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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"
click the volcano for the due explanation
"In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." — Gordon B. Hinckley
Exaggeration is the spice of life

Book I am Currently Reading: Peter and The Shadow Thief

Monday, October 11, 2010

Touchy Topic Tuesday- A Father's Role in the Home

I have a question:

Before we get started on our famous Touchy Topic Tuesday, I have to ask you: What would you like to see on my blog here?
I ask, because I am admittedly very much a sucker for attention and validation. I daresay that any blogger who gives a dang about how many people read their blog is just like me, and to an extent, their self esteem is quite affected by that little number than manifests above their Google friend connect.

There is a sad thing that happened recently: I lost 5 followers in 2 days.

Now, I'm not sure it has anything to do with me, or possibly it's because I had a giveaway, and some of my followers simply clicked that blue button only to get an entry.

BUT, just in case, I want to know what kinds of things YOU, my beloved readers, would like to see on my blog!

I live to serve.

Thanks in advance for the input!!!
Touchy Topic Tuesday:
A Father's Role in the Home.

As a kid, I grew up with a very involved dad.
We had dinner as a family, he helped with homework, he came to parent teacher conference, he usually was the one who picked us up early from school to take us to dentist, doctor or orthodontist appointments.

My dad was always involved in my mom's activities- such as blowing up multiple pools and filling them with warm water from the house, along with filling balloons full of water for her preschool swimming parties each year- as pictured above from earlier this summer. And he didn't just set up, he was there, roasting and serving the hot dogs, pushing the kids on the merry go round, and making sure all the parents got pelted with those aforementioned water balloons.

I remember multiple times when my dad would help my brother- and even me, on occasion, build pinewood derby cars for scouts, helping me build an epic mars shaped valentine box for school because there would be a contest, and I wanted to win- which I did.

Science projects, homework, boondoggles, family vacations, and fixing stuff. Yes. My dad wasn't the kind of guy to promise that he'd fix something and then put it off forever. It was always done immediately.

And never once do I remember my dad complaining about having to stay home with us kids while my mom went out with friends, or for a church meeting, or shopping or whatever thing might come up. Sure, dinner with dad was ALWAYS grilled cheese- but it was really good grilled cheese.

It actually wasn't until I was married with a child or two that I found out that not all dads are like this.

I mean, of course, I've heard of dads who walk out, or abuse their kids. I had friends who had jerk dad. Those are always awful cases, but I thought that all kids who HAD a dad who was regularly around had a dad who was responsible, respectable, and otherwise all around great. I thought that my friends were exceptions.

Well, you can call me innocent and naive if you want. Sheltered, sure....but I was admittedly shocked when I heard what some of my friends would say when we planned a girls night out:

"I'll have to see if my husband is okay with babysitting that night."

Or variations on that sentence.

Are you seeing what's wrong with this sentence? Is the same thing bothering you about it that is bothering me?

I couldn't fathom that a mother would have to ask her husband if he was OKAY with watching her, not "watching", "BABYSITTING."

Of course, I definitely think that saying "I have to see if he's okay with this" is a great communication line. I mean, maybe there's something planned that night and one might have to check a schedule. Perhaps that husband works a lot, and that free night isn't really a "free" night, because it's the only night in a week you get to spend together.

But asking your husband to "babysit?" Yeah, I actually do have a problem with this.

Some might say that it's just a word. A way to imply that the person in question will be responsible for the children. But I disagree. It's derogatory, in my opinion, when used between parents. Parents do not babysit. Both parents had a hand in conceiving and delivering and raising that child, and I'll honestly be hanged if my husband ever implies that he feels that I have more responsibility for them than he does simply because I'm the mother.

The saddest part is, in my own experience, those women who ask their husbands if they can babysit on any given occasion, are the ones who are constantly left alone while their husband goes out with friends to drink or play video games because he feels, as the man and 'bread winner' of the home, he is entitled to some free time with buddies and that his wife, since she stays home or because she happens to be maternal has no need for friendships outside his own, and no need to take a break. This mentality, I am finding, is really very common, and very misogynistic, if you ask me.

A father, when asked to care for his children while his wife goes out for an evening, should be happy to do it. Even if he's not, and he'd rather be doing something else, he ought to be man enough to realize that his role as a husband and father isn't just to bring home the bacon, but to be involved, and if that means his wife needs a break, to take over for a couple of hours.

Once, while I was out with a group of my friends, there was one woman who had asked her husband to babysit, as opposed to letting him know that she needed him to watch their 4 year old son. (I actually remember her specifically, because she called me in tears the night before as her asking him had actually caused a pretty hefty argument.)

Half way through our meal, the husband called and told her she needed to come home. Their son had started to throw up, and he just couldn't handle it. It was too disgusting.

So, she left.

