Monday, 25 July 2011

Wheels keep turning

I've been a bit poorly for the last few months, nothing major, just bits and pieces exacerbated by doing too much.  When I disappear from here that's often why.  Trying to avoid getting really sick by being slack about whatever I can get away with being slack about.

Someone said something to me about my health a month or so back that's been bouncing around inside my brain, making me alternately angry or worried;  that if I fall over then the whole family will fall over.  And I feel that's not fair.  I'm not actually the primary caregiver for the kids, their father is.  I am the main earner currently, but I have lots of sick leave and work in an environment where taking sick leave when you need to is actively encouraged.  So financially we would be ok if I fell over for a while.

That's the angry part - that lack of recognition of the work my partner does to keep the family and the household wheels turning, and the expectation that somehow I am secretly doing it or something, because I'm the woman.  Recently we've had a few events that both of us have needed to attend, mainly Local Board work, and at every one someone has said to me "where are the children."  No one has asked their father, even though a lot of these people know he is the main caregiver.  It's a way of making conversation with me, but not with him, it seems.  The difference is not what we do, but other people's expectations of our roles, based on our genders.  That makes me a bit grrrrr.

The worried part is that wormy little voice in my head that whispers "what if it's true"?  If I get sick will the wheels fall off me, and the household, and my partner, and the children?  How would we cope if I was down for a week, a fortnight, a month, longer?  The money would be ok in the short term as my income would keep coming, but the costs would increase - not just medical but potentially increased childcare costs on the three days a week I do most of the childcare.  If I had to miss Board stuff that could be disastrous not just for me but also for the other centre-lefty on our Board who won't have anyone to second motions or back him.  Which would in turn create stress in the family, seeing as how that other centre-lefty is also my partner and the stay home dad in our house.

Were I religious I might pray.  As I'm not I just hope.  Hope that nothing goes wrong with this precision vehicle we are driving, which is finely balanced and requires some odd care that other families possibly don't; hope that we can continue to just keep ahead, financially, of the petrol and maintenance costs; hope that none of the tyres gets a puncture and that the fan belt holds together; hope that the wheels will just keep turning, turning and turning, for another week, another month, until things get easier.


Cereal Stray said...

I am quite sure you and all of yours would be ok. With each problem will come a solution!

I hear your frustration at lack of recognition for your partner. Unfair. Is society improving on this score? I'm not sure.

katy said...

Whenever I get stressed about money (or possible lack of it) my husband reminds me of the time he lived on two-minute noodles for an extended period of time because he was in a foreign country and had nothing, he laughs at what my idea of being broke is. His confidence that we will be ok goes a long way as has seeing friends live on limited incomes.

Julie said...

My main concern is not financial, to be honest. We are very lucky in that regard (and it is luck).

It's about the bits and pieces that have to get done to keep a household running, and how we could do it if we were a person down, with two kids and all our other commitments. And how apparently the pivotal person is always me, regardless of whether I'm actually the primary caregiver or running the household or not.

I know we would be ok financially, but that's not all that needs to be ok.

Azlemed said...

we had the wheels come off here 3 weeks ago, Hubby had to take time off work to look after all 4 kids while I was in hospital, it was friends that helped him so that he could do 2-4 hours at work around school and other commitments, it showed me that even though it doesnt feel like I am pivotal in our house I actually am a key part to keeping everyones lives running smoothly

Sandra said...

I hope you feel better soon Julie. I look back on the first years of the lives of my two children and much as they were precious times, everything is easier now I have children able to help or at least be a bit independent when able adult numbers drop.

I also hate being asked where the children are whenever I go somewhere and that their father is not asked that same question.