Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Machine for any Gender

Now that I'm back at work it seems like there is so much less time leftover for everything else. But I'm trying to keep my priorities straight, and remember that quality time spent with my boys ranks highest. Except that they are getting to the ages where their top choices for things to do aren't inclined to involve their mother. So this morning, even though I was feeling, er, tired after a late night out celebrating Alisa's birthday, I was agreeable when Jeffrey woke me up and told me all about his idea for a special project we could do today.

Jeffrey told me that today we could go to the fabric store and get some of the fuzzy fabric that he saw when we were there several months ago. And then we could make a new bed for our little cat Missy. Okay, we can do that! Never mind that Missy already has 2 beds and there are giant piles of laundry and dirty floors and dishes all around, my little boy wants to spend time doing something with his Mommy so that's what we'll do.

I have so enjoyed having sons but when they were first born I had that pang of regret that I would never get to to all the girl things that mothers and daughters are supposed to do together. Like go to the fabric store to get materials for craft projects. I see them around, dressed nicely and shopping together, holding up items and remarking about how cute they are. And I think about how different that is from me hollering down the aisle at two boys who are trying to see how far they can coast the shopping cart with both of them standing on it. But strangely enough, they do like the fabric store. And if you think about it, it is a cool place, all these colorful bolts stacked high, every one different, and all the gizmos and gadgets and organizers and things to see, and the possibilities they all hold for a new creation yet to be assembled. And there's nothing that says you have to be female to appreciate that.

I think that I have become hyper-sensitive about making sexist assumptions from having to overcome so much of that throughout my career of trying to be accepted as an engineer at an auto company. I eventually had to face the fact that there I was in one of the most macho saturated industries striving against the hard held belief that to deserve to be there you need motor oil running through your veins instead of blood. And I did not grow up playing with little cars and tinkering under the hood of my first jalopy like all of them. I played with a my Barbie camper and tinkered with my sewing machine. So now I believe that while Corvette worship may be a predominantly male characteristic, mechanical ability isn't necessarily gender specific.

Which brings me back to the situation of my son's fascination with sewing. If they are not already conditioned to think that it is a thing for girls, then you can see why they would be attracted to this object that has a speed-control pedal, and makes a choppy noise, and comes with a nifty tool kit including lube oil and you can make stuff with it. So we found some fleece with cat heads on it, and spent a long time designing and constructing this fabulous creation. Some real quality time, meaning that we had fun and enjoyed each other's company doing something together.

And I go on being the mother of 2 boys, and everything that comes with that, and if I ever feel like I'm missing out on some special female activities, well, I can just go and put a tutu on the cat.


MomForThree said...

I envy your ability to create something from nothing. Although I do sew, I never do it without a pattern.

Anonymous said...

Love the picture of the cat; you can just imagine all kinds of different thoughts!!

Amy M.

P.S. I watched 4 football games (2 on T.V.) and a soccer game this weekend; I've had to learn to bond over touchdowns and tackles! (maybe b/c I have no idea how to sew...learning about football was actually easier for me than that!)

Anonymous said...

Make that 5 football games!


Heather Leigh said...

Love the tutu! A mini feline ballerina!!

Laura said...

This is better than anything I've had printed in the last two weeks. Seriously, this should be published somewhere. It's that good.


Susang said...

From the look on her face in that picture, I'm pretty sure that Missy is none too happy in the tutu.

Perhaps she's more Martha Graham than Suzanne Farrell?

Anonymous said...

HI, Mindy- Your Mom forgot the cat bed that you and Jeff made for my two. It must have been sewn after Missy's cat bed and occasion not marked with a blog. Thank you ahead of time. I heard it was made for thanks for homemade muffins. They have store bought candy gifts from me for Grandma's Monday visit.
It was a real find. This is a great blog about gender sewing, etc. love, Aunt Chris

Anonymous said...

Cale asks me all the time to teach him to sew. Maybe that can be a sleepover activity sometime. MB