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Gender Neutral Parenting Challenged by Urges to Buy Pink Diapers for Friends!


When I was expecting my daughter (we didn’t find out the gender of any of our kids ahead of time) I was determined I wouldn’t reinforce gender stereotypes, nor would I fall into the old pink/blue trap. (That’s my daughter in blue pictured above, not one of my sons!) So, why is it that when two of my friends (who either cloth diapered, or wanted to cloth diaper) had baby girls, I had this uncontrollable urge to buy pink, pink and more pink?

Since we didn’t find out our daughter’s gender ahead of time, we got lots of white w/ducks and some green and yellow. After she was born, we did get quite a bit of pink as gifts as well! When I was shopping for clothes, I tended to choose gender neutral colors, though they often had girly touches (like a polo shirt with puff sleeves, a scalloped collar etc.) My sons wore quite a bit of her clothing and shoes.

I did buy one pink & one blue outfit before each child was born, and their birth announcements were pink/blue. Even when I took my daughter out in a pink outfit, people still thought she was a boy. When someone commented what a cute little boy she was, I just thanked them and moved on!

When I had my first son, I tried to buy gender neutral cloth diapers (orange, green, yellow) in case our next child was a girl. I still found myself buying a lot of cute blue diapers! My son likes to have his fingernails & toenails painted just like his sister, plays with her princess toys and babies, and they both dig in the mud and play with cars. When I had my first son, I realized how annoyed I am that we tell girls that they can do anything boys can do, but we don’t say the same about boys. Heaven forbid a boy likes pink! My daughter came home from school with the ideas that certain things were for “girls only”, and I pretty strongly told her that the only thing she could do (as a grownup) that her brother couldn’t is give birth to a baby!

I have heard lots of moms say that their husband would flip if they put a pink diaper on a boy (my sons had both pink and purple!) or painted their sons nails, bought him a pink shirt…I am lucky that my husband doesn’t really care! When we went to Build a Bear the first time, my son chose a blue bear with pink peace signs on it. The next time, he chose a Hello Kitty, along with pink Hello Kitty underwear for her. It didn’t bother my husband a bit when he wanted the same pink pretend makeup kit my daughter had chosen for her bear.

I tend to choose gender neutral toys (blocks, puzzles, play food, other pretend play items) for all my children. Both of my older kids have play tool sets, trains and princess phones. Of course, most of our friends and family tend to buy girly gifts for my daughter and stereotypically boy gifts for my son. Interestingly enough, my son doesn’t really care much about the cars or trains. He “plays” with them mostly by lining them up and/or dumping them out of their tote & putting them back in. He does occasionally play with them the way you’re supposed to! We have three overflowing totes full of trains, cars and other vehicles he’s been given as gifts, along with several sets of car themed legos, and tons and tons of other “boy” stuff. Some of his favorite things are blocks, puzzles, a toy vacuum, a wagon & pretend food.

Honestly, I feel like I’m doing a pretty decent job of raising my children in a gender neutral way, without pushing them one way or the other. So why, why, why can I not resist the adorable, pink cloth diapers? I had gotten a super deal on blossom and zinnia Bumgenius diapers while I was expecting my second son, and I passed them along to the friend who had boy/girl twins. Not because I didn’t want to put pink on my son, but because I had plenty of other diapers for him, and I knew she could use them.

When an old friend from High School had a baby girl (she uses cloth on her son), I had to buy the Thirsties Scottish Rose for her. But that didn’t do it. When she commented how much she loved the GroVia newborn diapers, that was my cue to buy one of the super cute, pink mod flower print diapers for her!

I have more than enough cloth diapers, yet I just know if I had a girl, I’d be compelled to buy all the cute girly color diapers for her. I think it might just be because I’ve never cloth diapered a girl, I don’t know. I don’t have issues buying excessively girly gifts of any other type.

What is wrong with me? It’s a sickness I tell you! Pink cloth diaper-itis! I also said I wouldn’t do matchy-matchy if I ever had twins, but the copy/paste onesies and the blue/pink outfits call my name now that my BFF has B/G twins!!

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Maria is an aspiring "fit mom" of 3 children, writing about cloth diapers, going green, and her life as a single mom. Maria works with many companies within the cloth diaper industry and beyond, providing social media management, product development, and other services.
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  • Heather M
    July 19, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I’m with you, Maria! My daughter wears a ton of blue/green/orange/red etc. Her favorite toy out of a TON that she has? Matchbox and Hot Wheels Cars. AND her toy dinosaurs. She knows all her dinosaurs by name. I’m not weirded out by it at all. As baby’s I tend to go more gender specific with clothes and such. Toys are pretty neutral though. My son will be allowed to play with dolls and dress up and all that stuff. I really don’t care. As long as they’re happy 🙂

  • July 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    That’s too funny. After a year and half of TTC, I’m FINALLY pregnant (6w2d along). I am going to try to do the gender neutral thing too. We have a good mix of pink and purple diapers as well as blue and green diapers. The way I see it, if I like the print or color, it’s going on my son or daughter lol.

    Fortunately, my husband doesn’t care either and isn’t afraid to rock a pink shirt lol.

    • July 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      YAAAYYYYYYYY!!!! Congratulations!!!!

  • Katie S
    July 18, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Hahaha. My son is 3 1/2 and likes pink and purple and I’ve never told him, “that’s for girls” that I can recall. I remember one time being at a craft store where they were passing out balloons to little kids. The store clerk asked my son which color balloon he wanted and he said pink. The clerk then looked at me and asked me if that was ok with me and I though, “Why wouldn’t it be?! Why should I care a single bit if my son wants a pink balloon?!?!” Currently, my son likes to watch The Little Mermaid and that doesn’t bother me one bit either. Anyway, I now have a second son (6 days old!) and I know that if I ever have a baby girl I’m going to love finally buying a few extra girly things. I already have the urge to buy girly things for friends and family, just because I never “get” to since I have 2 boys!

    • July 18, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Awwww, congrats on the new baby!!

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