Every once in a while, something comes along to remind me what an atypical life I’ve built for myself. This time it was someone reacting skeptically to PalMD’s statement that he worries every day about balancing work and parenting, ’cause, you know, guys don’t really do that. Um, what? I wanted, as usual when confronting the combination of rudeness and ignorance that can be the internet, to step on the fingers responsible.
So I stepped back instead. Was there any reasonable place for the doubt to have come from?
Yeah, there was. A lot of fathers really do overestimate their contributions to the household because they’re doing more than their fathers did and more than the world tells them they must do. “Equal” parenting, when broken down by what each partner actually does, is often not equal.
So why did I have to step back to remember that? Because in my world, things don’t usually work that way. Really. This is my world:
- Lots of child-free couples. Some because they don’t like kids. Some for medical reasons. Some because pursuing vocations and avocations at the same time doesn’t leave much time for good parenting. Some because the desire for children doesn’t outweigh the hassles of becoming gay parents.
- Adults who are unpartnered for various reasons. No parents in this group.
- Stay-at-home parents of both sexes who decided they’d stay home, not for financial reasons, but to work on their art. They were mostly delusional, at least while the kids were too young for school.
- Gay parents who by default won’t be breaking things down by stereotyped gender role, because the trash would pile up or they’d starve.
- Two-career parents who truly co-parent, usually with the help of family located nearby, because otherwise, they wouldn’t get any child-free time to share with each other.
- A few divorced parents with joint custody.
- Finally, way out on the periphery, a couple of couples who do things more “traditionally.” Dads who bring home the paycheck while Mom is primary caretaker. Even there, Dad comes home from work at a decent hour and unwinds by playing video games with the kids. Any work that has to be done in the evening is done at home after the kids are in bed, which means Dad won’t be getting credit for face time in the office.
This is my life. These are my friends of my generation. Does this look anything like the rest of the world? No, and I like it that way. I arranged it that way. But it does give me an unusual outlook sometimes.
In the end, I was a lot more gentle with the uncomprehending commenters at denialism blog, because it made me sad to think they don’t live in the same world I do.
But really, y’all are welcome to move here anytime.