4/15/2008

The weaker sex

England is gracious enough to grant its mothers an immense amount of maternity leave. In my case, 13 1/2 months. This would be 13 1/2 months of wonder and amazement at P's development, but also 13 1/2 months of very early mornings, very little sleep, lots of tears (hers and mine), and depression.

The Dude, as an educator, has 54 weeks off a year or some such, and has this week off for "Easter". Lucky for him, P is living large at nursery for most of the week, though she was off yesterday for something that we'll call inservice. At times like this, the understanding is that The Dude will get up with P, thus allowing me, the working stiff, to get all the sleep I can.

Yesterday morning, P decided that, much like the annoying chirping asshole bird outside our window, she would wake up for the day at 5.50am. The Dude tried to cajole her into sleeping again - bribing her with all manners of dummies, stuffed animals, and cigarettes. No deal. He came back into our bedroom to put on his sweatpants and t-shirt, grumbling, "That's my fucking day ruined, isn't it? Fucking sets the tone for the rest of the motherfucking day." Oh, the draaaaaama. Thankfully, the room was kind of dark and the duvet was covering my face, as my smile was ear to ear as I cuddled into the covers ready for a restful additional two hours of sleep.

I'm not a bitchfaced meanie of a wife, I swear. I had over a year of shit like this, yet the poor dear has one bloody day of it and he's ready to renounce parenthood. Now, I'm not one to think that the way to combat sexism against women is to then to trot out male stereotypes, but ladies, srsly, men don't always have the...wherewithal to cope with such things, do they?

Clearly The Dude has so soon forgotten the many months in which I was terrorised and taken hostage by that total mindfuck of a phenomenon entitled sleep regression, a phrase that still leads me to believe that eating dog hair and chasing it with a pint of bleach is a preferable experience. Fuck sleep regression and anything that resembles sleep regression. It's been almost a year now since P would wake up at 4.30 every.goddamn.morning, bright as a ray of sunshine and ready to start her day, yet it could have been yesterday. This lasted for about 4 months, and you can bet your ass The Dude nestled back into the covers when I would get up (every goddamn morning at 4.30am, did I mention that?), crying and in near hysterics. Guess who soldiered through all of this? Guess who just dealt with it and got on with life? Uh, yeah. That's what I thought.

I got a frantic email at 1.30pm in the afternoon yesterday as well. To paraphrase, "P won't sleep. Don't know what to do. She got up so early and needs to sleep. Am frustrated and just want the kid to sleep. Send help." I smiled to myself, and hit delete. Again, naptime? A luxury I was only occasionally afforded. Did I email The Dude at those times in a blind panic, wondering if this meant P would never sleep again?

Thirteen and a half months to his one day of sole child-rearing. Hardly seems balanced, does it? I'd almost feel sorry for the poor sap if he hadn't said in response to my pleas for him to shut the eff up already about the draaaaaama, "When are you going to stop lauding this thirteen months thing over me? That was ages ago now, surely there is a statute of limitations." Ahem. P was clinging to me at the time shouting "MIMMY, MIMMY!", and I totally should have used my spare leg to crotch punch him. Jerkface.

19 comments:

Shadiva said...

Word, sister. Why is it "raising a child" when the mom is at home with the kids, but it's "babysitting" when Dad has to actually BE a parent?

I've yet to figure that one out.

Tash said...

Woo boy, just wait until the Dude has to pack a lunch or feed the wee one dinner. There will be a look of amazement and complete helplessness: This thing EATS??!!

I love my mornings off too. Unless the effin' dogs wake me up, and my effin' day is ruined, too. Sigh.

Becky said...

Oh, the Dude sounds like The Daver. I always leave my cellphone at home when I venture out alone.

*sighs*

Hayley said...

LOL! Thankfully, I have yet to deal with the phenomenon of the early-bird child (because I have no child, just in case you wondered). This is good, because I am NOT a morning person. Should I ever have a child/ren, I pray that they be night owls. I suspect they will be early birds, just to spite me.

I am reminded of my brother-in-law, who decided he'd rather get up early and give my niece her milk than get up in the night to sleep train her. He rewrote the sleep training manual so that, once it is morning, my niece climbs into bed with my sister.

Sleep is sacred, dontchaknow...

PiquantMolly said...

The Dude IS a drama queen, of the highest order. If I was there, I would kick his ass into shape, and how. How DARE he complain about the one week he has to spend with marginally less sleep. Asshole.

Will bring my ass-kicking boots to England.

elizasmom said...

OMG, this is the sort of thing that drives me CRAZY. Love my husband, blah blah blah, but Mr. Man is a fussy sleeper and thinks that just because I can survive on less sleep than he can, that I should take the bullet every time.

