On The Write Edition curation of our best reads this week: good dads are not pulling their weight, plus relevant oldies. Achieng verdict, launching ourselves into no new starts, and much more.
Further Reading and Listening
I Thought We’d Never Speak Again: The Road from Estrangement to Reconciliation – Laura Davis
Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers – Karyl McBride
Done With the Crying – Sheri McGregor
“You’re Dead To Me,” Why Estrangement Hurts So Much – Psychology Today
1. What ‘Good’ Dads Get Away With (Darcy Lockman, New York Times)
Perhaps one of the most infamously shared articles in recent times of what goes on in the home of unequal division of labour so I will not bore you with the details. Darcy Lockman interviewed married and cohabiting parents and the amount of gaslighting that went on in the quoted segments of the piece was at times disgusting.
I’d imagine newly parents go into parenting very clueless but with a will to learn and nurture the little one wholesomely. Yet issues of gendered parenting often arise because the ‘modern involved parent‘ still wants to exert authority and undermine any contribution from their partner whom they consider as the manager of household chores.
Woe unto you when you find a guest who expects you to cook up a storm whilst you are still recovering postpartum. Or a smartphone loving dad posting a selfie of himself at home on a Friday evening – hashtag babysitting. When you recalibrate your whole livelihood and career to give yourself over entirely to the care and feeding of your family while the father still has the luxury not to. Meanwhile stepping outside without your child might feel like a betrayal. Hashtag mom guilt.
Parenting mostly exposes your weaknesses more than the strengths and before you know it, you are in a quiet corner fully committing to the idea that you are probably a crap parent. Not experiencing the joys of parenthood. Imagine having a partner who then reassures you that you are actually a nut-job? That has to be extremely painful.
Those strategically pinned to-do lists on the fridge yet carefully ignored are not working. Apparently, it’s a character flaw according to the men interviewed. Funny enough it’s a working routine that has actually brought back my sanity. Get yourself a partner who’ll ease off the household labour that presents with parenting which is lowkey a full-time job.
Be sure to get yourself her book – All the Rage: Mothers, Fathers, and the Myth of Equal Partnership. Also, pass the article to your male friends.
2. The Mental Load Struggle Is Real (Britt Tao, Medium)
I will admit to having told my partner to “help me out” with something only for him to point it out that he is not merely helping but rather doing his lion’s share. I am unlearning these remnants of social conditioning from childhood which slip up occasionally that we are only caregivers. It’s so bizarre to see the total amazement from some people when they learn that my partner changes diapers. I didn’t realize that this basic gig was a woman’s preserve.
If only he’d pay attention to how you feel about the situation right? It’s probably easier to just do the chore anyway. Or you wait until they get fed up of the complaints to then do it themselves. Horrible options.
Darcy’s article reminded me of the frustrations of Britt Tao who bore it all on Medium last year as to how she had been battling with her partner to do his share of the workload. The follow up ‘It’s Not About The Dishes’ stressed on the mental load eating away her work time and leisure time because really, it was never just about the damn dishes. Her partner implied it was.
3. When Achieng met Ellen (Sisonke Msimang, Africa is a Country)
- Ellen had a script, Achieng obliged. She gained wide notoriety.
- Nowhere did Achieng claim she was impoverished. Not with the multiple streams of income she hustles hard for.
- They both enjoyed each other’s company and it paid off. Literally.
- That cyber narrative was unnecessary.
- Ellen and her team have not responded to the continental call-out culture, yet.
4. How to Be the Best Mom (Kimberly Harrington, The Cut)
These days, we feel less of a need to hide the fact that we are dividing our attention. In my continuous quest for intentional and conscious parenting hammered down firmly by Dr Shefali Tsabary, I may have found the antidote for distracted parenting. That’s the thing about parenting, you don’t get to choose when to be a part of it. Deep within Kimberly’s satirical sense of humour, is the reality that parents are constantly present in their children’s lives physically, but they are less emotionally attuned. This, in turn, affects the child’s development. How do you find the balance between your needs and your child’s needs?
She is the author of Amateur Hour: Motherhood in Essays and Swear Words.
5. No More New Starts for Grace (Grace Lavery, Medium)
As soon as the new start has lasted a few hours, it’s time for a new one. Thankfully, the supply of new days is limitless, and therefore so is the supply of new starts, one after the next, until the only new start left is the ultimate one — the one from which there is no recovery.
Happy Weekend Reading!