While I’m on the subject of women being OK with their so-last-century decisions, here are a few more I’m perfectly at one with:
1. Our child has her Da’s surname. Fetch the smelling salts, Morag; we have a few down at the back. Anyone who feels compelled to point out that two parents with two different surnames are responsible for the creation of their child as a justification for a double-barrelled surname, is on a hiding to a boot up the hole. Not because it makes perfect sense. But rather because it makes such perfect sense, even to those who only rarely dabble in logic. And most of all, because nobody cares. So don’t mind the rest of us of, or how, or why, we choose to do otherwise.
2. Mammy guilt. I get it. Compromise is commonplace. Something’s gotta give etc. Just don’t assume we all have it. Stop volunteering on behalf of it for me because it has led me to hatch a rare strain of guilt over lacking this other kind of mammy guilt. And since that risks portraying me as a love-free A-Mammy throwback from the maternal factory line, I’d better eat something just to cope with the judgement. Oh thank God I’m still able to exhibit classic female emotional behaviours sometimes. Mammy guilt – nothing mythical about it. Commonly felt, commonly understood. But I’m in danger of developing an allergic reaction to it, if I’m force fed any more of it.
3. Glass ceiling collisions, coma, and confusion. It pisses me off, too. There’s not enough women in the board room. The disparity in wages, the rife sexism, the challenges of returning to the labour force post-early years rearing. Yep. I hear ya. I’m right there next to you on the street with a placard. But I couldn’t give a monkeys if I never made it to management. I would rather wax my own arse lying prostrate across our town centre roundabout than size up my chances of climbing the career ladder. Lack of ambition – grossly underrated, erroneously mistaken as lazy and lacking drive. Personally, I find it the opposite. I’ve decided to quit while I’m ahead. Hardly from the most vertiginous rung on the ladder, unless I’m a ladybird. Which also plays it own small imperceptible role in the eco-system.
Failure to politicise every facet of my personal life does not undermine the fight for equality. It doesn’t corrode my feminism. It doesn’t make me an enemy of it, or the worst enemy of myself. It doesn’t mock my solidarity. Choice is not a rule of compliance. The line between choice and subtle coercion feels trapeze-wire thin at times.
If I want to have a home birth/give my child a dose of surnames/sharp elbow my way to the pinnacle of my potential, you’ll be the first I’ll call to thank you for imploring me to “at least think about it”.
And that concludes this month’s series of rants in pissed off minor. With any luck.