When people tell you how everything changes when you have children, you grimly laugh and acknowledge the vast unknown ahead of you, all the while secretly resolving not to change yourself one bit if you're able.
The thing is, some of that sea change sneaks up on you, politely tapping you on the shoulder as it brushes past through your front door. It's often a welcome intruder in the end, as it happens, but unexpected nonetheless.
Take, for example, some turns of phrase, little cultural sayings you toss off without thinking about them . . . a certain adult male in our home - let's call him the Anonymous Husband for sake of his privacy - occasionally uses the phrase "___ like a girl" as a pejorative. "You throw like a girl" and such.
Pre-kid me? Didn't sweat this silly, if sexist, phrase too much. Sure, I'd roll my eyes and call him out on it occasionally, noting that the woman he chose to marry was, surprisingly enough, once a little girl herself, not to mention the legion of other former little girls out there doing amazing things. Knowing in my cold, icy heart that the AH was (and is) no sexist, though, I'd quickly forget about it, preferring to pick and choose my marital battles.
|photo credit: Ziem Photography (hi, Z!)|
And then Change toddled in in the form of the wee CEO, and somehow the raising of a little boy, the stewardship of that role, changed my take on this. Over the weekend, when the AH told the crabby Master P to "stop whining like a little girl!", New Mom kicked in:
"You know, we really shouldn't use that phrase anymore. I'm serious. Plus, whining isn't gender specific - have you met you after your team loses?"
"Oh, settle down," he laughed. "I'm just kidding."
"No, really. What will you tell our imaginary little girl one day when she's whining?"
[Silence] "Ok, ok. There may be a double standard at play here."
I realize it's just a phrase, but is it? Do I want our boy getting subtle messages from us - from society is a sad given - that being a girl is somehow lesser? Different, of course, but lesser - really?
I'm no PC warrior - this quasi-traditional lady is a stay-at-home-mom, for the love of Neiman Marcus - and I heartily roll my eyes at the Take Offense at Everything Team; that being said, I now see this stuff differently. I don't want to hand in my Sense of Humor card just because I have a kid, but the language we surround him with, and the feelings behind that - I just think it counts now. I didn't see this coming, but I do.
Off to wake up the boy and take care of the sick AH - like a girl.
What do you think? Any tips on this from the boy mom crowd?