When I was growing up, my family had dinner together every day. Never with the TV on, usually with music playing in the background, glasses of milk for the kids and water for the adults. We sat at the table every night and we talked. Everyone talked about how their days were, what we learned at school, challenges at work, sharing the news about our friends and family; we engaged with each other every day. On Sundays, the same rules applied except that the food was usually more labour intensive to prepare, and we always ate in the dining room on the fine china.
They say that you will do what you know, and so it’s really no surprise to me that every night we all sit at the table to have dinner. Although, our fine china is not dishwasher safe like my parents is, so on Sundays we just eat on regular plates. But I digress.
While I try to engage everyone in discussion about their days, some times that conversational tactic runs out before I’ve even taken my first bite. On those nights, the kids ask random questions and we do our best to engage in discussion with them. One night though, over the Christmas break, Connor asked, “So Mom: what is man’s work?”
The feminist in me immediately bristled. “Where is he getting this from,” I raged internally. MOMD dropped his fork, his terror shining from his eyes, while he tried desperately to see how I would respond, without looking at me thus to provoke my wrath. Being in communications, he tried to firmly get control of the question and started sputtering something like, “Well Connor…”
Cooler heads prevailed however, and I interrupted MOMD with the faithful advice given by my OB many, many years ago. “Well Connor, ” I said, “what do you think man’s work is?”
Connor: “I’m not sure.”
MOMD: “Well, let’s think about the kind of work I do, and the kind of work Mom does.”
Connor: “Oh… ok. So like, Dad does the laundry, cleans the bathrooms, washes the floors… So I guess that’s man’s work.”
Me: “Well, my work is done here.”