I am NOT a housewife!

Over the last four years my role as a stay at home parent has been called into question countless times. Recently though I have been criticised for not being a good enough housewife because I expect my partner, a responsible adult, to do his fair share of the housework at the end of the day when he comes home from working outside the home.

I have 2 things to say about this, the first is not very nice so I won’t write it! The second, well…

I AM NOT A HOUSEWIFE!

In my role as a stay at home parent I have 2 young children depending on me all day. To list just a few of my duties, I dress them (or help them to dress themselves), change nappies & wipe bums, feed them, breastfeed one of them (giving of my physical body!), console them, answer their questions, play with them, take them out to socialise, read to them, sing to them, dance with them, pick up after them & ensure our home is a safe environment for them to be in.

Not only does Bean regularly get a full 8 hours sleep per night, compared to my average of 4-5 hours (due to me doing the bulk of the night time parenting with Babyman breastfeeding overnight), he also works a job with a set lunch break & smoko. Most days I don’t even go to the toilet without an audience! I work all day.

I do the food shopping for our whole family & I do it with the children in tow. I prepare at least 2 meals plus snacks each day for our children, I often get dinner ready also since Bean isn’t usually home until late of a weekday evening. I change 5-6 nappies per day & I do the bulk of our family’s laundry – including Bean’s laundry!

I can't credit this image to the original artist because no one else on the nerd has. If it's yours, do let me know.

Like Bean, I enjoy my job most of the time. Like Bean, I sometimes feel tired of my job because it’s physically & emotionally hard work. Like Bean. I sometimes want to swap roles, working out of the home seems very appealing some days.

I have temporarily given up my career to parent our children. This is a decision we are lucky enough to be able to make & we made it because it’s important to us that our children have a parent at home with them while they are young. Given that breastfeeding is also important to us, & I have the boobs, that job falls to me! As a result, while Bean’s earning capacity has increased, time spent out of paid employment has meant my earning capacity has decreased. That is a significant sacrifice to make for my family!

I have 2 children, not 3! Bean is an able-bodied, able-minded adult. If we did not live together he would be responsible for himself. Why assume that, since he lives with the owner-operator of a vagina, he no longer has to be responsible for himself?! Being a woman does not make me his slave. I am nothing to him but his equal.

Just as I am responsible for myself & responsible for providing for the needs of my dependent children, so is Bean. What is between our legs has no bearing on our responsibilities!

Our children are Bean’s children as much as they are mine. The fact that I care for them full time means Bean doesn’t have to worry about finding someone else to do it, nor does he worry about paying someone else to do it!

When I have furthered my study to bring my earning capacity in line with Bean’s & when our youngest child is no longer breastfeeding I intend to return to paid work. I’m really looking forward to it, actually. Eventually we will both work part time in paid employment & part time caring for our (unschooled) children.

As a student I will need to set aside time at the evenings & weekends to do my study. Being that Bean is their other parent, the children will spend that time with him. Neither of us view that as a chore, or an unfair expectation of him. His anatomy doesn’t disqualify him from being a good & involved parent.

While I am studying, then when I am working in paid employment, & Bean is caring for the children, as I do now, the housework & general household responsibilities will be divided as they are now – EQUALLY!

I am responsible for myself. He is responsible for himself. We are both responsible for our home, we are both responsible for our children & will continue to be until they are able to be responsible for themselves.

I am not a housewife, I am a woman*!

 

I originally published this with the last line reading,

“I am not a housewife, I’m a feminist!”

and another woman pointed out to me that being a feminist is a choice, but being a woman is not. She explained she thinks what I have described in my blog post should be reality for every woman simply because she’s a person, & that some men & women may read it & think something along the lines of,

“Well that’s your choice.”

So, I agreed & I have changed the post to reflect that.

Every stay at home parent deserves to have the work they do recognised for what it is, a job. Regardless of our sex or our gender, I believe no one in a partnership should be cleaning up after another able bodied, able minded adult as part of the role of stay at home parent!

posted by wildecrafted in home and have Comments (5)

What’s in a name?

Earlier this year, soon after Babyman’s birth & before handing in his birth registration forms, we changed our surnames so we all had the same surname. Wilde is a chosen name, not the surname either Liam or I were given by our parents at birth.

We talked about it a lot before we did it. Initially I suggested I take on his birth surname, without getting married. I decided against this because I felt less affinity with the name of his family of origin than I did with my own & I didn’t like the idea of “settling” for a name.

We had been talking about changing my name only vs choosing a family name for at least a year before we decided to choose something new (to us) & not connected in any way to either of our families of origin.

We discussed a lot of issues, including:

What will other people think?

Buuut, we can’t spend our lives worrying about what others think & ignoring the desire to do what makes us feel fulfilled. Right?

We can’t just choose to change the girlchild’s birth name, it’s not our right.

Yes, I actually thought this. Silly! Silly because we gave her birth name to her, we chose it in the first place. This was the biggest road block for me, Liam was into it, I was really getting stuck on changing a name she’d carried for 2.5yrs even though it wasn’t a name we’d chosen for her.

Patriarchy.

The idea that we deviate from what is the dominant culture surrounding family names in a patriarchy. By choosing a family name for ourselves we avoid the sense of man owning, & therefore naming, woman. (I understand this is not the way everyone sees it, yet it was something that came up for us)

Genealogy/family tree.

It’s not like our children won’t be able to track their ancestral heritage if they choose too. They’ll know their father’s “maiden name” (hehehe) & mine also, so they can just go looking it up using that information if they want to, same way I’d have to filter through many name changes if I were to trace my maternal lineage.

Funnily enough, the reason it took about a year from first floating the idea to actually following through with the act of renaming ourselves is because I was the one blocking it. It was my (half serious) suggestion originally, after discussing it for a whileLiam accepted it completely & wanted to do it immediately. I didn’t expect that, I expected resistance & I think I freaked out a bit when I didn’t meet it.

So we toyed with some names, we chose the one we liked the most went to the registry of births, deaths & marriages to hand in Babyman’s birth certificate registration complete with our new family name & a form for me, Liam & The Bubble.

As yet, we haven’t had a ritual to mark it for ourselves. It’s been a while now & we may not have a ritual at all. We don’t know how to go about it, what we want to include, whether we want to celebrate it ourselves or whether we want to make it a community celebration.

At the end of the day, ritual or not, we chose our family name & that in itself is a powerful enough ritual & acknowledgement of our committment to our family.

We chose the name Wilde because it felt like freedom. Names can carry a lot of power.

posted by wildecrafted in journal and have Comments (2)