"Wow, did you just feed that to her off the ground!? (laughter) See that's the difference between mothers and fathers I think."I had a mother recently say this to me after seeing me pick up an apple slice (correction- my last apple slice) from the ground at the park. I blew it off, wiped it well and examined it for any visual signs of dirt before handing it back to J. Bean, who happily and noisily chomped away at the slice. Now the mother is a friend and really wasn't disapproving so much as just noting the difference in philosophy. Personally, I think it's more about different parents' styles than fathers vs. mothers. I recently read an article, from Slate which hits on this topic and I thought it was very poignant. The article is entitled "Modern Parenting.If we try to engineer perfect children, will they grow up to be unbearable?". It's worth a read, relevant excerpt below.
"Apparently, there is, from a sensible scientific point of view, such a thing as being too clean; children, it turns out, need to be exposed to a little dirt to develop immunities, and it seems that the smudged, filthy child happily chewing on a stick in the playground is healthier than his immaculate, prodigiously wiped-down counterpart. I like this story because there may be no better metaphor for the conundrum of over-protection, the protection that doesn't protect."