When I had my son five years ago I decided there and then that he would not be brought up with the traditional stereotyped gender roles. I wanted him to realise that keeping a house and looking after children is a joint effort that both parents have equal responsibility for.
I was determined he would learn to clear up after himself (as opposed to me doing it) and how to operate household appliances such as the dishwasher and the washing machine. His dirty laundry would be in the laundry basket (where it should be) and he would be quite capable of cooking his own dinner. I did not expect all this straight away you understand but it would all be in place by the time he left home.
What an idealistic idiot I was! Here I am five years later now also with a daughter aged three and things have not turned out how I planned. Not how I planned at all!
I am now fairly convinced that the gender roles are not just a creation of society but are an inbuilt part of the female/male makeup. While some men seem to be able to overcome this and realise that it is just as much their job to keep the house tidy and ensure the children are well cared for as it is their partners, some do not.
I wanted my son to be ones of those that do overcome it! I also wanted my daughter to feel that her role in life was not simply to cook, clean and look after any children she may have but so far life seems to have overridden my desires!
My daughter spends her days looking after her dolls and tidying up while my son spends his wrestling imaginary opponents and making as much mess as possible.
Oh well, that’s another parenting ideal I don’t seem to have achieved.