Friday, June 25, 2010

Women's Work

I've been neglecting my blog this week. Partly because Ethan has been a little under the weather and I've had my hands full with him, and partly because I've been in a bit of a funk. And not the James Brown kind of funk, either.

No, it's been tough this week to deal with the issues that have faced womankind since the days of Eve, and will probably still be there to give us sleepless nights and worry lines on our faces until the end of time. What are those issues? Well, you probably can already guess a few of them, but they all revolve around the question of "women's work" and what it really means to be a wife and mother, without losing what it means to be a woman and a lover and an individual. There are so many things I've been asking myself this week:
-- Why is it my job to do the cleaning and care for the house?
-- Why is it assumed that I will be the primary carer for our child, even when both of us are in the house and to all intents and purposes, not doing much at the time?
-- Why am I in charge of everything related to the kitchen? And the rest of the house, for that matter?
-- Why do I have to ask for "babysitting" from my spouse?

I know that I'm a stay-at-home mom, don't get me wrong; but does that mean that I'm solely responsible and the default "in charge" person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? It doesn't seem right to me. If I was working full-time, and my husband was working full-time, wouldn't it seem right to share the responsibilities (and fun times, too!) equally between us when we are off work and on weekends or trips? I guess it just feels unfair, to some degree; how did this happen to a former feminist club president?! I find my "self" fading away sometimes, behind the overwhelming duties of being a mother. Even my role as a wife is subsumed in the mommy role, and that worries me. How are we expected to maintain a romantic, loving, affectionate connection when we both see me as "mom" instead of as Melanie?

And it doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to change this rut we've gotten into, either. But I can't do it alone, and even then I don't know just how to make it work. I don't want to seem like a dominating authoritarian who is making rules and laying down the law, but I also don't want to end up with things staying just like this for the next twenty years (until the kid(s) grow up). I haven't given up on having a little bit of romance in my life on a regular basis... but how do I create an environment in which romance can blossom? Guess I'll have to ponder that one while I do the laundry. (sigh)

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