Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Separation and parenting miscellany

Well, as those of you who know me in real life already know, I've recently decided to separate from my husband. My relationship with A is something I haven't blogged a whole lot about--mostly because of the ambivalence I feel toward it. However, now that we've separated, I feel the need to explore our relationship and societie's definitions of relationships in general.
And since we're on the subject, let me tell you what happened today. I was on the phone with a friend when my daycare called. I ignored the call and let the voicemail take it. After I hung up with my friend, I forgot to check my voicemail and they didn't call back. I went about my day until about fifteen minutes ago and realized that I'd forgotten to check that voicemail. I listened to it and found out that my youngest son, Gareth, had been sick and they needed someone to come and get them. "No problem," I thought, "They would call Alistiar if they weren't able to get a hold of me." So I called Alistiar assuming that everything was taken care of. Not so. They never called him.
Is it me, or should it not be common practice if one parent is inaccessible they call the other one? I'm rather upset at the assumptions underlying this oversight. Why is it that they assumed it would be easier for me to leave my job than for my husband to leave his? Why is it they assumed that they didn't need to call him when I wasn't responding? If they insist on reinforcing these kinds of gender assumptions, then why in hell didn't they call me again?
As it turns out, he was fine afterall and I'm staying the rest of the work day, but I am absolutely incensed at their lack of effort to make sure Gareth was taken care of. I realize it's not their job to play phone tag with me all day long, but I think it should be default practice to call both parents before deciding to give up.


G said...

yeah, that was weird... did you talk to them about it?

Chandelle said...

I agree. That would completely piss me off. What did they say?

It's so funny, because I still see these sort of reinforcements all the time. Like my landlady. Every time she needs some little household thing done, she tells me to have Jeremy do it. Like, "I put some plastic sheeting outside for the fence. Have Jeremy move it to the backyard." She's talking to ME and we're talking about something that weighs about ten pounds. I'm not a little person, and I think I'm clearly a hard-ass. :) But it's just the default position for this woman that the man does stuff like that. It's so irritating.

angryyoungwoman said...

Wow. That would piss me off a lot. Are you going to talk to them about it?

Lessie said...

Thank you guys for humoring this terribly written post. I took the first paragraph of another post and tacked on the rest later. I was too lazy to just start an entirely new one. I promise I'll get around to really writing about our separation later.

I did talk to them. Unfortunately, I'm still getting into my bitch mode, so I just asked them nicely to please call my husband from now on if they weren't able to get a hold of me. They said they would. But we'll see what really happens.

Chandelle, I know what you mean. I've been trying to eradicate those kinds of assumptions from my own thinking now that I'm on my own. Rather than think, "I need to call someone," or "I'll wait for A to do this," I've been trying to do things myself.

Kiskilili said...

This sort of thing would definitely annoy me. I know of a woman who went shopping at a hardware store for parts to fix her dishwasher, and she was told to send her husband in so they could explain to him how to do it. Obnoxious--she was the one fixing it; why not talk to her?

Gareth's a great name, by the way. :)

Nemesis (darlene-doc) said...

I agree with you that it's hard to endure what some people still practice, in that the woman is the mother and the only person capable of being a caregiving parent. The man is the head of the house and the brains and the muscle, earns the bread and brings home the bacon. There shall be no deviation from this norm or you will be considered societal deviants.

I have posted articles about men being parents, too. I think that as much as it is a problem for women to move beyond this stereotype, it's even harder for society to allow a man to be a caregiver without him being subjected to ridicule of his masculinity, or the silly wags asking, "who wears the pants in the family" (and my preferred response has always been "no one, we think nudity is in fashion here")

If nothing else, they should have had a backup plan. Parents can't always be reached at a moment's notice. Someone should have taken the next step. Hopefully now that you've made your concerns clear, if it happens again, they won't hesitate.

Good luck!