I was tired, but tonight I dragged myself out to my favorite bookstore, Vroman’s, for a presentation on the social world of children – especially tween and teen girls. Ours is nine, but holy cow 4th grade seems to be when everything starts exploding socially.
So here’s the thing, the place was packed…with moms…and three dads. Now, let me say up front that I don’t blame fathers for not being there, at least not entirely. Because I realized that even in my own family, even with me writing a book about how to remodel stereotypes about the role of mothers and of fathers, here’s how it played out.
I got the announcement of the workshop via email from a woman in my community who sends local news out to women. How many men are on such a list that would also include such an announcement?
My radar is up for these social issues, having talked about them at length with other mothers, and I immediately assumed responsibility and emailed the contact for more information. Why didn’t I talk to my husband about which of us should take this on?
I forwarded the information to the mothers of two of our daughter’s girlfriends. Why didn’t I include the fathers?
I proceeded to coordinate with my mother friends as to how one of us might get to the event. At this point I finally included my husband in the logistics, but why didn’t I include the possibility that maybe he could go?
So my husband- and a few others – didn’t end up at the presentation due to a series of my own assumptions about this being my responsibility. My bet is that fathers weren’t actively avoiding this presentation, but that similar scenarios played out in most of the families.
It wasn’t until I saw the room packed with women that I realized what I had done. So when I got home, I downloaded the info to my husband and said, “Next time something like this comes up, I think you should go.”
And he agreed.