The embarrassment of parenting

I got my first judgey comment on my Sensational Family Facebook account. I’m oddly proud, I guess I’ve made it?? It came after I reached 100 “likes” on the page. It was a big milestone weekend. The poster asked if I was trying to embarrass my children by posting about their somewhat quirky bathroom habits while away on vacation.

Long and short answer: NO. 

First, I’m pretty sure that kids aren’t embarrassed by their bathroom habits. They will announce to anyone in earshot that they have to poop, pee or that they just have done those things. They also see nothing of hanging all over you while you do the same. Ask any mother and I’m sure she’ll agree.

Second, I am never trying to embarrass my kids. And as kids, they don’t even know what “embarrassment” means. It is a learned feeling. A feeling of shame. A feeling of awkwardness. A feeling of humiliation. You can only feel these things by having someone else make you feel less, make you feel like your actions are less than standard, make you feel less. 

These are feelings my kids have never known.

I don’t hide their idiosyncrasies like they are bad. I allow my kids to flaunt them. They want to wear a tutu in public? Go for it! My son wants to wear princess shoes? Not a problem! We wear ear muffs in July. We take our own food to places that doesn’t allow outside food. We do it proudly.

Kids are wonderfully quirky. They don’t realize there are social “norms” or “standards” they should live up to. Of course we teach manners and being kind, those are standards no one should ignore. We embrace their quirkiness.

We have toileting issues in this house. I’m not going to lie, it can sometimes be emotional, sometimes funny and sometimes stressful. My 5 year old recently stood on an open public beach pulled her bathing suit over and peed into the ocean from the shore. In front of hundreds of strangers. If that didn’t embarrass her, I’m sure me saying she peed in her aunts yard was not embarrassing also. It was the facts. It was shedding humor on what can sometimes be stressful. We were lucky enough to have wonderful family that also embraced our quirkiness that not only didn’t bat an eyelash to it happening but encouraged it.

She was not shamed for her behaviors, she was loved and accepted for them. She knows no embarrassment.

I know in the upcoming years this will change. Their minds will be flooded from public views and friend’s opinions. I’m not looking forward to the day when they might feel ashamed of something that makes them wonderful, something that will keep them from being fulfilled, something that makes them happy. My only hope is that have a strong base to be proud of who they are and keep their heads held high. If not, they will always have family that loves them no matter what they wear, where they choose to pee or who they choose to be. 

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