Finishing What We Started
Thanks to the sacrifices and outspokenness of countless women before us, Americans of both genders can vote, hold jobs, and pursue happiness. But amazingly, most women do not enjoy egalitarian marriages/partnerships. I still find this absolutely nutty - am I the only one?
When I was pregnant with M, I was curious, happy, anxious and terrified about becoming a mother. I knew I'd love her infinitely, and figured Marc and I would make a decent set of parents. My biggest worry was how M's permanent place in our lives would affect our marriage and my career. I talked and talked with Marc about what parenthood would mean to us, and we cemented our plans for equal sharing.
By the time T came along, I wasn't so scared about how motherhood would be my undoing. But I had begun to notice that this equal sharing thing wasn't happening in very many other families around me. Why, I pondered? I started to read. Breastfeeding, at least for me, is great for reading. Around the clock, T ate while I read. We'd stop to burp, change sides, and reposition. Then back to the reading. I started with novels, then graduated to books about raising boys (I know, it was a little early to be absorbing these when my boy was only 2 weeks old), and then started in on books about motherhood itself. T's early outings were trips to the library with his Mommy for yet more books.
I read about such anger and anxiety, such an outcry for political and cultural change. Several of the books I read are now in the ESP Resources section, as they became dear to me. Next, I got on the web and read blogs, newspaper articles, and countless other media pieces about motherhood. What was going on? I was incredulous. It was from this place that I realized I had something to share with others. My life wasn't out of balance. I wasn't angry with my husband for the crushing burdens I alone carried. But most other women, it seems, were suffering.
The Nation just published this piece entitled The Care Crisis that summarizes much of what I was reading. Organizations like MomsRising are hard at work convincing this country that change is necessary. And Equally Shared Parenting is now here to help individual parents - both mothers and fathers - gather the courage to share in all of this on a personal level.
As The Nation's article emphasizes, fixing the out-of-balance lives of mothers is not going to be about teaching them techniques to keep their sanity - yoga classes, pampering, etc. Equal sharing isn't about such quick-fix techniques either. It is a whole new, egalitarian mindset that benefits men as much as it benefits women. After voting and working, it is the rest of our story.