Everyone thinks I'm the babysitter - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 18 Old 10-29-2008, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has this ever happened to you...We live in a big city just South of the Mason-Dixon Line and I have always felt that my community was pretty open minded. Anyway, we have 3 children and they favor my husband ( my oldest is from my first marriage ) so, in other words they really don't look much like me. I'm a SAHM one of a growing number in my neighborhood with the exception that I don't have fulltime childcare so that I can maintain a social schedule. Since we are out and about daily, I am constantly questioned about the "family I work for". I calmly but flatly give the same answer "these are my children and always receive a look as if I just lied to them. Parents and babysitters and yes the occassional knock at the door all seem very surprised and some do pretty well in trying to cover themselves. So, I've been trying to figure this one out. Since my children are getting older and are begining to ask some questions as to why they look differently, I need some advise as to how to field strangers questions and comments and do I really need to explain anything to my children? I don't think "colors" matter to them but apparently society feels this need to make sure my kids know that they are different.

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#2 of 18 Old 10-29-2008, 01:37 PM
 
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I don't know what you can or cant say. I think just telling them they are your children is enough. I hate when people make assumptions about your family. It really irks me. the babysitter? Wow.... Hugs to you momma.

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#3 of 18 Old 10-29-2008, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! My children have taught me a lot of patience...a few years ago, I would have told them exactly what I thought of them and their questions. I guess it's just the mother hen in me wanting to protect my children from the outside world for as long as possible.
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#4 of 18 Old 10-29-2008, 11:43 PM
 
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be strong. it is not just you. a lot of us have been through it and we don't owe anyone explanations or niceties.

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#5 of 18 Old 10-30-2008, 03:04 AM
 
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I just saw this thread and had to share a story. I met this woman once who was often at the park at the same time as us. She was Hispanic, and the little boy with her seemed to be lighter-complected, but I just assumed she was the mom. Honestly, I assumed that because she was so involved and loving with him. And because most people around here don't have nannies. Anyway, after we met, I asked her if he was her only child and she was appalled that I had thought he was her kid and went on and on about how she was the nanny. I always wondered if she secretly hated him or something and just couldn't stand the thought of being his mother.

Anyway, I wish it had been you I'd met!

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#6 of 18 Old 10-30-2008, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks...I'm glad to know I'm not alone! Sometimes I do laugh because I would never ask someone if they were the sitter. I always assume that it's the parent with a child and with blended races becoming the majority, I don't understand how people can be so insensitive. I will say that one that really made me angry was the sitter who asked if if "my people knew anyone who needed some help". My people...you mean my family??? That one really caught me off guard. Ok you assumed I was the help because it's impossible for you to comprehend that someone like me, pushing a stroller like mine down this particular street has to be from the outside. I figured I would just waste my spit trying to explain anything to her so I politely excused myself and said that I needed to pick my son up from school. What's with people!!! My fondest moment of shocking my neighbors was shortly after we moved to the neighborhood and I was at the park with my boys when my Little One wanted to nurse ( my redhead, blue eyed Little One ). One of the moms looked at me so hard I was afraid that she was going to have a brain hemorage. Anyway, I was raised to be very open minded and accept all races and that people are people. My goodness some of these same people that can't accept me are the same one's who watch Sesame Street with their kids...or maybe that's just make believe and families and children really don't look like that.

PEACE
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#7 of 18 Old 10-30-2008, 01:45 PM
 
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Yep. I've had this happen. A lot. I just shrug it off now.

BTW, I think bi-raicial or AA folks with red hair REALLY throw people for a loop. My sister has beautiful flaming red hair (well, it's graying now, but back in the day) and a face full of freckles. Folks have always a really hard time understanding that yes, she's African-American, yes, she's my sister, no, her Afro wasn't a perm gone horribly wrong, etc., etc.
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#8 of 18 Old 11-01-2008, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's funny! The whole "why do I look differently subject" is one that I really never thought I would have to explain to my children...let alone society. Years ago, I had a neighbor politely tell me that it was ok mix races by marriage but these same people should not have children. As a parent I spend so much time and effort making sure that my children are happy and have good things to believe in...why do people feel the need to make sure my children know they are different? I'm pretty sure that if no one said a word, it wouldn't be an issue in my home. I mean, I know it will probably come up but a simple "I'm mommie and he's daddy and this is how we all look as a family" would most likely resolve the issue.

