After dinner times in my house — often a long drawn out affair due to my 5-year-old daughter taking 45 minutes to eat two potatoes, three broccoli florets, and a small piece of chicken — my son will gather all the plates, scrape the leftovers into the bin, and then stack them in the dishwasher. My daughter will then get the brush and sweep up under the table while I finally sit down for two minutes.
It seems I am not alone in making my kids do household chores, as mom-of-two and former reality TV star Nikkole Paulun shared photos on Facebook of her 6-year-old son doing chores to teach him that housework is “not just for women.”
On October 6th, the 23-year-old, who was on MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, shared photos of her son Lyle cooking as well as loading the dishwasher and the washing machine.
In the now viral Facebook post, she wrote:
“Because one day he might be a single man, living on his own, who will actually know how to do laundry and not eat take out every night. Because one day he might want to impress a significant other with a meal cooked by his own hands. Because one day when he has kids and a spouse, he’s going to need to do his fair share around the home.”
It is hardly surprising that her post has been liked over 153k times, shared by more than 59k users, and garnered thousands of comments.
When one commenter asked, “Will you teach daughters to do yard work, change a tyre [sic] and now [sic] the lawns, or the typical response of that’s a man’s job only goes one way?”
Paulun replied, “Yes my daughter will know how to do all of those things. She’s just too young to teach still. They’re raised seeing me do both since I’m a single mother.”
I’m so impressed with her outlook; single parenting is beyond difficult – I am in awe of those who do it, and Paulun’s commitment to teaching her son household skills is admirable.
She added in response to why she felt household work wasn’t just for women:
“Because I live in a generation of people who complain that school didn’t teach us how to cook, do laundry, tie a tie, or pay taxes. Because teaching my son how to do these things and be a productive member of society both outside the home and inside, starts with ME.”
I grew up in a household with my mom, my granny, and her brother John. John was treated like the king of the household: he smoked indoors even though I was a chronic asthmatic; I delivered meals my grandmother made to him on a tray every evening in the TV room and collected them after he was done. He never once even thanked her. She cooked, shopped, cleaned, and did his laundry and he wasn’t even grateful. She had been raised to look after the menfolk — that the women were almost second-class citizens in the house. Even as a child, I knew this was wrong.
Times have thankfully changed as more and more moms return to work after having children — and they simply can’t do it all. While I may not bring as much financially into our household as my husband because I’m a full-time writer, I’m happy to say that he respects this and helps support my work by helping out with the household chores. Yet, he never did these things as a child. When we met, he didn’t really know how to use a washing machine. I’m determined our son won’t be the same. By the time he goes to high school in a year, he will know how to change his bedding, cook basic meals, polish his shoes, and put a load in the wash. Eventually, when he leaves home he is going to have to fend for himself and I want his future partner to have an equal in the house — not someone that needs to be cared for.
I agree with Paulun’s warning to other mothers and fathers: “Remember parents, a man who believes he shouldn’t have to cook or do chores was once a boy who was never taught any better.” The responsibility of raising a new generation of men lies with us. Likewise, we need to teach our daughters the same skills — the difference is that in the past, women were expected to know these skills, boys less so. When I was growing up, the girls got four periods of Home Economics learning cooking, knitting, sewing, and the like, while the boys? They got to do art. I still feel angry about that!
With more and more families living away from their hometowns without any family support, it is more important than ever that men and women share the household tasks equally. Why should it be a woman’s responsibility to sort out the birthday parties, the Christmas cards, the never-ending laundry, and the gifts for HIS mother on her birthday? If we let out husbands do the bare minimum, we are showing our kids that it is OK for mom to do the lion’s share of the work — and still hold down a job. Why should a mom’s career take second place to dad’s? Isn’t it time we shot down these awful stereotypes once and for all?
It takes time and effort to show kids how to cook, or sew a button on a shirt, or work a washing machine, or put away their clean laundry — but by doing this we’re not just making our own lives easier, we are raising self-sufficient kids of the future — a win-win for everyone.More On