My second grader daughter shared with me yesterday her views on parenting. Being a mummy is really easy: all you have to do is give hugs and kisses and make things better. Being a daddy is much harder. You have to put on an undershirt, a shirt, a tie or bow tie, trousers, and generally get dressed up all the time. I was more than a little shocked by these observations. I rebounded by saying that it seems that moms only need to wear lipstick, and made light of the fact that it would be funny to see moms driving to school and all being naked…because they did not need to bother with how they dressed or being dressed at all. My child understood how I had interpreted what she had said and rolled over laughing at this thought.
How my child came to this view-point is a real puzzle. I am a stay-home dad, and I rarely dress up during the day–shorts and tee-shirt are normal for me. My wife, by contrast, dresses up each day, and she and my daughter spend time in the bathroom getting dressed and ready almost every morning. But, yet in the eyes of my child, this reality has been totally reversed.
It’s hard enough to get into the mindset of other adults, but for an adult to get into a child’s mind or to see the world through a child’s eyes can be an even bigger challenge.