Thursday, 18 November 2010

Its All Worth It......Yeah like fuck it is

Last week, a lady called Potty Mummy posted this and suddenly I found myself in a rage. It’s not that I didn’t agree with what Potty Mummy said, on the contrary, I made all the right noises of agreement whilst reading her post. What sent me on the feminist rampage is that I don’t think men feel like this.

I've been mulling over two theories which are entirely subjective. So let's cut the bullshit and get down to it.

Theory 1: You can love your children whilst hating motherhood. (Maybe 'hate' is a little extreme but you get my gist). I love seeing my children laugh and saying funny stuff but I fucking hate being a captive house-slave whose uniform consists of leggings and baby puke, who gets out of bed to be greeted by the same fucking chores, day in, day out. I need more than a fucking walk in the park people.

Theory 2: The 'swap' question is unanswerable, unfair and pointless. 

Potty Mummy sparked my thoughts when she said this:

"I walk upstairs and look in at two perfectly-formed heads asleep on their pillows. I look at the life that my Husband and I have made together. And whilst it would be trite - and untrue - to say that the sight of them makes everything alright all the time, I know that if I had the chance to swap - them or him - for what once was, I wouldn't consider it even for a heartbeat."

 I like the fact that Potty Mummy acknowledged that it is a little simplistic and sentimental to suggest that one look at your family is a 'cure all'. I can imagine that many share her opinion. The more I thought about this, however; the more I felt "Would I swap my life?" was a really unfair question.

As I put it (quite eloquently - I thought) in Potty Mummy's comments section:
"It's like asking whether you prefer champagne or perfume. They are entirely different; incomparable - except for the fact that they are both liquids."
I loved my BC (Before Children) life, although there were moments (usually when my head was down the loo) when I asked myself if it really was as much fun as I thought. I also love aspects of my new life but, let's get a couple of things straight.
Firstly, very few people, if given the chance, would genuinely swap their lives. Secondly, its never going to happen so it's a ridiculous question anyway and essentially I'm wasting my time on it.
But lastly, I ask myself "Do men think like this?" I'm willing to accept the fact that relationships come in all shapes and sizes and yes, there are single fathers out there and stay at home dads, and gay couples and polygamous families and all kinds of shit going on but..... really?
Do men really feel that BC/AC (Before Children/ After Children) gap? Do they really look longingly at skinny jeans and trendy jumpers with shawl necks and wonder if its appropriate for a 'father' to stay out late and french kiss on the underground? Do they really get up to the same chores that greeted them yesterday and feel the weight of the drudgery around their necks and worry how on earth they are going to lose that baby weight when all that gets them through those morning hours is the lure of a chocolate biscuit? Do they really spend time thinking about how much their lives have changed and whether they would swap it?
Not really, is my guess.
Everything (in this country anyway) is set up for women to be the child rearers. This makes the change in women's lives before and after they have children, very marked. In a lot of ways men carry on as normal.
Know what I want? I want 'Parental Leave' not Maternity Leave. I want more changing facilities in men's toilets. I want more men at 'Parent and Toddler Groups'. I want the role of 'stay at home' parents to be valued and respected. I want social policies in this country to encourage equal parenting because I don't want to sit around thinking about whether I would swap my before and after lives. I want both of those lives at the same time!

And on that heavy note we will finish off this post with something incredibly shallow - a modelling competition. See here.
Hopefully I'll be back soon with the story of how I almost smothered my newborn (accidentally) and set fire to the flat with my microwave - all in one week! Did I say that the life of a "stay at home mother' was dull or do you think these events might actually be a cry for help?


  1. Brilliant, I so agree. It's maddening that we spend all this energy fretting about pre and post kids life while men just scratch their arses and perhaps come home from the pub a bit earlier.

  2. I really, really like that you posted this, and that you're not afraid to question bits of motherhood, and admit that it's not the bed of roses so many new mothers talk it up to be. Thank you! Let's all let the scales fall from our eyes a little.

    P.S. That would have been a lot more concise and articulate if I had not had quite so many beers. Sorry. I can only trust that you understand!

  3. Oh you have hit a nerve with me, because my husband really feels it. He really misses life BC. More so than I do, actually. This is likely because he does a lot of childcare and household stuff. It is something that causes tension between us: to put it melodramatically I feel awful for having "ruined" his life (I wanted kids more than he did). Of course as you and potty m say. He loves the kids and does love many things about our life AC. But man he misses the old days. So I'd say that in a relationship like ours, yes, men feel exactly the same!

    Great post!

  4. I agree! It's totally different for men - but I also think women sometimes make it that way. I have friends who don't trust their husbands with the kids (you know, THEIR kids!) and say he can't do it - so, of course, he can't.

    But, on the day to day, yeah, I just don't think they get quite the same experience of all this that we do.

    On a funny note, my husband works shifts so is often home with our daughter during the day. He says the moms at the park always seem to avoid him or ask him how long he's been unemployed. Sigh.

  5. I need more than a fucking walk in the park people.
    - Oh yeah!

    It's bloody hard and I know exactly what you mean about men not feeling it like we do. At all. Great post indeed.

  6. great post Troutie, however I had my eldest when I was so young I dont think I had much BC. More like After School - oh now you are a Mum. I dont feel like I have missed out at all and have had some head down the loo moments along the way too!

    I have just incorporated them into my life and I do feel they are my responsibility mainly even though I know my husband loves them as much as I do. Thats just the way I feel. Also now my eldest is 15 and my youngest is 15 months I am acutely aware of how quickly that time whizzes past and how I now ( especially with the events of this week if you read my blog!!) am aware of savouring every minute! However most of my friends agree with you wholeheartedly!!