Back to school

January 4, 2010 dstevens11

I think one of the more depressing days of the year is the first Monday after the holidays. All of the anticipation and preparation of the holidays are over, it’s cold as hell here in eastern PA, back to work (I work as an executive assistant in a downtown Philly bank – I’m grateful), and the kids going back to school. The hectic tempo of life is back and back in full force. I absolutely love the lazy days of the post Christmas week vacation. Kids sleep in, I sleep in, there generally is not a schedule, and I love spending that quality time with my children. 

Like most moms my weekday mornings start with my own 5:30 shower, start getting ready for work, then getting the kids up and off to school. Drew and Jamie both take the same bus to school, while I drop off Aly at a neighbors house across town while I head downtown. I usually get out of work by 4:30 and head back home, pick up Aly at the same neighbors house around 5:15 pm, and back in my house by 5:30. Jamie for most of the year takes the bus home after school by herself because Drew almost always has some sort of practice going on with sports (now wrestling) after school, and we all get to the same place by 5:45 or 6 pm. I start setting dinner as soon as I get home, we eat by 6:15 or 6:30, clean up at 7 to 7:15, get the kids finished with their homework by 8 pm. Jamie and Aly are real disciplined with their stuff, both are straight A students, mainly follow-up for me. Drew struggles to get b’s anc c’s and for the most part demands most of my time helping him out with his homework. I get into my pj’s around 9 pm, may watch a show that I taped on TiVO (Jamie and Aly are usually with me), say g’night to Aly at 10, and am usually asleep before Jamie and Drew. Want to know what I do the rest of the week? Hit repeat 🙂 Like my own little personal groundhog day. I’m not complaining, I know there are millions women like me, but that’s why I appreciate the past week off so much. My favorite week of the year. 

Getting back to my week, the one person who has always been the glue to whole operation is Jamie. The few hours between the end of school and until I get home is when Jamie helps out the most. She helps get dinner together, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen…ect while she is doing her homework. When I get home, usually the whole dinner is in progress or done, and she is with me as well as Aly cleaning up afterwards. Jamie in general is a neat friek, her room is an incredible specimen of organization. She has been a godsend running the house, especially since my divorce a couple of years back. 

We had a big snowstorm here last week sometime, and I got into a huge argument with my son Drew because I was draggin him out of bed to shovel the walk and the driveway so I could get my car out out, and I wouldn’t slip walking in work heels in the ice. I grew up in a house with two older brothers and a father who would always “just do it” (Nike time) without being asked whenever it snowed. My ex was always really good at it without being nagged. It’s kind of a big job, there is a lot to shovel, but Drew knows I pay him also to do it, so he has that motivation plus in my mind he should do it without being asked. 

Well when we were arguing, he said “I will only do it, when Jimmy (Jamie) comes out and does it with me. I don’t see why he never has to do it. Why  am I the only one who has to do all of the shoveling, lawn mowing, raking leaves, bringing in the groceries? He never has to do anything!!!” Of course I responded something get you *!@ out there right now mister speach, and explained to him that Jamie contributes in so may ways he never sees or knows, because he is never home after school. Which he responded, “He gets to do all of the easy stuff around the house, while I get all the dirty work. It’s not fair.” It went on further, but that was the jist. 

He went out, but it stroke a chord with me. One, it was an atypical male response that was disrespectful for everyday house duties, which no one knows how difficult that are, and he was right I did have an expectation for him to do all of the things he mentioned. As a 14 year old boy, he should learn to do it without asking. Like I said my brothers all did, and I never heard them give my parents any grief and I do not think they were paid to do it. I doubt he would talk to my ex like that. 

But as far as the job description fitting the gender role; I am soo guilty. I never expect or ask Jamie or Aly for that matter to help out with those things, or include her with her brother in the process. I did it unconsciously without realizing it. I look at Drew who is a big strong male (which he is) who can knock these things out quickly and Jamie as the female, who I know like myself would struggle physically with some of those jobs. As a part of the puberty suppression, Jamie has very low  testosterone levels which makes her tired easily as well does not leave her much physical strength. Jamie for that matter, never thought of herself being included either, yet she is the one child in my house who I never have to ask to help at all. She just jumps right in and never asks for any allowance. It’s interesting!

Overall, it’s normal teenage stuff but it does demonstrate some of the gender struggles between Drew and Jamie. It also teaches me to get Drew more involved with the contributions Jamie is making, and Jamie and Aly to realize their brother’s contributions in some of the outside chores to develop mutual respect. 

Well Back to school tomorrow, it’s late here now and I’m stretching it out for as long as I can. Thank you for all of the kind words this week. Have a great Monday! Love, Dana


Entry Filed under: transgender

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lori D  |  January 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    First of all, I applaud you for taking the time to respond to those who comment. One of the best parts of blogging is not just writing TO an audience but having the audience dialogue with you. Adding your thoughts and thanking them for their comments go a long way at keeping a valuable readership.

    As for Jamie doing gender-specific chores, she’s doing what she think comes naturally to her, based on her notions of male and female in our society. I see nothing wrong with that anymore than my own son now gags and screams out when I jokingly try to put lipstick on him, only to hear him yell back, “I’m a boy, Maddie, not a girl! Eeew gross!”

    • 2. dstevens11  |  January 4, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      Thanks Lori again for your support. It’s been an enlightening few days. I am assuming “Maddie” is Mom-Daddie, that’s so cute!

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