We all come into this world naked, cold, and not giving a fuck about what anyone thinks about us. We haven’t been taught social cues or how to handle our emotions or awkward situations. We just do what we need to do when we need to do it. Thanks to society and its norms, as we get older we learn how to stifle our behaviors and opinions and attitudes to more or less please those around us. It’s sad but true and I gotta say I like how my kids — ages 3 and 4 — handle themselves a whole lot better. When it comes to the list below, they don’t give a rip and they’re teaching me to follow their lead and stop caring too.
My daughter mixes patterns like a boss. Flowers and stripes, polka dots and plaid — she wears what she wants to wear that day whether it matches or not. My son likes to wear his shorts backward and sometimes purposefully puts his shoes on the wrong feet because, for whatever reason, he likes them better that way.
I’m not going to follow their lead to a tee, but I am going to stop worrying about what other people are going to think about my outfit. If I have some muffin top while wearing my favorite jeans, who cares? If I wanna wear a shirt that shows my mommy belly a bit, that’s cool. My kids wear what they want to wear and I’m going to do the same.
2. Expressing Themselves
My kids have been through multiple versions of what I call “the Broadway stage” of growing up where they sing their desires to me and do interpretive dances instead of just talking. They sing about how they want mac and cheese for dinner or they do a bedtime dance because it helps them “get sleepy.” Cool dude. You do whatever you need to do to get your point across.
The same should go for adults, too. If your jam starts playing in the grocery store, get down with your bad self. If you wanna sing off-key in your car while waiting at a stoplight, belt it out, girl. I think the kids are onto something. It just feels good to let yourself go sometimes.
3. Who They Like or Don’t Like
Children are incredibly perceptive and if we have someone in our house who they’re legitimately nervous around, maybe there’s a reason. As we get older, we’re told to give everyone a chance and that we’re just prematurely judging someone if we get an uneasy feeling around them. Guess what? Kids know their shit and if they’re staying glued to their parent’s side, we should take note of that.
Similarly, if someone is giving you an icky feeling — even if they’ve done nothing to you — it’s okay to back off slowly and stay away. Children trust their instincts and we’re allowed to do the same.
4. What People Think of Them
The absolute best thing about being a little kid is that you do not give a single crap what other people think about you. You are who you are and you haven’t lived long enough in this world to know that it’s not okay to be unashamedly you.
Kids don’t care that other people in a crowded restaurant may not want to hear about their recent bowel movements. Kids don’t care if someone disapproves of their outfit or the way they hold their fork. If someone doesn’t like them — a fellow child or an adult — they just move on with their day because deep down, kids know they are fabulous and anyone who doesn’t agree isn’t worth their time.
5. Telling the Truth
I was talking to a friend while our kids all played in the bedroom, when one of her boys comes running out and says my son hit him. Not okay. When I asked my son why he hit the boy, he loudly proclaimed, “I don’t like him!” Well, there you go.
While hitting isn’t a behavior I tolerate in my house, I can’t blame the kid for his honesty. Sometimes we just don’t like someone. Sometimes we don’t like the food that’s prepared for us. Sometimes we don’t like another person’s behavior, and it is okay to say that. There’s no reason to keep our opinions to ourselves all the time. You gotta say how you feel in order to be heard, to make a change, to make a difference.
It’s been said that kids are honest to a fault, and I totally disagree with the sentiment. Kids are just honest. Period. There’s no fault in being who you are, not giving a damn, and doing what makes you happy in life. I want to continue to cultivate the IDGAF attitude in them as I continue to cultivate it within myself.