Dads – then and now

My mom mumbled and ranted aloud multiple times while I was home. I’m pretty sure she meant for me or my dad to hear.

“I busted my ass off raising two kids nearly by myself!”

“I raised two kids with no help at all!”

“Now you have a baby. You know how hard it is!”

This one was meant for me to hear: “You are so lucky that Chris is so helpful,” she said, after observing Chris feed and burp Kaia multiple times, change her diapers, and organize her milk in the kitchen. “It makes it easier to have a family. Your dad… he was useless back then, and he’s useless now. You need to tell him what to do step by step, and even then he doesn’t do it right. It’s just easier most of the time to do it by myself.”

My mom always says she puts up with my dad because if it wasn’t for him, she’d likely already be dead in Vietnam decades ago. That’s probably true. She definitely owed her life to him. Unfortunately, he definitely has been an unsatisfactory husband and father. And with both their combined traumas, their marriage has definitely not been a happy one. It makes me sad for them, but it’s their life, and I can’t do anything about it.

I am grateful to have a supportive, egalitarian partner. If it weren’t for Chris having as much family leave as he had and being as supportive and progressive as he is, there is no way in hell I’d have managed exclusive pumping and likely would have just switched to exclusive formula feeding long ago. I’d likely be in a far worse mental state as a first time mother. But that’s the thing: as time progresses, people like Chris should not be the exception: they should be the rule. We need to expect more of fathers being active parents and expect mothers to do less than they historically had because they did WAY too much before.

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