There’s this (bad) idea out there that “Men don’t see the mess.” Clearly we do, and that’s been debunked here. I want to delve deeper into a concept touched upon in that article: The infantilization of men and boys and how it can go beyond a simple failure to tidy up.
Ever heard this phrase before?
“Boys will be boys”
Or how about:
<insert any other saying making light of poor behavior from men and boys>
On separate but related note
As a Dad, I can’t tell you how often I get compliments for the bare minimum of care, probably weekly; care that would be considered less than enough if I were a Mom — I talk a little bit more on that here. It’s nice to be recognized, I’m not gonna lie, but why is it expected of Moms and considered extra-credit for Dads? Why are Dads treated like children and Moms like adults?
When or where does this infantilization of men start?
I’m having a lot of trouble identifying instances where I was treated with a lower standard or given credence for bad habits. I do remember my parents cutting me slack when I wouldn’t do my chores — up to a point. But I also have a penchant for full-assing the tasks I find myself doing.
So what gives, right? Where am I going with this? I’ll straight up ignore tasks until they become unavoidable, or until I get in the mood, which, let’s be honest, is rare. I believe that these traits are due to stunted maturity which stems from infantilization. These are poor habits to have and appear to be fairly common among us dudes. Worse, I feel unappreciated when an “adequate” amount of praise is not given. Even for chores that keep the family train running smoothly.
Reminds me of this comic:
As my Father says repeatedly — and apparently incorrectly — here’s the rub of the green: There is no such thing as “boys will be boys”.
The question I’m struggling with now is this:
Do we ignore menial tasks due to infantilization throughout our lives? Do we just assume some one else in the house will take care of it? And if so, how to flip the switch?
I’ve been reminding myself that ignoring chores to the detriment of my family is immature. And that seems to be helping.