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That’s a Daddy Job

Riding with DadAs much as I believe in an equal division of labour at home, there are some things that, for me, will always be a man’s job. This list includes, but is not limited to:

» squashing the bugs
» taking out the garbage
» teaching the kids to ride their bikes

It’s not that I don’t know how to ride a bike, and it’s not that I don’t think I could teach them how to do it. It’s that I’ve taught them to do just about everything else in their lives, and I think it’s important that he does something, too.

As their mother, it’s natural for me to just jump in and get things done. I can’t help myself; I am hard-wired to nurture them. They need to learn to use a spoon? I’ll teach them while I feed them lunch. Time to learn their sight words? We’ll do that over bedtime stories. Multiplication? Cooking mac and cheese? Changing an air filter? No problem.

But then I stop and think about why I know how to do all these things, and I realize that I’m not doing myself, or my kids, or my husband any favors here.

I take for granted that I am able to ride a bike, but I will never forget  words of encouragement my mom’s best friend hollered at me in a parking lot one Sunday afternoon. I don’t have to even *think* about baiting a hook, but I will always remember the day I learned, early one fall morning in the northeast, on a pond with some friends from church. Each year on Thanksgiving, I make an amazing dinner and every year after, I remember the first turkey I ever cooked under my big brother’s watchful eye, with a recipe from my neighbor. And every time my air filter needs changed, I grumble until I open the hood and at that moment, I am five years old again, sweaty and greasy under the hood of a GTO with my father.

And so I make my husband teach his children how to ride their bikes, not because he needs a to-do list, but because his children need a to-remember list. There is only one first time for everything in life, and I have to learn to better share those with the other people who make up the whole of my childrens’ lives.

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