Sunflower Mom on a Mission

Kim is the official "Spokesmom" for Just For Me(tm) Texture Softener(tm), the brand new breakthrough in hair care for girls of mixed heritage! Her daughter, is featured on the hair care system package, and you may have even seen her on Barney! Kim's blog will contain her thoughts on being a mom in a multi-ethnic family, health and beauty and self-image and self esteem. And for fun, she will interact with other moms who have "hair care chronicles and horror stories."

Friday, August 11, 2006

"Mean Girls and Guys"

Hello!! I am sure you will be glad to know that I survived my first week back at school!! What a busy week it was. I am glad to finally get back into a routine schedule. The kids seem to like their new schools and their teachers as well, so that is a good sign!! :) I pray that we all have a smooth year!!

As I stated in my last blog, I would like to share with you some of our personal experiences that we have faced being a family of mixed heritage. It first goes way back to when my husband and I were first dating. At the time, I didn't really think about what others would say or think about me dating a man of a different race. I was concerned, however, with what my family would think. I wasn't quite sure how they would react. I am not going to was extremely difficult at first. It also didn't help that it was at the exact time of the OJ Simpson scandal!! But in the end, they accepted my decision and felt that my happiness was the most important thing! It is sooo nice to have a supporting and loving family! I honestly do not know how I could survive without them!! Too bad everyone else is not that supportive! Let me explain...I traveled to Florida to visit Tim (my husband). He was there for spring training for baseball and I was on spring break at school so I went for a visit. On one of his days off, we decided to go to a local flea market and shop around. Well, while we were walking around, a man from a booth about 20 feet away shouted, "Hey OJ!! Why don't you and the lady come on over and get your picture taken?" (He had a booth that you could get your picture taken with exotic birds) I couldn't believe my ears!!! Did he actually say what I thought he said??? Needless to say, my husband was furious!! He immediately started over towards him to set him straight! I grabbed him and told him that he was definitely not worth getting into trouble over. The nerve of a total stranger to say that. Right then, I knew, that people were not as accepting as I thought they would be. We of course always get the occasional stares and glares from the "older generation" but what happened in Florida was by far was the worst that I had ever experienced!

As far as my son goes, I don't think that he has ever had to deal with this situation. My daughter, on the other hand has been through more than I would ever have wanted her to experience. It all seems to take place at school. For example, one day she got into the car after school and I could tell that she was upset. I asked her what was wrong...but she didn't want to talk about it. Finally, I got her to tell me what had happened. First, you need to know that she had just transfered to this school and she was in the 2nd grade. Well, while she was in PE, she was walking around the gym with a little girl that she had met. They were talking and walking and having a great time...until this little boy came up behind them and told the little girl not to talk to that "African American" with her frizzy hair. Can you believe...a 2nd grader said that!! They both just ignored him but it absolutely crushed my daughter. She didn't want to go back to that school ever again. Personally, I didn't want her to either! It took everything in me not to "go off" but I knew that this was the time to take advantage of a learning situation. How dare that little boy say that to my daughter, how dare that man in Florida say that to my husband and I!! I felt so sorry for my baby. I told her that she did the right thing by ignoring him. I did, however, tell her that if he ever said anything like that to her again, to tell him, "No...I am just a girl!!!" And to also go and tell the teacher. We talked about how everyone is different and that God made everyone the way he wanted them. How boring it would be if we were all the same! Kids have also asked her questions about having a "white mom" and a "black dad", or "Is that your mom, because you do not look alike"? It is hard for her to understand because she just see's me as "mom" and her dad as "dad". We are not colors to her. I often wondered about how she would be treated growing up being a kid of a mixed race. I would always watch the television specials about how tough it was for kids of a mixed heritage to grow up in our society. They would always get teased or be confused about who they were. Are they black, are they white? I did not want that for my child. My husband and I try our best to teach our children strong morals and values. We want them to understand that we all have different values and beliefs and we need to respect that. I honestly think that our children, because they are of a mixed heritage, will be stronger and more considerate of others when it comes to being different. We are just a normal family trying to raise our children to be the best that they can be!! Luckily, we have a very strong support group...OUR FAMILY AND OUR FRIENDS!!!!

Until next time...
"Sunflower Mom"

Monday, August 07, 2006

"Trying To Fit In"


You know school is right around the corner and everyone in our house is getting excited and nervous about the first day back!! Myself included (being a teacher)!! That got me to thinking about how important it is to "Fit In" for our kids. We are originally from Midland, TX. Well, in Midland where my son went to school from kindergarten to 2nd grade, there were kids of "many colors". He seemed to "fit in" fine. But...when we moved to Keller several years ago, it was a totally different story. My son was entering the 3rd grade and my daughter into Kindergarten. When we went to "Meet the Teacher" before school started we were in for a rude awakening!! Out of the entire school, there were two African American boys, and then my kids. They were the only African American students in the entire school! I really didn't think about it at the time, but when we got home, both kids made the comment about how they were different from everybody else. Boy, did that open my eyes!! Who would have thought that a 5 year old would pick up on something like that?? I was excited about meeting their teachers and them going to a new school!! They were concerned about being the only ones of "their kind" at school. That was depressing!!

The more I started thinking about it...the more frustrated I got. For example, filling out all of their school records. What ethnicity do I mark?? African American, Caucasian??? No...I get to mark "OTHER". Isn't that a nice way to label my kids? What is wrong with putting a multi-ethnic box on the form? I hate labels! We are all just human beings trying to find a place to fit in. I just recently have found a wonderful support group! The Mavin Foundation
. This group supports people who are multi ethnic or who are involved in multi-ethnic relationships. It was actually developed by a 19-year old multi-racial college student who wanted to launch a magazine dedicated to the "mixed- race experience". It is an amazing group of people who do amazing things!! They are spreading the word about "our problems" and how to deal with certain issues. We are definitely not alone!!!

Well, it is getting late and I have to get my daughter to Barney at 7:30 in the morning!! Check back in a couple of days when I will be discussing personal situations that we have encountered being a multi-racial family.

PS...Check out the new Just For Me website!!!

Until next time...
"Sunflower Mom"