Gender Neutral Parenting

I recently lend a quote to Kate Gunn for an Irish Independent article she wrote about Mums (and a dad LOL) and their use of social media. So, when I saw that she was looking for quotes from parents who are taking a gender neutral approach to parenting, I was more than happy to send her over a few thoughts. The funny thing is that I never really gave that whole thinking a thought. Not an active one anyway. In my mind, and Jules's, we just never thought to limit Beckett based on him being a man.

Basically, when it comes to Beckett and gender neutral parenting, I should probably start with how we named him. While most assume Beckett is from Samuel Beckett that's not really the case. While it is true that Jules and I were living beside Samuel Beckett Bridge and we're both familiar with the writer's works, Beckett was actually top of our list of girls names and was initially drawn from female inspiration. It was only on the day that Jules went into labour that we settled on Beckett as both our top girl's name and as a boy's name. This is pretty trivial though. I mean, it's not like we called him Penelope. Jokes aside though, we really never saw any need to create a gender environment for Beckett with staunch male-female roles. Let's face it, there are plenty of people out there still who would think having a stay at home dad to be odd.

With regard colours, admittedly, when it came to clothes or his room etc. we did stay pretty neutral initially. However, we certainly didn't hide any colours from him. There are pinks, blues, reds, yellows, greens and everything inbetween. The idea that his gender should dictate what he wears or how his room is decorated is crazy to us. Then there's the toys. For his second Christmas we got him an IKEA kitchen and loads of associated bits and pieces - pots, pans, soft toy type fruits and vegetables. And while neither his mum nor I consider the kitchen to be inherently female (dad is the cook in our family anyway!), there have certainly been a couple of double takes when people discovered what Santa got him. When there have been things that are definitely more inherently female, it still hasn't stopped us or even caused so much as a moment of consideration. One of Beckett's favourite things is a Minnie Mouse doll that sings a song and lets you change the colour of her outfit. It's very pink and "girly". But Beckett loves it and the idea that we would tell him that he couldn't have it because it's probably aimed and marketed at girls is stupidity of the highest order.

Beckett playing with a workbench
while dressed as a Princess

When it comes to clothes we haven't really had to deal with any gender divides but neither of us could imagine one that would phase us. For now Beckett's daily outfits are very much picked out by us but should a time come when he wants to choose his clothes and if he said he wanted a dress then so be it. I'd prefer to see his creativity and personal expression nurtured than to start putting roadblocks in the way of his development. In fact, at a recent play date with some friends, Beckett spent a good portion of the morning dress-up in a princess dress. And what in the world is wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.