Elizabeth Warren isn’t the first of our gender to have been “persistent”. She is just one of the most notable, because she was in the public eye, when she caused such discomfiture to the US patriarchal, oligarchic, kakistocracy on Capital Hill that they had to have her escorted from the room. ……..making the room once again, the safe space that it had been for Their Most Greedy and Corrupt Royal Highnesses.
We women have been persisting, under less than fair and favorable conditions, for centuries. Here are just a few examples of such women.
Now before I go on making my point, let me tell you what inspired this particular blog post:
It had been a rough day for my husband. I was behind in the housework, and so was our son. I had barely slept, and I hadn’t yet had the energy to wake our son to start his chores and online schooling, that morning.
We’ll call that day Flubday.
The Hubby got out of sorts, and tried to tell me that we should be letting our 15 year old, very capable son do only school, instead of school and a few small chores, besides.
In other words, the Hubby was trying to tell me how to do my job, after about 4 years of my being the one to monitor his educational progress and remind and nudge him to keep doing more and better. All that time I was also watching him also becoming capable and efficient enough to do a sinkful of dirty dishes, and haul and shift a load of laundry, once a day as well, not to mention taking care of his dogs’ needs.
My point is, that I didn’t knuckle under on Flubday morning, and simply accept that my Hubby was right, the way I’ve often accepted, blindly, that the men in my life were right. This time, I knew that I’d been right, for the past 3–4 years, since I’d insisted on yanking our son out of his traditional school, that was sucking the life out of him, and putting him in an online school.
As you can see, from the link above, I’m not the only woman to ever have reclaimed her voice or found it for the first time, or to have “spoken truth to power”. So now I’ll go on with my earlier train of though, which was a sort of a looking back, at a history of all kinds of people who’ve had to learn to “speak truth to power”:
Considering what I now know about the “Pink Tax” and the pay gap, that has long plagued society, I have to wonder if my pay was ever effected, by same, before I began working for myself. I wasn’t paying all that much attention, at the time.
I do remember being regularly shouted down, in grade school and high school, when I was trying to give an answer or ask a question. I do remember being subject to the whims of a male dominant family, that always had only my best interest at heart.
I was never abused, but maybe just a little over-controlled, and overshadowed by my father. He loved me, dearly, and could tell me so, at the drop of a hat. On the other hand he would tell me, just as often, why my goals were too ambitious for me to achieve.
For a while, I let my husband treat me the same way that my father had treated me. I let him run my life because he knew what was best for me.
When you grow up always hearing that the grown ups that love you “know what’s best for you”, it’s very difficult to believe that you can ever know it for yourself.
It’s only since I left college that I began to develop A SPINE. ………….
It started when I decided that I was done with college, after just 2 years. It was an all girls school, and very prestigious. It was also 5 dorm floors of 24/7 PMS.
I was scared for my life!
I called home at the end of my 2nd year, to parents to whom I’d never spoken with in adamant tones, before, and to my mothers polite, answering “hello?” I announced:
I’M NOT STAYING.
My next bit of persistence came when my parents ambushed me with another college catalog. I’d been doing temporary work and going nowhere in life, so they thought they’d give it another try. They said that they’d pay for one more course of instruction.
My eye fell on massage, and they rescinded their offer.
People don’t do that for real work, they told me. They do something like secretarial work for work, to support their hobby of massage.
I pretended to accept this.
Then I went out, and closed out my bank account and sunk everything I had into massage school. I got to the last half of the last class, before the money ran out.
Back to temp work.
My parents finally decided to get on board, and paid for the last half of that last class, and I had a wonderfully content 24 year career of giving massage…….. until my back gave out.
Somewhere along the way, I got brave enough to tell my paramour that I wanted to marry him, and a year or so later, Cody came on the scene.
Why a blog post to tell you ancient history? Why reveal my personal scorecard of wins against my own demons of insecurity?
First let me tell you what my motivations AREN’T.
I’m not all that interested in pointing out the strength of the female of our species. I’m also not all that interested in spotlighting her incomprable brilliance. Those things are well known and recorded, by great authors and historians.
I want to remind PARENTS (again) that they are BOTH needed for their strength and wisdom. Parenting is the playing field on which strength and wisdom matter most, in this world, and each parent has to respect the strengths (and weaknesses) of the other.
