NO GUILT

I just don’t have the work ethic it takes to be a great mother

Quartz india
Quartz india

Oh Vazi, you should have at least one, you would make such a great mom!

I am convinced that the only people as pushy as a parent trying to switch you over to their side are cocaine users. And how about if I were just an average mom? Would that do? Probably not. And right here we have a reason some people may not want to join the parenting ranks—too much pressure.

Thanks to Catherine Zeta-Jones, I will always think of success as nothing less than being pregnant while winning an Oscar. She epitomises what the media has been telling women in recent years: that we can have it all. Yards of copy and hours of debate have been dedicated to this idea, and the upshot is that if we ladies are clever and very hardworking, then we can have both a baby and a career. It’s not like the olden times when a woman had to choose—today we are being told she can have both. Of course, I have asked some of my friends who do have jobs and children if they have it all. I don’t know about anyone else, wailed a mother of two, all I know is there are some nights I come home and all I want to do is eat my bloody kids.

The truth is I don’t have the work ethic it takes to be a great mother. I may, on the other hand, have what it takes to be a dad.

Think about it, a dad has it all. For one thing, he does not have to get pregnant, he doesn’t have to sacrifice the joys of drugs and alcohol for the requisite amount of time it takes to bake a baby […] Then, there is maternal guilt that no father is ever going to have to deal with. As a dad, no one will ever judge you unless you mess things up big time, and by that I mean you need to really go out of your way to be a prick. There needs to be alcoholism, wife- beating, cheating, or jail for someone to call you a bad dad. And even then I have actually heard people say, ‘I grant you he was a shitty husband, but he is a wonderful father.’ For the mothers, on the other hand, not giving your kid her cough medicine on time makes you unworthy.

Do you think working dads sit around at work worrying about how they can get back home in time to play with the kids, help with their homework, feed them, bathe them and put them to bed so that the child feels loved and won’t turn into a junkie, pole dancing, anorexic? No—of course not! And you know why? Because the moms already have that covered. These women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They have advice coming at them from everywhere, their friends, mothers, sisters, mothers-in-law, blogs, websites, magazines and books […]

A friend Facebooked an article about a working mum who had hired someone to read to her children so that she could get some free time, or ‘me time’ as she described it to the interviewer. The post received two reactions. The majority believed that this was a cop-out and that she was ‘buying’ her way out of motherhood. There was genuine anger over the fact that this educated, smart woman would leave the important task of reading to her kids to someone else […]

Then there was the minority reaction, and one that describes my own personal view: Are you bitches kidding me?

Let’s be honest already. Women have been outsourcing childcare since the dawn of time, and if you can allow another person to bathe, feed, dress and drive your brat to school, surely someone else reading to them can’t be that far behind. As far as I am concerned, once you have accepted that a nanny can wash your child’s bum, you are all in. Like it or not, you have crossed a line that no longer affords you the right to decide how another woman decides to raise her child. Are you people that keyed up that you can’t stand to see a guilt-free, hands-off colleague enjoying a moment of peace and quiet? […]

And, finally, my favourite part of being a dad—you can become fat and bald and no one will ever say, ‘Wow, he really let himself go after the baby.’ Look around you. Where are the hot dads? Thanks to my close association with many mothers, I have been forced into several children’s birthday parties, and there are always a bunch of hot moms, being all hot and sexy for the kids and the other moms […]

Loads of hot mommies, but no hot dads. Instead, we have a bunch of middle-aged guys in those awful dad-sandals and flappy shorts, swilling beer and not even trying to hold in their guts. If I am ever a parent, I am going to have to be a dad.

Unladylike -full spread

Excerpted with permission from Aleph Book Company from the book, Unladylike, by Radhika Vaz. We welcome your comments at ideas.india@qz.com.

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