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#9 of 18 Old 11-02-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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Some *fun* experiences I have had with the public, since DH is asian american and we live in an area with lots of adopted chinese kids:

1 - I took dd to the pediatrician for an eye infection at about 5 months old. While we were waiting, dd got fussy, so I was nursing her when the on-call (not ours) ped came in. She examined her, then asked "Oh, where'd you get her?" Me: "I beg your pardon?" Ped: "your daughter, is she Chinese?" Me: "um, no." Ped: "Well, where's she from, then????" {read your chart doc!}

2. At a church retreat, in a holding hands circle of everyone there -
Lady next to me: "Are all your kids from the same place?"
Me, sick of the question: "well, I grew them all in my uterus and pushed them out of my vagina"
Lady: gasping for air at hearing the v-word


3. From my older son's second grade teacher:
Teacher "Is (ds's) brother his biological brother?"
Me: (not yet getting the question) "ummmm, yes"
teacher: "How did that work?"
Me: gaping stare - Eyes bugging out of my head thinking she's asking about my sex life
teacher: flustered, blushing "oooohhhhh, they're YOURSSSSSSS"

Blech.

Yes they are mine, no, their coloring is not mine, but if you can possibly look beyond the coloring, you can see they do have some of me in there too.
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#10 of 18 Old 11-02-2008, 08:00 PM
 
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Awesome stories! I know, I got it two days in a row about two weeks ago. The first was, "Are you babysitting?" and "Is she YOURS?" DD is a lot lighter than me, and even than her Dad!

I'm Hispanic, DH is caucasian.

A few months ago at her WBV the doctor was concerned about her weight (has been for a year now) and decided to order some iron tests because DD is "considerably lighter" than me. I added "yeah, her dad's caucasian"...and she thought about it for a minute and said "yeah, I knew that."

Sheesh.
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#11 of 18 Old 11-02-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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Gerlassie That must be so annoying! I've also heard people say that mixed race couples shouldn't have babies. Oh wait, I think that was my parents. In all fairness that was 20ish years ago. They are completely accepting of DD. It's DP's parents that haven't moved into acceptance now.

sweeetpea I love those comebacks. I especially liked #2

My DD looks more like her papa, who is Asian Indian, but her complexion is closer to mine, which is white bread . I've yet to have any of these remarks. I guess it's probably her lightness. But I've noticed recently that her complexion seems to be darkening, her hair is getting darker and fuller....... I suppose in time some poor soul could ask me from where in India/Asia did I adopt DD....... I could come back with; "It's a place called M'Uterus. You get there by way of Mivagina." : And as the person quickly walks away I'd chase them a bit saying "Wait! There's more! First you have to get past Da'Labia!" : Whew! That would be so much fun. I will remember this!
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#12 of 18 Old 11-02-2008, 08:33 PM
 
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You do not have to be South of the Mason Dixie line to get this comment. That is just another stereotype we all have to get over.

"Doctors are men [persons] who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure [treat] diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing."

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#13 of 18 Old 11-05-2008, 05:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweeetpea View Post
At a church retreat, in a holding hands circle of everyone there -
Lady next to me: "Are all your kids from the same place?"
Me, sick of the question: "well, I grew them all in my uterus and pushed them out of my vagina"
Lady: gasping for air at hearing the v-word.
I love this one! Good for you!

