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 children...no, 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.
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.