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gender equality is a lie.

I have several thoughts about parenting and gender that I need to one day coalesce into an essay.

Basically. You think that gender equality is bad? Wait till you have a baby. I started seeing an inkling of it when I took Andy to the baby wearing meetings, and there were 80 woman and 3 men. And only one other was really participating, the others were on their phone, or looking bored.

Then Andy would be hanging out at flipside reading a birth book, and people would be like: "Oh, you're so supportive!".

He is half of the parental unit!!!

So a few days ago, I was looking at facebook, and I saw my friend Kaci (hey Kaci!) in a photo with some out of town improvisors. And I felt this twinge of jealousy. The jealousy was over that she is out and about in a social event, and she can just go out and socialize when she wanted to. And I felt trapped.

I think feeling trapped is a common feeling among new parents. But I don't like feeling it at all.

The thing that brings me one of my most consistant pleasure in life, since I was young... was being able to go out and eat my favorite food, and read a book. And I felt sad that it would be difficult for me to just go out to my fav thai place and read a book.

Then I went and felt sorry for myself.

And then, the next day, the doctor said I could drive. And I was like fuckkkk it, I'm going to go have sushi and read a book. Andy took care of the baby, while I did that, and I felt sooooooooooooooo good. I was so happy after that.

The same day we left the baby and I went to his roast and laugh so much.

And I realized, I can have a life. It's my choice to leave the baby. I love the baby so much. But I also need to keep sane.

Several of the due club women remarked that I had social engagements already! How could I leave the baby so early?!

And the answer is: A father who pulls his weight.

Since Andy shares parental care, I get to go out too! I don't understand women who say that they haven't been out and left their kid since they gave birth 2 years ago. WTF. What happened to your life, your dreams, and your goals???

I told Andy yesterday that I don't think I'll have postpartum depression! And he starts laughing. But it's true. As long as I can go to my parties once in a while, and go out and have thai food and read a book, I think I'll turn out okay.

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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
bellatrixamici
Sep. 2nd, 2014 04:26 am (UTC)
Hello!

I'm really glad you were able to go out a bit, and that you're actively staying on top of your mental health. I've known lots of new moms that just felt so guilty about that kind of thing, but you are not a baby machine, you are a living, breathing, complex, beautiful human with a complex set of needs and wants.

I've loved reading your thoughts about the whole process and your life now.

I may be out and about with a lot of freedom, but I may also never experience motherhood/parenthood. What a strange thing to be caught between.

Also - Mood Indigo was a waste of my time as well. Bleh!

Edited at 2014-09-02 04:27 am (UTC)
ripresa
Sep. 2nd, 2014 04:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, i'm like.. should I feel more guilty? What is wrong with me. And then I realized, by Asian standards, I'm a great mom. By liberal elite organic mom standards, I am not TRYING enough. Fuck that. (Ooh. Saving that for a facebook post.)

I would love to see you and Roy have kids for the selfish reason of seeing like minded people with too many hobbies/commitments balance things out. But I bet Troy and Ruby will have children and I can watch her do it! There is so much guilt in the mom world, it's freaking ridiculous. And I do think it makes amazing women like you and Andy's sister be really hesitant of having children.
sylke
Sep. 4th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC)
The "trapped" feeling never completely goes away, 'fraid to say. (Well, I assume it goes away in 16-18 years when the child can move out or at least be alone in the house for a while.) We have three adults living in the house with one child, and I still get jealous of my friends who are all, "Oh, it's 10 at night and we haven't eaten yet, my partner and I are going to run out and grab something." Nope, can't leave the house after kid's bedtime, at least not as a couple. Can't be nearly as spontaneous. Can't decide last minute that a drive up to Niagara Falls would be lovely this weekend. When the kid's awake, add extra time (10 minutes to a half hour) to get going anywhere. I don't wanna put on my shoes, I have to potty, no wait, I want to wear different shoes, can I wear my raincoat even though it's 78 and sunny, and boom, that quick trip to the grocery store you were going to do has taken almost an hour. But it's all bearable, and the trapped feeling is manageable. I'm happy with the balance I have of time spent caring for my child and time spent being a functioning individual in adult society. I'm personally all about better parenting through being a happier person. I'm a better mom *because* I leave my child with other caretakers and recharge my me-batteries.
ripresa
Sep. 4th, 2014 01:43 pm (UTC)
It went away for me.

It may come back, but lots of ways to manage it!
floppyghost
Sep. 5th, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
Go away, maybe not, but it definitely diminish with increasing age and independence. Because the more independent the kids are, the less you have to attend to them every second of the day and night.

Mine are in school now, and sufficiently independent that it's not a problem if I arrive an hour after they do some day, or if I want to go to the cinema with my wife - they don't need a babysitter, they take care of themselves just fine for a couple hours.

"I'm going to the beach in ten minutes, those who want to come make sure they're ready by then" works now, while 5 years ago I'd have spent a lot of time helping the kids getting ready, doing all the packing for them and so on. (If they're not ready, I'd just go without them. Like I said, they do fine on their own for a while)

It's true I'm still -less- "free" than childless couples are. But on the flipside, I sometimes think I enjoy these small pieces of (growing!) freedom more precisely because I've been without it for a few years.

It's a blessing that children -start- out putting huge restrictions on you, and then you gain it back step by step over the next 10-15 years. It depends on how independent your kids are I suppose, but my parents happily left me to do my own stuff for 3-7 day periods when I was 16+ so I'd say by then they had their freedom back pretty completely.
floppyghost
Sep. 5th, 2014 03:13 pm (UTC)
Oh absolutely. Being a father is the ONE situation that matters to me where I feel as if I've been systematically discriminated, diminished, ignored and made to feel "second-best" solely because of my gender.

People often mean well, but you still want to scream FUCK YOU sometimes. For example people would sometimes "compliment" me on how nice it was that I was "helping Silvia" when the actual fact of the situation was that she was working full-time while I was a stay-at-home dad and the primary caretaker. Yet people automatically stamped me as "assistant" and her as "primary".

(nobody -ever- complimented Silvia on "assisting" me with the kid(s) !)

On a positive note though, the experience has taught me a bit about what it may be like to be a woman doing a stereotypically "male" thing. There's a million and one big-and-small ways you're told that you're in one sense or another not welcome, or not the "right" person.

As a friend of mine commented, every time he changes his daughters diapers he does so using wipes from a package that proudly displays: "Tested by moms".

I firmly believe that we'll never have real equality in the worklife unless we ALSO get it in homelife.
ripresa
Sep. 5th, 2014 04:43 pm (UTC)
"I firmly believe that we'll never have real equality in the worklife unless we ALSO get it in homelife."

So true!!!!!
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