Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's not about being the same, it's about equivalency

So I'm stuck in bed, I might as well write.

And since the topic of Gender Theory is in the air already, courtesy of Pope Francis, I'm going to go there. Heavily around the idea of parenting because that's where Mr. The Pope seems to have the biggest knot in his undies.

Gender Theory, about walking a line where people get to be what they want to be rather than fulfilling a role that outdated societal norms have established for them. It is not about being the same, it is about the expectation of being treated as equals REGARDLESS of differences. The expectation of having the same right to decide the course of our lives. We should all have this as a right, regardless of all the options to our humanity (whether those add-ons are chosen or thrust upon us).  

I'm not really cut out for being a traditional wife and mother type. Which is not to say that I'm not a pretty great mother, the evidence is in, my now adult daughter is an excellent addition to society. I have absolutely NOT raised her by normal standards and expectations. Part of this comes down to the non-standard way in which my father raised me, complete without gender stereotypes and with open communication (that may all come as rather a surprise to my siblings, who probably had a very different experience of our dad, but mum was still around for them.) 

But standardised gender roles are pretty much rubbish in my eyes anyway. Surely to be at our best we should all be trying to do the things we are GOOD at, and the things that we ENJOY, rather than being shoved into roles we are unsuited for? I mean obviously there has to be some leeway - because if we all WANT to be astronauts, that's totally not going to work out for society as a whole. But to some degree there has to be give and take over which roles we assume out of need.

Sometimes I see situations that beggar logic. Mum stays home to look after the kid(s) while dad works, when mum is actually better qualified to earn bigger money and is stifled at home. And dad hates his job. BUT if they reversed the situation, dad feels like less of a man... because being the stay at home parent is a) not what men do & b) not valued in the same way as a *real* job is. Fuck that. Raising a kid to be a productive member of society IS a real job, it's long past time we treated it as such. 

It SHOULD be a fulfilling job, for either and both parents. It shouldn't be a decision that isn't so much made as assumed, it should be the decision that is best for the child(ren) and the family unit as a whole. The family unit being whatever the family unit IS not the imposed ideals of others.

The Pope is worried about the traditional family. I'm not. I'm not anti-tradition as such, I am anti-tradition when it's only there for the sake of itself. The traditional family unit, with mum, dad and all the little kiddies a lack of reasonable precautions brings into the world is all very well and good - but it is not the be all and end all of the definition of a healthy family unit. Children are raised best in an environment of love and concern. With parent(s) who care about their continued well being. The simple act of being the biological parents does not guarantee for even a second that this will be the case.

My ex-husband and I were well on the way to creating a toxic environment for our daughter - because we were not actually very compatible. I'm far too much of a *free spirit* (or pain in the ass if you like) for his rather more rigid view of the universe. Staying together for the sake of our daughter would have been a terrible move. It was for the sake of our daughter that I ended it. And sometimes that is the best decision. Ours wasn't even a difficult situation, there was no physical abuse to muddy the waters. Our child was never in physical danger. But it was still a bad environment to raise her in because watching your parents grow to hate each other isn't good for anyone. And we would have, resentment was bubbling under the surface in me, I won't even begin to assume what was going on in his head. 

I'm not a traditional mum. I was never a traditional girl. I played rough sports. I excelled at technical subjects. I hated wearing skirts. They get in the way climbing trees. I expect to be treated equally. I will not shut my mouth and demure. Fuck that shit. I have opinions, damn you to hell if you think I shouldn't share them because my plumbing is on the inside. I have raised my daughter nearly single-handed, and she is AMAZING. To say that she is less because she was raised outside of the traditional family unit is just rubbish. She is more. Because the traditional family unit would have stifled her in our case. 

And this is the important bit. Each case is individual. We should do what is best, which is not always what is expected. The universe is a place of shades of all colours, black and white exist only as extremes. We should colour our lives accordingly. 

Traditional family, the concept excludes so many options for happy family while including many possibilities for extremely unhappy ones. The Pope is very anti the idea of children raised by homosexual couples. Because it breaks the traditional family *rule* again. But it's not outside of the loving family possibility - in fact from my perspective it's a better guarantee of a good environment for the child, because the hoops you have to jump through to have children as a gay couple cuts out the majority of people who are just hitting parenthood as a mistake. My child was happy accident, not all cases are so joy filled. 
The idea that same sex parents are somehow less able to raise a child *correctly* (whatever that means) is offensive to me, partially because by extension it also says that no single-parent family is acceptable either - and that negates my experience both as mother AND as child. My mother died when I was 10, the majority of my formative years were in the hands of only my father. Do I think this made me less of a person? NO. Am I sad about it? In so far as I miss my mother, yes absolutely, but I also got to know my father in a way that my siblings did not, which is a testament to the wrong-headedness of the traditional family concept to me. They missed out on knowing so much about their father. Of knowing him as a person rather than a nearly external force in their lives. Because until my mother died our family was a fairly *traditional* family unit. Dad was aloof to the day to day raising of the kids. because his role was provider. Mum also worked, she was a nurse in an old folks home for most of my young life. The upshot of this was that before she died I actually had LESS parent in my life than I had after she died. because with dad in the back seat, and mum working nights and hence in bed for much of the time I was home from school and then out the door soon after rising I just fended for myself a lot of the time. I developed a very close relationship with my dad after my mother was gone. I regret that she was gone, I do not regret that it allowed me a chance to know my father properly.

Dad's; don't make the mistake of being a back seat parent. Your children want to know you.

Mum's; don't feel like you have to stick to the role assigned you by outmoded thinking. Your children are not improved by your unhappiness, they never will be. 

Humanity do not cling to old ways without reason, change can be good for the soul. Humanity's soul could do with some good.

Peace. Out.

1 comment:

  1. I think this is the best one you've ever written- lifting a load off square pegs such as myself, loving all, and speaking sense. Brava!