I just read an article by Molly Snyder about what she has coined ‘attachment partnering’. That is the perfect term for what my husband and I do, and what many attachment parenting, homeschooling, and/or unschooling families are doing. We raise our daughter together, try our best to communicate well and take lots of Chinese herbs to keep us happy! ( although the occasional beer never hurts)
Matthew Kelly mentions in his book Building Better Families how their is a war waging in our midst: society versus the family unit. I would like to say that it in fact was originally waged against the couple, as now how many couples work together or spend long periods of time together? Not the majority. We have overcome the 50s mentality that mom should be in the kitchen, but why do I now feel that it has shifted to mom should be at work? Unless mom has to be at work or wants to be at work, this doesn’t make sense to me. I understand we all need an income. I get that. But again, the operative word here is should, as though moms who stay at home are not where they should be. I watched a program on TV where the new reported praised Mao Tse Tung did wonders for women’s rights, putting mom in the workforce. Um, what? MAO? You mean forcing mom into the workforce?
My husband and I are good at different things. He is a classically trained actor, and I like writing and would like to direct film one day ( maybe). He is amazing at doing dishes and I just stare at them in confusion; I prefer cooking. He can soak shirts and get stains out…and yet again, I stare in confusion. I am not completely useless in the home, I just do other chores better then the ones I have mentioned, and spend a lot of the day nursing Ky.
Billy does not want to go back to work. He wants to work at home, or work for himself. He stopped the 9 to 5 when we left Korea, and it was obvious his health and our marriage suffered because of how long he was gone. kaya did not want him to hold her. She was distant from him, despite how loving and sensitive he is. When we were in Italy and now here in Phuket, she absolutely adores being with him. It has given me a wonderful break. But I do get guilt tripped about it, and quite often. ‘ Shouldn’t you be doing XYZ instead of him?’ Not if he wants to do the dishes. No. He actually likes doing them. I don’t mind them, but he likes it. So I spend time nursing Kaya and writing or researching my doctorate. He does not want to be the 9 to 5 dad; he wants to spend time with his daughter and be there for all her happy moments and adventures.
Most men do, but again there is that should stigma in society.
Today, things are changing. Daniel Pink mentions in A Whole New Mind how in order for the West to avoid losing their jobs ( from outsourcing or automation) one has to become creative, a right brain thinker. He quotes business giants who want to hire poets instead of people with MBAs. The argument is that consumers have so many relatively inexpensive items ( and of course a lot of vintage stuff being sold online) that companies need to create things with better design and more creativity behind them. In other words, people don’t want beige, they want multicolour. They don’t want run of the mill. They want affordable and special at the same time.
What does this have to do with us parents?
It tells us that we can co-raise our kids. Why? Because there are more ways to work then at a 9 to 5. They may take some research and a little time to pursue, but they are there. The rules of the game are changing.
Snyder mentions in her article:
‘Figure out what works for you and your partner, regardless of convention or lack thereof, and be happy. Anyone who tries to tell you that you’re doing it “wrong” is actually commenting on their own uncertainties.’
Society still yells out its agenda of ‘this is right and this is wrong’. This has been challenged since time immemorial by the individual, who has been looking for something different. Now, it is being challenged by the couple, and in turn the family unit itself.
The future of parenting may end up being more inclusive then exclusive. We shall see!!