I don't know what it's like to be a mother or a father. I can only tell you what I know from a weekend of babysitting. Or a full day of childcare, for that matter. My boyfriend completely devalued my responsibilities one morning, when I told him I had to run out the door to spend the day looking after my one year old nephew. Now that he always accompanies me to do things like that, I think he appreciates and understands how much work it is.
So when I met his sister and her husband, I told them that if they ever wanted to go away for a weekend, we would watch the two and four year old. For those of you who know me, you know I detest diaper changes and ignore babies, for the most part. But I am growing. And when we were taken up on our offer, we went from being "two teens in love" to becoming a family of four.
At the zoo, I was even mistaken for being the toddler's mom, while the zoo lady said, "Would you like it if your mom put the stamp on you instead?" "I'm not his mom!" I snapped. And because they are his nephews, I felt they were slightly more his responsibility. And when I went to the bathroom and told him where to meet me, he was freaking out about having two kids and the childless stroller. And then they woke us up at 6:30 AM. No matter how hard we tried to tell them to close their eyes and that it was still the middle of the night. And the final diaper change was a two person job. And neither of us really "do" diapers.
He was exhausted afterwards. He said to me, "How do single parents do it?" He finally got how hard the job is. And I only can vouch from my babysitting experience. But I feel bad for parents when I can leave. I try not to tell them I am tired. Because that's the last thing they would want to hear from a single 29 year old woman who lives on her own with a dog.
And last night, after the children were put to bed (they actually requested to go to sleep, as we were trying to keep them up so they would sleep in a little), I may have requested a vasectomy several times. And then I decided maybe one child when I am forty. And today, I mentioned the vasectomy again.
But now that we got a 24 hour period of being parents, I think we both have a new found appreciation for the hard work that parents do. And mine always made it look easy.
Is this always going to be an issue? Feeling that you can't compromise? If both work and one makes more, it will be a problem. In fact, the a man just told me that his wife makes a lot less, so he makes the mortgage payments. Therefore, it is his house. Does marriage have equality? I ain't seeing it.
And it's no surprise that in this liberal city, my other two families have two husbands/dads who comfort each other in knowing that they have been the victims of reverse sexism.
And after experiencing this weekend and knowing how hard a stay at home parent's job is, I hope every person who makes money and accuses their partner of living in their house or driving a car they bought knows that these stay at home parents deserve an award. Because I would rather go to an office during the week than do what I did this weekend.
Bravo, Housewives & Househusbands!