“Men are just different”, my mother says.
How do you say boys will be boys without saying the words boys will be boys?
Teach boys to go after what they want.
And girls not to.
Men to worry about themselves.
While women worry about everyone and everything else.
“Don’t say we don’t teach boys to think about others! That’s just not true.”
Have you seen the divorce rates of cancer patients?
If reincarnation is real, I want to come back as a white, cishet, Christian male.
“No, you don’t. They can’t win,”
By what metric are they not winning? They do less and get credit for any.
I was not born to be a wife and mother.
I learned to be. The way people learn to do the things that are important.
I would make the choice to be again.
But I would dig my heels in at the line that everyone told me I should be happy to cross.
I was born to be a wife and mother and still myself.
Jesse left for a weekend, two days after telling me he was going.
I missed him, but nothing about the day to day changed.
No mother I know can fathom that kind of luxury.
I am not bitter.
“Don’t lie”, my mother says.
Hi Kate, Is this something new in your writing world?
Rage or bitter?
“Men are just different”, my mother says.
I have said this many times too.” myself. I’m your mother’s generation.
I get confused when you, Kate writes “I was not born to be a wife and mother.” and then “I was born to be a wife and mother and still myself.”? What did I miss here, Kate? I want to understand.
I don’t know if it’s new – I’ve said my piece about the things I’m thinking plenty in my little corner of blogland plenty over the years.
I think what I am trying to explain (and perhaps poorly) is that we, as a society, are much more comfortable asking mothers and wives to give up pieces of themselves to be mothers and wives (we expect it really) in a way we do not fathers.
Yes. That’s true to me as well. Thanks for the explanation.
This is a very good post. Excellent writing today!
Secondly, “Boys will be boys” must have a different meaning to me. Might be generational. So this is how I could understand your mother’s message.
In our generation lifetimes we witnessed women being treated differently. From military draft to the workplace including home responsibilities. Of course much changed over the 60 years. For before worse this is where we are now.
Hope rage and bitter feelings will heal your precious heart.
*for better or worse this is where society is now.
This post reminded me of this maddening research (reported here by the CBC, which I hope you’re able to access in the US. It’s not just about the gender wage gap, but also about parental expectations for female versus male babysitters.):
I’m with you, Kate, on seeing all the things that we would have thought (and hoped) would have changed by now…and feeling all the feelings, whether it’s frustration, anger, bitterness, or just plain fatigue.
I’m thinking I’m in between you and your mother in age, and I wonder sometimes if it’s common among women my age (I’m 56) to have done the opposite of what our own mothers did, thereby inadvertently prolonging the whole fight for equality, or if this is unique to me and my circumstances. What I do know is that in the 60s and 70s, my mother would have been marinating in second wave feminism, and because she was so highly attuned to the injustice of it all, it made our home an extremely prickly place to be, resulting in me going in the opposite direction in my own marriage. It’s not that I didn’t want equality (I did! I do!), but I think I must have wanted peace just a little bit more. I have a terrific husband, and he will do whatever task I ask him to do. But it’s tiring to have to ask, to know he doesn’t see the things that need doing in the same way that I see them. (I think I could write a whole post on this subject, but I’ll stop here. 🙂 )
Marian, I wrote a very LONG comment while in the car waiting to pick up one of my children. Then my phone ate it.
What I will say is I can understand choosing peace. I definitely do myself at times. And sometimes, I get so tired of hearing the many excuses we give men while living in a world getting more comfortable stripping the rights of women. As someone who made the decision to stay home more because it was what my family needed more than what I wanted, I find myself thinking about that choice differently now. And feeling pretty damn prickly. It’s a hard topic and a societal one.
I appreciate you coming and sharing your thoughts and helping me tie and untie knots here.
I understand what it is to make decisions that are weighted more for what’s needed for your family rather than for what you need or want for yourself—that’s certainly what happened to me. My husband has always viewed work in the home as “work” so I’ve always felt valued by him, even while knowing that’s not how society sees things anymore. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I envy you your bookstore job. When I became a sahm, I imagined I’d someday be able to do *something* outside the house (not my actual career, which I hated, yet something beyond volunteering), but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find that something, and as the years have gone by, I’ve become more and more tetchy about it (all while trying to NOT turn into my mother). I truly hope that however difficult you find combining a job outside the home with all the work you do inside the home, you somehow *do* manage to do it. I really am rooting for you, Kate.
On living in a world that’s getting more comfortable stripping the rights of women—it’s alarming, that’s for sure.
Thank you, Marian. For your support and rooting me on. We are all adjusting to me changing up the role I’ve filled in the last 16 years, but we’ll adjust.
I, too, have a spouse who values the work I do. And this post is by no means a rant against Jesse or my mother – despite them being mentioned. I’m angry at patriarchy and how insidiously easy it is to perpetuate – how I do it it too – at times knowingly and others unknowingly.
Ally Bean says
Yep, as a girl I was expected to be polite and conscientious and dress neatly. The fact that I could think was considered useful and encouraged, but not necessary… as long as I was polite and conscientious and dressed neatly. Boys, on the other hand, could just do what they wanted and then be rewarded for their behaviors. The unfairness was/is maddening.
It really is. And the older I get, the subtle (and not so subtle) differences in how we raise kids based on gender become more and more apparent.
This is SO GOOD, Katie.
The cancer divorce rates….oh my god. I want to share this with a friend who got her husband through cancer last year, yet I don’t.
The difference is kind of shocking, isn’t it? I think I’d be torn on whether to share or not share with my friend as well.