Mama’s Boy

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!

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