Monday, 6 April 2015

Do I look like the nanny?

Today was the second time that my friend and I were asked 'are all these children yours?' I understand, we must look a little strange, two blonde English looking girls (women) with six children between us. All six children are mixed race, my four children are half Asian and my friend Rachel's two children are half West Indian. This always makes for great conversation and perhaps a few funny looks.

The first time this happened to us was when we had taken a trip to a park out of town. Whilst Rachel and I were busy chatting, probably putting the world to rights, a few dads had joined together and were looking strangely in our direction. We carried on regardless until one of the dads plucked up the courage to ask us 'er, are you the nannies?' Not shocked by the question, but more the approach we both looked at each other and laughed replying 'no, why do you ask' this left it up to him to expand on what he meant. A little bit wicked I know, but he did ask! The dad, embarrassed chuckled whilst apologizing, as he justified that our children didn't look a whole lot like us. At this point we let him off and laughed about the fact that this wasn't the first time we had been asked this question.

As we walked away we both talked about how that simple question raises many different issues and feelings around the subject of being a parent to mixed race children. If the children don't look like you is there a feeling of disconnection that comes from this? Is there a sub conscious need to have mini me's running about? Or is cultural diversity a more beautiful thing than a narcissistic need to emulate your own genetic make up. My friend regularly jokes that if her children are misbehaving in public she can look the other way an no one will know they are hers!

The funny thing is that our children do look like us. So the question is, do people see the child or see the color?

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