After going to a protest against animal captivity at SeaWorld this weekend, I realized something: I’m really freaking opinionated. Okay, that’s a lie. I’ve always known it. But putting that lovely quality in the framework of motherhood somehow shifted my perspective a little.
It’s not like when you’re in college where it’s cool – and even admirable – to be super outspoken about your beliefs. I’m in Grown Up World now (which sucks, by the way). In Grown Up World, being a little left-of-center can land you in hot water and cause irreparable damage with your boss, your family, OR WORSE, your mommy friends. So here are five reasons why I’m unapologetically “That” Mom.
5. Because I Really Am Just That Passionate
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m the person on Facebook who is clogging your news feed with petitions, infographs, and fact-filled rants. I’ve probably lost FB friends because of this, but honestly I count my friends in real life, not in social media. Maybe my opinions rub people the wrong way, but I promise it’s not my intention.
I’m not posting about a polarizing issue because it’s “trendy” or for some strange sense of self-satisfaction. I’m doing it because I genuinely care about the cause. Animal rights, the LGBT+ community, gender equality – these are all things that are near and dear to my heart, so I get a little fired up about it. But I’d rather be a spicy meatball than a bowl of oatmeal. (Bonus points if you get the Degrassi reference.)
4. Because Parent = Role Model
One of the things that freaked me out the most about becoming a parent was knowing that this tiny human was going to learn from watching me. I guess you could say my lifestyle would fall in the alternative or progressive category. In general, if everyone says “a” then I have a compulsion to yell “b” on principle alone. So what kind of example am I setting with my heretical disposition?
Hopefully my actions will show my child that it’s good to question the status quo, it’s honorable to be a voice for the voiceless, and if you believe something, you need to be able to explain why. Even if I disagree with my son one day over something, it’ll be a proud moment when he challenges me and can back up his reasoning.
3. Because I Won’t Be Young Forever
It’s not just my opinions that cause me to stand out; it’s also my exterior. For those of you who don’t know me in real life, I never have the same hair color for more than a few months. I get a lot of looks and plenty of judgment because of that. Whether it’s a stranger in the supermarket or a more conservative mom at the park, people like to make assumptions about chicks with crazy hair.
But I’m okay with getting those kind of stares. Why? When I’m older I probably won’t be rocking the punk look because I either won’t have the time/energy or I just won’t care as much. So for now, I’m enjoying this freedom of expression. On a touching side-note, I made a deal with one of my developmentally delayed students that I would dye my hair her favorite color (hot pink) if she agreed to try her very best. It worked 😀
2. Because Of That Whole “Birds Of A Feather” Thing
Despite the fact that getting into debates has (unintentionally) burned some bridges with former friends, I’ve also found some of my best friends that way, too. Nothing brings people together like passionately standing up for the same thing. When I speak about polarizing topics on a public platform, people seemingly can’t help but to share their opinion, too.
For me, I’d rather know exactly what people think about me – good or bad – than to be surrounded by a bunch of potential frenemies. But I’ll tell you one thing, when you do find your tribe, they will stick by you through thick and thin. So I’ll take the occasional hater if it means I get to find some kindred spirits in the process.
1. Because I’m A Free Spirit, Darn It!
At the end of the day I don’t always have a rational reason for why I swim against the current. Sometimes my obstinate nature helps me overcome challenges and sometimes it makes people feel like I’m sandpaper on a sunburn. Yet I don’t really know any other way to be. So far that’s served me pretty well, though.
I don’t ever want my stubborness to cause difficulties for my son. And I’ve really been trying to make a go of the whole “be diplomatic” thing. For his sake I’m attempting to pick my battles and just let some disagreements go. It’s more important that he has a healthy social life than for me to win an argument that would risk alienating him. I can’t predict the future, but I hope that
if when I cause my son embarrassment, it’s just because of some really bad dance moves.