Gender Roles

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I don’t want to beat this dead bloggernacle horse too much, but yesterday’s elders quorum lesson brought a couple of things up I wanted to address here. I should point out that I did address them there as well.

The lesson was titled “The Noble Calling of Parents”. Naturally, the discussion led to the roles mothers and fathers play in raising a family.

The first thing that irked me was when someone said that motherhood is the more important of the two parental roles. I entirely disagree with this statement. Motherhood is not more important than fatherhood. In fact, fatherhood is not more important than motherhood. They are equal. Neither is better or more necessary. Both mother and father may have different roles in raising children, but each role is essential.

Actually, I find the idea that motherhood is more important to be somewhat offensive, suggesting that my role as a parent is less valued than Mary’s. Is it any wonder so many fathers take a backseat role in raising children? After all, if we’re regarded as less than mothers anyhow, why not let mothers live up to the expectation.

Another statement that irked me was the idea that women are more patient (or compassionate, or kind, or understanding, etc) than men. If this really is true, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was due to cultural conditioning within the Church. After all, if men are repeatedly taught they are not naturally patient, compassionate, loving and so forth and need the priesthood to have those qualities, perhaps they start to believe it.

In our home, I am the more patient one. I am the one who gets frustrated less easily. I am the one who can react more calmly in a stressful situation. Mary isn’t a loose cannon or just hanging by a string?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùdon’t get me wrong?¢‚Ǩ‚Äùbut in this case, we don’t fit the stereotypical mould.

One other comment was regarding mothers working at home. Some members of the quorum used the Proclamation to say that a woman’s place is in the home. I pointed out that the proclamation does not say a woman is to stay home or not work outside of the home; it says that she should nurture the children.

One brother made a comment along the lines of how children could be nurtured if they are in daycare. I suppose the same way as if they were in grade two or grade nine.

If there was one thing I came away from that lesson with (besides an appreciation for the instructor for inciting so much discussion and participation), it is the fact that I am tired of the downplaying of men’s roles and attributes simply in an effort to appease the feminists (i.e. women should stay home, but they are more loving and motherhood is more important, etc).

7 thoughts on “Gender Roles

  1. These same sentiments towards the ‘traditional roles’ of men and women drive me crazy as well, Kim.

    It’s just not logical to tell either member of the parental unit that they are less capable than the other in any specific category.

    Why not stress that both parties need to cooperate and make sure all the children’s needs are met? – Regardless of which parent is filling any particular role at any particular time.

    My lord, even some women latch onto these concepts. Concepts which would serve to marginalize them, distance them from their husbands and pidgeon-hole their entire gender.

    The men, in some cases, see this as an easy-out. “Why should I be expected to handle the kids? Everyone knows that the ladies are better with the children.”

    Pa-thet-ic.

    Hrmm.
    I sounded a bit mad when I wrote this.
    Well, I guess it’s a hot-button topic with me.

  2. Thanks for this post – I completely agree. My husband is infinitely more patient and even tempered than I am. He is an outstanding parent – and seems more naturally suited to parenthood than I am. While I struggle with certain aspects of parenting, it all seems to come very easily to him. We’ve taken turns being home, and he generally does a much better job of being an at-home parent.

  3. Be still my heart I am actually agreeing with you Kim lol. It annoys me when both parents fail to do “things” just because they say the other parent is better at them. I was watching Everybody Loves Raymond the other week when Ray was telling a newly married Robert how he makes such a mess of doing a specific chore that he got asked to do that Debra will automatically do it. What he didn’t realize was that not only was she listening but she told Robert’s new wife what she heard.

    The guys never saw it coming. I see this in some of our sons’ behaviors with their children/spouses and I get on their case when I hear it! There is no mother and father roles in my eyes. You are a parent plain and simple.

  4. This is too hot a topic for me to comment on to any degree, but let me just say that practise, both in the Church and out, makes the role of mother infinitely more important than that of the father….rhetoric aside.
    Experience has been a masterful teacher.

  5. I don’t feel either role is more important either. After all, is our Heavenly Mother more important than our Heavenly Father? I don’t think so. Parenthood is important. Fortunately I have never had to be a single mother, and I pray that Kim lives forever so this will never be the case, but I already know how vital his presence and influence is in the lives of our children and though of course, when necessary, a mother or a father can try to fill both roles, that’s exactly what happens, not just motherhood, or fatherhood, but both. Because children need both.

    And Kim is more patient than I am :). I am not completely impatient of course, but I suppose the fact I am at home all day contrinutes to this and I give in more easily than he does, which annoys me (at myself mainly). He is also very compassionate towards our children and nurturing. When they were babies and waking up at night, if they didn’t want to nurse, it was Kim who mainly got up and walked the floor with them, rocking them back to sleep. He is a wonderful father and I do not feel at ALL that my role as a mother is more important than his. I birthed them, we both parent them and they would feel the loss if either of us were gone. None more than the other. I am not more important than Kim in anyway, nor is my role as their mother more important in anyway.

  6. “they would feel the loss if either of us were gone.”

    Which is probably why they both bawled when I left for Vancouver last year and Seattle this year.

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