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Archive for the ‘seth’ Category

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Kitten mitten

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This morning, in the chaos that is this week, located in the chaos that is this month/year, I received a tearful, panicked call at work from my 8yr old informing me that he had been left at home alone. His father had collected his sister for an appointment but had somehow left him behind, assuming that my fiance would be there. It is the kind of misunderstanding that occurs easily with co-parenting, and particularly so with rather uncommunicative exes.

While my fiance was driving back to my son, something my fiance could do because he is off work recovering from surgery, I promised to stay on the line with my son until they were reunited. But because I was also chairing a meeting at work, I had to put my phone on ‘speaker’ and place it beside me on the boardroom table. My son, still gulping back worried little tears, listened to my voice in the interim for comfort and safety.

I moved the team through the agenda seamlessly, pausing briefly to whisper ‘I love you’ and sign off, when I heard my son being greeted and comforted by my fiance in the background. No-one noticed and I continued on with the current crises at work.

It struck me as this sad little absurd moment of multi-tasking, work-life balancing, women can have it all-ing – all the more poignant because no-one realised.

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One of the nicest things about being re-partnered is that you don’t have any seething resentments towards each other from the ‘baby years’. Seth and I both have children from previous relationships, so all the sleep-deprivation arguments about fairness that happen in those early years of baby-rearing were had with someone else. This makes it a lot easier to find one another attractive.

Because this is so true…

I thought I had married an evolved guy—one who assured me, when I was pregnant, that we would divide up the work equally. Yet right after our baby was born, we backslid into hidebound midcentury gender roles as I energetically overmet my expectations. I was feeding the baby, so I started cooking for the whole family (pre-baby, Tom and I had alternated). I was laundering our daughter’s absurdly large mountain of soiled onesies, so I took over laundry duty. Soon I was the “expert” in changing a diaper.

We’re not alone: A 2015 Ohio State study of ​working couples found that men did a fairly equal share of housework—until, that is, they became dads. By the time their baby had reached nine months, the women had added more than two hours of daily work, the men a mere 40 minutes.

And Tom, while a kind, sensitive sort of person, rarely seemed to notice that I needed a hand, lounging on the couch and happily playing SocialChess on his phone while I simultaneously tended our child, emptied the dishwasher, and made dinner. Social psychologists say that men simply feel more entitled to take leisure time.

 

From Jancee Dunn’s “You will hate your husband after your kid is born” in Salon. 

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