If there were a scorecard, I’d lose points today, because she seems to be taking a decent nap.
Obsessing a little over our division of labor angst, I fished around some on a message board where I used to spend a lot of time, and right away found a thread where poster after poster (independent, smart women, all) was complaining about the exact same thing: I am doing all the work, or I am doing more than my share, or, My partner does a fair amount but I resent always needing to be the one in charge.
How can this be?
I’m a dropout from a graduate program in a social science department too smart for its own good, so I’m no stranger to the idea that we participate in systems we don’t necessarily understand, and that free will may have far less bearing on how our lives turn out than we think it does.
But it confounds me that so many of us who thought we were getting into really egalitarian parenting situations are feeling so overburdened and sometimes so resentful of our partners.
And I am too deep in it to figure out what’s real unfairness and what’s my perception. Do I just feel like I’m doing too much because the night nursing is, well, too much? Do I need an unusual amount of downtime to feel sane? Where have we gone wrong?
One possibility is that a lot of this comes from the unnatural way that so many families (including us, so far, dammit) raise kids: pretty isolated. Without extended family really nearby to give us breaks. Without neighbors we know well to share our days with. If one thing has become clear from our family’s recent discussions about this, it’s that we need more community to take some of the stress off of both of us.
And then there is the larger sense in which … hey, we are so well fed, so well clothed, and have such a delightful little Monkey in our midst. Who cares if all we can do is lie on the cat hair-matted floor while she uses our bodies as a jungle gym … we are as lucky as can be.