There’s something about karate class. I’m either falling out the door or, like today, my kids are mask-shaming another kid, whose mom then looks appalled, and my kids may or may not have said her kid was stupid for not wearing a mask. At which point my mouth was dropped open (behind my mask) and I was desperately trying to pull my kids back from unmasked kid, while avoiding eye contact with unmasked mom who was uttering, “It’s…a…CHOICE!” And I was muttering, “I didn’t say people are stupid I said not wearing masks is a stupid choice.”
Then I have to explain to my kids after class that while we may exercise our rights to wear our masks other kids may not, and we cannot make them feel bad for not wearing one. “But Mama that means they are stupid doesn’t it?” “And stupid is a bad word right Mama?” chimes in the other one.
“Did I actually use the word stupid? I don’t think I did.”
They are both nodding emphatically. Yes. I did. But again. I didn’t mean it makes a person stupid. It’s just a stupid choice. Uneducated. Ignorant. Okay stupid.
Then I’m texting one of my friends and one of my employees because they have been with me from the start of karate class adventures. They both basically said the boys are passionate and they love them and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
It’s an odd thing. To sit in a waiting area of mom’s whose kids all thing the sun and moon revolve around us and to be teaching our kids such different things. Then there they all are, doing karate together.
I coached their basket-ball team this Saturday. At 8 AM. On a Saturday. The day after I got my COVID booster. I’ve had better times. But I’m glad I was there representing because I was the only female coach out of six parent volunteers. Twenty kids. Co-Ed. All in kindergarten. At the end I looked at another coach and said, “Well we have no where to go but up from here.” He laughed and agreed.
Basket-ball requires masks. So that was good. And all the kids did great with them. What I found interesting was the girls were far less aggressive than the boys. Then of course I’m friends with therapists, so I tell one of my friends my observation and she says, “Well do you think that’s because girls are socially conditioned to be less aggressive than boys? And boys are given societal permission?” That’s the thing about being friends with therapists. Being friends with therapists is a freaking trip.
There I am saying girls just need to toughen up, and then she drops this thought provoking bomb on me and I’m like well damn. I dunno. Then I get all introspective and think, I never felt conditioned to be less aggressive, in fact I was aggressive as hell from day one in basket-ball…so what does that say about me?
So do the girls all suck because of societal norms and expectations? I do live in a super red town and maybe girls here really are told to be girls. Whatever the hell that means. But then I’m thinking there are only twenty kids signed up for basket-ball. They keep it low because of COVID. So this is a small sample size. Though my town is small. But maybe there are other girls in town who are aggressive and they just are not playing basket-ball.
Then I think this is why I always have problems with other people. I’m intimidating, unapproachable, and blah blah blah. Said every manager ever. My response was always if I were a man would you be saying this. Their answer was always an awkward introspective silence. See I can pull out my therapist ju ju too.
Here’s my conundrum. I’m raising two white boys. Who clearly have my passion, drive, and lack of any hesitation to confront some one about what they think is right or wrong or whatever. They did the same thing last week at karate about the vaccine. But I intervened before the other kid’s mom heard. The thing is, I’m teaching by example for my sons to be somewhat confrontational. And as a white cis dude it’s different. But I don’t want to censor myself.
In other words. This single parenting situation is tough. I have to teach by example. But who and how I am as a Queer woman is different than how they should be as white cis ?straight dudes. I’m making assumptions based on them saying (age appropriately) girls are gross but they want to marry a girl. (Though one of them asked to marry me recently which I wholeheartedly accepted so all those other 6 year olds can just back off). Then I think should is a strong word, and how do I teach them to harness their power for good? Because the two of them standing in front of a maskless boy and pointing their fingers at him telling him he should wear a mask and people who don’t wear masks are stupid….that’s not what I’m going for. But honestly, wear a freaking mask. It’s hard. Because it’s not the kids fault his parents are making uneducated decisions.
Pandemic parenting 101. Wear masks. Don’t shame another kid for not wearing a mask. But, acknowledge that your kids will likely hear you say other people who are unvaccinated and not wearing masks are stupid and endangering everyone else in society and essentially slapping healthcare providers in the face who are working the front lines (AKA me and clients I treat and all my friends who are healthcare providers). And then will repeat that to unmasked individuals at karate class.
Then make a plan for how to survive karate class sitting next to that kids parent.