Monday, 25 July 2011
at 11:22 am by Julie
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.