Monday, November 09, 2009

The Gravity Well

The theory of general relativity describes gravity as a bending of spacetime. Massive objects like the sun bend spacetime, forming a “well” that makes it difficult for smaller objects to escape it’s vicinity.

When I was pregnant, we knew that I would return to work (after 9 weeks leave) and that my husband would stay at home with the baby. At that time my work visa changed and my husband no longer had work authorization, so being a SAHD was the only option that didn’t require quiting my job and moving back to Canada. We had always intended to share parenting equally (doesn’t everyone in our generation intend to?), but knowing that he would be responsible for many hours of daily baby care was an extra incentive to take the baby classes and be involved in our plans. Then the baby arrived…

Breast-feeding was tricky at first, but after a couple of weeks we were pretty good at it. However, it certainly took a lot of time. I spent a couple of days tracking how much time I spent child-to-breast, because I am exactly that geeky. One day’s total was about 5 hours. Add in diaper changes, burping and a bath, and there wasn’t much day left. My maternity leave was short, so I also felt that I had to make the most of those weeks. Before we knew it, I was doing the vast majority of the baby care.
Despite our best intentions, traditional gender roles form a gravity well that it takes a determined effort to not fall into. After my return to work, full-time baby care was a real shock to my husband. He learned and we got through it, but things were tough for a while.


Blogger Yael said...

I love that term, gravity well. It explains that initial weeks (or months) of baby care so well. I find that with all our intentions to parent equally those early weeks of breastfeeding tend to be mostly the moms. Thing even out more as the kids get older.

4:26 AM  
Blogger antijen said...

Things even out - if you make a conscious, sustained effort. It's very easy for those first weeks to set up a long-term pattern.

8:52 AM  

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