In this whole year of having Yazhini in our lives, the only two nights I have taken off has been when I’ve been totally consumed by a work project with unnecessarily tight deadlines that I stared at the computer so much to get fatter eyeglasses. One of those nights I crashed like a dog. Then I spent two weeks guiltily holding my daughter close to me.
My partner (a musician) has listened long enough to my confusion about this subject. Every week, he gets invited to jams, meetings, band practice, and parties…all late at night. Despite my moods, I still just let him go 95% of the time. I can’t be a setback to his career. He anyway pitches in and tries his best to take care of Yazhini when he is around. So what am I so riled up about?
In this whole time, whenever someone gives me work or calls me out, their first worry is, “What about the baby?” For the last three months we’ve got a baby sitter who adores Yazhini. If I say I am going to leave her with the sitter, people ask, “But oh, how can you leave her there for so long?”
But in this whole time, not has one colleague or friend who has invited the father, especially on late night outs, asked him, “Oh, but what about the baby?” They just silently assume the mother will take care. The mother could be running a fever like tonight or she herself could just have loads of work to do or just not have too much interest in constantly nursing the child. She might be trying to be wean baby off. But, no, people just comfortably assume the responsibility of taking care of children primarily falls on the mother. Society is just soaked to its toes in patriarchy that it leeches in to your sleep.
I am also encouraged to assume this and settle with reality. Sigh! And for Yazhini, I will wipe off the trouble from my soppy face and continue with my responsibilities. Because a mother’s career and sanity is to just be there for her child. F*** you.
I refuse to tell my child that I sacrificed parts of my life for her. Neither parent’s career or sanity must be jeopardised for a kid. That is one of the most cruel things to do a child. I dread the day Yazhini will anger us an adult and we will retort, “Oh, but look at what we gave up for you.”
I will party alone with a cheese sandwich to this conundrum.