“The Princess can rescue herself. Perhaps that Knight in shining armour would like a husband and some kids”.
Wife and Mum Terri is taking over the iCandy Life Blog to discuss how the stereotypes of her generation are changing and how she’s raising her children with an open mind and an open heart…
The Road to my Happy Ever After
I grew up in a house with a Mum and a Dad and a big sister. I attended a Church of England primary school where I was very much taught that the way of the world was simple, and linear: Man + Woman + Child = Happily Ever After. In every bedtime story I read there featured Princesses trapped in towers, waiting to be rescued by the strong, stoic Knight in armour. He would battle fire-breathing dragons, and the responsibility for her safety and happiness would fall to him. In every advert, every film, every conversation, men were providing for women and women were requiring men for their babies, their validation, their security and peace.
Emerging as a gay girl in a world of heteronormativity was not easy. I’d never held conversations with my parents or teachers about what it was to be different, and as such, I found my coming out to be stressful and troublesome. I feared who I was. It confused me. And until I fell in love with a woman, I tried, and failed to conform to the stereotypes of my generation and of those before me.
I was led to believe that, as a gay woman I would never get married, or have children, or any of the things afforded to heterosexual people everywhere. It was not a plausible option nor part of any narrative during my adolescent years. I navigated the exploration of my sexuality blindly, and on uneven terrain. I felt shame because others told me that’s how I should feel. I was free to love who I loved, provided that love was safely behind closed doors.
I can’t begin to express the joy and pride I feel to be who I am, some 20 years on from coming out. A happily married queer woman with two children. I would never have believed I could have this life and the road to my happy ever after has been fraught with battles for inclusivity and equality, so I’ll be damned if, in 2021, I conceal or suppress my wonderful, colourful little family set up.
I’m a parent and I lead by example because the future behaviours of men and women now lie with the likes of my son and daughter. They’re raised with an open mind and an open heart, and a better understanding of diversity in this world than I was given.
Terri & Rachel
As a society we still have work to do for the equality of the LGBTQ+ community, but the narrative is changing. The Princess can rescue herself. Perhaps that Knight in shining armour would like a husband and some kids. We have unisex clothing. We’re stepping away from a stereotype that sees Men making the big bucks and Women ironing their shirts. Conversations are being had in schools about adoption and fertility treatment and pronouns and gender identity. Life is not linear, the path is vast, and long, and wide, and it is full of brilliantly unique individuals and their own family dynamics. Just as it should be.
The Bailey Family
Teaching Children About Inclusivity
I always say understanding starts at home. Buy books that talk about all the differences in this world and read them at bedtime. Talk openly to them at the dinner table about what it means to be inclusive. Practice inclusivity. Normalise it in every day conversations and make it relatable to the child.
Our Favourite Family Books
We love The Family Book by Todd Parr, Mommy Mama and Me by Leslea Newman, Usbourne’s All About Families, Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, and the magical tale of Zog by Julia Donaldson, which isn’t at all about same-sex dynamics but has a really beautiful and poignant message running through it.