Saturday, March 17, 2012

Like a spoon with the forks

I have long felt completely out-of-place when surrounded by women. And when I look at images of women in ads, magazines, and on TV I really REALLY feel like I don't belong.

I like power tools and paint. I like digging in the dirt and reading books. I like dinosaurs and birds. I like Shakespeare and Neil Gaiman.
I wear make up when I remember to put it on, I rarely have on nail polish or high heeled shoes, or clothes without holes in them or paint on them.

Which is why I find it so frustrating when I take the kids to places where the toys are sorted into "boy toys" and "girl toys". WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? Who made that decision? When did we, as a society, decide that encouraging our children to explore all avenues of play was a bad idea? When did we determine that boys shouldn't learn to nurture or develop fine motor skills by working tiny clasps and buttons on dolls? Why did we decide that girls should have passive toys (dolls, cookware sets) instead of active toys (blocks, cars)?

In our house the work-load is shared equally between my husband and I. We both do domestic chores. We both care for the children. We both feel that it's completely ridiculous that our daughter is being quietly told that girls aren't supposed to like dinosaurs and archeology and that our son is receiving the message that cooking is for girls. Fiona was completely uninterested in princesses until this year when ALL of the girls in her preschool class are gaga for them. On pajama day, every other girl had princess pajamas. Fiona wore Spiderman pajamas. And I realize that I can't shelter them from the influence of their peers, however I want my children to explore what is interesting to them, and I want them to feel free to pursue those interests.

How do you keep your children open to the possibility of the world when the society around you is trying to cram them into a tiny little box?

Parenting is hard work.