Gender Roles Revoked: How My Mom Taught Me To Work And My Dad Taught Me To Love


Growing up, the family dynamic in my home was different than most of the kids at my private school. My dad went to work while it was still dark, and my mom stayed at work until it was dark. During that time I was a silent observer, but an avid student.

My mom is intelligent in ways I will never understand. I don’t even understand what exactly she does for a living. My dad is intelligent in ways I do understand.

He’s a compassionate workhorse on the inside who looks tough and unapproachable on the outside.

At a certain point in life, my mom became a mystery to me; a person with whom I lived and depended on for mall money, but not the kind of mom who cuddled with me on the couch.

She was a professional and she was great at it. She was driven, determined and concerned with work above mostly everything else.

But like every other extraordinary mom on the planet, she taught me a valuable life lesson: Be independent and work toward a goal. Seeing my mom so dedicated to her career is where my work ethic comes from.

Working became something I knew would be in my future, as well. I’ve dreamt of talking to my mother about boys and having mommy-daughter shopping days, but those days mostly ended with bags of clothes that eventually went unworn.

She plans more than anyone I know. After growing up on a schedule, I look at all the options before making a decision and strategize before I make a move.

Even though I’m comfortable being a follower, my mother possessed the ability to step up and be a leader when no one else can.

At a time when girls in their early 20s are giving their bodies away, I’m the loner worried about what else fits on my résumé. Having a career is really important to my identity, and I have my mom to thank for ingraining that into my mind.

My dad wasn’t so much my couch buddy, as he was my support system. When I left for college, our relationship got stronger; I went from an emotional wreck to feeling like I could depend on someone with my deepest thoughts.

He’s taught me a very valuable lesson in the sense that I know he supports everything I do, and I need a significant other who does the same.

Recently it’s dawned on me that if I ever want true, wholehearted romantic love with a man, I must find someone to whom I can say anything. If I can’t tell someone exactly what I’m thinking, our relationship must not be special or worth pursuing.

All this is not to say a man should only be there for me. My dad confides in me when he feels lonely and is real enough to say he needs a smoke break, something he tried very hard to keep a secret the past 22 years.

Over time, I’ve come to the realization that guys are sensitive and need support that can sometimes only be found in an intimate relationship. Understanding their sensitivity and desire for companionship will lead to a positive relationship.

One day a man will enter my life and even when we feel fed up with life, our mutual trust and understanding for each other won’t substitute for a glass of wine after a rough day, but it’ll help ease the frustration.

Life was unconventional for me growing up, but facing the world with an untraditional home life prepared me for the real world. I’m self-sufficient and proud of being able to pay for a date.

But like every other girl, I want an all-encompassing love that rocks me to the core. I know one is not dependent on the other, and that if life moves forward in this way, success and happiness will be ever present.

So I’m waiting it out for that one true love, but not hesitating to create an identity; that’s not something I was taught.

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