This bothered me a lot because we hadn't even been gone an hour yet, and weren't planning on partying all night. It was a simple girls dinner, not even a movie, and we'd be back in 2 to 3 hours. Why did he have to call her, ruin her night, and demand that she come take care of a sick child that was as much his as hers? He couldn't let her enjoy the evening and ask her for her help when she got home?

I have also had the sad issue of dealing with this at church.

You see, as a relief society, we have activities for the women once every 3 months. It's called our Quarterly Activity.

Every other ward I have been in has always had a "child's class" for those women who need to bring their children in order to participate. I think this is wonderful, as some of them have husbands who work nights or swing shifts, or there could be any other number of things. But in all my other wards, the child's class, which is really just held in the nursery where the kids play with toys or play dough or color the whole time, was always supervised by - you guessed it- Dads. Dads who would come with their wives and kids, out of the kindness of their hearts and play with their children, and the children of other women who had to bring them. They'd bring them to us for diaper changes, potty breaks, or if they were sad, but otherwise, they had a good time.

The ward I am in now, however, refuses to do this.

When I first moved into the ward, I was asked by the relief society president if, when I came to the quarterly meeting, would I be in charge of the child's class. When I replied no, I'd rather not, she got snooty with me and said that we all need to take our turns and it's not fair that I should enjoy a class while a mother who had brought her children with her should not.

My reply was to ask how it was fair that I leave my own children at home with my husband, who loves his children dearly and is willing to watch them, to come to a meeting we have 4 times a YEAR just so that I can watch another woman's children and miss the spiritual or social uplifting that I should be entitled to.

Again, she replied that we all have to take our turns. And again, I told her no. I don't mean to be uncharitable, but I feel that those children should be watched by their fathers, or that the bishopric or other men should be willing to watch the children while the women meet (again, I placed emphasis on the words) FOUR TIMES A YEAR- ONCE EVERY 3 MONTHS, and that none of us women should have to miss a meeting that many of us desperately need to be at.

"Well, we don't use men around here. They might molest our children."

I think my mouth literally dropped.

Okay, it happens. Yes, it does, and it's every parent's nightmare. But never in a million years would I have feared for my children down the hall in my other wards. There were always at least 4 men at a time. That's a pretty big number to keep tabs on each other. No one was ever alone. And they always left the doors open. Frequently, if a child cried, a mother would recognise the cry, and get up to see what had happened before one of the dads had a chance to bring him or her down to the room we were in.

Do I think that with men precautions should be made? Of course. But I have kept my children out of reach of certain women before due to my suspicion that they were overly impatient or physical. I think it works BOTH ways.

So, I tried one more time: "Perhaps we can ask the bishopric and the Elders Quorum and Priesthood classes to remind their husbands that this is an important night for our ladies, and request that the dads make themselves available."

She sighed, all exasperated, and retorted something about how fathers can't be trusted any more than male babysitters.

And so, my last reply to her, before hanging up the phone was "If you suspect that your husband might be molesting your child, and you do not leave your children alone with him for fear of it, then you should not be married to him."

Perhaps it was snide. But I feel I made a good point.

( No good father will ever be ashamed to be seen carrying his daughter's naked baby doll. )
As it stands, I have a husband who would never dream of telling me that he is not responsible for our children, nor would he ever say something snotty to me like "You wanted them, YOU take care of them."
He is always happy to see his kids, and tries to spend as much time as possible with them, even though that time is limited with his school and work. But he's supportive.
I realize that I got lucky- well, at least I got blessed. I would never have married a man who did not share my opinions about caring for our children, and yes, we did, in fact, engage in conversation about this very thing before marriage.
But not all men are like this naturally. However, I DO think that as mothers and wives, it IS our responsibility to stand up to a man who might otherwise think that his responsibility is done when he can check 'conceive' and 'bring home a check' off his list, and let them know that his fatherly duties extend beyond that of a bachelor who happens to have little people bearing his genetic code.


Kristin said...

Thanks for visiting my site! Checking out your blogs now and following.


MX3 said...

You make a lot of great point, Brae. It is a shame more fathers aren't more involved not only with their children but also their wives. I mean, we're supposed to be partners, working together on the same team, working to make our families and each other happy.

Nicki said...

Thanks for stopping by my site. Newly following you as well! To answer your question, I don't know what I would like to see on your blog cuz I am new and I don't even know what I want to see on MY blog. =)

My kids are 12 and 16 and my husband has always been AT LEAST just as much there for the kids as I am...maybe even more.

Ummmm......."Well, we don't use men around here. They might molest our children."

WTF KIND OF IGNORANT CRAP IS THAT??? ALL men are molesters? NO woman are??? Kudos to you for saying what you said before you hung up!!!! I agree!!!

Oh...I lost a follower once but I think it is because I swear like a sailor! Oh well!! I LOVE my followers...what neurotic doesn't check that number on a regular basis? But I can't stress if I lose one. I will never know what is on their mind when they choose not to follow so no sense in my making up these stories in my head that it is because I am a suck-hole of a blogger! =))

My So Called Homeschool Life said...

