I am the gatekeeper of information in my home. For my daughters, from today, I will do better
Alex is a mother of two under four, originally from Kildare but living in Barcelona. Following the Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations around the world, she examines the environment she has created for her girls, and decides she needs to do better
Yesterday I wanted to write something humorous. I wanted to write about something frippery and frothy, to laugh, and to moan a bit about my small problems. Humour is my go-to escape for when I feel overwhelmed or sad or frustrated. But I’ve tried to write, and I’ve tried to joke, and I’ve tried to think of funny things that have happened this week or things that my children have said or done, but it doesn’t fit. Nothing fits right now. It is all asunder. I can’t and won’t write about my small problems because that is simply what they are: small problems. And I will not write about them today. Today they are immaterial.
Yesterday I sat and watched the unfolding black squares on Instagram and I watched videos of apparently peaceful protests and apparently violent demonstrators and I watched as a little girl was pepper-sprayed in the eyes while protesting with her family and as I watched I cried.
Good, bad, bully, hero
I am the gatekeeper
We have maps of the European centered world and we have Lego men and baby dolls and sticker books but we do not have diversity.
I have looked through our playroom and our movies and our books and our dolls. We have superheroes and princesses and books about Jane Goodall and Maria Montessori and books about our Irish history and books about fairytales of Sant Jordi and the Dragon. We have maps of the European centered world and we have Lego men and baby dolls and sticker books but we do not have diversity. I am the gatekeeper to information that resides within my home. It is my responsibility to correct this limiting environment.
So here is what I commit to doing, starting from today. Today I will begin to diversify our reading list. We will read about diverse characters and stories from a fuller spectrum of authors. We will be mindful and intentional in the movie choices we make and what histories are being rewritten or ignored.
I will talk with our wider family about gifts and books and dolls and puzzles that encourage discovery and diversity and empathy outside of our bubble. I will have hard and honest conversations with myself firstly and later with my girls about how and why we are comfortable and others, just as deserving, are not.
It will not happen all at once, we will not change overnight, but we will start. I will commit to understanding that being grateful for my “luck” and “privilege” is nowhere near enough and I will do better. I will start with myself and the inside of my home. I hope you will do the same.
Featured image: Unsplash
Read more: My offspring have converted peaceful mealtimes into seismic battlegrounds
Read more: Motherhood is relentless. If I could jump ship right now, I would. Without a second thought
Read more: 5 podcasts about black and POC experiences in Ireland