It hit me, today, that this was to be the topic of this blog post, when my husband questioned the wisdom of having our son do chores. He felt that our son should be concentrating, solely, on school. I questioned the wisdom of messing with success.
Our son has been doing EVERYTHING asked of him, efficiently, AND making high marks in school, all. Year. Long.
Obviously, by now, you know that I’m not too modest to take credit for my son’s high marks in school. The Husband has always been the real bread winner of our family. I’m the one that took on educating and molding our son.
I did the school volunteering, and took him his lunches when he forgot and left them at home. I took him to the field trips, and went to get him when he slept through our bus stop. I am the one who flew off the handle every time I heard that he’d been bullied at school, and finally insisted that we find a better school, when that and the homework became absurdly superfluous, and the bullying got old.
Since then the drives have been longer, but well worth it. We do that drive only about once a week, and the day is productive for both of us.
YOU’RE DARN TOOTIN’ I’M GONNA TAKE CREDIT!
Not only am I going to take credit, but I’m going to keep on kicking my son’s butt, because he can handle it. His grades are fabulous. He does well, when I ask him to help a bit with dishes and laundry. He does well, when I get him up at 10am to walk the dogs, and start the day.
When I ask him to do things, he knows that he CAN do those things, and that I TRUST him to do a good job, on those chores. He will be more marriageable, for it, someday.
That is one of the only things that I have to give him, as a parent. I have no great estate to leave to him. No hidden treasures, in a bank box. I can’t cook or sew for beans, and I’ve never been able to do much more than earn a little pocket money, IN MY LIFE. I’ve always relied on my parents, my husband and my trust funds, and I know I’m lucky that I can.
Teaching our son to read; imbuing him with integrity and work ethic, (applied to school and chores, etc) and giving him my love and support are the only things I’ll ever be able to give him.
I’LL ONLY STOP WHEN I GO TO MY GRAVE.
On the flip side, I also have to respect my husband’s strengths, where child rearing is concerned. He’s a FANTASTIC father.
When Cody was a too small infant, Marty was the brave one. He could change the diaper, in seconds flat, and make everything about parenting look easy. He never seemed to be phased or panicked by any crisis.
He did all that and brought home the bacon, too. When he had a break from those things, for an hour, he was paying our bills and organizing our taxes, and fixing any little thing that he could that broke in the house.
Did I mention he also found our two rental homes, here in Petaluma?
Yes, we women are strong, and persistent, and most famous men achieve fame, because they have been raised or supported by strong women, who go unrecognized, unsung and unnoticed.
The opposite is also true, of course, that men are often the wind beneath the wings of the women who rise to great heights. It just doesn’t level the playing field.
If it did level the playing field, we women would not still be fighting for safety from harassment in the workplace; pay equality; an end to the “Pink Tax”; fairness in hiring practices; promotional fairness at work; recognition of the extremity of domestic violence; rights to make our own reproductive choices and justice in cases of rape and violence.
So PARENTS,……….. since the outside world is unfair ……...to both of you, it’s only smart to be fair to each other, and acknowledge each other’s strengths and achievements, in child rearing, and household tasks. Try to not step on each other’s toes, or undermine each other’s authority.
Mom’s, your partners/spouses/significant others are going to have different ways of getting things done, and different ways of disciplining the kids. They might, sometimes, let the kids have dessert first, or take them out for a day of extreme spoiling, and let them sleep it off in the car, for the night. If the kids are safe, then you should be thanking your partner for the day off that you’ve had.
Dad’s, your partners/spouses/significant others are going to have their own ways of getting things done. They may have the kids playing games of beat the clock, to see who can get their chores done the fastest, and then feeding them microwave dinners so that you and he/she can have a quiet evening, when you get home.
Now comes your HOMEWORK, parents. It’s a tough one, this time. You ready?:
1. Get VERY close to your partner.
2. Gaze DEEPLY into their eyes, for the space of 10 deep breaths, punctuated by several long, sweet kisses.
3. Thank them for holding down the fort, bringing home the bacon, and keeping things on track, and then
4. Go out into the world, every day, and teach others that both genders (read: all gender identities) deserve equal recognition for their good works.