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As A Mother Of Boys, What I Would Like To Say Is…

As A Mother Of Boys, What I Would Like To Say Is…

As a mother of boys, what I would like to say is, I feel truly blessed! Now I realize every child is different and we all have unique experiences, but I have been fortunate enough to raise two kind and good hearted boys. Some days though, I have to take the bad with the good…

1. Tonka Trucks vs. Barbie Dolls

I’ll be honest, as a mom, I would have much rather played Barbie dolls than Tonka trucks. Barbie dolls don’t require any bashing of things, flying off cliffs, blowing up, or loud and obnoxious engine noises. You can’t brush the hair of army men; you can’t change their outfits, only their weapons. Nerf gun bullets would be found in the strangest places and Lego pieces always seemed to multiply overnight.

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2. Boys Don’t Require Bras

When it comes to maintenance, boys definitely win my mom vote. Boy’s haircuts; $20.00. Girl’s haircuts? Yeah right! Try a wash, cut, highlight, dry and style; $120.00. Boy’s toiletries usually consist of razors, shaving cream, acne pads, deodorant and perhaps some hair gel. Girls require bras with matching panties, tampons, acne wash, acne cream, foundation, lipstick, eye liner, hair gel, hair spray, a flat iron, nail polish, and earrings in every shape and color, just to name a few (shall I keep going?!). Shower and prep time for boys will typically run about 7 minutes. Girls? About an hour and a half, and that’s on a ‘good hair day’.

3. We’re Out of Milk Again?!

Just when I’ve got moms excited with the idea that raising boys is less expensive, I’m about to burst their bubble. Having boys, especially during their teenage years, will literally double the grocery bill. When they are little, we stress to them the importance of eating all their food. “It will make you big and strong”, we tell them. Years later, we will find ourselves asking them not to eat all the food! I have woken up many, many mornings to empty milk jugs and half eaten cereal boxes from my son’s late night snacking.

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4. Hello Hospital

Let’s face it; boys are not prissy when it comes to climbing roof tops or jumping bike ramps. It seems to be in their nature to try these devilish tricks without putting forth a single thought of logic beforehand. I know our hearts sink just thinking about it, but the nearest doctor’s office or hospital may become our home away from home. A mom of boys will be no stranger to broken bones and stitches.

5. For the Love of Bugs

Most of us moms think of a new family pet as a fluffy kitten or a playful pup. Well, let’s just scratch that idea right now. I think a boy’s first and favorite pet will be the ones we don’t welcome into our home. If it’s ugly and creepy, they want our Tupperware containers to keep it in by their bedside. If we want to hit it with a fly swatter, they want to name it and love it. From ants to worms, beetles to spiders, these critters will habitat your home, like it or not.

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6. Boys Don’t Whine- They Throw Punches

Boys in general tend to be less dramatic. They aren’t too whiney or overly emotional. They’d rather kick up some karate moves or throw punches before they’d yell or cry. My sons and I bond by wrestling around the kitchen. They hang out with their friends by pile driving each other on the trampoline or playing tackle football in the yard. We spend nights together watching “The Walking Dead”, not “The Notebook”.

7. Boys Are the Biggest Teasers, but the Best Protectors

I remember getting my first pair of cowgirl boots last year. I was super excited because I always wanted a pair, but a little uncomfortable too as I was new to this type of style. So I paraded around my son’s room in my boots and matching western shirt, hoping to get his thoughts. I knew he disapproved when he started to laugh and then belted out a twangy, voice crackling country song. On the other hand though, my son wouldn’t hesitate to have my back the minute someone started tossing around “Your Momma” jokes. My boys can tease each other and their little sisters from sun up to sun down, but no one else better even think of trying that; mess with the bull, get the horns!

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8. What Was Your Name Again?!

Ever since they got their own room and a video game console, I don’t see much of my teenage boys anymore. They only come out for something to eat, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get a “what’s up?!” as they pass through to the kitchen. I tease them by sarcastically asking, “What was your name again?”, as if it’s been ages since I’ve seen them last! I’ll go up to their room to chat for a little while or take them out for ice cream, but I have to respect their age now and know they want their privacy.

Being a mom of boys truly is a blessing, but it comes with many ups and downs. They will love us, they will hate us, but through it all, it’s still the most amazing experience in the world. They will always be our bug collecting and karate kicking little boys, no matter how grown they are.

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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