Friday, August 5, 2011

Prejudice


In my home, we have chosen to protect the kids from the more brutal truths of the world we live in. They know the VERY basics of our great nation's history with racial struggles. They've heard a few things about women not being treated well in other parts of the world. They could tell you a couple facts about oppressed people groups (mostly that some people in the world don't get to choose their own jobs or use facebook).

See? Very basic information about the prejudice that has gone on and is still going on in our world. They'll find out the cold, hard truths later in life.

I am beginning to think they know much more about prejudice than I once thought, however.

There has been a trend in our home for the last eight years. The prejudice that goes on every single day is both shocking and saddening. It is blatant and serious, leaving an innocent victim in its wake. Who is this victim, you might wonder?

Yours truly.

My children REALLY like me. I mean seriously like me.




They crave my presence and attention to such an extent that I sometimes have to remind them that they are part of a two-parent family. Oh sure, they enjoy having Daddy around for the good times. He's pretty good in a pinch. Sometimes they even halfway convince him that he's their favorite (especially when they want something they know I'll say no about).

And yet, with astonishing regularity, I, as the mommy, am the parent the girls turn to. It's not because my husband is less capable. Often times he has more clarity of thought than I do after a day of parenting. Kids just really like us. I have friends who have the same situation in their homes. It comes to light in many different scenarios such as the following:

"Baby, can I help you put your pajamas on?" asks their father sweetly.

"NO! I want MOMMY!" Enter stage right Mommy, the one who's been attending to their every whim and need for the last 11 hours. Does the child care or even notice that Mommy's eyes are bloodshot, her hair sticking out all over the place, or that she's wearing the same clothes she wore yesterday because she hasn't had time to change yet? Nope.

Daddy: "Honey, I brought you your shoes. Come here and I'll help you put them on."

Ear shattering wails..."NO! MOMMY does it better!" Shoes are hurled across the room as far as a 3-yr-old can throw them. Discipline ensues for that little stunt, only the outcome sometimes produces the opposite effect we desired. Daddy did the disciplining, so naturally it's time to run to Mommy for comfort. It's just a vicious cycle, you see.

"I'm going to read you a story for bedtime, okay?"

"GET OUT! WHERE'S MY MOMMY?" Mommy shuffles in. Her fatigue undeniably written on her increasingly lined face. She's almost unrecognizable as a human at this point. You'd think that would scare a kid, seeing her mother in such a state.

Nope.

Now I told you that I was the victim of prejudice and you may be feeling a little confused by that statement after reading about how my husband is being treated for no other reason than that he is not me. I still hold to my claim and here's why: when Daddy is discriminated against, he is effectively given a golden ticket. A free pass. A legitimate excuse to hand the little darlings over and give them what they want. Which is ME.


I have a dear friend whose daughter pulls the same stunts. It got to the point where they developed a sticker chart of sorts. A rewards program. If the child allowed her father (who is a pretty awesome dad, by the way) to read her books, tuck her in, and pray with her at bedtime without pitching a fit for her mommy, she received a sticker. FIVE stickers earned her some kind of toy.

She only needed five stickers. It took her a month. At this rate, I'm afraid my child will be in a dorm room somewhere with a roommate before she has earned her five stickers.

I have another dear friend whose home was filled with the exact opposite version of discrimination. That's right, her children actually prefered (and insisted many times) on their daddy doing everything for them. She once mentioned to me that it hurt her feelings just a little. I offered to share the overwhelming love for me in my home with her. I really hate to see anyone excluded, you know.

Yes, mothers everywhere are fighting prejudice in their own homes. We must get through to our children and convince them that daddy is not only just as good, but actually MORE desirable to carry them, to help them get a snack, and to sing their bedtime tunes. It is a cause for which we will not back down.

We have a dream. (And yet, if the truth really be told, I am already living the dream...I wouldn't have it any other way.)

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