Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Whose Turn Is It?

Boston.com ran an article today about whether men or women stay home with their sick children. I love these kinds of articles because I get to experience the whole mountain range of my emotions.

I start off relating. It's a problem a lot of working parents deal with. YG and I often have the schedule discussion when daycare is closed and we’re frantically whipping through our calendars trying to figure out who can watch Zygote and during what hours. Thankfully, we both have relative flexibility at work, so we usually end up splitting our days. I’ll watch Z in the morning while he works, and then we switch. Or we find a way to make it work.

Then I start to get irritated. “The lousy economy and mothers’ increasingly high-powered participation in the workforce have combined to heighten the tension over something as simple as a child’s sore throat or a few inches of snow.” Meh. Yes, now that mom has a REAL job, dad has to actually help with the kids. If mom didn't work, this tension simply would not exist.

Then I sigh. Article inserts fancy data about participation rates of mothers in the workforce. No way.

More sighing. Blah, blah, blah. Insert It’s so hard whining. Note: it was always hard when two parents worked. More people do it now, though, so it’s harder for more people. Therefore, a CRISIS.Also, ask any SAHM how easy her life is. I love the idea that things would be so much easier if one person was at home. Do people really believe this? Different, yes. Easier? No.

Then some more relating. “Rather than get angry, Jenny Anderson, coauthor of “Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage and Dirty Dishes,’’ suggests couples do a “coldhearted, realistic cost-benefit analysis. You have to figure out where the family can afford it the most.’’ “The most important thing is not over-weighting fairness,’’ she said. “Don’t say, ‘Well, I stayed home yesterday, so you stay home today.’ “It seems counterintuitive to everything we’ve learned about marriage, but if you have a marriage that’s predicated on love and respect, then it will balance out in the end, and I don’t mean the end of the school year, but the end of your life together.’’ Marathon, not a sprint type stuff. Okay, agreed.

Then barf. “But you are gaining a day that you will probably remember much longer than whatever meeting you would have been doing.’’ Yes, because every moment spent with children is right out of A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE of My Life With Kids.

Then abject terror. Never, ever read the comments section if you want to have any faith in humankind.
A sampling of my favorites:

Let's start with I Have To Work Harder Because You Have Kids,

“we childfree workers resent this. You wanted children, now take care of them! The one who gets paid less stays home with the sick kid period. If you both make "good money", get a nanny”

Followed quickly by People Without Kids Are Bad People,

So, if you have chosen to be child-free, don't delude yourself that your choice is some how noble and progressive. You will end up picking up the slack, and no one will feel bad for you. No one, well, except maybe, your mommy!

Followed by You Are A Horrible Person Who Can't See The Real Beauty In Kids and Obviously You Are a Consumerist Whore, I Make All My Kids Clothes From Recycled Pandas And I Live In A Carbon-Neutral Cardboard Box,

Really? "Stuck at home." IT'S YOUR CHILD WHO DOESN'T FEEL WELL. You should WANT to take care of them!! If you are willing to make some sacrifices, one parent can stay home to take care of the kids/house/errands etc. Give up the two cars, 2000 square foot house, vacations, nice clothes and take care of your family. My husband and I have done both scenarios and CRAP ROLLS DOWNHILL. Thinking both parents working full-time doesn't affect your kids is the biggest elephant in the kitchen in our society.

Followed by No Shit,

Maybe parents-to-be should have this discussion before having children.

And then, You May Be Okay With Having A Murderer Or Pedophile Watch Your Kid While You're Out Realizing Your Dream of Becoming a Dance Therapist/Raw Foods Chef But I Think Children Should Be Tended To By A Real Parent

I prefer to have my children raised by their parents. My wife and I get by on less but there is a parent home when they come home from school. They are not dumped in some warehouse after school program so mommy and daddy can feel complete about themselves. I know this is a radically idea, but I have seen some parents treat their children like pets.

I'm fairly certain that the reason I am a terrible blogger is because I'm really in the middle on everything. I abhor fundamentalism in all its forms, and a lot of these people just sound like freaking nutcases. That said, I'd probably read their blogs because I do love a good train wreck.

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