would have also had hours packed with moments of squeezing them, sweet giggles, and as many kisses on the cheek, forehead, and hands that I deemed necessary….

Maybe having them around hasn’t been so bad after all. I think I kinda miss them.

MomTransparenting

If you like this you might also like: Things I Promise Not To Do On Your First Day Of School

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The “In” Grocery Store Came To My Town – And I HATE IT

For weeks all I saw were posts about the new hipster grocery store that popped up in town. I live in a suburb of Chicago. There are six (yes, six) Starbuck’s in my town ALONE. It’s not like we have a shortage of grocery store chains around here. Everyone was losing their shit over the new store with an extensive olive selection, a granola station, and a BAR! You could drink your wine AND shop at the same time!

birds eye view of the stage on which my kids wreak havoc

I’ll keep this short and sweet. Mariano’s is for Pinterest moms who shop with a detailed list, an organized map of the store, and a method for packing and unloading their cart onto the belt. I’m not that kind of mom. I’m the throw shit in as I walk up and down every aisle because I forgot my list and can’t remember what I need kinda mom. The one who walks up to the register apologizing for the overflowing cart and the kids pulling every piece of organic candy off of the end cap hoping they didn’t crush the eggs or the bread in the meantime.

Me: wondering which of these bottles is most valuable so I can protect that from my kids first

I’m the mean mom that won’t let my kids take the tiny carts to entertain them through our shopping trip anymore because it always turns into a Gladiator battle of who can knock the other off their pedestal. Where the carts are used as vehicles to be ridden in or bumper cars to ram into each other in the middle of the aisle with the most glass jars. And someone ALWAYS gets hurt. And half of the time it’s one of my children. (The other half it’s an innocent bystander minding their own business just trying to read how many carbs there are in a bottle of barbecue sauce). The whole time I’m running to keep up with them while protecting every item on the shelf because I’m not sure if the “you break it you buy it” concept applies at Mariano’s but even if it doesn’t I don’t want the attention. After all, I came in ripped yoga pants and a t-shirt that still has some of my kids lunch on it. And my fiances (too big) shoes because finding mine seemed like too much work. So basically, I get no shopping done and we end up at the register with a bunch of ho-ho’s, chips, candy, and band-aids for the child bleeding after the battle royale in aisle 5.

The elusive aisle I steer clear of until it’s resolution time

 

Mariano’s is not a dream, but a nightmare for a mom like me. The number of times my kids have grabbed shit out of the damn nut or grains bulk bins (that I never buy anything from because I’m not the non-GMO, whole grain, organic, healthy mom unless it’s January 2nd of every year)…. countless. Cheese and produce being a child level is terrible… they dive right in as if they have never seen FOOD before in their LIVES. Last time I was there one of the coolers was shattered and even though I didn’t see it, I’d bet that one of my kids did it with their cart/weapon.

How are all of these 1950’s “housewives” out shopping with NO KIDS?? I call bullshit

I’m the lazy mom that would MUCH prefer to pay the extra $10 to have my groceries DELIVERED in little coolers with zero interaction with the public and no chance of buying a bunch of crap I don’t need because I went to the store starving. So unless Mariano’s starts offering free daycare with the purchase of a jar of pickles, I’m out. And I’m never going back. And for the record, I’m also the mom that doesn’t give a shit about a bar in a grocery store because it’s just another line I have to wait in while my kids are screaming with no shame. And let’s be honest, if I wanted something to drink while I shopped, I would just spike my “coffee” and bring it with.

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Dear Judgy Social Media Moms, Get the F*ck Over Yourselves.

Actual footage of a mom-bully basking in the glory of how many souls she’s crushed today alone.

Mom on mom attacking needs to just chill the fuck out already. Since when did mom-shaming become a “cool” thing to do? It’s like one starts and they have an entire posse ready to pop in and crush someone’s soul. I’m saying it, others have said it before me, and I’m sure more are to follow. What is it about the world of social media that makes (some) people morph into these beings that basically share the same characteristics as sociopaths if they were to exhibit them in real life (but let’s be honest, they don’t. They only share their “knowledge” behind a screen where they are hidden, safe, and in the dark). Anyone who walked around on an average day pointing fingers, stopping people in the street to let them know they were “doing it wrong”, or walking up to moms with a child melting down and giving them (unwarranted) advice followed by multiple resources and recommendations. NOBODY DOES THIS IN REAL LIFE! If you did, you would have zero actual friends, and you would eventually land yourself in a “ward” of some fashion for having no boundaries, no filter, no empathy.

