Saturday, April 9, 2011

It's not the 1950's

But maybe it should be. Well, not exactly the 1950's... I have no desire to birth children doped up and tied to a bed, nor do I want to spend 8 hours doing 3 loads of laundry(sometimes it feels like I do that anyway), and I definitely don't want my husband to expect to come home to his easy chair while I fuss about getting his slippers and brandy. I don't want to go totally retro. But it would be nice to re-gain a few things.

I learned how to use my sewing machine thanks to YouTube. When we're about to tackle a reno project turn to Google first. We've also often turned to our handy parents for help and advice. When I first got pregnant with Jack I read, and Googled and reality showed as much information as I could but I still felt totally unprepared.

If I had been born into a different time I would have been expected to help raise my younger siblings. Dedicate my time in school to learning how to darn socks, hem trousers, change diapers, care for babies, cook dinner and balance a checkbook. I'm sure I would have also learned English and History and Geometry but there would have been little expectation that I would have gone on to use that information in any real way.

I hadn't held but one baby one time before I was handed my own little Jack for the first time. Reading books did not prepare me for parenting. The first few weeks, maybe even months were chaos. I tried to trust my instincts but I felt like I was all over the place. I also felt that I should have been better, been embracing motherhood, felt more connected to the earth. (This is perhaps the greatest piece of information that isn't able to be passed on by words. Sleep when the baby sleeps. They grow so fast. To see that at first, it's a scary and beautiful chaos and then we evolve and the baby evolves and we grow together and become what we thought naively that we would instantly be.)

It can't be taught through books and videos and diagrams. Imagine learning how to drive a car by reading a book and now imagine you've never even been a passenger in one before. Hello! Crash course?

There has been a beautiful evolution of society; and I'm not complaining about what we've gained. But along with the progress of virtual communities, information exchange and online shopping things have been lost too. Knowledge gained by helping raise our siblings and learn about child care in school has been lost.

Quite a bit of experiential knowledge has been lost but I don't see any to be as significant as passing on how to care for children.

Like any good feminist I hope my husband and I can pass on as much knowledge about car and computer maintenance as we pass on about child care and cooking.

1 comment:

La Sirena said...

I hear ya! Love your blog, followed your link from one of Rixa's Stand and Deliver posts. :-)