Tuesday, April 27, 2010


As a mom, I think I've done a pretty good job raising my kids to not be prejudiced or judgemental. In fact, there are times now, with two teenagers, when they'll correct me when something slips out that seems insensitive.

I'm also grateful that they've been exposed to professionals of both genders. When I was a kid, men were doctors/women were nurses. The same gender biases existed for pilots/flight attendants and other professions. My children have a female pediatrician and a female dentist and now even the dog has a female vet. (He doesn't seem to mind until she takes his temperature; then he's a little embarrassed.) Hopefully my children will approach their personal and professional lives with the attitude that people are people regardless of gender, race or orientation.

But I'll admit I was a little relieved when my daughter was born and the gender balance finally drifted a little back into my turf. At times it feels as though we're still outnumbered, but I try not to focus on boys v. girls around here.

But occasionally, I must take it to the opposite extreme and she's picked up on it. The other evening her dad was looking for something in the pantry and came up dry. She turned to me and said, "He looked like a man." I wasn't sure where she was going with this, so I asked for clarification. "He looked like a man," she repeated. "If he had looked like a woman, he would have found it." To prove her point, I crossed the room and looked for the missing item myself. Moments later I passed it off to him. Short of fist-bumping her when I returned, she said, "See? You looked like a woman."

Wonder where she got that attitude?

It's true that men and women are wired differently. Even when they're little, we girls have to be patient with boys and make sure we're understood. My daughter's two best friends and neighbors are boys (and they only have sisters, so it's a good match), so she gets plenty of practice. The other day one of her buddies was over and later his mother called him home. Before he left, I handed him a twenty dollar bill and said, "Give this to your mom. Tell her it's for the table she sold me." As I escorted him to the door, I said, "Don't forget." He turned to me and said, "Forget what?" I had to laugh. "The twenty dollars in your hand. Give it to Mommy."

He nodded and trailed down the driveway--looking like a man.