You hear quite often. That thing about how no one ever asking a ‘pregnant’ dad how he’s going to juggle work and childcare.
Nope, for them it’s all manly slaps and pass the cigar. Apparently.
But I’m not a man, much less a ‘pregnant’ one, so I don’t know what I’m likely to get asked. It might be true, but then again…
The thing is, it’s something you hear said among groups of women so often that it’s become a fact. Like the fact that boys will be untidy and violent and girls will love to shop and eat cupcakes.
Women discuss many things – children, husbands, jobs, politics, celebrities, sex and even sport. And they talk about things that make them blister with rage and that the unfairness of gives them permanent boiling dyspepsia. We talk about why it’s always us elbow deep in misc domestic shite (the umbrella term for the bone-numbing, but necessary, chores that we squander our best hours on).
And in many of those sad and furious conversations someone will say ‘they won’t be asking him how he’s going to manage after the baby arrives’, and the others will nod, agreeing with her wisdom.
Hang on a minute.
What are we doing? This isn’t helping. If we are half the human race, then why aren’t we doing the asking. ‘Say, male colleague, how will you manage the childcare after your baby is born?’?
We should ask and we should do the asking as often as we can with as many people listening.
Who knows? He might be desperate to talk about the frustrations and difficulties of it all – how he misses his child and wishes it was him mired in the nappy bucket. How he feels unfairly burdened with bread-winning.
The lack of both good affordable childcare, family-friendly work environments and proper equality is everybody’s issue. We need to keep questioning – the ways we work, the culture and our assumptions about it. Laziness of thought – on either side of the debate – must be challenged.