What are we DOING to each other? Can we just make a pact here and now to stop all the madness already? When a mom posts a picture of a rash on her child at midnight asking if anyone has any insight, it’s not because she’s a complete moron and didn’t think to call the damn DOCTOR! It’s because she’s a mom (quite possibly a new mom) and she’s freaking the fuck out and needs someone to talk her off a ledge while she’s watching her child breathe in his sleep and googling staph, syphilis, E-Coli, and other various catastrophic disease that (coincidentally) carry the same symptoms

Here’s a mom with an inflated self-ego contemplating which platform she should go to next to share her vast knowledge of EVERYTHING with the world of moms who didn’t ask for it

When someone posts a picture of their child in the car – cute.as.a.button – and another mom jumps at the chance to teach her some serious lessons on how to correctly strap her child into their car seat it makes me HOMICIDAL. *Most* (not all, I know I can’t speak for all) but most moms snapping a picture of their kid in the car are doing it before or after they are even on the road. Their kid did something cute and they want to quickly document it before the demon child comes back demanding goldfish and juice (you think, by then they are speaking in tongues and you can’t quite make it out) on their way to the doctor’s appointment they are already late for. They shared a cute pic of their kid FFS. It’s not always your job to educate people on safety when you have no idea what the situation is.

“and this, dear daughter, is the device where people who don’t know you will tell you everything you need to know about your life”

Why are we constantly reporting “nannies”? Who the hell even knows if that was a NANNY! There are so many nanny narcs on social media. “I saw this babysitter at the park and the toddler asked to go on the swing and she said NO because she was too busy playing on her phone! So I think it’s my civic duty to report her in case one of you 20,000 women employs this deplorable excuse for a nanny so you can fire her.” We are raising a bunch of tattle tales and we wonder why (ummm, hello!). Here’s where my anger comes in. Let’s get real, if I’m paying someone top dollar to take care of my kids when I can’t , then sure… I expect them to actually watch my kid. But if we are talking about the same kids I pushed out of my body and fed and fought with and listen to bicker and whine for hours on end in a day, well then, I know full well what they are capable of doing to the human spirit. And if my poor sitter needed a break so she took them to the park so she could screw around on social media for 10 minutes. GOOD ON YOU, GIRLFRIEND. Get your peace and quiet break. We all deserve one.

Email me, I promise I will send you FREE step by step directions on how to follow a post so I never have to see this meme again.

But, that wasn’t the only issue I had with this particular social media shaming post. My other issue was that someone commented that this could very well be their MOM. And I said “hell yeah! I do that all. the. time.”  Well, you bet your ass people had things to say about that (of course they did). You take your kid to the park you should be playing WITH them! Not on your phone. Pay attention to them! Ummmm, listen. You don’t know the shit storm we have been dealing with in my house filled with tantrums and sibling fights, back talking, and lost socks and shoes to get to this moment of serenity. It was complete and utter chaos today. I just want to chill. So until you bother to ask about the REST of my day? Then back the fuck off with your judgements, mmmmk?

 

Footage of me, not judging anyone, because Netflix and Chill is my job, not judging strangers on social media

And if I have to read one more time about how someone is “really offended by that”, I might cut someone (virtually, of course. I would never act the way I do online in real life, like the rest of the human population). You’re on Facebook. Not everyone is going to agree with you in life, better yet in a virtual world of endless members. 99.9% of the time. Grow a pair, or get off the internet. Chances are, unless you are opening offensive to an entire population of people, I’m not judging you. But even if I was, you assholes seem to be judging me any time I open my thoughts up on social media so if you can’t take it then stop dishing it out, Nancy.

I’m not kidding when I say this shit has gotten WAY out of hand. I can’t even post asking for recipe ideas with chicken for dinner without someone chiming in about how unhealthy poultry is and “did you know about all of the antibiotics they bulk those animals up with? I suggest a nice big salad”. Thanks a lot, Suzie, for your unnecessary advice. I, too, watched “The Magic Pill” while I was snacking away on some Cheetos and washing it down with Cherry Coke. This is MY life, and I do what I want, so back off. Let’s all just BACK OFF, mmmk?

Give each other a break. You know you’ve also had bad, really bad, and worse days. Maybe keep that in mind before you start attacking other moms on a platform made JUST FOR MOMS. We are all in this together, are we not? Parenting is hard enough. And if you can’t figure out a way to be helpful in a non-condescending way and ONLY when someone has asked for it, then maybe you should take your own advice, chill the fuck out, and put your phone down and go play with your kid for a little bit.

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Mom Transparenting

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