I nearly killed him the time he bounced down the stairs at 9:30 a.m. one morning when I had been up since 5:30 a.m. and then, when I asked how he'd slept, he moaned something about how he wasn't sure he got enough sleep. He hasn't repeated that mistake.

May said...

LOVE IT! I still fondly remember the time I left my husband home to care for D for 4 days while I flew to Chicago to visit my college roommate...

Men. Pfffft.

nutsinmay said...

I am trying very hard now, before there is even a remote and teeny possibility of any kind of baby in our lives, to train H to NOT do this. My Dad used to run away from nappies shrieking - my step-Dad, ohhh, let's not go there. No, wait, he cooked once for us in my entire chilchood, when Mum was giving birth to little sister Diva, and what he did, get this, what he DID, was... fry the left over spaghetti. Dear God.

So, I am training H. Every time I hear a story of less than fully involved dadness, I tell him all about it, with shrieks of derision, sneering, and many remarks on how a chap can make sure he ain't getting ANY, EVER. I also discuss the issue seriously, and discuss the importance for a child to be able rely on both parents, should it be fortunate enough to have two parents, to sort stuff out and make it better. I go on and on about the unfairness of people whining after they have one day, or a few hours, of dealing with It, whatever It is, when the other (usually maternal) parent has dealth with It for months on end.

We shall see. Because I am a cynic and, as the other May said, men, pffft, I still fully expect H to regress to Victorian Paterfamilias and high-tail it to his club (and he doesn't even have a club) the first time he's expected to deal with vomit.

Helen said...

I didn't get any 13 and a half months. I got 5 measly months, and that was fudging the system somewhat

*shakes fist angrily at company*

When Angus goes off on a "Fucking kids! All they do is puke and shit!" tangent, I get wound up big time. I've handled every 20-a-day nappy illness we've had. You handled that much, much better than I did. I come unglued when the negative stars - "What's that? A stream of diarrhea shot out of their ass WHILE you were changing them? And you're pissed off? Bitch, I've been shit on so many times now that it's more common than someone giving the me finger. Suck it up."

Betty M said...

In my house it is not so much sleep that is the issue but food - I can't see why I am the only one able to identify that children need to eat and therefore the only one who remembers to purchase milk, bread etc accordingly. The deep sighs and huffing should I dream to suggest he get off his backside and deal with the empty fridge.....

The Town Criers said...

I'm still laughing aloud by the term "crotch punch."

Nic said...

M actually has the decency to take turns with me getting up when Ant does. But I still have to *ask* him to do it, whereas on days when it's my turn to get up, I just do it. So it still ends up seeming like HE'S doing ME a favor. WTF??? I really don't understand why so much of the childcare ends up being our responsibility when the men are equally capable adults.

Actually, maybe that's the problem.

Kristi said...

I love to tell my husband that he could never be the 24/7 "at-home" parent because he simply could not hack it. Hell, I can't hack it most of the time. While he's very involved in her life, I have a feeling that his idea of childcare would involve a heaping helping of Elmo coupled with a fistful of cookies, which would allow him to check sports scores on his computer all day long.

Major Bedhead said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one with a husband who just doesn't get it.

Oh, speak of the devil, the Bug is now crying upstairs and guess who's going to go deal with her? And what is the man of the house doing? Snoring on the couch. And he wonders why I never want to have sex any more.

Lut C. said...

I only got 3 months, but I added 2 months unpaid leave. I would have loved staying home for a year, but that's because I liked the laid-back, no work-stress life.

The first day that my husband stayed home to parent all day, he told me it was more tiring than he had thought.
I was in a way pleased to hear that. He hadn't complained about the state of the household before, but now he felt first-hand how hard it is to get anything done with a small baby in the house.

wheelsonthebus said...

Dude. My husband is frustrated 1/4 of the way into each weekend. Why is it so hard for him when we are tag teaming, yet I do it every day?

neko said...

Soon enough you will be able to teach your wee one to crotch punch him. Better angle.

I too snuggle into the covers with that wicked smile, we are entitled.

Still here btw. reading.

Rachel said...

Yesterday, I was presented with the opposite problem. The Jillian was having a bit of a dinner-time meltdown (this is normal) and I was looking really hard for the vodka (which I did not find) so Freddie put her to bed. When he went to change the diaper, he found a pretty fierce diaper rash there and said "Oh! Well, that's why she was so cranky!"

Um. *I* am raising this child more or less singlehandedly and have a telepathic connection with her, so please don't swoop in, spend 15 minutes with her and tell me that I just don't understand what she needs. [huge, head-spraining eyeroll]

Good thing we're only having the one because that is NOT SEXY.

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www.babyblogorama.net
http://babyblogorama.blogspot.com/
tina.roggenkamp@babyblogorama.net