Joining the mom’s groups online was more of a social experiment during my third trimester [not in manner of 'how clueless am I' but more along the lines of 'what are these groups all about?']. We managed to answer both questions though. To be fair, these groups have been helpful in making me move my butt on daycare research and such. But it also piqued my curiosity on SAHMs, WFH and FTW moms. [go figure, am not gonna provide a glossary. as yet]. The equality dynamics among newbie parents is fascinating--perception, reality and what exactly is equal and what isnt. I honestly feel that as long as there are no continuous complaints OR regrets, any model that works is good enough. There isnt really a 'right' approach [daycare versus nanny versus at-home care--they are all doable and fine depending on financial, attitudinal and environmental conditions]
In anycase, this article on NYTimes was interesting enough to make me wade through 10 pages enough to send a hurried 'you MUST read this' message to the spousal unit. Never ye mind that my 'reading material' for classes didn’t get this kinda interest, but i liked the takeaways from the article. or atleast mine. namely a) standards of home maintanance can differ widely and cause friction. b) recaliberating hours spent on tasks isnt as OCDish as it seems. and c)you can live by spreadsheets. allright, the third is my own discovery. but it fits in nicely.
S saunters in after a biz dinner in a suspiciously named restaurant in palo alto ['illusions'? Honestly? Did David Copperfield launch it?]. Plopping on the couch next to me, he glances at my laptop monitor [secretly hoping I made my next move at scrabble am sure].
Self: "did you get that mail with the nytimes article?"
Him: "when did you send it?"
Why that matters, I never did understand. Though in our 7 years together, I will come to understand that asking such a pointless question is his way of just asking for time while the slow churn of the search algorithm starts off in his head.
me: "its damn interesting" and I proceed to sell the article to the reading-averse spouse. This is tricky business, given that a) I insisted he not boot up his own laptop and (b) its late at night. I spout words like 'perfectly logical' and 'even-handed' and 'objective' till he moves a lazy eyeball towards said article.
him: "how long is it?"
"10 pages" I confess. But I quickly point out that I can read over the improtant parts so he doesn’t have to read it.
I do a marathon job of reading the article, skipping over the mushy 'how the couple met' sections with the yadda yaddas. "So!" I say. S seems to kinda like the point on different standards of home maintainance--probably hoping to point out that I was too finickly for his scavenging ways of wardrobe management.
so looks like the best way is to negotiate beforehand', I say. "negowwsheeate?" S smirks. "I think the best way is for you not to get soo finicky about tidying up" he says lazily. "but you are just appalling with your clothes' I say, already resenting his implication that my high standards will cause a hypothetical conflict in a hypothetical scenario in a few months from now when our baby shall actually be born. Yeah, i think ahead.
"well not so with the kitchen..i make sure its tidy after I cook everytime ..even before eating the meal I make" S says. I gotta agree, I am terrible in the kitchen. I chop, puree, make a mess of the counter, eat the food, blanch, make him salvage it and the rue the mess i made in the kitchen. While he chops everything into perfect pieces and takes out the trash and loads the dishwasher even before he switches off the stove. I call mine the 'chaos theory'. He calls it cluelessness. whatever.
"well maybe the trick is to divvy it up. You take care of the kitchen and I take care of tidying up" I say. It’s a long shot, I know. But he seems to like it. "yeah that makes sense". I probably got away with it for now.
I don’t know if that passes the 'equality' test--I am probably gonna be hopping around the kitchen about his oil usage and such in anycase. And hez probably gonna be mad I still havent gotten his 'pile philosophy'. But hey, we are making progress. The delivery-folllowed-by-getting-back-to-work-and-school looms ahead, and anything to make me feel more prepared is worth it.
pondering deeply while tidying up the living room,