A while back we were visiting my family and my sister began discussing her new job. "You have a job?" my 4-year-old asked incredulously. "I didn't know that girls went to work too!
Whoops. I guess that somewhere along the line I forgot to teach my children that this unending cycle of dishes, diapers and dinner that I do all day, THIS is considered a job too. And yes, some mommies even leave the house to go to a job.
I work hard as a mother, but I do confess that there are times when I just don't feel quite up to certain tasks. Like the game of catch. I just don't get it. I throw the ball to you, you throw the ball to me, I throw the ball to you, you throw the ball to me. That's it. We don't even make up pretend names and exciting back stories. I've decided that Daddy is better suited to play catch than Mommy. Actually, there are quite a few tasks that I have delegated to Daddy since I've decided I just can't deal anymore. But since children obviously have selective memories, I wonder what kind of assumptions they will make based on these observations?
As I thought about our day to day routines, I realized I just might be teaching my children that mommies aren't as clever as daddies. Whenever a broken toy needs a new battery (which is a lot of the time because it seems 98% of the toys we own require batteries), I'm all What's that? Your incredibly annoying screeching monkey toy ran out of batteries? Aww, too bad Mommy doesn't know how to change them. I guess we'll have to wait til Daddy gets home.
I might be teaching my children that mommies aren't as strong as daddies. Whenever we go to the park I'm very sad that I am unable to help them across the monkey bars. I would really love to spend an hour hoisting their butts above my face while they go back and forth on the monkey bars again and again and again and again, but, sadly, I'm just not strong enough. I guess they'll have to wait until Daddy takes them to the park.
I might be teaching my children that mommies aren't as brave as daddies. When Mommy sees a nasty bug, she screams and hysterically runs to get a plastic cup, which is then placed over the bug and left until Daddy gets home to take care of it.
Ideally, I hope to teach my children that men and women are equally clever, strong and brave in their own ways. I suppose I should be a bit embarrassed at the possibility that I am teaching my children that mommies are not as clever, strong or brave as daddies. I should be embarrassed, but I've discovered that sometimes it comes in handy. Like the last time it snowed and the boys wanted to go outside to make a snowman, but Mommy was a little tired and besides, do you know who is so clever and strong and makes the best snowmen? DADDY, that's who!
|Mommy stayed warm and toasty inside and snapped photos from the doorway.|
To be fair though, John might be perpetuating some false ideas of his own. For example, the other night the boys brought me one of their favorite books and requested that I read it to them for the 876th time that week. I suggested that Daddy might like a turn reading it to them instead. "Mommy," Jack confided, "Daddy can't read very good. He goes too fast and he misses pages and sometimes he forgets to read cause he's watching TV."
Yeah, I see what you did there, Hubster. Fine. I'll do books if you take batteries.
And you know? I don't think our kids are going to grow up with a warped view on gender roles after all. Maybe they will grow up knowing that their parents make a good team. They'll see that we each have our own strengths and where one is lacking, the other can fill in. We're like pieces of a parenting puzzle and we fill each other's gaps. Yeah, that's what they'll think.
That, or the boys just might grow up to become illiterate exterminators.