Chicken Soup for the Soul
Ouch, that burned my mouth!

June 1, 1999

A coworker of mine passed on an e-mail he had received. He said it was cute and thought I'd enjoy it. It was his Daily Dose of Chicken Soup for the Soul, or some such nonsense. I left it at the office and I could just kick myself.

I'm not going to start Chicken Soup bashing, although there's enough material to go on for days. Chicken Soup for the Single Soul, Chicken Soup for the White Soul, Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, Chicken Soup for the Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Baptist, and Shiite Souls, Chicken Soup for the White Divorced/African American Divorced Souls, Chicken Soup for Pet Lovers/Haters Souls. Teenage Souls and Children's Souls are not spared.

I received one of these books as a gift. While some of the passages were heartwarming and/or somewhat inspirational, mostly I found the whole thing a bit too saccharine for my jaded point of view.

But I digress.

The gist of the passage he forwarded was a father's reaction when his three year old daughter smeared herself with her mother's lipstick. He ended up taking pictures and telling her how cute she was, a la Dave Van. This instead of beating her bloody and throwing her out of the house. OK, I guess this part was fine.

My issue was that he characterized the situation as follows--he was baby-sitting for his daughter so his wife could go out with her friends. Baby-sitting. For his own daughter.

I mentioned this to my extremely evolved husband, Chuck. He felt I was picking nits and that this is merely a matter of semantics. I couldn't disagree more.

It's not semantics. It's an attitude and it applies to more than the sharing of child care duties, but I'll stand on one soap box per paragraph, thankyewverymuch.

Why did this man say he was baby-sitting? He could just as easily have said he was home with his daughter while he wife was out? But he chose his words and the words he chose really irk me.

Baby-sitting implies a favor almost. It's his kid too. What's up with this?

This falls under the same heading as when most men do the slightest bit of housework the fact that they must be thanked and praised and praised and thanked.

No one has ever thanked or praised me for scrubbing a toilet (if I were the sort to do that kind of thing).

I will admit that Chuck is good about sharing child care duties and is pretty good about the household stuff, but I still have to thank and praise. And while he'll generally do whatever it is I ask him to do graciously, I have to ask him. No one has to ask me to do the laundry or marketing.

It just pisses me off.

So, until next time. . .