Raising children is complex, and no two parenting styles are the same. However, trying to teach children equality and responsibility seem to be two themes that resonate with many parents. That may be why one mom’s powerful message about gender-neutral chores has gone viral.
The Valuable Lesson One Mom Taught Her Son
In 2016, Michigan mom Nikkole Paulun was a single mother of a six-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl. On Facebook, she often shared parenting tips and advice, so when she began posting photos of her son Lyle doing household chores like cooking and doing the laundry, she didn’t think twice.
Then the post went viral, with more than 113,000 likes.
“I teach my son to cook and do household chores. Why? Because household work isn’t just for women,” Paulun captured the powerful post. “Because one day he might be a single man, living on his own, who will actually know how to do laundry and not eat takeout every night,” she continued.
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“Teaching my son how to do these things and be a productive member of society both outside the home and inside starts with ME. It’s okay to let your child be a child but still teach them lifelong lessons along the way.”
In an interview with ABC News, Paulun further explained her point. “I really just want to make sure that he grows up to be somebody who is self-sufficient and that he’s not considered lazy,” the 23-year-old said. “He’s going to be a good, hardworking man. You can’t have that if you don’t start teaching them when they’re young.”
Paulun explained to the news outlet that as a single mom, she’s had to teach her son everything as a mother and a father would. “I was his T-ball coach, and then I have to go home and teach him how to cook too,” she explained.
She also revealed she comes by it honestly: her mom was also a single parent and an electrician at Ford Motor Company. “She knew how to do all of the ‘guy stuff.’ She taught me and she’s still teaching me.”
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At the end of the day, Paulun just hopes that the lessons she teaches her son now will stick with him into adulthood. So far, she added, it seems to be working. “He knows that I take on a huge load by taking care of them, so he tries to help me out a lot,” Paulun added. “He’s really respectable.”
As for the other parents trying to do the same with their kids? Paulun’s original post has one solid piece of advice: “Remember parents, a man who believes he shouldn’t have to cook or do chores was once a boy who was never taught any better.”
How One Mom Proved the Importance of Breaking Gender Stereotypes
Parenting is hard, and no parent is perfect. But as Paulun’s viral post proves, it’s always heartwarming to see another parent trying their best to raise good human beings, especially when that means discarding previous gender roles in their lessons.
It’s never too early to start teaching kids vital life skills like cooking and cleaning, even if you do enjoy doing those tasks for them. Making dinner together and letting kids pour or stir, letting them load the dryer, or even asking them to help unload cutlery from the dishwasher are all simple tasks you can do together when kids are younger.
On the reverse side, it can also be helpful to teach younger girls about yard work, car maintenance, and other traditional “male” roles. By discarding previous gender stereotypes and giving kids an opportunity to help in all aspects of the home, you’re not just raising more well-rounded and self-sufficient humans: you’re also allowing them to pursue more interests while potentially uncovering new ones you never even thought they’d have.
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