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While I feel the need to break the stereotype and do my job in office well, it is blasphemous for me to skip the household chores or neglect family--or at least I feel so. While I need to be an equal to men at work, I cannot be an equal at home and sit with my feet up when I reach home tired.
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What if we don't get trapped in hollow buzzwords like "me time" that offer respite similar to Leisure Hour for prisoners? Instead let all hours be ours, so that we get to decide how we loan them out to others -- to our family, friends, co-workers. What if we stopped the running roster of things-others-need-to-do alongside our own list of things-to-do and what if we learned to keep the lists separate?
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As you enter the bedroom, you turn the big light off and turn on the night lamp -- only to be impaled by a shrill scream of protest. The kid knows what you are up to and the kid won't take it lying down. You use your calming voice but you can barely hear yourself. So you use your calming voice a little more loudly. Your adversary smells weakness and ups the pitch of protest. You turn to the one weapon that only you have -- superior physical strength.
Z had a friend over this morning. They were riding their little bicycles each with a nurse close at hand to make sure that nothing untoward occurred. When she wanted my attention, Z yelled out "Madam". I cringed. I've been teaching her not to call me that that but it slips out here and there. "Don't worry, Madam," her friend's nurse said. "They all do it."
I was appalled. I thought I had hacked my way out of the maze of regressive beliefs, wielding my many degrees like machetes. It took just one moment of insecurity to undo all the hours spent in Women's Studies Circles and a lifetime with my feminist tribe.