Posted on | August 25, 2016 | 2 Comments
If we’re being honest, I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make sure I’m not depriving my son of anything. Inordinate. And I’m not sure if it’s because I work outside the home, or because I was a single mom, or because his biological father is not a current part of his life… whatever the reason, I spend a lot of my time outside the office trying to provide memories and experiences and handfuls of magic.
And for the most part, I thought I was doing a pretty darn good job. I mean, he seems well-adjusted and happy… so how bad could I be doing? But then the other night, as I was putting him to bed, I realized I’d neglected one really important aspect of raising my son.
We were talking about his birthday dinner and he asked if I’d ever had one of the “Happy Birthday” chocolate signs that came on his brownie. I told him I’d had a “Congratulations” one when I went to the same restaurant for a bridal shower and he looked confused.
“I don’t remember that,” he said, and I smiled.
“Well that’s because you weren’t there, kiddo. It was just me and some of my girl friends.”
He thought for a moment and then shook his head.
“No. You don’t go anywhere without me or Daddo.”
At first I wanted to laugh because it was sort of funny that he thought that… and then I wanted to cry. Because somehow my son has reached seven years old and he doesn’t think I have a life outside of him and Banks. Somehow, I’d neglected to show him that I am a woman outside of being a mother and wife… that I am worthy of dinners with friends or pedicures alone. I have, instead, placed him in a world where Banks goes and does those things but I do not… I stay home out of some sense of responsibility or duty or some other nonsense. I have created a life for him where my only identity is as his mother or Banks’ wife.
And that, my friends, is SO not okay.
Because if my son doesn’t see me as a person… if he doesn’t see the primary woman in his life as more than just a housekeeper/attorney/wife/mother/cook/etc… then how will he view the women around him as he gets older? If they have vibrant social lives, will he frown at them? Will he think their place is in the home? Will he wonder why they aren’t busy tending their children, because his mother was always home… too tired after a long day of work to tend to herself?
I can’t have that.
It’s hard enough to be a woman in today’s society without making the mistake of raising yet another boy to believe that a woman’s place is in the home… tending the hearth, baking the cookies. I owe it to the future girlfriends, wives, co-workers of my son and those around him to get out of the house, to go dancing, to stay out past … gasp… nine o’clock.
I know we’re tired. I get it. I’m exhausted after a work week. And most of the time, I just want to curl up with a good book and ignore the world outside my home for a while.
But if going out on the town once a month does nothing more than gives my son the expectation that women… even and especially wives and mothers… need time out of the house without their children and spouse?
Then it’s time and effort well spent.