What Gender Roles? Why They're Fuzzy in our Family.Casey Mullins
I was raised by a single working mom and Cody was raised with three sisters in a home where his mom stayed home and his dad worked in an office. Our first few years of parenting were spent arguing about who’s life was more important, who had the more difficult job and who deserved a break more. My argument went something like “I don’t talk to grown ups ALL DAY. I don’t get to pee by myself, I don’t get to shower by myself and like hell if I get to eat lunch alone and in peace!” His argument went something like “You think what I do is fun? If I screw up I screw up our entire futures! I’m doing this for us!”
Oh man, just thinking back to that Cody and Casey makes me heartbroken and stressed. We were doing our best to figure things out and unfortunately we had to figure them out the hard way. It took nearly getting divorced after surviving three years of law school and the bar to really come to an understanding of just how hard each of us works and where we could really step in and help each other without fighting about responsibility or who does more of what better.
Cody wrote a post about 10 things I do better than him. It’s true, there are some things I’m better at and some things my kids prefer me to do for them. He’s getting torn apart by other dads, claiming that he is raising kids with gender stereotypes, that he’s a horrible father, that he should go back to Mad Men times and that perhaps he should leave his caveman club at the door. One site even went so far as to bring in an angry dad guest blogger and their exact words were “Enjoy this guest as he slams another dad blogger that doesn’t get it.”
Wow. So this kind of behavior is encouraged (not only that, it’s supported by other dads.) I thought moms could be catty.
Generalizations were made about his upbringing, his intelligence, his personal hygiene and his parents. I’m not about to fight for his honor, he doesn’t need that from me, he can fend for himself just fine, but it got me thinking, so many of the commenters on the original post are men claiming our family roles are dragging us back to the 1950’s. While I don’t believe a woman’s place is in the kitchen, I do know that in our family I’m better at making the dinner and Cody is better at cleaning up after. Cody is better at the full time in office job while I’m better staying at home taking care of the day to day business of things. I’m better at dealing with poop and sick kids, Cody is better at dealing with colicky newborns at 3 am.
We’ve made mistakes in the past in regards to how we handled our relationship which resulted in some of the distance between Cody and his parenting role, graduate school can do that to a family. When I want to send the seven year old off to boarding school Cody is there to step in and calm us both down. When I call Cody sobbing at 3pm while holding a cranky and exhausted baby he comes home to bail me out.
He may still have his proverbial blogging training wheels on (we all make mistakes) but damm if he isn’t one of the best dads out there.