Archive for May, 2011

Mama’s Boy

May 8, 2011

Since becoming a stay-at-home dad, I have become grateful for my ease at performing domestic duties and providing emotional support, guidance, and structure for my son. He is a wonderful being, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be so intimately involved in the first years of his life. Part of my job as a stay-at-home parent is to maintain much of the household and provide a sense of order and peace. This is also necessary, so that we two parents don’t lose our minds in the chaos that is part of a child’s exuberant energy. In our society, this role has traditionally been delegated the females. However, this is changing for the better. In our situation, my spouse and I have essentially flipped the traditional gender roles, with much blurring of course. In short, she is the bread winner, I am the bread maker.

I believe, I was able to make this role reversal, in part because, it is in my nature. However, it is also the result of having excellent role models. From a very early age, my mother began to give me the tools and knowledge to actually do it. Most of my ability and comfort with domestic duties such as cooking, baking, dishes, cleaning, dishes, washing and folding cloths, dishes, preserving food, and did I mention washing dishes, I learned from my mother. She somehow managed a loving home and raised six children with my father, a very supportive husband and parent who continues to do his fair share of the dishes. She did this at a time when most of her friends and women in general were working outside of the home. I am not sure about this, but I can imagine that she might have felt some prejudice by some of her more feminist leaning peers. There were a few times in my childhood when she took college classes which may have been an attempt to obtain a footing into the time’s middle class expectations. If so, her desire to do so didn’t last long or more likely she didn’t have the time. Although, it is pretty clear that her true calling in life was to be a mother, which she does extraordinary well.

If possible, almost too well, because I have perceived and heard some joking and references to her children – her sons sons in particular – as being spoiled. Jokes from childhood friends like “does your mother still make your lunch for you?” To which, my brothers and I usually just smile and brush off, or sometimes we might reply with a similarly rude remark like “Yes, she still loves us, sorry yours doesn’t – make your lunch I mean.” The point being that we are all pretty much “Mama’s Boys” and I don’t say this in the pejorative as the phrase is generally used, but out of love and respect for our mother and matriarch. We love our Mama.

Spoiled? Really! Possibly unknowingly or not, my mother trained all of her children and I believe her sons in particular, to enter the twenty-first century with ease and fluidity. This is a time of much change and turmoil, a time where fundamentalists and social conservatives are desperately fighting to maintain their dogmas and conservative gender roles. My brothers and I have absolutely no discomfort with being equal participants in the raising of our children, sharing domestic duties, and being emotional present for our spouses and children. In fact we want to. We are all decent men and certainly not saints or poster boys for this relatively new positive social paradigm shift. However, it is one thing to be willing to make this shift, it is another thing entirely to have the skills to do so. There are numerous ways to raise children, within a positive environment. Many of the skills can be learned of course, my brothers and I began our training at a very early age so my ability to transition was not difficult. One small example, is that my brothers and I are pretty good cooks, not just hobby cooks, but everyday get down and dirty put the meal on the table kind-of-cooks. This skill we learned from our hard working, loving, humanitarian Mama.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Thanks to the Fleet: Welcome to Spring

May 6, 2011

My small family and I made it through another Minnesota winter. It is now spring, the garlic shoots are up, and the spinach I planted late last fall survived the winter. We are currently eating our first spinach greens, yum!

Besides the copious amounts of snow and negative Fahrenheit temperatures. The Mid-Western United States, and the World has seen much trouble and turmoil. Wisconsin, across the Mississippi where my spouse works, is going through tremendous political turmoil with their newly elected Tea-Party (TEA-BAGGER) and ultra conservative Republican governor, Scott Walker. Without going into much detail about the political wrangling that has occurred and will continue to occur, until he is either recalled or voted out of office, I will simply say that Wisconsin is in for a very rough and divisive future. Jememi Suri, E. Gordon Fox Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, best sums up the political situation with his blog post that compares Walker to Joseph McCarthy. I recommend you read it .

During the winter and early spring 2011 we as a world population have seen and some individualizes have experienced a sea-of-change in the popular uprisings of Egypt and other middle eastern countries. The overthrow and attempts to remove dictators and their autocratic political regimes from power has been inspiring and painful to observe. My own non-logistical emotional-intellectual based political mind interprets these uprisings as a hopeful beginning of a more humanistic future world. However, on the other hand, my pessimism views the extreme exclusivity of the right wing of American politics to be extremely frightening and disturbing, to say the least.

In addition, at the end of this winter another major natural disaster devastated the country of Japan. As we know, Japan’s recent earthquake and resulting tsunami destroyed lives, property, infrastructure, and caused the break down of their Fukushima nuclear power plant, which is leaking toxic nuclear radiation. Things are not good for our Japanese brothers and sisters! The radiation from this nuclear power plant is currently negatively effecting the environment, people of Japan, and the world economy. I hope that this will be a wake up call to humanity to seriously consideration establishing a greater use of renewable energy. Again and unfortunately, Americas right-wing politicians are stripping away funding for research and development of the numerous renewable energies our country and world has available. To put it lightly I am not very happy with America politics at the moment! However, I am very excited and proud of the left wing progressive groups that are rapidly organizing via small PAC’s, like Russ Fiengold’s Progressives United (link),, and others. These groups are fighting hard for human rights, environmental protection, animal safety, and inclusiveness of all living beings of the world. There is hope for our one and only home, planet earth!

To end on a personal positive accomplishment, I once again avoided buying a snow blower this winter. Since living in Minnesota, I have on numerous occasions, with every large snow fall to be exact, wanted to purchase one of these space taking, gas guzzling, maintenance heavy, but very useful and effective snow displacing machines. I am happy to say that with the help of numerous shovels,The Fleet, my spouse, son, and, very awesome and generous neighbor (who has a snow blower), I once again fought the urge to purchase a snow blower!