I will confess, I am pretty new to feminism. As early as 5 years ago, it was kind of a dirty word, associated in my mind with man-haters, child-abandoners, complete with that good ole Christianese label, the “Jezebel spirit.” (She was a total biotch.)
But as I’ve progressed in my faith, my marriage, and now my motherhood, it’s taken a whole new turn for me.
To me, being a feminist means that even though a man and a woman may have different talents and skills and gifts, they are equals. They both have something special to contribute, and one is not meant to squash the other to make itself better. A woman in the workplace should *probably* get paid the same amount as the man who got the same education and is doing the same job as her – and yet stay-at-home moms should be considered just as valuable and hardworking. They don’t have the privilege of weekends or of getting paid. (Unless you’re a Canadian mum. We get a little bit paid. #ThanksTrudeau)
It’s all a very intricate, complicated idea, this feminism. What I’ve mentioned so far is just the tip of a very big iceberg. I’ve learned so much, and I have more to learn where that came from.
This journey has been quite liberating! How nice that I can have a husband who values what I do at home, and what I do outside of it. How thrilling that I am able to occasionally come home to a cooked meal and clean house, and I haven’t Jezebel’d anyone into it! How special that he knows when I’ve hit a wall and it’s time to draw me a hot bubble bath.
For 4 years, I got used to that. And then, along came…
This guy? Does. Not. Care. About. Other. Humans.
Has my Mum had a chance to eat or shower or use the toilet at all today? Who cares! I had to wait 2 minutes for my bottle to warm – don’t tell me I haven’t suffered!
And friends, I love this boy, but it is hard work. (And my husband helps with so much! Like, Ryan Reynolds would probably be impressed.)
Sometimes it is so hard to even care. Sometimes I make him wait an extra 10 seconds for anything he wants, on purpose, LIKE A BIG OLE JEZEBELLY MONSTER, just so he can start preparing himself for the real world now.
He doesn’t say please or thank you. He doesn’t wait his turn or share or think about how it feels to be kicked in the nipple. He doesn’t see the relevance of sleeping through the night.
Last week, we went to a friend’s house for dinner, and he screamed for 90 minutes straight. Could not be consoled no matter what we did. And we thought, well, we wanna stay friends with these people so we should probably take him home. And as soon as we packed him in the car seat and drove away, who was a cooing, smiling little lamb? HE WAS. Who was a sobbing, embarrassed, strung out mess? I WAS.
Sometimes, it feels like I am at the constant, maniacal beck and call for someone who doesn’t give a shit about me.
And to be honest, the only thing keeping me going right now, the only thought that keeps me from running screaming into the night is this: it has to get better.
It has to. Right? People keep having babies for some reason, right? There are good, loving, potty trained adults in the world, and someone made that happen, right?
The only way I can see being a feminist AND a happy mother is to raise more feminists. This right now is a grace period. Yes, for a little while, you are The Boss of me, my son. But you will learn there is a difference between a boss and a dictator.
Good bosses actually care about their people. They don’t bully or underpay or overwork. They listen. They serve, in order to lead better. They know that good, hot coffee makes every staff meeting better. Good bosses are the future.
So that’s what we’re going for. This “Ryan” and this “Jezebel” are going to try leading by example, one microwaved-so-many-times-it’s-probably-radioactive cup of coffee at a time.