The roles we play

19 Aug

In both our private and public lives, we all have our roles to play. Some roles we assume, some we are assigned and some are simply thrust upon us.  At work, for example, I know that there are situations when, if I need something done, I don’t necessarily go to the person who should get it done but rather to the person who will.

Yup, that’s right. I often bypass the chain of command and I bet that sometimes you do to. If we’re lucky, we all have that person who is your “go-to-guy or gal” that we know we can always count on. And I suspect that one way to know if you are truly valued at work is if you are that go-to-person to someone else.

The notion of roles, and who does what in my family, was brought to a shrieking reality last night by our nearly three year old son. Apparently, he has much clearer ideas about what Mommy’s roles and Daddy’s roles are than Mommy and Daddy do themselves.

The home is no longer the sole dominion of Mommy. In today’s modern family, Daddy is expected to do everything that Mommy does; breastfeeding aside. And I have to say that most of the dads that I know are happily and successfully doing just that. They are parenting their kids and not babysitting them.

After work yesterday I was particularly tired after a particularly long day. At 21 weeks pregnant, I find that while I feel physically well I do tend to tire more easily. And so it was that I found myself in desperate need to lie down and close my eyes. And then, predictably, my little nap turned into an 11 hour sleep: with one small interruption.

At around 8pm, I was woken up by a high pitched and obviously distressed little voice screaming “Momma!! Momma!!” Half asleep and without my glasses I ran to see what was going on. I opened his bedroom door to find a teary toddler at the door, all the lights on, toys littering the floor and Daddy silently lying on the bed next to Aidan’s. It seems that our toddler has decided for himself that while Daddy has his many uses, it is Mommy’s job to put him to bed. Within minutes, toys were cleared, lights were off and baby was safe in bed and soundly asleep. Yeah, I was probably feeling a little smug about how quickly I was able to get the job done (so to speak) when I left that room. I was also wondering why the whole incident had happened in the first place.

While it didn’t seem right to me, I can see now how it made sense from the two year old’s perspective. Because I am the one who puts him to bed nearly every night that that’s my job; it’s my role. I guess I just found it odd that he wouldn’t let Daddy pinch-hit for me. I mean, he lets the nannies put him down for naps and bedtimes, he lets his Grammy do it (a person he might see once a year), why not Daddy? I mean, we’re not talking a complete stranger here. The only conclusion that I can come up with right now is that Daddy isn’t a woman. Could it be that our son might be assigning adults in his life roles along gender lines?

For the moment, I am more than happy to resume bedtime duty. After all, it’s a role I enjoy. But I will now be looking out for other signs of lessons that we are teaching that we are oblivious too.

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