What are you most interested in imparting to Isobel as a parent? I remember you once said you and Anthony share the home tasks because it’s important for Isobel to see that.
There are a lot of very practical things I think it’s imperative for Isobel to learn. I firmly believe anyone who lives in some sort of dwelling or requires food needs to both learn to take care of a house and be comfortable in the kitchen. Boy or girl, I think everyone should be able to wash their own laundry and know the basics of a few recipes by heart. I think a lot of practical skills have been overlooked because things deemed “woman’s work” are looked down upon.
It’s vitally important to me that she is competent around the house but that she also sees her role in the house as part of a team. Everyone who lives in the house does their part, talks about chores, and works together to get them done. Sometimes the work is split equally, but sometimes not. It’s not about keeping score, it’s about helping each other. Sometimes Anthony works late and that I day I end up doing more, but sometimes I’m sick for days at a time and he has to do double-duty.
The important thing is we, each of us, can do it, we talk about it, and we get it done. It’s my hope that she will grow up to expect her partner to have equal responsibility with her when it comes to household duties.
I want to encourage certain skills. I want to be sure she learns to type as soon as she’s able to hold her little fingers over the home row of keys. When I worked as a librarian I also supervised the computer lab. The (very small number) of kids who knew how to type had a distinct advantage over those who didn’t.
I want her to see that both parents exercise regularly, even though one loves it and one hates it. It’s an important habit for keeping healthy and regulating your mood. Sometimes we do things because we like to, and sometimes we do things because we need to.
I can’t help the fact that she has a mother who regularly wrestles with depression and anxiety. I wish she didn’t. But she does, and she sees how it affects me. But hopefully she’ll also learn that when mom struggles she reaches out for support. She relies on friends and family. She seeks healthy outlets for her feelings. She sees doctors and takes medicine. She does something about her problems, even when it’s hard. I hope to god she never struggles like I do, but if she does, she will know what to do because she saw me go through it, too. And it will be okay. I hope she will know that, too.
I want her to see that life isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
I want to impart my sense of curiosity and wonder about the world to her. I want her to be filled with awe and questions as to the how and why of the way things work. I want her to always ask questions, to figure things about, and be critical. Critical thinking is one of the most under-taught skills that is most necessary to survival. Curiosity makes the mind come alive. Critical thinking keeps it that way.
Mostly, I want her to know that I am proud, so proud, of who she is. And who she will become.