Recently Lexi told me that she didn't want to hurt my feelings, but "Daddy is smarter than you." She said it a couple of different ways, so I would understand how she came to this conclusion, or perhaps because she fancied twisting the knife in my weeping heart. Now granted, I was folding laundry at the time, and to the casual observer, this is a meaningless, unskilled task. In fact, she sees me do all kinds of things that probably reinforce the idea that I grew up dreaming of doing menial housekeeping tasks. All day. Lexi argued that Daddy travels and Daddy goes to work and Daddy has meetings. Daddy is important and important equals big brains.
And Greg is smart. Some of the fine ladies from Greg's team were extolling Lexi's talking points at the holiday party a couple of weeks ago - well, they didn't say he was smarter than me per se - but they made a point to tell me how bright my husband is. Which I know. I married the guy and I like clever . No new news there. I'm glad Greg's team respects him. I am glad Lexi respects and adores her Dad. This is right and good.
But I was disappointed and well, irritated, that Lexi deduced that I am just plain dumb(er) because I am staying home with her. That I couldn't make my way in the world, like Greg, because I am not capable. I have been the main caregiver because it has simply made sense for our family. I have often wondered if I were ever in a situation where I needed to travel and I provided for the family financially, how would Greg and I rework our situation. I think Greg would do a fine job at home, and struggle with some of the repetition of running a household, just like me. I mean how many creative ways can you mop the floor, really.
Lexi and I spent another 30 minutes talking about her assessment, but really about gender roles. The more we talked, the more I realized that she is starting to build opinions that boys are universally better and more capable, that girls are universally nicer and quieter. I challenged her assumptions about me, I challenged her assumptions about herself. I made my case, for today. I hope she heard me. I tucked her in bed, put the freshly folded clothes away and sat on my bed.
And promptly started banging my head on the wall. Because that's what intelligent women do.