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Anne

I'm in the nurture camp too. I think there probably are natural differences but we have a hard time seeing what they really are because we're so sure we know how girls act and how boys act. And even if boys and girls differ on average in some respect, there is probably a lot of overlap. I don't think you can tell anything from looking at a small sample of boys and girls (especially just one boy and one girl, as many parents of two different gendered kids like to do) even if you could overcome deep-seated ideas about the differences between boys and girls.

My son loved pink until about four or five when he decided it was a girl color and instead his favorite color was red. Until then, I had him promoting "pink is for everybody" to everyone, including his teachers, darn them for saying that pink is for girls!

As for laundry, I do it in our house but only because when my husband does it he doesn't do it to my standards. I make him plan birthday parties though because I am too antisocial for that! So a lot of it just breaks down by who's better at one thing or another, or who has pickier standards.

Cynical

Anne: Exactly... I would love to read some scientific studies about this, rather than listen to yet another anecdote about a girl who put on necklaces while the boys chased each other around with guns at a birthday party. I just haven't found any yet.

And oboy, I hadn't even thought much about the socialization he'll get from teachers, I'd mainly been thinking about the other kids. I'm in for a rude awakening :-)

The "who has pickier standards" is an interesting way of doing it, in most relationships where I've seen this work, each party tends to have something they are good at but they still value the importance of the thing they're not good at. But in my case, the things I'm better at are not as highly valued or critical... e.g. my husband is a great cook, and I'm not. But I remember to write and send thankyou notes. Um. I'll be the first to admit, it just doesn't compare :-)

Keith

Okay, a few bits of anecdotal evidence, apropos of nothing...

1) Sarah and I pretty much equally share the laundry duty, as we pretty much both hate it. The only thing that isn't really shared is that some of her girly clothes (no, not bras, etc) I just don't know how to hang up or I know I would mess up trying to hang them. Since she cares more about her appearance than mine, I normally defer those to her to hang up. However, we're both there washing and sorting and folding/putting away.

2) Dinah was very active in the womb. Especially during pieces she didn't like when Sarah was practicing with the DSO.

3) Nature vs nuture: its a bit of both. My Dad and brother love sports, we were in little league, went to all sorts of ball games, and sports was often on the tv. I do not give a rat's ass about sports in general. So, nuture failed there, its just not in my nature. However, my love of reading I attribute to my dad, so nurturing worked there. (No, I'm not dissing my mom, but those are the two clearest cut examples I have.)

anonymouse

http://www.theonion.com/news/index.php?issue=4126&n=3

kz

I'm solidly in the nurture camp, I think Husband is in more of the Nature camp. He does claim, after all, that his inability to ask directions or put away laundry comes from the genetic material missing on his Y chromosome.

I don't buy it.

Although, I do see a bit of Nature involved with my three girls. All three have had distinct personalities from birth, although they moved about very similarly in the womb.

I have to say that your Husband posts are raising the evil green monster between me and Hubby. Ah well, I have to keep telling myself that I'd much rather the kids be happy, fed, and involved than have a sink clear of dirty dishes. Must... keep.... eye.... on.... priorities. And if you get both, then good for you!

MaryGarth

When it comes to gender difference stuff, I'm absolutely with you. We didn't find out the sex of our kids while I was pregnant, either (also to the annoyance of family members--which just confirmed for me why I didn't want to know). The people who are so clearly imposing all kinds of gender distinctions on their kids, and then insist that the difference is all nature, drive me BONKERS.

Laundry-wise, with our last move, we moved to a house that had no dryer. As an interim measure, we found a local laundry that would pick up bags of dirty laundry from our back porch once a week and return them --neatly folded or on hangers--later the same day. Let's just say it's been almost three years now, and we haven't bothered getting a dryer. Fred is better than I am about dividing up the folded clothes into piles for each person and distributing them, and I feel guilt about not doing more of my share of that.

If we didn't have "Mr. Suds", I'd say your solution of having each person do his or her own laundry is really ideal--I point out to students in my family sociology class that there's no particular reason that marriage should be any different from a roommate relationship in this regard... (mind you, they look at me as if I'm crazy when I say this--their mothers pretty much all did all the laundry... and they'll even say they think their mothers liked to do it...)

Cynical

Kz: I hear you on the priorities. I work and so we can afford to have a house cleaner twice a month, which has made that less of an issue for us. But before we did that, it was definitely a point of contention (i.e. he was upset that I didn't do it more, but I held the point of view that spending time with my son was more valuable and it would just get dirty again anyway).

Mary: Oooooh that laundry place sounds wonderful!

And I have to admit, I was probably into my late teens before I realized that my mother probably actually didn't *like* cooking dinner every night for us all, 5 kids at the height of it. And yet we had takeout or went out a surprisingly small number of times... I suspect that with my kids, we'll have non-home-cooked meals more often than I did growing up.

So, family sociology - can you recommend a (non-textbook) book that discusses these types of issues? I've been thinking about it a lot lately and would like to read up.

kz

My preferred bathroom reading right now is "Queen Bees and Wannabes," that discusses how to help your daughter get through the cliques of childhood (and adulthood,at that) and survive "Girl World."

Sure, you might be having boys, but it also has a couple of chapters on "Boy World." The discussion of socialization of boys, and girls, isn't in-depth, but it is interesting and thought-provoking.

And our dinner for three girls, Mom, and Dad tonight? Canned soup and Dairy Queen. Yah, I'm not one for cooking many meals, either. But, hey, I work all day! We're lucky we had soup in the pantry!

I gotta find myself a Mr. Suds.

Elizabeth

We both do laundry -- but we do it communally. Otherwise we'd be running half-loads all the time.

I'm sometimes annoyed that T. doesn't do more of it, since he's home with the boys during the day, and it seems so easy to me to just move things from the washer to the dryer.

Who does the kid's laundry?

KC

I was wondering if anyone was going to ask... :-) I do, the vast majority of the time. I've got it down to a science, there's no "separating whites and colors" for him, it goes right from the single hamper into the washer on cold, into the dryer, back into the closet and drawers.

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