I recently listened to the bloggers’ Gloria Steinem interview—you can download it here. It was all very interesting, but the one question I just can't get out of my head was posed by Kristen from Motherhood Uncensored (see her recap here).
Here’s her question: “Until men are stuck with infants, then we've got our work cut out for us. We've been adapting to a man's world for years and proving that we can do just what they can. Problem is, they're not coming into ours. And perhaps, we're not letting them.”
Gloria responded that we need our children to see loving, nurturing dads. If they’re not doing their part, perhaps we should leave our children with them and disappear for a few days. Gloria also warned against the “get out of my kitchen” mindset, and said we have to just let them do it—if it’s not done our way, we need to get over it.
Feminism has made huge strides for women outside of the home, though there is still so much work to do. Make no mistake, we have a long way to go for equality in terms of political representation, equal pay, etc. However, I think women should focus equally on the issue of equality in the domestic sphere.
Now I don’t want to generalize, and I recognize there are many men who do their share, and more--my husband is one of them. But I think many, many, fathers are not doing their share. Lots of women are working outside of the home, and coming to another day of work inside the home.
I’ve mentioned a few times how much my husband does, but sometimes I catch myself about to downplay it. I’m embarrassed, because I know so many people who aren’t as fortunate. People have actually told me how lucky I am. Now that’s ridiculous--if you say that to me in front of my daughter, I will slap you. The fact that my husband does his share around the house should not be considered exceptional. What century are we living in?
I agree with Gloria; we need to accept some responsibility. We shouldn’t insist that things be done our way. This is something I need to work on--I catch myself being critical often.
Big Papa: I pledge to you, from this day forward, not to criticize your work.
Her suggestion of simply leaving the child with the father, a sink or swim scenario--is this feasible? I don’t know. It sounds like some women have very little faith in their husband’s ability to cope with this situation. I don’t think I’d want to leave my baby with someone who is incompetent.
What else can we do? I don’t pretend to have the answers. Personally, I would bitch, moan, complain and threaten until he did do his share, but perhaps I’m simplifying things. Am I? Do we just need to speak up more? Put our foot down?
What do you think?
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