Ask Me Anything is a collaborative series featuring individuals and families that are facing challenges or are unique in some way. People can ask them anything they’d like to know about their story as long as it’s respectful.
The goal of this series is for people to gain a better understanding of those in unique situations. Open communication is key to understanding one another. If you would like to be featured in a future post, email me at [email protected]
My husband and I met in high school. We had a mutual friend and then became friends our freshman year. We were friends until junior Year when my dumb self finally came around to realizing that I really liked him. I was so comfortable around him, which was weird because I was (am) very shy and introverted. But for some reason I just always felt at ease with him. I would even go as far to say that I felt more myself when he was around. We started dating the first day of exams our junior year and have been together ever since.
How did each of your families react to the relationship?
Prior to my husband, I dated a biracial boy (that I like to try to forget…lol). So my family was already sort of “broken in” in a sense of me dating someone outside of my race. They had initially shared concern about how we would be treated by others. We lived in a diverse area so it wasn’t that much of a shocker. My husband was only my second “real boyfriend” and I was only 16 when we started dating, so they didn’t have much else to go on either way. As for my husband’s family… I remember them being friendly but nothing really stands out other than my sister-in-law. She was always so incredibly friendly and welcoming to me. It was instantly like I had another sister. I will always appreciate her for that.
Did anything change after having children?
We always noticed how others treated us differently, or the stares we got… but nothing prepares you for when you have kids. Instantly my radar went up to 10000%. Mama Bear is an understatement. I am so acutely aware of how people view us, view our children, treat our children, and it can be quite stressful. Let me take a step back… it was alright and not much of a safety concern of mine until November 2016. Now I am afraid of how people will treat us when we go out as a family. I am afraid of how people will treat my husband. He is the father of my children and my best friend and if anything happened to him… I just don’t even know. He is an amazing father and I worry all people will see him as is a black man. It breaks my heart. To be honest for the week after the election, and every time I hear a news story about some of the scary racist things that have happened… I have extreme anxiety about going places with my kids and/or husband. We chose a diverse neighborhood to live in on purpose because of our children, so we get to avoid a lot of issues if we don’t stray far from home, but going out to certain parts of town really worry me of how people will treat us.
Have you ever gotten rude comments about your family? How do you respond?
We luckily haven’t gotten rude comments about our family (that I’m aware of or remember). I don’t know if that’s because as an adult I don’t give a crap anymore, but my husband and I got them more when we were younger. People older than us would say some ridiculous things to us! We were young and stupid so we would ignore them, or try to make them more uncomfortable. We do still get looks and sometimes treated differently but no outright comments luckily.
Do your children ever feel insecure about their hair in comparison to Mom’s hair or friends from school? How do you encourage positive self-image?
This is a big part of why I started my blog, MixedFamilyLife.com . A few years ago, when my daughter was about 3 years old, she told me she wanted straight hair like me. It broke my heart. I realized I needed to make some changes and put forth a lot more effort in her loving her curls. Stopping and thinking of how I speak when doing her hair (it used to be a STRUGGLE until I figured out how to do it) was very important. I didn’t want her to think her hair was difficult and hard work. We are aware of our word choices. They become her words one day and I want them to be positive ones. Learning to take care of it became a big goal of mine so that she would like her hair and think it looked pretty. Complimenting her hair (as well as her smarts and creativity) is something I try to incorporate in conversation. I make sure to show her pictures of other girls with beautiful curl hair as well whenever I can. She now loves her hair and I am so thankful.
Have you found that your children are more aware of skin color and race than other kids their age? How do you talk to them about skin color in ways they can understand?
My daughter started noticing our skin differences a few years ago around the same time as her hair. To her I am peach, daddy is brown and her and her brother are golden. To me that works because its how she defines it. I have always made it a point to let my kids know that all people are different and that is wonderful and not a bad thing. For example, we were at a store once and a guy had nail polish on. She asked me about it (way too loudly… ) and I just told her he must like nail polish. That’s ok and he can like whatever he wants. If we are watching TV or out in the world and she asks me about someone that is “different” than her/us I just explain to her matter of factly that we all have our differences and that is to be celebrated. Now that she is in school I am also trying to teach her to not make fun of others because they are different than you (she doesn’t but I am trying to be proactive).
How do you discuss such a complex topic as race with your kids, especially in light of current events and politics?
Similar to the previous question, I try to speak matter of factly. People are different colors and its a beautiful thing. I will admit I am scared about the current political climate. I avoid putting the news on the TV and try not to talk about politics too much in front of them. My daughter is a sponge and it just all makes me so worried. If she asks me a question I answer as honestly as I can in an age appropriate manner (which can be quite difficult). She, and other kids I’m sure, are more aware of things than we realize so I don’t want to lie to her about the truth. The most we have talked about it is quickly explaining that sometimes bad people don’t like others because of how they look, and that it isn’t alright and they are wrong.
What’s one thing you would want people to know about what it’s like to have a mixed race family?
That we love each other just as any other family would that is all the same race. Our hearts know no color but just the love we have for each other. My husband was my best friend first and then became my partner. I am with him because he makes me laugh and feel comfortable and safe. We may face different/additional problems and issues than families that are not multiracial, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It does take work at times because you have to put in effort to understand issues and situations that arise from being in an interracial (and intercultural?) relationship and raising mixed kids so that you can be the best parent and partner you can be, but again… its the life that was chosen for me when I fell in love with my best friend.
About the Author
My name is Nicholette, and I am the mom behind “Mixed Family Life.” Hair care can be a cultural barrier, so how does one do the hair of multiracial children? As the white mother of two mixed kids, I felt it was my responsibility to learn how to properly care for their hair. This personal pursuit led me to share what I’ve learned through my blog where I provide tips, tricks, and product reviews so that other interracial parents don’t have to make the same mistakes I’ve made. I also share stories, anecdotes, and lessons learned through parenting. Join me in our goofy adventures and learn some hair tips along the way.