We’re the caregivers, right? We always will be until we learn to give birth like sea horses. It’s because we’ve carried the little thing inside us for ¾ of a year that we’re seen as the ones to nurture it when they’re finally out of us. We’ve got the milk after all!
I can just about accept the above for the times when women didn’t work as well. But it seems that we have to have this innate nurturing nature about us that the roles of nursing a sick child or making sure the child eats their meals happily or choosing the clothes of the little human, are thrust upon us as well. And we accept it, we take it on stoically, as if we too agree with this rule of thumb.
I do and I don’t. This morning, I’m not feeling particularly motherly, yet I get on with it as I do every morning. I’m not technically earning any money though, so it’s my bona fide role to be the ‘homemaker’. But then one day I was earning money, I was contributing to the household income and yet I was still the one to take the lead as parent. Don’t get me wrong, my husband was amazing, he changed diapers, did night feeds, cooked meals, did everything he possibly could, but there was something in me, (perhaps the control freak) that accepted that I would be the one to stay at home when they were really ill. I’d correspond with the school and the teachers and I would pack the lunches. It was agreed and it was accepted and expected, by everyone in society, including my boss, a woman, that women are the primary caregivers.
In my profession of ‘Primary School Teacher’ it’s always been more than just the three Rs. It’s been about the nurturing and caring and wiping that snotty nose and telling that child who fell over, how brave they are. It’s been about teaching manners and understanding when a child really has a tummy ache or it’s something deeper like hating Maths. And guess what! There aren’t that many male primary school teachers out there and if we do encounter one they are, and pardon the broad brush stroke, vying for the leadership roles, not the caring, parenting ones of lowly class teacher. I’ve only met one male teacher one who wasn’t flummoxed by the tearful girl worried about bullying because of the size of her nose.
Are we really the more nurturing ones? Sometimes I look at myself and think I’ve come a long way. I have had to consciously learn how to care. I’m not that caring or thoughtful naturally. I’m really not. I look at my daughter, I don’t think she is either, but my son might be. I also look at my husband and he just seems so much more tuned into other people’s needs than I am. Please do not misunderstand me, I am pretty OK, as a human being, but I’m not naturally nurturing, I’m not naturally social and I’m not naturally diplomatic. I’d rather be at work, be by myself and tell people how it is.
So what is a woman? A woman, even by the very term, is defined by her ability to carry children…womb…woman!
I know a few a women, however who do not want children. Categorically, no children, whatsoever! They are looked upon suspiciously by society, me included. We say, “Really? You don’t feel that maternal urge to hold your own baby?” But they are just as valid as the women who have 3 kids, a people carrier and a fool-proof routine of burps and naps, a tidy home and dinner on the table by 6.30, sharp.
A woman is a strong force of nature. Mother or not, she’s does what she does. She gets on with it. It seems in this society she’s determined to get on with it more than any man, just to prove a point. It’s as if she’s always fighting. There’s a war going on from time immemorial, it seems, to show that women are just as valid as men. There aren’t many women out there who haven’t fought with a man or another woman or herself, in some way or another. I think women are fighters; feisty and sure of herself. That’s her inner nature, not necessarily the carrier of a 1000 crying, excreting, consuming balls of flesh! But someone who, quite simply yet complexly, is.
I wonder what would happen if men grew wombs?
What are your thoughts?