Today I bring you a guest. She is a woman who wears many hats; mom, special educator, social worker. Her skills include (but are not limited to) wiping poop out of a small tushie twice in the span of ten minutes and NOT eating all the homemade mac ‘n’ cheese. She writes the blog “Tale of Two Mommies“. It’s her therapeutic outlet where she hopes to preserve the laughs and memories of child raising which possibly might also help others. Let’s give Allison an awesome All In A Dad’s Work welcome…
I often consider the pulls of nature and nurture…mostly because I receive a certain thrill from contrary responses to the most mundane of topics. It’s a funny thing because I loathe debating, but there exists an even more passionate dislike of arguing. The mere whisper of confrontation leaves the same sour taste as the residual vapors that refuse to depart hours after opening our diaper bin.
Privately…or not so privately I hold my ground that there are far fewer things that are inherently earmarked as male or female. That said, at this point I’ve met a good deal of fellow mothers who attest to their children gravitating toward the stereotypical gendered toys and clothing despite concerted effort to ensure an open mind. Perhaps there is something to frilly princess dresses that missed me during my childhood.
I waited eagerly from the babyhoods of my son and daughter to learn their preferences and general interests…what role my personality and parenting style rubbed onto them.
Little Man will be four in a couple of months, and Warrior Queen will be two in about the same span. They have personality abound, and I wouldn’t have it any other way…most of the time. If I’m honest, “asshole” is not far from my lips at least a few moments throughout a given day.
I suppose that’s the price of staying home, but in that same breath, I’m beginning to wonder if all this time I’ve spent with my children has shaped them in ways that might not otherwise exist. It isn’t a good or bad thing; just a query.
My kids are their own people in ways I didn’t expect, yet they are quite similar to each other. And, as I see them navigate their days, I’m acutely aware of the personality whispers that are mine.
In terms of their interests, I fully expected my daughter to love dolls and dress-up like my friends’ daughters. I predicted she would nurture her animals or engage in whatever girly things that I’ve never understood. I assumed something similar from my son, but those car and truck instincts missed him. To this day he owns a large assortment from gifts that he never touches…unless it’s to park them in the “garages” he constructs out of colorful cardboard bricks. But, in such a case they are merely unimportant props to his main passion of constructing random household things like pipes or an air conditioner (a side note: the objects never resemble his intention).
Warrior Queen has a comparable path…she is completely indifferent to anything girly and delicate. I watched another two-year-old girl comfort three stuffed animals to sleep, and all I could think of was my daring fierce girl in her exploring interests. Scaling legitimately enormous inflatable slide structures for the thrill of the “Whee!” down to the bottom. Even Mr. Man, while not an anxious child, isn’t quite so fearless.
Everything concerning Warrior Queen is an adrenaline junkie thrill seek…Bring it on, Gentlemen, Warrior Queen will force you to appreciate the true meaning of expendable.
Relatives abound buy my daughter dolls, and all are beginning to reveal a thin settling of dust…which has nothing to do with my lackluster housekeeping skills. It’s always such a shame because my daughter looks so enviously at my son’s gifted vehicles. For some reason family refuses to purchase them for her.
My kids are quite similar…and quite different, and I wonder if that’s how these sibling things work. I’ve never had one. I receive the stink-eye for the types of activities we most often do as our daily threesome. My children generally don’t play with toys as much as they enjoy gross motor activities and discovery. It’s a challenge to schedule meet-ups that would give me the chance to have adult contact; my kids like to roam. To this day the most successful and easy activity is a mall, which is funny because I’ve never been much of a mallrat. We go in the morning until the early afternoon. My children delight in the hours they spend running around and chatting with whomever will stand still long enough to notice them. Well, Little Man is the chatty one; Warrior Queen stares. I’m fairly social as well; my feisty sprite watches me, but mostly she’s captivated by her brother. She’s an observer much like her favorite person in the world.
But, here’s what strikes me as odd; my default is observing as well…taking everything in and crawling inside the comfy recesses of my mind. I can spend hours thinking and creating stories; I’ve been like that my whole life. Until this point I assumed it was because as a child I was so painfully awkward in social settings that my personal worlds were far more interesting and wonderful. Little Man doesn’t possess such awkwardness…or at least he hasn’t developed the insecurity that sometimes comes with age.
He loves talking to everyone and anyone, but he loves his stories and thoughts more. I see him retreat into the same habits I’ve possessed for so long. It thrills and delights him to create stories about pipes or whatever else I can’t follow when he feels compelled to share. He’s lived in his stories since he was nine-months. Nothing so elaborate at the time, but I distinctly remember his focus on toy placements…positioning in various movements with intense concentration. He could be occupied like that for as long as forty-five minutes at times.
I disregarded such habits of Little Man as something distinctly him…until Warrior Queen began forming her wonderful quirks that melt me. She also lives in her mind from time to time…taking things in with deliberate concentration. It’s hard to know where such a practice will take her, but it’s the same shadow of action as her brother…as me.
I can’t say what any of this means or what impact such a disposition will wash over their lives. But, I can’t help but wonder my role in these fundamental habits in them even at such a young age. My children are their own unique people, but the overarching commonalities give me pause. I wonder what they see in me, and I wonder if how they see me will be vast from how I see myself.
Since the birth of my son, my diversity of hats is far reaching and overlapping. Obviously my role as wife, mother, and daughter are pivotal, but I can claim other, equally important identities that form my existence and ambitions. I’m a special educator by trade. More specifically, I’ve worked in various capacities with at-risk, delinquent, and incarcerated adolescents and adults. I am a licensed social worker, and try to incorporate these values to improve the world around me even if I do not strictly work in the field.
I record my mommying life in a blog (http://taleoftwomommies.wordpress.com), as well as create short stories and essays when inspiration strikes. I also organize a parent’s social group, as well as maintain a Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/strollerderbysupportforparents) and Twitter account (@MultipleMommies).
Finally, I volunteer for an agency providing rehabilitative programming for the Department of Corrections, as well as work on my own to develop programs on behalf of the DOC. When I am able, I teach creative writing in a prison setting with the hope that some day I can return to literacy instruction.