Sunday, 6 April 2008

Battle of the Sexes

Now I’m a very liberal woman...VERY liberal. When my husband begs off to go sit in a giant field for five days with thousands of others off their faces and listen to live music at a summer festival year after year - i sigh and say ’go ahead’ (he doesn’t pick up on the sigh...not at all fluent in ’Woman-ese’). When he rings from work and says he’s just stopping for a ’pint’ and will head home soon, I say ’go ahead’ and barely register any sort of emotion when he stumbles home pissed drunk at 1 a.m. But when my husband spends an afternoon bitching about how unfair it is that HE has to go to work whilst I stay home and raise our two rambunctious toddlers, and suggests that I have it easy while he drew the short end of the stick (sorry - blame the gene pool or your parents for that one - i had nothing to do with you being born a BOY and not a prospective breeder)...well then I hear the faint buzzing of a wee bee in me bonnet.

I think womankind everywhere will sympathize with me when I say that most men are deluded about how hardcore it can be to be not only a woman, but a mother. Yes, yes, there is all that cuddly kissy newborn stuff, odd afternoons relaxing with a cappucino on a park bench (well for some mothers - not me - I end up screaming and running around the playground like a demented chicken in big black shades trying to keep Egg from bullying anyone and Dumpie fall to his death), and the joy of watching every minute detail of their development (though sometimes it’s like being trapped inside a ’Joy of Parenting’ novel!).

However there is also the DARKSIDE. By this i mean the constant barrage of questions, the endless stream of filthy nappies, the horrendously soul-destroying boring numbness of ’Groundhog Day’-like (ie. the movie) repitition day after bloody day, the fact that you spend 80% of your waking hours mopping up a kitchen which let’s face it will NEVER again look as lovely and new as when you first moved in, and then there are the details like dentist appointments, doctors visits, birthday parties, thank you cards, library trips, school applications and a million other mindless tasks to be responsible for.

You are not paid a penny for your work - and in fact some rather brutish husbands even go so far as to imply that THEY are the breadwinners and you a mere ungrateful, unpaid servant who is lucky to have a roof over her head. Others roll their eyes or wolf down lovingly prepared meals without even a single word of thanks before slinking off to go collapse in front of the telly or a computer while said wife spends another half hour cleaning up (may i add that it is NOT a good idea to play Carly Simon’s ’Coming Around Again’ in this situation...I repeat NOT a good idea).

I say all this to point out that it is not simply a matter of ’Men have it hard and Women have it easy’. (Note that I didn’t even BOTHER to go into the whole nine month pregnancy stretch-your-body-out-of-shape-forever-and-age-ten-years debate. To do so would be like taking candy from a baby, and where’s the fun in that?)

No, I am speaking here to all men who take their women for granted: women who still make an effort to scrub up well when needed - or just for the hell of it...women who still attempt to whip up delights in the kitchen for their man, when it would be a hundred times easier to pop a ready-meal in the microwave for 5 minutes...women who remember everyone’s birthdays, send thank you cards, buy presents, arrange holidays, read story books till their brains are numb, wipe filthy bottoms, do bucketloads of laundry everyday, make thousands of 'kiddie meals' which will only end up in the bin, lug countless bags of groceries home day after day, scrub and clean taps, toilets and floors from morning till night...and still find time to smile and be pleasant when their husbands walk through the door (instead of scream like a maniac and run for the bubblebath with a bottle of scotch - never to emerge again).

Anyway, all this to say that having been woken at 6:14 a.m. this morning by Egg and a screaming Dumps, I was none too surprised to see that my husbands side of the bed hadn’t been slept in. No doubt that little ’get-together’ he mumbled about and left for yesterday afternoon proved too much fun to leave. No doubt he’s crashed on someone’s sofa, wasted, making like an 18 year old...who knows.

The fact is, the pen is mightier than the sword, and instead of sticking it to him when he eventually returns, I would rather take this opportunity to point out that despite firmly held beliefs about gender roles, say what you want, but NO WAY would it be acceptable for ME or any other MOTHER to pull the same stunt. We would be declared ’un-fit mothers’ and ’alcoholics’ and ’whores’ and no end of slanderous slurs would be spat in our direction. Simply put, we would never hear the end of it!

So Darling, next time you want to discuss how ’unfair’ it is having to go out and earn a crust of bread while we mothers ’sit around reading magazines and eating bon-bons’, being ’lame little housewives’, remember that every cloud has a silver lining. You were born with a penis and thus have license to continue indulging in adolescent pursuits until well into your 60’s lucky fella!

So stick that in your pipe and smoke it Darling...I have some breakfast to whip up.

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