Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mod, Modern, Post-modern Family Making, Good Luck Everybody

So there is this thing called the family and it is, well the building block of our universe, right? About 100 years, or so, ago our society started down a road to really f' up the family. We invented troubling things like career track employment and *gasp* mandatory schools. We promoted mobility of individuals, even -- horrors -- immigration. These systems changed the family for ever.

100 years is not enough time to work out all the ways we have really f'ed up the family. Or so it seems.

For example, when Miss Fancy was born p-man had cocked up a bunch of leave time and then she chose a time to arrive that did not coincide with an absence from work for him. Our compromise was that he would take 3 days at the start and then a day a week off for like 6 weeks or something. It was a cool solution. But the man tripped out at the end of the 6 weeks. At one point he even got in apologist mode about this family contributions and called himself a part-time parent! WHAT? P-man, this job ain't on the clock, baby, I explained.

As outlined so poignantly by brianwho? the fruit and nuts part of that other parent tag team blog this week, GTWD's are one bellweather of what I am talking about here. And trust me, I don't take the use of the word poignant lightly, click here to see brian's post. (This is a blog after all and not movie of the week.) The family is undergoing a lot of change. A lot of stress seems to go with it. Classes of parents are evolving and it ain't always pretty or straighforward.

The only untouchables are those cuddly creatures, the SAHD's? Actually, even they act on the urge to feel pitted against some invisible parenting adversary.

These days SAHMs, are gettin' raked by the eveready critic of the mother, you know, other mothers. Them and then folks like the lovely Linda Hirshman. Her kicks at the family can took hold for a whole series of posts on Blogging Baby last month, I especially appreciated L.'s content over there on the subject. There's nothing like a good homesick post to really cut the crap, bless 'er. Insightfully, she completely circumvents any twinge of the suburban prison mentality of the 60's that really is nothing more than a blip in family history. A mere smudge of certainty about family life on an enormous Jackson Pollock.

There is the undeniable SAHM and GTWM tension mothers have with their friends, their mothers, their employers. I came out of the pregnancy closet last week. My boss immediately said, "Hmmmmm, so what will that mean for you?" Well, good question. What the hell I am I doing? Will I quit? Not that I'm telling 'im.

I remember when he and I talked about my return to work last year. When I asked about job share I almost cried. Ironically, I was so disappointed I was not 'macho' enough to return to work full time that I wanted to bawl. I continue to have an uneasy relationship with working and seriously question how much 9 to 5 I will pull off while my kids are under age 4. I am looking to my peers out there in mommyville to see how they make out, too.

As one friend said, justifiably bemoaning the high cost of childcare and the sometimes low support IQ of some GTWD's... I wanna go back to the hut. I want to have another woman watch my kid so I can have a shower. I want to get a break on this gig. Where did we put the support system? Get me back to the hut.

Me, I like to blame society, but that don't get me too far. I am frustrated with childcare choices, I don't really make enough $$$ to make the options work for me. I am enamoured of this child and newly seduced by the prospect of being her teacher. I am on the parenting edge wondering which way I'll go. Stay tuned.

Further Reading

Here's an excellent book I like to hype, The Truth about the Mommy Wars. There is no Mommy war. There are just a serious variety of families. There are undulating work arrangements for one or both parents. This is caused by many different social conditions. Few families see the choices available as ideal.

Or on the specific topic; modernity and families a halfbaked idea at best: You might find origin to the content of this post within the anthropological treatement of childbirth, childrearing and the family, Our Babies, Ourselves.

NB: This post in no way should be taken to imply that family life prior to 1906 was a walk in the park. Or, in fact that it was any less/more fun than family making now a days. It was just a bit more straightforward.


Blogger L. said...

We`re all making it up as we go along. This way no one can criticize us for not following THE PLAN. Right? Right!

2:26 p.m.  
Blogger Andrea said...

You sound like a Canadian trying to understand the Childcare debate.

I still dont know what 'plan' I am going to follow when I get to Canada.

6:58 p.m.  

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