The Unexpected Primary Caretaker

“I just love being with Spencer all the time,” she said as she crawled up the play structure, on the heels of the child in question.

I was at a neighborhood playground with a new mom-friend, our toddlers happily ignoring each other.  We had met at a preschool open house the weekend before.  Our sons were less than 3 months apart, we lived mere blocks from each other, she had an engineering degree from the prestigious university down the street, and she was a full-time parent.  Excited to find another high-achieving mom who spent a lot of time taking care of her kid, I got her number immediately.  I had so many questions for her:  I wanted to know how she made the decision not to work.  I wanted to know if she still had professional ambitions and, if so, how she was keeping them at bay while she raised her child.  I wanted to know if the same drive and intellectual curiosity that had gotten her that degree ever made it frustrating to read the same Elephant and Piggie book eight times in a row.  I wanted to ask her all the questions I’d been wrestling with for the last 21 months, questions that neither my working-mom friends nor my stay-at-home friends could answer.

Five days later, we were having our first playdate, and I was quickly learning that we might have less in common than I thought.

“I can’t imagine having another kid for at least three and a half more years,” she continued. “We’re just having so much fun.”

I looked at her as she animatedly chatted with her son.  Then I looked down at mine, furiously turning the steering wheel of the plastic car he was sitting in, and sighed.  I was in my eleventh hour of the day with him, and there were still two more to go before bedtime.

So much for a friend in a similar situation, I thought.  I could not relate to anything she was saying.

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How Do You Raise a Multiracial Child?

Fact #1 about being in an interracial marriage: People tell you all the time that your kids will be beautiful. Seriously, all the time: the first time you meet them, whenever the topic of children comes up, sometimes for no reason at all.  I have mixed feelings about how appropriate this statement is: Yes, I’d love for my children to be good-looking, who wouldn’t (life is so much easier for beautiful people, isn’t it?), but something about it feels a little stereotyped to me. There are unattractive multiracial people out there, after all. (No names. But they’re out there.) And, on an unrelated note, this comment makes me feel pressure to produce a good-looking child, which I have literally no control over – and again, let’s remember that unattractiveness is completely within the realm of possibility. But I digress.

While other people assert that my still-hypothetical children will be beautiful, I’m concerned about something else entirely: How exactly does one raise a multiracial child?

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