I have a very talented friend named Carrie, who blogs for many, many sites from her Chicagoland home, and one of her recent posts got me thinking about something. And then, being a sleep-deprived, extremely busy mother of two, I promptly forgot what I was thinking about and moved on to the next thought. But then this morning at brunch I had a conversation with another friend, who also happens to be a mom, about this same issue so I thought I would bring it up here...Are we as moms sexist, and worse, are we being sexist with our husbands?
I know, I know. We as women have been on the receiving end of centuries of sexism. I hear you. But hear me out on this one...
At brunch this morning, my friend and I were talking about routines that we have established with our kids. She asked me if my husband, Aaron, has any routines that only he does with our kids. Immediately, I said that yes, he does...he puts our son Harrison to bed each and every night. And I felt pretty proud of myself for a moment for relinquishing that motherly control over such an important daily routine, but then I stopped myself. I realized that when I asked Aaron to take over Harrison's bedtime routine, I added some "guidance" of my own. Do this, not that, and CERTAINLY not that, and make sure you lift the side of his crib before you leave the room. And call me if you need any help. I'll be the one perched at the bottom of the stairs, listening for any signs of distress.
Immediately, my thoughts snapped back to Carrie's post. Ugh--I'm guilty! I am sexist! Because why did I feel the need to give my husband, the man I married partly because he is so intelligent and wise and resourceful, instructions on how to parent our child? HIS child! Do I have such little respect for his parenting prowess that I felt the need to give him bullet points on something so basic as putting our kid to bed? When I think about it, I feel ashamed of myself. And, I'm sorry, Aaron. I respect you more than that.
I think that sometimes we as mothers, especially those of us who are stay-at-home moms, feel like we are the parenting experts. After all, we carry our children for nine months, we give birth to them, we spend the most time with them, we have that special "mommy bond" with them. But does that diminish the expertise that the men in our lives have in parenting our children? Maybe we could stand to step back a bit and learn something by watching our husbands be parents, too.
And, ladies, I know some of you out there are shaking your heads and saying, "No, I would never do that to my husband..." But think about it. I know moms who, before going out without the kids for a few hours, leave bullet points and lists for their husbands regarding the care of their kids. I know plenty of moms who are reluctant to let their hubbies put their kids to bed because they're afraid the men won't do it "right". I think that all of us harbor at least a little bit of this type of sexism deep down.
So, here's Carrie's pledge: "...to respect dads more -- the one in my house and the ones out there. If you're a latent sexist too, maybe you'll join me." Let's join her. Let's give the men in our lives the respect as parents that they deserve.