Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mommy Needs a Tool Belt

Where do kids learn stereotypes? Yes, I believe God made boys and girls intrinsically different and that, yes, there are some things men do better than women and vice versa. But in our house, we've been careful to not put too much emphasis on what is socially considered to be something girls do versus something boys do because I believe most of those notions are creations of society and the media. And I'm nothing if not anti-media (ugh--that's another post).

The result is that Wyatt does everything: he loves picking flowers and choosing the color pink; wearing mommy's high heels, feeling her smooth stockings, and loving on her silky PJ's; playing in the toy kitchen at church and at GrandMama's house; cooking with mommy; loving his Doodle boy doll and mommy's old Mandy & Jenny dolls from the seventies; and helping out with getting the clothes out of the dryer--lots of what's considered to be "feminine" stuff. But, he also loves trains, trucks, and tractors; big wheels; anything that involves a ball; playing with his dumper in the rocks and riding his tricycle backwards until he crashes into something. At those times, he's "all boy." And then there are the times he wants to mix up both worlds--if you want to pick flowers and crash your tricycle, what do you do? You hold the flowers you picked while you smash into the door (pictured). If mommy makes you a flower clover necklace but you want to load rocks into your wagon? You wear the necklace for awhile, then dump it and the rocks back in the driveway (pictured).

Doug and I both cook, fold clothes, vacuum, assemble furniture, fix loose doorknobs, etc. With me on bed rest for 5 weeks before the twins were born, Doug learned to do many of my "female" jobs. Before that, with him working long hours, I learned to do his "male" jobs so his time would be more free on weekends. I'm a pretty good Mrs. Fix-It and he's a pretty good Chef. In sharing jobs, we've tried to demonstrate to Wyatt our convictions that you don't have to buy into gender stereotypes.

So, imagine my surprise when I decide to fix the back screen door that's been sticking and Wyatt says, "No, that's daddy's." When I stood on a tall ladder and took a plane to the door to shave off some of the side, that was fine. But, when I got out a strap, screws, and (gasp), the cordless screwdriver, suddenly I had crossed into "man land" where mommies aren't allowed to go. I tried to explain that mommy could use the screwdriver, too, which I then proceeded to demonstrate by screwing the metal strap on the top of the screen door to hold it together. But still, Wyatt insisted, "No, that's daddy's." I tried again, explaining how mommy probably had used the screwdriver and the hammer more than daddy because of her hanging curtains, mirrors, and pictures when we moved houses...twice. "No, that's daddy's."

In the end, I gave up. I guess to prove my point, I'm going to have to dream up some project where I spend an entire day with a power drill, assorted screwdrivers, electric staple gun, and hammer all strapped to my waist.

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