"While you were out ‘earning’ that dollar, you lost forty dollars by not going to work."

It makes me angry and depressed to see fathers not caring for their children. It’s not the guys’ fault, either. Strong, smart, capable women I know are letting this happen. Everyone pretends like it isn’t really going on. But these ladies are still taking most of the weekend and evening care of their child. Men do 12-hour days at work and Mamas, working or no, feel like single parents. Women go off for a week or weekend to their mom’s, friend’s, wherever, and it’s assumed they will take the kids with them. The guys stay home because of course – they have to “work”. I know a couple who – when daddy wasn’t working – still had their kid in daycare. Why is this stuff happening?

I guess it’s easy to put it all on Money. Or that Dad Needs A Break. Or the vague agreement that Mama *is* getting a break by going to her family’s house with her child[ren] – (she’s not). I wonder – why not, even once a year – can’t Mama get away for a while? If it means childcare for the kids, or half-days for Dad at the office, is that so crazy? Lost wages are a hardship – but what is the value of a woman’s / young mother’s feeling of independence and autonomy? Is family survival jeopradized without a day or two of income, when the return on investment is the kids can get to know their father, Daddy can learn how to competently run the household, and Mama can get a break? Who the hell knows, you might have fun.

I think this sort of thing changes face as kids get older and can dress, feed, toilet themselves. Not to say the household becomes more egalitarian: just the inequities change form. It’s depressing. Our family are pioneers in the matter of daddy-care. I just wish we didn’t feel so alone in it.

Today: coffee date with CK, errands for Abbi’s Blessingway, visiting The Husband at his place of employ. Then the gauntlet of shopping for a week’s groceries with two babies. Whew. I am walking out of the store, kids in cart, feeling shellshocked. Then I think of the many full-grown adults who wouldn’t even be able to do what I just did. I smile. I lift my kiddos into the car and give them each a kiss on their gleaming, healthy foreheads.

np – M.I.A.

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