Like most dudes, I took a gender studies course in college. I was hoping it would be about, you know, the suffrage movement and equal pay for equal work. Instead it ended up being about porn and how many gender categories there might be. (It’s more than two.) So that was kind of a bummer.
But I’ve always been interested in the feminist idea that homemakers constitute a vast pool of unpaid labor. And now that I find myself, unexpectedly, a part of that pool, I’d like to occasionally document what goes on at home when you’re in charge of a small child all day. (I’m not the first to do this, naturally.)
So here goes — a blow-by-blow account of our first day:
- 10:30 a.m. Wife leaves for work. Baby and I stare at each other. Baby consents to get down on the floor in his MMA octagon for some ten minutes, enabling me to read the news.
- 10:47 a.m. We decide to go for a walk —
— except, wait, is that right? Or did we play and eat first and then go for a walk later? That seems more correct, because it was quite sunny when we went for a walk, and there were people out.
But here’s the thing — I can’t quite remember. I suspect maybe this is why women’s work in the home goes undocumented — because all the clambering and crying and flinging and spilling creates a chaotic blur on the memory, like grease on a bus window, and you can’t see it clearly even as it’s passing you by.
And only the brief moments of stillness and amazement stay with you. Like watching him dig his toes into the sand at the playground, wriggling them slowly, experimentally. Or the way he gently feels at the stream of water coming from the tap during bathtime. Or the gradual loosening of each of his limbs as he slowly, resignedly falls asleep in your arms. But these are moments out of time, and I don’t know how to organize them.