Hayley's blog: What do I tell my son?
Ok, so the title to this makes it sound like it’s going to be about something far more important than the latest publicity stunt by Piers Morgan. But (a) I thought if I wrote “papoose” in the title nobody would read this and (b) whilst we all know that everything he says is to get a reaction and he thrives off the attention that such statements attract, these kind of comments are so dangerous for our children, especially our boys.
My son is two and a half so he still lives in a blissful world where the likes of Piers Morgan don’t exist. When he was small enough, he was carried by my husband and me pretty equally and, other than a conversation over who wanted the cuddles or who had the back strength that day to carry him, there were no other considerations. The fact that one of us is a man certainly didn’t enter our minds in those sleep-deprived moments of trying to get out the house. The thought, that a man carrying his son in a carrier made for people to carry their children was less manly in some way, is bizarre. I know that, you know that, but what about our children? Fortunately we haven’t got to the “why” stage yet with our toddler, but we are not far off and when we get there I am nervous about how I explain such comments (without using swear words!!) in a helpful and constructive way.
My son is growing up in a household where my husband and I both work; we share nursery drop-offs and pick-ups, we share cooking and household chores, we take bathtimes and the bedtime routine in turn and we have changed a pretty much equal number of nappies each. This works for us. We both spend time during the week with our son, it’s flexible if we need to work around our jobs or after-work events, we share the crappy bits but we both get to enjoy the special moments too. Our genders do not come into this set-up at all. We do it this way because it works for us. At nursery, my son obviously has friends who are girls and boys. His best friend is a little girl and their faces light up when they see each other in the morning. If I told him that one day him and Grace may be treated differently when it comes to applying for jobs or caring for their own children, I expect that he would be confused. If I try my hardest to make sure that my son treats women in the workplace and outside the workplace in the way in which I expect to be treated, and he grows up in a home / nursery / school environment where men and women are equal, how do I then explain comments such as those made by Piers Morgan? More to the point, why should I have to explain those comments? It’s 2018.
Whilst I don’t yet have an answer to explaining such things to my son when I need to, I think the one thing we can learn from the #danielcraig #papoose social media reaction which followed the original comment, and something that our children may do well to remember, is you do not mess with parents of small children. We may have given Piers Morgan exactly what he wanted but at least we made absolutely sure that he and everyone else knew that his comments were ludicrous and outdated and certainly not shared by a majority of parents across the world (including James Bond himself!)
Hayley is a Senior Associate at an international law firm based in London. She works 4 days a work and spends Mondays with her gorgeous, crazy 2 year old.
Category: A Citymother's Diary