Sunday, February 18, 2007

Feminism, Motherhood, Marriage, and That

The kid has been sick since Friday. I made the appointment with the doctor (the kid's doctor and I have a fine relationship, having bonded when the kid was three and the doctor was pregnant with her own daughter, so I suppose it's not out of line to expect me to make the kid's appointments, except, you know, I make *all* the medical appointments for our little household, includng those for mr. delagar and the dogs and the guinea pig, when Licorice the Guinea Pig was ailing who hunted up the only vet in the five county area that saw guinea pigs? Why yes, me.

Where was I?

I made the appointment. I fetched the kid to the doctor, leaving work early to do so. I hung about the waiting room interminably with her. I coaxed her through the five separate tests required (flu test, with the swab up the nose, being the worst, hurrah, because if they had required a blood test, good shit, you would not believe the trauma we go through with the blood test and Little Ms. Anxiety) and I took her to the pharmacy to buy the drugs after. (She has NOTHING, btw, no flu, no strep, no infections of any sort, just 102degree fever and vomiting and misery, but we're on Tamiflu anyway, b/c why not?)

I spent Friday and Saturday and today dealing with her. Cleaning up vomit. Fetching heating pads. Rubbing her toes. Reassuring her that she wasn't going to die from this. (See Little Ms. Anxiety above.) Trying to persuade her that one single dose of Motrin would really, really be all right, honest. (No go. Once when she was five she took Motrin and vomited. She's not making that mistake again!)

Of all the bits about being a parent? This one is not my favorite. I do it, mind you, because sick kids need parents, and I am the mama, but man, the 24/7 thing, what a BAD PLAN.

And does mr. delagar figure he ought to do it? Is he a parent too?

Funny you should ask.

mr. delagar is making a film, see. And teaching five classes. So, well. He has work to do.

Saturday he left at ten and didn't come back until five. Filming. Today he's been cutting film all day.

I've been thinking about a paper one of my students is writing, on whether men should marry feminists or not --whether they could have happy marriages if they marry women with careers. She started with that article that dipwad wrote for the WSJ, I think it was, last year, the one claiming that guys who married women who made more than 30 thousand a year were doomed to have miserable marriages, not to mention filthy houses. My student, who is smart and articulate, is nevertheless buying this shit. He's right, she says. Someone has to do the work around the house, she says. Men aren't going to do it, she says. Who will clean up if we don't? Who will do the cooking? The marriage will fall apart if no one takes care of it. I had been arguing with her gently, pointing out such things as in a marriage where one person is doing all the work how happy does she expect that one person is? And what kind of guy is that to be married to, one that expects his partner to do all the cleaning and cooking and caretaking in the marriage, does she actually want to be married to that guy? Does she actually think that counts as a happy marriage? I'm sure WSJ dude thinks it's a happy marriage, I said to her, but consider that it's highly possible he has his head up his ass.

Only, good shit, look around here. What kind of feminist game am I running?

It's a deal easier to talk about equality than it is to demand it. I'll tell you that.


Diane said...

Clearly, something in your household needs to be re-negotiated, yes?

This makes me think of a wonderful story about the Clinton household (not my usual place to look for wonderful stories, admittedly). Once, when Bill C. was president of the U.S., he showed up at Chelsea's school to pick her up. One of the teachers or office staff, taken aback by the sight of the potus, asked Chelsea, "Where's your mother?" "She's too busy to pick me up," Chelsea told her.

delagar said...

Yes, that's what I'm thinking. Time for a sit-down meeting here.

zelda1 said...

It's time for you and for me to take a stand and demand that our spouses fullfill their domestic obligations. I, like you, am getting tired of the no help thing and his excuse, well, he works, like I don't. Maybe a well planned walk-out and we could go look for rocks and leave the houses to the kings.

Mychelline said...

That's one reason (way down on the list, to be fair) why I didn't have kids. My husband was raised by a stay-at-home mom who walked around after him, his brother, and his dad, and picked up, and waited on them hand and foot. With *that* as a role model (in his mind), there was no way I was going to have kids, and then see myself turned into a domestic slave by default.

Growing up in my own family, my mother delegated all the housework (and she had very exacting standards) to me and my sister, while my dad and my brothers didn't have to do anything. And I'm the oldest of 4, so I got lots of practice babysitting and changing diapers too.

I'm decidedly a feminist, but my husband isn't. He likes to call himself an "egalitarian", thinking that's essentially the same thing. It so isn't. :(