The Oedipus complex, as expanded upon by Freud, has been re-worked in modern psychology to suggest that there is a normal development phase where boys will want to be like their dads and marry their moms. At first that might seem a bit weird to some, but actually it makes sense– in a healthy family situation, if the mother and son bond is loving and safe, why wouldn’t a child want to find someone eventually that has qualities strongly resembling his mom? With this in mind, at an age appropriate moment, I think it is important to start drilling in the notion that being a mom is not interchangeable with being someone’s personal chef, maid, and glorified chauffer.
I love the fact that my son sees me as a working professional, who is recognized as an expert in her field. He sees me manage money and balance a household budget without any outside assistance, and I have no doubt that he fully understands how much I value intelligence, independance and responsiblity. I may not live to see him get married, but if and when he does, I never want him to feel the pressure of being the sole provider for an entire family. I have seen throughout the years with my own divorce clients, the negative impact that kind of stress causes on a couple. To be viewed as nothing more than an ATM is no way to live.
My generation of men, and those before them, sadly were trained to provide financially– that was the sole focus back then. Problem is that my generation of women were taught to hunt for themselves, and it was drilled into us that we can do anything a man can do– maybe even better. Knowing this, the fact that someone can provide financially is never going to be enough for my female peers, and for future generations it is imperative that we teach them a variety of life skills, including the art of communication and compromise, as well as the ability to share in all household responsiblities. Only time will tell whether our efforts will pay off as parents, but keeping in mind the importance of modeling appropriate behavior is a huge step in the right direction.