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When it comes to gender roles, society is slowly improving — but plenty of parents still instill in their kids, from a young age, that certain household tasks should be left to the ladies.
Not so for former 16 and Pregnant star Nikkole Paulun, 22, single mom of two who recently took to Facebook (as she often does) to show how she teaches her son, 7, that household chores are not just a mommy’s task.
“I teach my son to cook and do household chores. Why? Because household work isn’t just for women,” she wrote in the post, which has been shared more than 57,000 times since being posted. “Because one day he might be a single man, living on his own, who will actually know how to do laundry and not eat take out every night.”
The post is accompanied by three photos of her son doing at-home tasks — making a grilled cheese, doing the dishes and doing a load of laundry — and goes on to say that a child growing up to become a productive member of society starts with the parents.
“Because one day he might want to impress a significant other with a meal cooked by his own hands. Because one day when he has kids and a spouse, he’s going to need to do his fair share around the home. Because I live in a generation of people who complain that school didn’t teach us how to cook, do laundry, tie a tie, or pay taxes.”
But it’s not just about practical skills.
“My son will never be too ‘manly’ to cook or do chores,” she continued. “He will be the kind of man who can come inside from changing a tire to check on his pot roast. Who can properly sort his laundry and mow the lawn too. Remember parents, a man who believes he shouldn’t have to cook or do chores was once a boy who was never taught any better.”
Some of the more than 7,900 commenters were quick to criticize Paulun’s post, saying it may be a double standard.
“Will you teach daughters to do yard work, change a tire and mow the lawns, or the typical response of that’s a man’s job only goes one way?” asked Scottie Wade. (Paulun, who also has a baby daughter, responded: “Yes my daughter will know how to do all of those things. She’s just too young to teach still. They’re raised seeing me do both since I’m a single mother.”)
“You do not have kids to be your slave! Or to do the chores that you yourself don’t want to do. I agree with teaching responsibility! But enough is enough,” said Tammy Ballavance.
But Paulun, who had her son when she was just 16, is no stranger to public criticism — both in response to her stint on the reality series and her many Facebook posts, including one from January in which she wrote about having her son taking her out to regular dinner dates. “He opens doors for me, pulls out my chair, talks about his day & asks me how mine was, pays the bill with money he earned by doing chores, and even tips the waiter/waitress. By doing this I am teaching him how to treat a lady & how to take her on a proper date,” she wrote in the post that was shared more than 511,000 times. It drew a mix of support and ire.
Still, this time around, many commenters praised the mom.
“Good job mama!,” wrote Angela Annette Foster. “My boys (2 & 4) also do laundry, dishes, and help cook.”
“Who are these idiots who don’t care for your ideas about raising your son? When I went off to college very few boys knew how to do anything. I did because I was taught by a mother like you. I can cook, wash, iron and clean as good as any woman and could do it before I graduated high school,” wrote Billy Brasher. “I have two sisters who know how to do so called ‘woman’s work’ and they can do anything a man can do. We were blessed with a mother who loved us enough to not send us into the world unprepared. You are to be commended for your support and love of your son. You go, girl!”