Sunday, June 29, 2008


Trying to type quietly (?) in my living room as my mom is sleeping on the other couch. Yeah! My mom! She had been mildly threatening a visit all week but I hardly took her seriously, considering the prices of the flights (YYZ to LGA - $800!) but this determined woman got herself a connecting flight through Cleveland (aieee!) with some frequent flier points. So far I'd call it a successful visit! I've only had a few moments of meltdown hysteria, but, in my defence, I am six months pregnant, and she fusses. A lot. I was gripped with a murderous rage yesterday when she screamed - actually screamed, twice - when I got "too close" to traffic waiting to cross the street. Too close being like within eight feet.

But all in all, otherwise fairly laid back and non-controversial! She came bearing gifts of books and articles on mothering, and we had a fun mani/pedi afternoon yesterday. Then we went to one of my favorite Italian restaurants and spent my stepdad's money with abandon (thanks M!). Today I think I will convince all to head downtown for brunch at my most favoritest brunch place, which I never get to go to since it's allll the way down in the East Village, then perhaps on to some shopping, and then maybe we'll go see Wall-E tonight! That should make the husband unit happy and I only live to please him. Hee!

My mom leaves tomorrow morning and then I head in for my last four days before vacation! Sweet, sweet vacation. Thank goodness. I am so done with work for a bit. I was coasting along with lots of work, but nothing crazy pressing, until the last fire drill on Friday afternoon. Kind of two fire drills, really; in my one case, the senior associate just started really contemplating the work needed to be done for next week's depositions and thought he could take me along for his ill-planned ride once he figured out all that he wanted to get done. HAH! I am only slightly ashamed to confess that I kind of hung him out to dry on this one. But honestly! I have been bugging him about preparing for these deps for over a week and did everything I could to prepare on my own, considering his lack of focus and direction, and I am tired of having to pay the price for other people's poor planning - his in particulaire! The other drill was also directly and indisputably caused by the partner not paying particular attention to the regulator's deadline for production on our case and so, after gently reminding him of this point, I had an "urgent request" at 3pm, when I was planning to leave at 5 to meet my mom at my apartment. !!! Managed to get that done with lugging a box of documents home with me. Anyhow, surely you see my well-founded annoyance and frustration. And that's not even including the e-mail updates from all weekend about how my staff doesn't quite understand how to do basic administrative tasks. *clutching hair*

In toto, some of this stuff is making me seriously nostalgic for home (in case you don't know where that is for me, it's Canada...Toronto, specifically). I just! Parks. Having a freaking car of our own. Grocery shopping (Loblaws...waaaah) in a BIG ASSED STORE, as God in his infinite wisdom intended. Other people my age with children. A job that doesn't suck the life out of me a good 90% of the time. Family. Parking lots. Reasonably priced childcare. I know we're nowhere near ready to make a Big Life Decision like moving back yet but Manhattan can really weigh on a person...especially one used to malls.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The First of the Great Parenting Debates

Pretty much everyone knows that I have a not very seekrit obsession with online forums (not chat rooms mind you - chatting hurts my head - but more like discussion rooms). Usually these forums are about a whole lot of nothing but the parenting ones are actually pretty informative and marginally a better use of my time. I still can't shake the feeling that I'm a freak of nature in comparison to a lot of the other moms on there, though...everything from where I live, to where I work, to my plans for breastfeeding and vaccinations and child care seem to fall squarely into the minority view. It doesn't make me feel unsure of myself or afraid that I'm going about this all wrong (well, not more than usual, anyway), but it does make me wonder as to how the lack of good examples ("good" in the last loaded sense; just "good" meaning an example I would actually want to follow, that fits with my life) in my life are going to impact how I end up parenting.

Right now, I have no idea what September is going to bring. That's scary enough...and then there's the issue of five and a half months later, when I need to head back into the office. I haven't sorted out the full time vs. flex time issue, or childcare beyond the first few months, or how we're going to manage with J's increasingly stupid travel requirements, etc. Perhaps naively, I have no real fears about how my marriage will be affected. I mean, I know that logically things will be different, but having had the good fortune and sense to marry a hyper-responsible, considerate and hard-working man, it's never even occured to me that he wouldn't pull his weight and more.

This article from the New York Times, however, suggests that this assumption on my part could be a wee bit over-optimistic. It's a long article, but I'd strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in sex equality issues, especially with regard to co-parenting. It's given me a lot to think about:
  • increased "flexibility" in women's work being seen as the reason why she "needs" to do more around the house: the article seems to suggest that this is an issue of perception (so, regardless of what the woman actually does outside the house, the couple perceive her work to be more "flexible," whatever that means!) and perhaps even unconscious "life choiecs" and trade-offs along the way that result in the woman working a more flexible job. I would never have thought my job to be particularly flexible, but from a comparative perspective, it is. My firm is one of the few that actually allows flex-time schedules (what they privately think of it of course is another matter...). J's job, while not quite as demanding in terms of raw hours necessary, simply couldn't contemplate a part-time schedule since he's the manager.
  • women asserting control over the home: this isn't talked about explicitly as a control issue in the article but I think that it is, or at least it would be for me. The article is absolutely right in that, seeing that society still largely views the home and parenting as being the woman's primary responsibility, any perceived defects like the children being dressed a little funny or a messy house are assigned to being the woman's "fault." And so women are more invested in the results! Aside from that, however - and this is huge - many women take ownership over household and childcare duties because it sets them up as the "experts" in that particular area. I see it all the time on the mommy boards. Often the same women who complain about their husbands' lack of involvement in the households seem to be pretty smug about how their baby can only be comforted by mommy.
  • setting up roles of "master" and "apprentice": I absolutely see how this has already started! It's alarming really. J, bless him, barely still understands what we hired the $1500 doula for. Fair enough; at this point his life hasn't changed quite enough for him to be fully engaged in all of this, and I don't think that's making excuses. But I'm the one who has done the reading on the diapers we'll need, and the stroller I want, and what vaccinations are important and when sleep training should start. I just assumed he'd get up to speed once I explained it all to him and the baby was here, but have we already anticipated and accepted the "helper role" for him?

Of course, the big question that looms over all of this - assuming that such idyllic co-parenting is even possible and desirable - is now...are we really willing to play ball? This isn't just about J stepping up, of course; I'm talking about me. Would sharing the household tasks mean that I'd have to start taking out the garbage? Giving the dog his baths? Learn how to make coffee that doesn't taste like hot liquid poo? The whole thing will call for some co-effort :).

Off to post the article on the mommy boards...