|My son at preschool one day (his "peace rock" is there beside him.)|
- According to the Department of Labor, “Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with over 75 percent employed full-time.” So, why are mothers still expected to do the majority of household tasks and child management?
Last week, I struggled to find inspiration for a Friday post. Generally, I post a “Working Mom Tip” on Friday’s. The one for the prior week was about nagging and marital equity. (If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking here, it was quite popular.) In any event, last Friday, then Saturday and Sunday, I simply struggled to put something together that was worthwhile to read. Hopefully, you’ll forgive me!
Now, I am back. I wanted to share an observation that I made at my son’s preschool this morning. I realized one reason that moms are so stressed out. The reality is our kids expect more of us. This is not hyperbole. It is a fact…
My son attends a great Montessori preschool. If you know anything about the Montessori method then you know that it is based on that is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play. To that end, today my son’s class was bringing a story to life, “Stone Soup”! If you’re familiar with the story, you understand that it is based on hungry soldiers who come upon a village. The soldiers are in search of shelter and sustenance. However, initially the villagers make a series of excuses for not sharing their food with the soldiers because they didn’t believe that they had enough. Eventually, the villagers and soldiers create a marvelous creation called, “stone soup” out of vegetables and a little meat.
The moral of the story is, if you focus on what you have instead on what you don’t, you always have enough—for you and for your neighbors.
Well, this morning each child was supposed to bring a vegetable to share with the class so that they could make stone soup. I packed a potato in my son’s book bag. I’d like to say that he brought a potato because it was hearty and mentioned in the story. However, the truth is, he brought a potato because that was all that we had. Although I had placed a reminder on my calendar, I forgot to buy the carrot or onion that I planned on purchasing. The bag of potatoes that caught my eye had been purchased to make whipped potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner. So, the whipped potatoes may be slightly less robust than in prior years!
While I was helping my son put on his special Montessori slippers for class (yeah, they are a thing and if you buy the “official” slippers, they cost over $30. I guess that Montessori kids have an increased need for classroom comfort...) I noticed a classmate on the verge of tears. He said that he was upset because his mother had forgotten to pack his tomato. He kept saying and with each statement became more upset. The teacher dismissed him and said, “If you don’t have it, you don’t have it.” Because I’m a mom and have been there, I tried to help the little guy. I searched in every compartment of the book bag and voila, I found not one but two tomatoes. The student was appeased, life was good again, and he and my son ran into class.
As I left the school, I immediately wondered why the student had blamed his mom for the perceived oversight. The reason is this; I’ve only seen this kid’s mother two times all year and I take my son to school and pick him up. The person I generally see is his dad who seems to be on the exact same schedule as I am—the last parent to drop off and the parent to pick up. So, I was baffled at how the student’s mom was taking all of the blame.
Then, I realized, that regardless of our personal pursuits for equality, our kids have a different firmly entrenched understanding, “Mommy is in charge of all things school related, play date related, activity related, and party related”. Daddy? Daddy is the guy who gets the credit for giving them a ride!