The Age of Conservative Parenting?

July 19, 2006

Our “Emily T” wrote a thought-provoking piece for her blog, Doing It All Again (it’s in our blogroll), about how the “mommy wars” are the latest misogynist acts in an age of conservative parenting. Here is an excerpt of how little parenting has changed from previous conservative generations, which may make for interesting discussion:

The traditional conservative parenting and spouse values are everywhere. I see them in action when I go out for meals and hear how house and financial management is divided in most households among my peer groups. They are also evident in how we are raising children, from feeding to caring. While I don’t necessarily believe in total liberal parenting, I feel a bit shocked that I am a conservative parent to a degree. I do feel a bit ashamed if Molly acts her age in a supermarket and becomes a cat on a lead, not cooperating. This is because to be deemed a good parent, your child has to act like a mini-adult and be “reasonable”. Just as Raven said in her article, I am fixated on good manners with Molly; at the table, in public, when she hits someone and respect for her parents. We have the naughty kitchen for time out. Yep, it’s pretty rigid. But I am not like that as a partner. I expect to be able to see friends and go out when I want, and I would never restrain Mike from doing the same. We share all money and all the chores. We equal parent too.

I would disagree that teaching your child to be polite and behave in public is a “conservative” value. It makes sense for every parent.

But for the longest time, I was surprised at how my husband and I fell into traditional gender roles: I always did the cooking, the childcare and the more “feminine” household chores like the laundry. He would do the handiwork. But I must say that there’s nothing like having a talk with DH and letting him know there is other work to be done in the house. I did just that when he got back from his book tour and since then he’s been bathing Ari and putting him to bed. He even cooked the other day — the first time in like 8 years! I think guys will get away with what you let them.