A former star of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” is being criticized for a Facebook post showing her young son doing household chores so he knows that they are not “just for women.”
Nikkole Paulun, now 22, is a single mother to her son, Lyle, and an infant daughter, Ellie. In an Oct. 6 post, she shared photos of Lyle cooking a grilled cheese sandwich, loading a dishwasher and doing laundry.
Paulun wrote that she wants her son to know that housework isn’t just women’s work, and she wants him to know how to take care of himself when he is grown and single. She also pointed out that someday, he “might want to impress a significant other with a meal cooked by his own hands.”
She said that when he is married and has children, he will also need to do “his fair share around the home.” She cited other reasons to teach him chores:
“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.
“Because teaching my son how to do these things and be a productive member of society, both outside the home and inside, starts with ME.
“Because it’s OK to let your child be a child but still teach them lifelong lessons along the way. My son will never be too ‘manly’ to cook or do chores.
“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.”
Paulun’s post was met mostly with praise. As of Tuesday morning, it had been shared more than 57,000 times and had garnered more than 144,000 likes.
One of the more than 7,800 comments on the post asked Paulun if she would also teach her daughter to do typically masculine chores like changing a tire and mowing the lawn.
“Yes, my daughter will know how to do all of those things,” Paulun replied. “She’s just too young to teach still. They’re raised seeing me do both since I am a single mother.”
One woman who was critical told Paulun that children were not born to “be your slave. Or to do the chores that you yourself don’t want to do.”
The woman said she agrees with teaching responsibility, but that “enough is enough.”
Paulun replied by saying that Lyle is “definitely not (her) slave.”
“I enjoy and do the majority of the housework,” she wrote. “My son just helps along the way and earns allowance as well.”
She shared a photo of him lying on a love seat, saying that he “relaxes after his chores with some video games.”
WebMD points out that having children do age-appropriate chores around the house gives them a great life lesson for when they are adults. Some of the chores listed for for 6 and 7-year-olds include sorting laundry, sweeping, setting and clearing tables, making and packing lunches and keeping their bedrooms tidy. Children even younger, around ages 4 and 5, can make their own cereal, wash plastic dishes at the sink, unload unbreakable dishes from the dishwasher, do some vacuuming and make their own beds.
Some chores to begin teaching toddlers are to put their toys away, feed pets, pick up dirty clothes, dust and wipe up spills, the website said.
The post about chores is not the first one that Paulun has shared about her son that has gained a lot of attention. She posted on New Year’s Day that Lyle, then 6, takes her on a “dinner date” at least once a month.
The accompanying photo shows Lyle sitting in a restaurant, digging into his wallet.
Paulun said the outings teach him about respecting others, particularly women, as well as table manners, dinner conversation and the value of money.