So this post has absolutely nothing to do with books. Or maybe it has everything to do with many books but it isn’t about one book.
Today is international Women’s Day and it’s all over my Facebook wall and my twitter feed. Heck, tonight it was even a feature on the radio. It’s good! I’m not complaining. I love that we live in an age where women – successful, strong, intelligent, capable women- are standing up to say ‘hey! Don’t forget us, and the contribution we make!’.
In my house, nobody mentioned Women’s Day. I cooked dinner, and washed up, and got one of the two kids off to bed. This was all after having listened to my husband talk about himself and his own ‘tough’ day. I use ‘these’ because I’m fairly sure if you didn’t have to separate two cranky screaming preschoolers who wanted to push each other around while simultaneously making work related phone calls and cleaning the floor from mushed up weetbix then it isn’t really as ‘tough’ as you think.
Then I cleaned the toilet because nothing says love like helping a three year old learn the difference between pooping into the toilet rather than pooping near the toilet. Bless.
Please don’t think I’m complaining. I adore my kids and know that I am seriously lucky that I get to stay at home to be with them. It’s not forever, so I’m committed to enjoying it while it lasts. What drives me to the complete ends of frustration is that not a single man I know values this shit that I do. Every time my husband speaks about how things get done at home he exposes himself for his complete lack of comprehension of how hard it is, and how lonely, and how sometimes it makes you feel a strange kind of grief and emptiness at the same time as feeling wonderfully full of love you could fly. He doesn’t get it, and he doesn’t try to. Because even though I think maybe he knows I’m a pretty OK mum, he does not value it. I don’t make money cleaning weetbix off the floor, or wiping smeary hand prints from the windows, or helping to volunteer at my son’s preschool, or taking them for their doctors check ups. None of that stuff gets counted in the mini-economy of our life; if it can’t be measured in a budget and a dollar sign, then for my husband, bless him, it doesn’t truly count.
So what do I want for international Women’s Day?
I want men, and women, to remember that our contributions as women sometimes cannot be measured or counted, but that which can’t be quantified is sometimes the most significant stuff of our lives;
That cleaning toilet-training toddler poo is as valuable to the good of our world as going to work
That just because I made the decision to stay at home with the kids doesn’t make it the easiest work; what I’d give for an actual lunch break! When I did work, I went to work for a break!
That I matter. That I matter as much as the woman in the corporate world
That I matter as much as my husband
That I matter as much as my kids, because if I’m not well, they can’t be well-loved;
And I want this every day, not just today.
Which brings me to my final point. Women represent approximately 50% of the world’s population. Why do we only get one day to be celebrated, being 1/365? Shouldn’t we get something more like 182/365? And in that same token, men get 182 too! Because Men’s rights matter too- but no more, and no less, than the rights of women. And while we are at it, let’s divvy the days up so that let’s say 10% of the Australian population are LGBTI (my statistics are not real- just for demonstrations sake) then they get 36 days. And so on. I don’t want to celebrate women tokenistically once a year. I want to feel courageous enough to celebrate my strong, human, incredible women peers- my mum, my sister, my grandmother, my school mum friends, my favourite authors, regularly, so often that it becomes a habit, not just on one day of the year.