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MAMA: Tiny Pants, do you want a sandwich for lunch?
TINY PANTS: Only if I can make it myself!
BIG PANTS: Mama, can you get me some milk?
MAMA: You can come get it yourself now, or you have to wait until I finish this if you want me to get it for you.
BIG PANTS: I'll wait.
The first thought that ran through my brain was that boy better marry a capable woman because he will never learn to do anything for himself before he graduates high school.
I was then blinded by the flashes and bells as I realized that was the most sexist thought ever. If I am admittedly a pretty staunch feminist, why is my first thought that my son needs a woman to take care of him? And why am I raising a boy who needs a woman to take care of him?
Am I raising my son to be a sexist?
I was raised by strongly feminist lesbian parents who did not rely on men to do anything. In complete disregard of my stated goal to become a princess, they taught me to clean the house, do my own laundry, mow the lawn, shovel snow, change a tire and the oil in my car and complete some basic home repair. I graduated high school ready to be a functional adult.
I accidentally discovered that Big Pants is an excellent folder of laundry, something he has hidden from me for years. He generally falls back on feigned helplessness, which I buy into. I caught him folding a shirt perfectly when he thought I was downstairs. That little faker. When I asked him about this, he said I was the one who taught him to fold. I DID? WHEN??
Apparently then, I am raising a child who is capable of doing things, but prefers to make Mama do it for him. I am teaching him that that is my job, and he may extrapolate that it is a woman's job to wait on men from my overly-tolerant behavior.
When looking for a mate, he may only seek out women that pamper him instead of a strong woman that challenges him to continually strive to bring his best to the table. In other words, I may be driving him to date someone I would want to constantly poke with sharp objects.
I am going to fix this starting today.
MAMA: Big Pants, why did you walk up to my computer and leave your half-empty milk glass next to my elbow?
BIG PANTS: Can you bring it to me?
MAMA: Sorry, Big Pants, I never aspired to be a waitress. It's not my job to wait on you.
BIG PANTS: Well can Tiny Pants bring it to me?
TINY PANTS: Sure!
Maybe he's not becoming a sexist. Maybe he's just lazy. Maybe I am just looking for an excuse NOT to wait on him hand and foot. Maybe I need to realize it is not my job as a woman and mother to cater to his every need, and it is my acceptance of sexist notions that needs to change.
Day Two of teaching Big Pants independence:
BIG PANTS: Mama, I am thirsty.
MAMA: How can you solve that problem yourself?
BIG PANTS walks away. Ten minutes later he reappears.
BIG PANTS: Mama, I'm thirsty.
MAMA: You have half a cup of milk in the fridge. You have a gallon of milk in the fridge. You can solve that problem yourself. You have the tools.
BIG PANTS: Mama, I love you so much…will you get me milk?
MAMA: Nice try kid.