I read this post this morning, which (for me) sparked a new series of meditations on the intersection between feminism, parenting equality, queerness, normatization/passing and self-advocacy. Go ahead and read it – I’ll wait.
Hi, welcome back! Okay, now here’s what it spooled off in my mind, in no particular order:
– I half-jokingly stated to someone recently that since S has been hogging the baby since conception, I’m going to exclusively hold it for the next nine months or so. It’s only fair.
– A friend of mine recently made a comment about work environments and dress codes and appearance and so on. I’ve been feeling sort of conflicted, or maybe just complex, about my decision to work in an environment where I most likely won’t get the freedom to have a purple topknot again (or not for a long, long time). Ultimately it came down to prioritizing providing materially for my kid over flamboyantly proclaiming my weirdness and queerness visibly at fifty paces. But I feel a tug inside about that on a daily basis, because what else it means is that I pass, all the time.
– I hate. HATE. The fact that parental leave is lopsided in gender distribution and that there’s no expectation that both parents will take the same amount of time off to bond with their new sprout in this country. And that’s not even touching the bummer that is how little baby-time is considered normal to take off for anyone, vagina-enabled or not. At the same time, I recognize that the particular spot I am in is awash in privilege, because taking any time off at all is even an option. Far too many people don’t get that luxury, and it breaks far too obviously along race and class lines.
– I’ve been telling S that as soon as she feels physically capable of being up and about in the wake of delivering yon kidlet, I want to encourage her to get out and into the world on her own some on a regular basis and leave me alone with them. This is multifaceted – I want some baby alone time, I want her to feel able to reserve a connection to selfhood and personal identity that exists independently of motherhood, and since I’ll be having to return to work after only two weeks, it’s only glancingly approaching fair that I throw myself into assuming independent childcare time as much as I can in addition to the team effort I know we’ll be putting out.
– Why is this even hard? Forced gender expectations cripple us all.