I have never considered myself a feminist. In fact, I’ve always been uncomfortable with even the notion of “feminism.” I’ve always found something so cliched about concepts such as “Women in Business” etc. This is not to say I’m under the impression that sexism or inequality does not exist in the world, but rather that it has never affected my own personal journey. I’ve thankfully never been discriminated against (at least to my own knowledge) because of my gender, in either my personal or professional life, and no recent event has triggered this particular musing but rather a gradual maturation.
My mother-in-law (I use this term loosely) is always telling me, “It’s a man’s world” and you know what, she’s right. Obviously we can’t really go around spouting statements like these as though they’re universal truths but yeah, in my experience, it is. The point I’m making is that maybe we’ve made it that way.
I love my partner with all my heart. I’d do absolutely anything for him, which i’m sure he knows. *By the way, the intention of this piece is not to take away from how wonderful a person he is — but rather to reflect upon my actions since being with him and their connotations in a larger sense.* He is a deeply loving and caring person and would never usher me to the kitchen or expect me to do menial chores, and yet I naturally assume these domestic roles. Yes — this is arguably evolutionary but seriously, haven’t we evolved out of this yet? Man hunt. Woman cook. No – man and woman hunt so woman and man now cook.
I don’t think we’re quite there yet.
Having recently had a baby, I’ve since felt the immense pressure that comes along with motherhood. I relish the role – really I do – but some days, I just think “Wow, this is hard.” I myself am incredibly lucky; I have an unbelievably supportive network around me and I am never alone. But at the end of the day, the responsibility rests with the parents and arguably more so with mother.
Cooking, cleaning, laundry, on top of all the baby stuff. Not to mention, those of us (which is most) who also hold down a job. It’s a lot. I will now quote Bilbo Baggins of all people, as he perfectly summises how i feel in one sentence.
I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.
Where does this pressure come from? I know it doesn’t come from the men in my life. No one has ever told me these tasks were expected of me or that this was my role as a woman. I naturally assumed these roles on moving in with Conor. It appears to me then, that the pressure almost comes from ourselves. There might be subliminal influences from society as a whole, but I almost believe I have created this mountain of work for myself.
They say “Men can’t multitask”, which to me seems like a Get Out Of Jail Free card. I suck at multitasking. Perhaps it is subtleties like these which have, over the years, become hardwired into our thinking.
I have recently made two new mummy friends (*cringe*) and on spending time with these women, I have realised a number of things. I am not alone in these sentiments; women are strong as hell; and we put ourselves under way too much pressure. We continually scrutinise our actions and are constantly trying to pick each other up from out own personal insults. They work damn hard and I can see that, why can’t they? We complain about our weight, denying ourselves well earned treats, and try our hardest to shift it with things like “Booty Mamma” classes. When one of us compliments another our go-to response is usually “shut up.” What is that? No, but really, WHAT IS THAT? Even outside these circumstances, my friends have always done this. Why can’t we take a compliment? Let’s not open that can of worms.
The point is, again we are putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure. No one is telling me to lose weight; on the contrary. The world is now embracing the “Dad bod”, why can’t we embrace our “Mom bods”?
We women are so quick to judge ourselves and each other and herein lies the problem. Appreciate your fellow woman and what they do; support and compliment them instead of putting them down. And to us all I say, “Chill out a bit.” The world will not fall apart if you don’t wash that cup. And to the men I say, “Just offer to wash the cup”.