Are we all in agreement that no one should have to work 24 hours per day, 7 days per week?
Yes. Good, good.
How about 20 hours per day? Still too much? Yes.
We have labor laws for a reason. Human beings cannot and should not work nonstop. Child labor is against the law, and we should have a 40 hour work week, although some people take on more.
But the people who take on the most are parents. If no one should work 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, then how come we expect the parent who takes on the childcare, usually the mom, to work those hours? Yes, at times the children are asleep, but it's not as if Mom can stroll out of the house to take a break and have her hair done. No, no, no. She's on call. The parent has to be there when the kids are asleep or taking a bath or playing in the front yard with their friends because otherwise you have shit happening like Mom takes a walk around the block to get a little fresh air but the house catches on fire during the ten minutes she's gone and the children all die in the fire.
No, the parent has to be there all the time. So when does the primary caregiver get a break? Usually, never, unless she is in the lovely situation of having nice grandparents who long to babysit or she can afford good babysitters on a regular basis. I barely went any place for about ten years and if I expressed a longing to get out of the house was severely criticized. I didn't get a complete night's sleep for years and I always felt lousy, and I think I might have been a better mom if I had had some time off and didn't have a heap of guilt piled on me all the time.
The two women who put the most pressure on me to stay at home at all times were my mother and my mother-in-law. Both talked about how they handled all childcare duties themselves. They never asked their husbands to do anything. And both talked about how miserable they were. I guess they enjoyed passing on the unhappiness.
I know a young couple who appear to be doing things in a better way. Mom is the primary caregiver, but she works from home while the little one is in preschool or napping, so she hasn't completely lost her career. Dad comes home from work and doesn't expect to sit in front of the TV and drink beer until he passes out. He jumps back into his role as secondary caregiver as soon as he arrives and he takes responsibility for the little one's bath. Thus, he has a bond with his child that many dads don't have.
Way to go, you two. Keep it up. I am really impressed by your parenting skills, and I think you know who you are.
As for those of you who think Mom duty should be never ending: Wake up.
Infinities of love with Post # 197,
I've never understood folks who whine about how awful they had it, how miserable they were, and then insist that things should continue to be done that way... makes no sense. One would think they'd see the need for change more than anyone, but instead they seem to view it almost like fraternity hazing -- "I was mistreated badly and so you should be, too, or you can't be in my club." How childish.ReplyDelete
Everyone needs a break sometimes.
I, too, feel that those women subjected me to hazing. You are so intelligent.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a wonderful couple. I bet they have lots of positive support from family (both biological and chosen)!ReplyDelete
LL, You must be an exceptionally kind, intelligent, and perceptive person. And I would bet the family farm, which my grandparents sold years ago, that you are a super good parent.ReplyDelete