Friday, July 09, 2004

life goes on

I'm sure Anne Summers would hate me for saying so, but quitting work and having a baby was the best decision I've ever made. It's not that I don't want to work ever again; I will, of course. It's just that having a career doesn't seem nearly as important anymore. Some feminist I turned out to be...The funny thing is, I never even knew I wanted a baby until I found out I was pregnant. I never thought I'd be any good at it either, but--if I say so myself--I think I'm doing OK. And it's just such fun. Lately Harley seems to find me very amusing and often just bursts out laughing for no apparent reason. He laughs at the drop of a hat, literally.
I wish I'd done this in my twenties. All that partying, all those nightclubs, all those years at uni, all those years kissing ass working in offices, it seems like such a waste of time now. I mean, of course I had a lot of fun. But nothing compares to the feeling of contentment and fulfilment you get from wiping a baby's bum. God, I used to feel sorry for mothers. And now I dream about making more babies, despite how horrific ghastly um, difficult childbirth is. Though obviously I'd prefer to be in a relationship with someone I love next time! Anyway, who knows what the future holds. In the meantime, this is the life.

update: Just reading that again, it seems almost sacrilegious. I feel very guilty to hear myself say that although I'm supposed to want to have it all, I just don't--I'm happy just to have some of it. I get the urge to qualify and rationalise: it's just that I'm still in the honeymoon phase; I didn't expect to enjoy it this much (ask me again during the 'terrible twos', or whatever); I was never really suited to the corporate environment in the first place; I'd probably feel quite different if I had to leave a job I really loved (when you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose!). Then again, feminism was supposed to validate our choices, whatever they may be, wasn't it. Talk about conflicted eh!

update 2: Apparently I've been outed on a right-wing site as having betrayed my liberalism. But here's the inimitable Rob Schaap's take on it (pilfered from my comments thread):

That 'having it all' bollocks is one of the nastier impositions foisted on women in the last thirty years, I reckon. Another of those American dreams-cum-nightmares we've signed up to. You don't end up with it all at all, and, as you're invited to believe you could have had it all, you're then effectively invited to blame yourself. I remember Kath Hepburn passionately making this point near the end of her time. I submit it's part of the systemic legitimation campaign within which we live. You have total freedom and are therefore totally to blame, sorta thing. 'The market' only makes matters worse, as it has come to depend on inviting you to be unhappy with your habits, appearance, fitness, sexuality, parenthood, credentials, bodily bits, accoutrements and the terrible modesty of your ambitions. Dismal conclusion: our whole mode of political economy is about producing self-conscoiusness-unto-self-loathing and hopeless guilt. Else, how is it one can feel guilty about doing the best job in the world enjoyably and well? How else has it come to pass that one fifth of us are clinically depressed and a host of our young are topping themselves?

Yeah. I think I'm just lucky that I'm not a materialist. Although it's interesting, already people have said to me, "but aren't you worried that Harley is going to miss out on having [insert brand name product] when all his friends do?" Sheesh! I grew up without a lot of material wealth and I don't think it did me that much harm. Anyway, back to this liberal/conservative question, it's not as if I'm saying men should be forced to work while women stay at home. Whoever likes it should do it. Or people should be able to share it. Maybe I'm saying women shouldn't think they have to climb the corporate ladder in order to be happy. That's all. And by the way, I don't think it makes me any less of a lefty to say I'd rather be sharing this with someone I love than doing it alone. Geez.