I get angry at my family when I’m sick, because I expect more from them. More hugs, more fawning. I want to hear, “Poor mommy!” with sweet kisses on the cheek. “Oh, sweetie,” with cuddles and homemade chicken soup. Basically, I want them to do for me what I do for them when they are sick.
Problem is, they are guys.
Maybe there should be a rent-a-mom service for sick and tired moms. Some hybrid between babysitter and cleaner, nursemaid and cook.
Or maybe, just maybe, I could somehow positively encourage the men in my house to take on the roles they believe to be uniquely feminine. I know they are capable of them, just as I am capable of going to work and making money.
Sexism is rampant in our house. We are all guilty of stereotyping one another according to our gender roles. I mean, why should it only be a mom who nurtures? I know it is nature and all that, we bear these little punks, there’s no denying them. But still.
Oscar commented the other day, after my hair was colored a dark brown, that I looked “weird.” He could have stopped there, but he didn’t.
“You look old,” he said, his little face scrunched in concentration as he stared. “You have all those wrinkles on your forehead.”
When I told him how such comments weren’t very nice, and that he probably shouldn’t say them, Big G piped up.
“Women are sensitive about looking old,” he said
Ooh. Them were fighting words. Really? Only women care about looking old? What is Rogaine for? Or Hair Club for Men? Why are there so many men’s skincare products?
“I think men care too,” I said, and stomped off in a huff.
It worries me that these messages are being thrown around, that women only are sensitive about their looks, that I am the loving one, my husband the fun one, that I am the primary cook and cleaner, the doer of laundry, the one who gets upset when you call out her wrinkled mess of a forehead, that the man in the house makes the money.
But the fact is all those things are true.
We have landed here, in these roles, I think, because that’s what we expected. I never don an apron, but I bake a lot, and people say, “Your kids are so lucky to have you.” Yep. Just because my banana bread is great. But when there are homemade baked goods in the house, I feel better. It is who I wanted to be, so who I became.
So it is me. It’s my doing, most of this, the responsibilities I have made uniquely mine, the things I get angry about doing at times like now, when I am sick, and the kids go to school, and G goes to work.
And there is no cool hand on my forehead, or a person to run the bath for me.
It is important to be less angry and more instructional to make things happen the way I want them to happen. Dare I say, I’m going to have to use my feminine wiles to get my way.
In fact, as the clan returned, I did get some kisses. G folded laundry and walked the dog, Oscar felt my forehead and offered a perfect “poor Mommy” before going to get me water. Eli joined me in bed for a snuggle.
See, I guess these guys can be moms, if only for a short while.Read Fearless Parenting every other Thursday on BrooklynPaper.com.