Role With It, Baby

What’s the saying?  The more things change, the more they stay the same?  I’ve talked before about gender roles and kids, specifically against raising them to have certain expectations for behavior.  I hate the whole strict pink and blue “teams”.  If a boy wants a doll, I dig it.  If a girl wants a dump truck or, even better, a dinosaur, make it so.  If a girl decides on her own that she likes the whole princess thing, then away we go. That being said, I do have a rather hypocritical set of roles/tasks set up in my household.  I even acknowledge this by calling what Will does “man work.”  I am OK with doing the lion’s share of the cooking, inside cleaning, and laundry. He is in charge of fixing stuff, yard stuff (other than my flower beds), and anything electronic- or car-related.  For the record, I DO pump my own gas.  What can I say?  I’m older and wiser than Stella and BY, and there will simply be instances where “do as I say not as I do” is allowed and appropriate.  All that being said, there ARE plenty of exceptions to this around our household.

I can remember the opening scene of the movie Contact, where there is a depiction of radio waves going out into space, the sounds and media getting progressively older the farther out they go.  Based on a whole lot of what I witness in today’s children’s programming and DVDs, if ET were to land tomorrow in the mother ship, he would think that all daddies did was come home from work in a tie carrying a briefcase and then play catch with their son in the backyard.  There is a whole lot of catch being played.  All mommies do is cook and serve food.  A lot of food.

In and of itself, I have no problem with this.  Kids need to be played with and they need to be fed.  I don’t profess to be athletic.  If our kids end up wanting to play sports, my ability to coach them will be limited.  Then again, the same goes for Will.  But some occasional attempt to update parental imagery, I think, is useful.  It DOES chap my backside that all the “play house” stuff seems to be marketed to girls/placed in the girls’ section of toy stores.  I totally applaud that little girl that took on E-Z Bake so that her brother could have a non-pink oven.  Most of the great chefs are male, for crying out loud.  But yes, I did just buy Stella a toy broom and dustpan if only because thunderdome ensued each time I tried to sweep the kitchen as she tried to wrangle the broom for me.  I’m proud to say she spends as much time riding or jousting with it as she does sweeping.  Again, why not simply update some packaging??

How often do you really see old-school toy phones anymore on the shelves?  You don’t.  Now kids have their own play cell phones or smart phones.  A phone with a cord is the equivalent of a bloody phonograph.  I’ve been trying to read a potty training book, a supposed classic, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day.  It’s from the early 70’s and is still a big seller amongst those thinking of fleeing diapers.  And no, I’ve not been real diligent with this as I’m expecting some regression once BY comes home, and nearly every reference says you ought to just hold off until everyone settles back down.  There is an early section talking about how much of the mother’s time is spent per week diapering, cleaning stains, and washing children.  I think the authors equate it to the equivalent of ¼ of a work week on diapers.  They also indicate that if the mom has other children or “recreational desires,” it is a huge time vortex.  Seriously?  What about if mom has a JOB?

I guess what it boils down to is each parent should teach their kid skills based on their own expertise and proclivities.  While I will likely teach the kids how to do a basic chop in the kitchen, it will be Will who teaches bread baking and cheese making.  Will can teach them all sorts of computer skills and networking, but I’m the one who will teach them how to run Turbo Tax and file a return correctly.  Who cares who teaches what as long as we’re teaching them what they need to know?


About larva225

Working mom. Is there any other kind? Geologist. Nerd.
This entry was posted in House and home, Parenting, pregnancy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Role With It, Baby

  1. my27stars says:

    Ah, gender roles. Jake and I are not fans of them either, though I am absolutely the child-rearing housewife and he is the one leaving for work everyday.

    Kudos to your cheese and bread making husband. He should come teach my hubby sometime! 🙂

    • larva225 says:

      If he does, it may solve your weight “problem (please note this is said in total jest).” I have been known to eat a half a loaf in one sitting.

      • my27stars says:

        Haha, I consider almost everything said in total jest, no worries about offending me, like ever! Mmmm, half a loaf at once, I do LOVE me some good bread!

  2. amberperea says:

    That’s so funny. My husband and I have had this discussion on multiple occasions. I kept (child psych rears it’s ugly head) explaining that purposefully making a “big deal” about the issue would create shame and fear in our son. I cannot have that in the name of “Machismo”.

    My son likes trucks and robots and all things male…but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy a good Tinkerbell movie now and then. 😉

  3. dorkdad says:

    We have a tradition of my daughter taking pictures holding whatever creepy-crawlies we come across when we hike. It’s important to me that she knows that science isn’t “just for boys”. We have a rule, nothing is yucky in science… well, almost nothing.

    I wrote a blog post about it in my early blogging days. I won’t link here ’cause it’s bad form, but it’s there if you look for it.

    • larva225 says:

      As a scientist myself (if you count geology), I obviously have pretty strong opinions about kids – especially girls – in sciences. As soon as we’re all mobile, I want us all out hiking, camping, and such so that the kids can sharpen their observational skills. We also regularly do museums and zoos. Hell, I even do my best not to freak out if I see something that is genuinely yucky (sorry – roaches DO qualify) so that I don’t pass that phobia on.

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