Today I Am…..Tackling Inequality

It seems like such a long time since I needed to sit down and pour out the ramblings from inside my brain. There has been something brewing ever since I became single and that is the social norm of inequality between parents.

A few weeks ago I asked N what days he would like to have the children during the school holidays (this is something we agreed in our parenting plan – that holidays would be split). When we were married N never had to worry about this, I organised all of the childcare on one big spreadsheet. This day E is going here, J is there. The next day I have the day off work and I will have the kids etc. N didn’t really feature in any of the plans unless we had planned to go away on holiday.

Which is probably why I was presented with a blank, confused look when I asked N to let me know when he could have the kids at Easter and summer break. He wasn’t actually planning on doing any parenting during this time 🙄 His explanation is that he doesn’t have to worry about the kids when it isn’t his one night to have them because he knows they are well looked after with me. This is not an excuse! Surely you would like to ring E after her first day back at school 🤷 or spend time with your children when you are on holiday from work????? What all of this actually means that because I do a decent job as a mum, N gets to choose do less.

In total there are 83 days worth of school holidays which need to be covered, even together me and N do not have enough days holiday provided with our jobs. So I need to plan in advance to ask family or friends to help with the children or take unpaid leave.

What has annoyed me about the whole school holiday situation is that I spoke to N’s mum about the unfairness of how this will probably play out. Her response was “of course N can’t have the kids, he has to work!”

WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL! WHAT DOES EVERYONE THINK I EFFING DO EVERY DAY??? I WORK! I work full time but yet my job is seen to be a lesser job role. Maybe its an older generation thing? We no longer live in a world where women stay at home, you know!

Why is there such inequality between parents? (I’m assuming this comment isn’t a one size fits all, not all parents, just some.)

Which brings me to my next point……

As a single parent I get asked two main questions when people find out that I am now divorced with 2 children:

  • Do they see their Dad?

My response: Yes they see their Dad one night a week.

Them: Oh well that’s good then

My brain: Oh really, do you really think that is good? That my children (who want to see more of their Dad) get pushed to the bottom of the pile of priorities because their Dad wants to do as he pleases for the other 6 days. Yep sounds like its a good deal for them 🖕 or that actually he is responsible for them 50% of the time and he only does 14% (yes I’ve worked that out 🤣)

  • Does their Dad contribute?

Me: Yes he does

Them: Oh well that’s good then

My brain: Yeah really good that the payment is always late or that he argues that he should be paying less constantly as he doesn’t think he should have to pay me, so I can spend it on my luxuries! Or that he tries to provide me with a list of things that I should be using that money on. Or that he moans that I don’t send enough nappies for when J goes to stay with him. Or that he says its costing him a fortune to buy the food they need for one night! Or that I never ask for anything additional to the £25 per week he currently provides. My children are obviously used to living off caviar each day with me with the amount he (sometimes) pays 🤣

Why is it seen as such a GOOD thing that Dads spend time and provide towards their children’s upbringing? That’s their bloody job as a parent, its not a good thing, it should just be happening!

In society, we continually tell girls that they can do or be anything, but alongside this is a different picture when girls grow into adults and become Mums. How do we change this picture?

I’ve changed the picture for my children by not letting this go. Its been a constant battle and I have felt like giving up but I’ve not allowed N to think its ok for me to pick up the slack. I continually asked N when he will be having the children in the school holidays and reminding him that he signed up for this responsibility when we decided to have children. I turned up the pressure.

So in the Easter holidays N is having the children for 6 nights! He said he wanted to do more but will probably need a rest on the 7th day. Who the fuck do you think you are? God? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Speak soon

S

x

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