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caramel & cocoa

Caramel & Cocoa - cooking, parenting, fashion, diy, eating, living, a blog

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm always mistaken for the nanny & I'm ok with that

This little spiel is sparked by a series of articles I read recently that really hit home and got me thinking about social behavior and manners. 

I'll just blurt it out. My kids don't look anything like me. I am the token Latina from Southern California, and they, while one of them is slightly tanner than the other, they take completely after their Irish father. In other words, they look "white."  Yep. I've said the "w" word! But I felt I had to. 

My first, who also inherited lovely blue eyes, was born in Madrid and my second in London. I will be anecdotal in that I will only mention the most recent occurrence, but similar things have happened to me in Spain, London and California. 

Yesterday, I took my girls to the park where I met a lovely toddler called Hannah. My girls must have spent 30 minutes frolicking about with Hannah. It was getting late and cold and my toddler blurted out "Mami - vamos a casa (mommy let's go home)" and Hannah's father, turned to me stating "That's Spanish for mum. Is she yours?" The next ten minutes were spent, him apologizing for thinking I was the nanny and me explaining the racial makeup of the household. His assumption was based on appearances alone he admitted. 

Now, this is sort of a running joke at home since it happens all of the time. Am I mad? No. Do I think Hannah's father was rude, impolite or lacked tact? No. Of course not. Do I believe his statement was judgmental, racist, or showing a lack of acceptance for mixed families or non-traditional families. No. Not at all.

I do not believe it is outrageous to assume children take after their parents. I do not believe it is outrageous to assume that working parents with small kids often hire nannies. Looking at a map, it is true that people from specific geographic reasons tend to look like each other. We, are all human, and make judgments based on our perceptions and senses. So - I cannot honestly say that his comments bothered me. If anything, I take his comments, as I do with most, as one which highlights how wonderful and unique science and human reproduction is. The science behind genetic makeup is astonishing.

I understand that in the modern world families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes: mixed races; same-sex parents; stepmoms; stepdads; unmarried couples; adopted children; very young parents; older parents. And it is all great. I don't think it is fair to get angry at those who make natural assumptions. They are probably just curious. I don't really buy into the whole "mind your own business" approach. We can't walk around never asking questions or conversing because that is not a world I'd like to live in. We can't always mind our own business. And if I am honest, I am a person that likes to know my neighbors.

I tend to take things with a grain of salt and not sweat the small stuff because as a good friend of mine always reminds me when I get angry, "if you are going to react like that to this, what's going to happen when something really bad happens." Very true.

If you want to read the pieces here they are.

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