Penelope .... love her or hate her ... the girl gives good ....
Posted Apr 15 2009 12:13am
"No school today and the nanny's on vacation. A whole day with the kids gets so boring: all intergalactic battles and no intellectual banter" so says Penelope Trunk on Twitter a day or so ago.
My initial reaction to reading this was NO BIG DEAL.
My secondary reaction was more introspective .... about me and my kids .... and the thought that I do find them intellectually stimulating and challenging on a number of levels
This got me thinking about the hundred million different ways women relate to their children.
I would not use the word 'boring' to describe a day home with the kids. I would use exasperating, joyful, demanding, trying, delightful, fun, tiring and a learning experience. Some words only apply to some days. Some days only one four letter word applies. Yet it is the heady mix of the many feelings and emotions that keeps me coming back for more.
My best days with lads happen when we three are stimulated. And I take that as my job to be the stimuli, provide the resources for stimulation and to lead by example, then let their wee minds and souls take over and bring us forward. I may or may not slip away and do something more 'adult'. When I loose myself to the moment and the experience, it is these moments I love most. This took me some self enforced discipline in the first instance to achieve. It is far more natural now days.
Back to Penelope's comment ... pretty usual I though for women still engaged with a full time career as she is. I certainly found mothering harder when I really only 'did it' two days a week. Now I am the primary care giver again and the ratio has reversed - two days working, five days mothering - I find mothering much easier, while it is harder to get into work.
So to me it's not that one role is harder and one role is easier ... it is the blending or juggling of the multi roles that is tough. Chuck in a few others like wife, daughter, sister, friend and then see how hard it really is to walk the talk .... double, dastardly hard.
So the original twitter has caused a wee uproar - go here to read Ms P's response to one particular twit (ter)'s response to her 'off the cuff' remark. Thus far 204 people have bothered to comment. Stacks more must have read it.
Personally I have no sympathy for the hapless man who took P on. He follows her on twitter and therefore must know she is a feisty lassie. He dished it and she responded as best she knew how, with the resources at her disposal.
And while her actions were cheered by many, they were poo pooped by nearly as many.
'Too harsh, too far, too weird, too strong a response".
Oh please .... if you can't stand the heat don't put your hand up to go into the kitchen.
Now I truly believe if Ms P had been a Mr P and made said comments then .... then a big nothing would have occurred. Maybe a few 'hear hears' from the old boys club, maybe a bit of brotherly understanding, maybe a muffled 'oh yes I'd rather be playing golf'.
But dare a birth mother, a womb wearer, a baby maker say such a thing and hush your mouth woman !!
I will close this wee rant with an experience of my own ... from the Toowoomba days. On attending a 'business after five' event I was questioned by two of the old guard Toowoomba boys. Men who were part of the establishment, but were young enough to have school age children still at home.
So somehow the conversation turns to me and my family. I drop in that I have two wee lads, then aged two and four. Immediately I am asked why I am not at home with the lads. And they did not just mean that night, they meant always home with the lads.
I offer up the fact that their dad, my husband, the sperm source, (no I did not say that exactly - well not the last bit anyway) is the stay at home parent. These men are still aghast, adamant that it should be the mother who is home with the babes .....
Toowoomba and those old, afflicted men wore thin on me that night and I opted to go talk handbags with a girlfriend who was also bearing the brunt of secondary Suits Inquisition.
Some old habits die hard.
Kids are best served by the parent who wants to be home, who will engage, who has the desire to parent. Not based on some out of date notion of who's role nurture really is. Blah, le xoxo