“Let’s get daddy to help us fix it!” That was T’s immediate solution to the problem of her bike handle coming loose. Normally, I would say just say ok but that day I actually asked why she didn’t think to ask if I could do it. Her honest response caught me off guard.
“Because I have never seen you fix anythingggg.”
It took me a minute to realize that she was probably right. While in my head, I was wonder woman (in full costume) — to her, I was just wonder mommy; the one who makes sure we all eat, sleep and generally stay merry. How could she possibly understand the amount of work and love it takes to run a household and that her dad and I work together as a team? How is she supposed to know that it is in fact laziness and not incompetence that makes me leave most of the fixing related tasks to her dad?
Outside of our home, I am usually conscious about her experiences with gender roles but I hadn’t thought to consider what she was subliminally learning from my own role in our home.
The truth is, growing up in a dual working parent home, she is only privy to a few short hours each day before she goes to sleep and weekends with me. This is clearly not a lot of time for her to really experience the fullness of my essence as a woman.
I actually remember struggling with this with my own mom. As a teenager, I longed to crack the code on who else my mom was outside of being my mom. I imagined her in red pumps and dressed up in much fancier clothes than her nursing scrubs. And when I didn’t discover a more “exciting” side of her, I almost resented her for not being more. Little did I know that there were indeed many dimensions to the beautiful woman she was then and still is now.
And now I see how without being intentional about it, the singular dimension of me that my girls experience most of the time could shape the kind of woman they think they can be or have to be. As they get older, it is imperative that we spend time really getting to know each other, trading stories and actively growing together.
For now, anytime there is a “perfect for daddy” assignment like rescuing us from an intruding bug or fixing something broken, I think twice about not taking it on. Worse than my daughter thinking that I cant do it, is her not even thinking to try for herself.
There are so many things our daughters are learning from us when we are not saying a word. The research about the linkage between your body image and your daughters that I share in this week’s roundup is further proof.
Pay close attention, Smart Mommies!
P.s.: Also speaking of representation, the new Wonder Woman movie is doing a lot to empower young girls. These kindergarteners had some interesting takeaways.
P.s.s.s: About our lemonade stand, a more detailed update to come later but here is a quick one — we haven’t had a real go at it yet. We got rained out on our debut day and we haven’t decided on another good weekend to try yet. Stay Tuned!
P.s.s.s.s: Lastly, happy father’s day weekend to all the dad’s keeping the bar high for their daughters on what a good man looks like. We see you, #SmartDads!