Guilty Feminism

I’ve got to confess, despite all my tirades against abandoned children and working motherhood, I have come to believe that some kids would be better off with their mothers around less.

I’m not naming any names or pointing any fingers (in the mirror) but there are some people for whom the feminism movement and creation of the stranger-bringing-up-ones-children phenomenon is actually a good thing.

My patience has run thin. My baby won’t stop screaming, I think from stomach cramps, and I know I should feel sorry for the sweet chubby little blue-eyed redhead but instead I suppress the urge to put on a pair of headphones and ignore him. Or worse. My two year old’s tantrums- the result of an exhausted toddler who refuses to nap- leave me drained, annoyed, and quite frankly, in need of a quiet office.

And this was after being with them for a total of around 3 hours today.

bottle drinkers

Bottle Therapy (don't ask to see mine)

So yeah, I think feminism was created for people like me.

The poor kids don’t have to be bombasted by a frustrated mother who yells too often and runs out of ideas of how to shut them up. They can be instead cared for by an emotionally detached caregiver who will tell them no more snacks or rock them when they cry without going off on a tirade about how on earth she is supposed to know how to take care of them and why can’t they just be quiet and sweet all the time.

Or she might ignore them. And then my a-little-too-intense-and-slightly-too-sensitive boys will develop thicker skin and be better prepared to take on the world than they would be with the mommy who hugs and kisses them every time they freak out because a-she left the room or b-they bumped into an imaginary obstacle.

So yeah, I think feminism was created for people like me. I should work nine or ten hour workdays like so many of the young mothers I meet. I should don business clothing in the morning, protecting them against the inevitable spit-up, as I drop my children off moments after they awake, promising them I will be back. Eventually.

The problem is I was also blessed with the guilt of a woman of the 50s.

Ah, that glorious guilt.

The guilt that tells me I must be with my precious progeny every chance I can. The guilt that has driven all of my many sisters to work part time while their children are young so that they can raise them. Or their voices. Or both. Simultaneously.

The guilt that threatens to choke me even for the 5 or 6 hours a day I do leave them to join the workforce.

Couple that guilt with the need for independence and escape and you’ve got a lethal equation.

And when that equation’s complete, the guilt wins. Feminism loses. And I am relegated to part time work, part time motherhood, and full time stress.

Either way, my kids have their mother around. And that can’t be all bad.


2 responses to “Guilty Feminism

  1. i dont work because i am a feminist – i work because i need the money. And though i do feel guilty about leaving my baby with a stranger I can’t afford the luxury of not working or even working part time. I kind of am offended by your attitude.

  2. feminism isn’t the reason we work but it has created the option. before feminism somehow people made do without the wife’s income, and with the mother raising their children. i certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone with my attitude- i am just expressing what bothers me about the dichotomy. i know there are many people who must work full time for financial or other reasons. it’s just a hard trade off. i certainly don’t have any solutions, just guilt and some sadness for our kids who see so little of us.

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