Monthly Archives: March 2017
Last night we had a new friend over for dinner. She is someone I met who is young (22) and a lesbian and that’s a bit all I need to know because I want nothing more than to be the old lesbians who have the house young lesbians hang out at. It’s pretty much my top life goal.
She was nice and it was the amount of awkward you’d expect. She nanny’s a 2.5 year old boy so wasn’t shocked by Gus’ antics at dinner and we enjoyed a few beers while Lesley put Gus to bed. It was there that it got more awkward.
As we were talking she mentioned wanting to have a baby. She wanted to have one soon because she is working to be a professional musician and the way that works it would make more sense for her to have a baby at a young age. She talked about what that would be like for her and how she really just wanted a girl so would likely have an abortion if she found out the fetus was a boy. She really wanted a donor who was a person of color but now that she will only have a girl she is rethinking that because she really just did not, under any circumstance, want a white boy.
These are the things she casually told me while my white son was feet away.
It was shocking and on the other hand not. I was a young lesbian feminist with a shaved head once too. I am sure that I said things along those lines at 22. I hope to whatever higher power might exist that I did not say them to parents but honestly, I might have. I replied by telling her that yes, it is complex. That I worry about raising a good man but I believe good men exist so I have faith that I can raise one. I told her that I came to peace with the fact that I thought two lesbians raising a boy was important work. I told her that boy vs. girl you have struggles either way – you worry about your child being a rapist or getting raped. Nothing about raising a child is easy.
This young woman was so young and so misguided. She also told me how the boy she nanny’s must be developmentally delayed because he is 2.5 and not yet potty trained. How he still nurses and that’s what is holding him back. Whole lot of NOPE NOPE NOPE on both of those. She’s so young. We were all better parents before we were parents.
In the end she is welcome back at my house. She doesn’t mean harm. But she does serve as a great reminder about why we waited so long to become parents. What being “ready” really looks like and how fortunate we were to have that time. There is so much about parenting and loving this boy that I would have never enjoyed at 22 – here’s hoping she waits until she can get the same joy out of her experience.
I’ve been struggling a lot with my circle of moms. I know a lot of really wonderful ones who are raising wonderful human beings and I am so glad they are in my life. I am very fortunate to have such a good group of people in our lives.
But very few of my mom friends work outside the home. The ones who do work part time or jobs that have full time hours but in long shifts a few days. They can do daytime activities and their instagram feeds show daytime hikes, classes and lessons, and nap time snuggles. I struggle with the fact I will never be able to do those things and there are days that makes me so sad.
Beyond the pictures and knowledge about what folks do during the day I feel like my friend group has a belief that it is best to have a stay at home parent (always mom though). One friend recently told me that she thought she and her husband were so fortunate to not have to use childcare (they both work but they work intense long schedules a few days a week so that one of them is home with the kids all the time). A conversation today turned to our lack of good parental leave in the US and how getting just 12 weeks is not enough (and rarely something people get).
I agree that we need better parental leave and I agree that 12 weeks is not always enough but you know what? It was for me. I work because I want to work and around the time Gus was 2 months old I NEEDED to go back to work. I struggled to be home with him and still get a little frantic around 5 o’clock on Sunday. I want to work and Lesley and I feel fortunate that we can afford having Gus in full time childcare.
I’m not saying that my way is best or for everyone. Our childcare works for us, our both working works for us. If we could change anything it would be that Lesley work 32 hours a week and you know what we’d do? We’d keep Gus in full time childcare and she’d have a day to get stuff done at home. I feel like I am a better parent because I work and I think he gets things at childcare that I could never give him. He is happy, well adjusted, and thriving in every single way.
Yes, there are days that I am sad I can’t be with him. Of course that is true and it will always be true. Even if I know we are making the best choice for our family it is still hard. Yes, I struggle with feeling that I don’t really belong with stay at home moms (or two kid moms but that is another post). But what’s larger than that is that I feel that people think I shouldn’t want the life I have. I should want to stay home with Gus. I should have wanted a year of maternity leave. I should be siting at work crunching numbers trying to figure out how I can quit my job. None of those things are my reality and the realization that people assume it is sucks. When we discuss paid family leave and economic stability we need to remember that not everyone is a prisoner here – some of us thrive with this life.