Lady Of The Manor: Are Kids Inherently Sexist?
Are all kids inherently sexist? Or is it just mine?
I never thought I’d be a “wait ‘til your father gets home” type of parent. I figured I was the type who was tough but tender. Firm but flexible. Supportive but strong. Most important, I was nobody’s doormat. But my kids didn’t quite see it like that. Sure, they listen (sometimes). And they’re respectful (on a good day). But when daddy says jump, they ask how high.
At first I thought it was because I’m the primary caregiver, the one they spend the most time with and, as result, the one they take for granted. Or perhaps because my man’s voice is bigger, louder and more intimidating they’re a bit afraid of him. But I’ve now realized that it’s not just in the discipline department that Daddy knows best. It’s across the board.
At mealtimes, my kids couldn’t care less whether they’re served a frozen chicken finger or a slow-roasted, home-cooked bird. But when Chef Dad throws down a slab of turkey bacon or whips up scrambled eggs? They’re ready to hand over a James Beard award.
Ditto music. While my husband can play a mean guitar, the piano’s all mine. I took lessons for years and have been playing for as long as I could read. My kids barely notice when I play a tune, but when my guy fakes his way through the opening of “I Don’t Like Mondays,” the groupies go wild.
One friend of mine is a stellar athlete. She was asked to join the British National track and field team but ultimately chose racquets over shot put. A ranked tennis player, she has passed her love of the game on to her kids. Meanwhile, they refuse to hit balls with her, preferring to volley with their dad. She’s outrun, outplayed and outswung her husband every time, but her kids simply don’t see it.
Is this simply the mother’s lot? Are we too accessible? Working moms or stay-at-home, I’ve heard it time and time again: the kids think their dad’s the cool one. I gained a bit of credibility by picking up a guitar and stumbling through some chords. My kids were astounded. Not because I could play strings. But because dared play the same instrument Daddy plays. The cool instrument.
I’ve been reassured by one mother that the tides turn as the kids get older. While her children have grown up, her husband has not. So while he bounds about being Fun Dad, his kids are inwardly cringing and outwardly mortified. Their mother is still the same, only their dad has become the childhood friend they’ve outgrown – and can’t seem to shake.
I guess it all evens out at the end. But in the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to get some cred with my kids without being a complete and utter chump. And I’m taking solace in the fact that even Angelina Jolie‘s kids don’t think she’s cool.