Thanks for following. I'm following you back!

I think sometimes, people leave blogs because they don't get a follow back but when they don't leave their blog URL in their comment and it's not listed in their profile....makes it kind of hard to do so, ya know?

Loved the naked baby doll bit. You are so right. Don't forget about purses either. lol My husband has carried my daughter's pink one around before. And it didn't even match his shoes. :)

Have a great day!

Ruthie Joyce

*Jess* said...

Wow. Just wow. I'm still floored at what that woman in your ward said. Really? Really? I think this topic needs to be addressed in the next priesthood meeting, don't you think? I'd definitely involve the bishopric in this.

Growing up in the church was different for my family than yours. I had a dad who fully 100% believed that only women were in charge of kids. He did not change diapers, he did not watch us when my mom went to Homemaking meeting, he did not ever take us to school, to the doctors, stay with us when we were sick, etc.

Now at 66 years old, my dad is full of regret for not being more of an active member in our lives. None of his 5 kids are active members of the church. None of us share important details of our life with this man. None of us were shocked when my parents got a divorce.

My husband is nothing like my dad. And I will continue to make sure of this! We have a nice system.... I go to Moms Night Out and Book Club once a month. He goes to play trivia and play poker once a month. We go out on dates when we can :) There is no "asking" him to "babysit". I just gently remind him that I'll be out Friday night at book club. He cooks for him and the kids, does bath time and bed time. And he's just fine.

Jamie said...

I also hate when dads call watching their kids "babysitting." You're totally right, it's called "parenting."

And this really isn't the issue, but why couldn't the Relief Society ask the Young Women to run the nursery? They definitely should NOT expect a woman in the RS to miss out (especially a woman that isn't even using the nursery). I remember running the nursery for RS events when I was in Young Women's. I'm glad you stood up for yourself and said no. I know that wasn't your point, and I completely agree with everything you say. I just can't figure out why that RS President was so insistent on asking a RS sister to miss the activity.

I'm NOT a VOLCANO! said...

Jamie- I honestly think there might be something wrong with the people in my ward and stake. I mean, it's a great ward, and I really love my bishop and whatnot (this happened before the current bishop) but several months later, I was asked to run the children's class again, and I suggested the YW. She had an excuse for that too- I don't remember what it was, but it was also ludicrous. The same went for when I asked if it was possible to have them watch kids during choir practice.

The stake also got rid of Super Saturday because they said that women needed to be in the home, not gone all day, that they needed to be there for their children and families. That ticked me off really badly too. It's ONCE A YEAR. Never have I ever felt repressed by my CHURCH...but some of the things my stake has done are just stupid and sexist. The women seem to feel the same way, though, as the discussion in RS about Super Saturday was one of agreeance and submission. While I totally believe that our church leaders, even at ward and stake level receive revelation for us in our own divisions, I do not believe that they had our women's best interest in mind when they came up with this. But as it seems I was the only one who felt that way, I just kept my mouth shut.

Lindsey said...

Brae, I was literally JUST having this conversation with a friend earlier tonight. I totally agree. I'm constantly shocked about how many times I'm out with friends and their husbands call and make a fuss. I've NEVER felt that Tyler was anything but my partner in parenting. It's sad how many men neglect the opportunity to learn how to really take care of their children in addition to providing for them.

Tara said...

So I know that this is WAY behind the times, but I love this topic.

I was married to a man that saw our kids as his "little buddies." This did NOT mean that he volunteered to watch them while I was out, or to take them off my hands after a long day as I had been led to believe while we were engaged. It meant that he wanted to play with them when HE wanted and on HIS terms. When he was done playing, he was done watching (much like the dad with the puking kid which happened to me on many an occasion as well).

It got to the point where I NEVER had a girl's night, I NEVER went to RS, and I didn't have any friends. I even stopped going to church after a while because I was stuck with a nursing infant and a toddler all by myself through Sacrament Meeting because he wanted nothing to do with the Church. And, again, I had no friends.

Needless to say, I am no longer married to him...

My husband now loves our children and doesn't ever see it as "babysitting." I DO ask if he is okay with watching them, but that is out of courtesy, not requirement. He even offers to watch my friend's children when we go to RS. He goes to every dr appointment and every birthday party. As we speak, he is helping build a rocket for the space derby. He's not so fond of diaper changing, but who is? I'm just looking forward to him moving past the naked doll phase into the having to buy the daughter's tampons phase. Now THAT is an involved father! Which, is how my dad was/is and we are still very close (although he would rather not mention the tampons... lol).

As a side note- our ward doesn't use the YW/YM due to them being under 18. Somebody told me there is some church policy or something that says they can't be used without an adult, which defeats the whole purpose.

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