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#14 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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My husband and I and my 2 bio children are caucasion, my 2 newly adopted children are AA. My new lil guy also has Down Syndrome. When im out and about more then once people have made comments to me about my "home daycare". So far Ive calmly infromed them that they are all my children. Still working on a witty comeback j/p
I knew that we'd have these situations, people seem to want to clasify things, people.. Fit them in neat catergories that go together. Its hard to do with my family, and so people are curious/nosey even at times. I just have to decide who I care to share how much info with. Am I ever going to see this person again? Are my children here, do they want to share their personal history with the lady in the checkout line ,no kwim? You would not belive the questions people ask!
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#15 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 05:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweeetpea View Post
Some *fun* experiences I have had with the public, since DH is asian american and we live in an area with lots of adopted chinese kids:

1 - I took dd to the pediatrician for an eye infection at about 5 months old. While we were waiting, dd got fussy, so I was nursing her when the on-call (not ours) ped came in. She examined her, then asked "Oh, where'd you get her?" Me: "I beg your pardon?" Ped: "your daughter, is she Chinese?" Me: "um, no." Ped: "Well, where's she from, then????" {read your chart doc!}

2. At a church retreat, in a holding hands circle of everyone there -
Lady next to me: "Are all your kids from the same place?"
Me, sick of the question: "well, I grew them all in my uterus and pushed them out of my vagina"
Lady: gasping for air at hearing the v-word


3. From my older son's second grade teacher:
Teacher "Is (ds's) brother his biological brother?"
Me: (not yet getting the question) "ummmm, yes"
teacher: "How did that work?"
Me: gaping stare - Eyes bugging out of my head thinking she's asking about my sex life
teacher: flustered, blushing "oooohhhhh, they're YOURSSSSSSS"

Blech.

Yes they are mine, no, their coloring is not mine, but if you can possibly look beyond the coloring, you can see they do have some of me in there too.

Shame on our society! Shame for 1) thinking it is more likely for the difference in color to be due to adoption/ or caretaker relationship rather than bi-racial parenting and 2) for assuming the white mom with dark children has adopted and the dark mother with pale children is a caretaker!! Shame shame shame.

Hang on there! Our generation (s) can help change that mentality!
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#16 of 18 Old 11-07-2008, 05:25 PM
 
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go through family photos from both sides of the family... find some pics that have obviously features in them... such as you have mommy's eyes... and you have daddy's nose... oh look you kinda look like auntie such and such.

my DSS obviously don't look a thing like me, there both dark skinned and i am white... their brother is "mocha" as they like to say, but still looks like me. i point out (DSS are asian) that oh look he has your whatever and fill in the blank. they've also noticed that their brother has picked up my blond highlights from when i was a kid.
their mother has a baby as well, and he is very white, and people always assume he is mine... i like to have fun with this when the boys are around because we get a kick out of the confused looks....
when i have all the boys (i babysit her baby) and people tell me how cute my baby is i say thanks and my step sons chime in that its their brother and not my son.... people look and try to figure this out... and thats when i say, DS (baby is mine) and the boys say thats their brother too!!! : :: this is when i get up and leave where i am. i let them be confused, after all its not really any of their business as far as i'm concerned.

something that i've said when people assume that i am babysitting is: i don't usually babysit my boys, i raise them!

the way i feel about it is that its not really anyones business and if they do say are you the babysitter, a simple no with no explanation is good enough. i am a private person though, and don't feel the need to explain myself to perfect strangers.

i hope some of this helps you, HUGS and don't stress... your kids may not look a lot like you, but they will inherit other wonderful aspects of you!!
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#17 of 18 Old 11-21-2008, 01:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You all have been great with your responses/suggestions! You're right, it's no one's business. I have to share this one...we've had a genital week. My boys want to know why they look differently ( my oldest is circ. his brother is not ) and "what's with my sister's penis" said my oldest and my 3 year old answered, "nothing, we just have HANGING VAGINAS". I vaguely remember a joke about this a while back but, I have no idea how my Little One came up with this.

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#18 of 18 Old 11-21-2008, 03:40 AM
 
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When my younger sister was 2 someone asked my mom if she was adopted. She just flat out asked "oh did you adopt her?" My sister is blonde and my mom has dark brown hair, both our parents are cauasian and I have no idea what possesed this women to say that. Its just another example of how rude people can be.
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