I have two kids. They are mixed race. They get their Greek and Italian roots from me and their African American, Laotian and American Indian roots from their father. Consequently, people say a lot of weird things to us.
To be fair, people may very well say weird things to all mothers. But these are some things that strangers or casual acquaintances have said to me that I have found to be pretty problematic. My friends can say whatever the hell they want – I have no problem with that. But strangers annoy me when they say the following things.
1. “What color do you think he’ll be?”
This was asked of me several times when I was pregnant. I always found it very odd. I guess I have heard people say things like, I wonder if he’ll get his father’s red hair? before and never thought it was too strange. I just really never knew how to respond to this question. It’s not like my husband and I spent hours in front of the Sherman-Williams paint palette sheets at Home Depot, pontificating about which shade of beige, tan, or brown our child would be. I was usually just the asshole that said, skin color.
2. “You should do (insert hairstyle here) to his hair.”
Oh, the amount of unsolicited advice a white mother with mixed race children gets about their kid’s hair is unbelievable. I’ve had women stop me on the street and recommend a variety of products to tame my child’s frizz. I had a woman at a restaurant actually put olive oil on my child’s head. I’m not kidding. It somehow doesn’t occur to anyone that I actually like the way my child’s hair looks. I’m not blind.
3. “I thought he would be darker!”
Um, okay. I never know how to respond to this. This one is right up there with He’s so cute! He looks nothing like you! I’m sure all parents can relate to that one.
4. “Are you the nanny?”
This has never happened to me, but it happened to a close friend of mine, who also has a mixed race child, all of the time. She would constantly have women come up to her at the park, asking if she had time to take on another charge because she interacted with the child in her care so well. She told me she would just look at them, shake her head and walk away.
5. “Mixed babies are the cutest!”
Aren’t all babies cute? Well, maybe not. Obviously I agree that my child is ridiculously adorable, but something about having to point out that he is mixed is a little strange to me. I’m not sure that I would ever say, Asian babies are the cutest! to an Asian mother. Those words just wouldn’t feel right coming out of my mouth.