May 062015

Kings rule the Kingdom.

Men have the adventures.

Daddy’s work.

Men make more money.

Women cook and clean.

These are not the beliefs I want my son to have. This is not the world I want him to live in. It should not be reality.

Personally, I’ve worked since I was the legal age to work – babysitting before that. Saving all of my hard-earned money while balancing good grades and practicing habits that became my passion. It was what I saw my parents do and, though my mother worked inside the home I saw what she did so valued her hard work even more. Supporting myself and believing I was equal to everyone else was just something I understood to be true.

Fast Forward to Present Day

My son is 5 years old and has two working parents. Yes, his Daddy has to drive to work and works longer hours during the day which leaves me to be teacher and house keeper during the day. I also work from home so can be made available pending complete disaster and part time so a lot of the clean-up, laundry and everyday errands are up me to (and my son). It’s a balance but it works overall.

And then I hear my son say – “It’s Daddy’s because he paid for it.” “I’ll need to ask Daddy,” after teaching or instructing him something. And “He’ll take me,” when I’m perfectly capable of teaching, taking and paying for things. But when it came to the purchase of a car he heard Daddy talk specs, saw Daddy hand over the money and so began the complex of believing Daddy rules. I admit, I know very little about vehicles except for how to drive them and yes, pump gas into them, so the stereotype actually¬† kind of fits this one.

But It’s Also in Stories

Since my son was felt in my belly I read stories to him. As an author I understand very well the importance of story time and there is always at least a bookmark in two books, one for my son and one for me. Even with nursery rhymes I noticed the focus put on men leaving the home and women staying home to cook and clean. Even if not in the words in the pictures, with women of all walks of life dressed in dresses or aprons. Putting on make-up and setting the table.

It’s perfectly ok to me for a woman to do that if she wants. I appreciate the women who love staying home with their kids and enjoy cooking. They have my praise. It’s just not something all women do or want.

I am a mom and love it. I enjoy cooking and baking though I don’t wear an apron and my son is always with me. I also enjoy working, practicing my passion and earning my own money to pay for the house, vehicles, my son’s activities. And I would thoroughly enjoy reading books that honour all types of families – from the stay at home dad and working mom, to the childless couples, and both hard working parents.

I want to read articles in the newspaper about women who earn just as much as men or more because I believe we are all equal and should be celebrating Men’s Day just as we do International Women’s Day. It’s not for me about superiority or making one person feel less than the other, it’s about learning about all of what is right and just in the world and celebrating everyone for their uniqueness and ability.

This world, my own and my son’s, should be more about love and less about roles.

Please, if you know of a children’s book that celebrates equality, let me know by commenting below. And when I find some, I’ll share some here, too.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

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