In the not-so-distant past, the feminist in me was always a little (to put it mildly) miffed by the proliferation of toys in stores that, to me at least, seemed nothing more or less than ‘housewife training equipment’. Why in God’s name would a toddler require a miniature mop and broom in her toy box?? What is this, 1955? Are we supposed to train our babies to be prim and proper housewives from birth now? Should I be enrolling her in finishing school so she doesn’t bring shame upon the family when she doesn’t know the proper technique required to fold a napkin into a swan for Tuesday night dinner?
Fast forward a few years and the married-stay-at-home-mom-to-a-toddler version of me is still quite prone to getting worked up over the enforced cutey pie pinkification that is the toy industry. The only difference is that at least now I understand why the mop and broom variety of toys exist.
For those of you not blessed/inflicted with a toddler, suffice it to say that though they are an endless source of happiness and love in your life, they can also be the source of unending frustration and stress-induced panic attacks.
As they grow from a gurgling baby to a energetic toddler, they start learning all sorts of adorable ‘grown-up’ things like trying to eat with a spoon or pretending to make tea with their itty bitty tea set.
But cuteness quickly goes out the window when you can’t accomplish even simple tasks like vacuuming the living room without a screaming toddler demanding that you hand over the vacuum, right. this. instant.
I fail to understand why our babies are more interested in the dish rag in our hand than the toy box bursting with spanking new toys right in front of them. Is it simply that they want what they don’t have or do they think it’s a new kind of toy that they are being deprived of? Do I look like I’m having so much fun scrubbing the kitchen floor that my toddler decides the mop must be the most fun toy there ever was and her cruel mommy is denying her that fun?
So yes, I get it now. I get why toy mops and irons and laundry hampers exist. It’s so that mommy can maybe finish doing the laundry without having to bat a miniature version of herself off the laundry hamper 17 times because mini me is happily playing with her own ‘hamper’ complete with clothes hangers and iron.
Just one piece of advice to toy makers: stop making every such toy bright pink and marketing it only to girls. Our baby boys enjoy happily pushing a mini vacuum around the room just as much as our baby girls do.