Sunday, May 12, 2013

Half a Word

I should note that this is the first time in years that Mojo has gone and left me with the kiddos for any period of time.

It gives me a tremendous awe (and a sort of horror) at the idea of doing this for weeks, months, years.

It's not the work; kidcare isn't really work. It's the inconvenience and the boredom of it. My kids are great kids. But they're KIDS. Meaning that they like kids things and want to DO kid things. I got over that about forty years ago. And without another adult around this place the vortex of kid-energy is hard to escape from; it's all-kid all the time. And unless you're a certain type of fifty-five year old playing with LEGOs, watching Madagascar, and reading Scylla the Seal Fairy gets real old real fast.

At least the Boy enjoys playing basketball and soccer; but then you have the issue of how-long-will-his-little-sister-be-content-making-daisy-chains?

So single parents? My hat is off to you.

And my love? I hope you're having a wonderful time. And I don't begrudge you a moment.

But I'm gonna be glad as hell to see you, and not just for the wild marital-reunion makeup monkey sex.



Pluto said...

I SO know what you are talking about. My wife, who did about 2/3 of the child-rearing needed breaks every couple of years. My kids were good but, oh man, Scooby Doo videos got so old so fast!

Now the kids are nearly grown (one in college!) and the wife and I are beginning to reorient as a couple instead of being a child-rearing machine. It's lots of fun but we have changed SO much in the last 20 years. We have no troubles understanding why so many couples divorce after the kids leave. The stress of raising the kids masked changes in both of us that neither of us realized were happening.

FDChief said...

Yep. Always thought that one of things that we as a society have had to work hardest at is to keep people for realizing that kiddos are, for most people and in most cases, a huge marriage/relationship-risk. Depending on how much you love kids (not as individuals but the generic IDEA of having kids) they're either "worth it" or not, but the IMO the bottom line is that there's a reason that divorce was "unthinkable" for so long; because if you start with the assumption that marriage is about 1) property and 2) heirs then you've got to FORCE couples to stay together...because otherwise more than half - probably waaayyyy more than half - of all marriages will implode from the stress the little rascals provide.

I mean, there will always be "Duggars" that thrive on the business, but for most of us the combination of constant low-grade work (you can't completely check out, ever...) with the huge boredom factor and the disconnect with adult society is a pain in the ass that is usually - but not always - mollified by the fact that we love our kiddos.

Leon said...

It's interesting that marriage in ancient times (Roman and Greek) was solely to produce children so you could hand down your property to them. They even had specific rules for unmarried daughters in case the parents died with no brothers (she had to marry her uncle).

FDChief said...

Oh, yeah. Pretty much from the earliest times we have records of until some time in the late 19th to early 20th Centuries marriage was primarily a business deal. Between families, to add to or exchange properties or wealth, and between men and women, to exchange wealth and status for offspring and thus immortality, at least in the form of lineage.

That's why virginity and chastity were so critical for the Western societies (which were largely patriarchal). Matrilineal cultures don't have to worry so much; regardless of the paternity half the genes will always be the mother's, so HER kids will always inherit. But HE can only guess whose little chromosomes are in the kiddos; if they're literally little bastards he's SOL.

I have a friend who describes marriage as "trading sex for money" and I'd argue that it was more along the lines of trading a womb for money; he could get laid anywhere, he could only father an heir from the "right" set of ovaries, one that added instead of detracted from his wealth and status.

But in the 20th Century you get two huge changes; the notion that marriage = romantic love, and the notion that children = familial love. Instead of the old system, where she traded her womb for security and status and he was allowed to consider her a uterus with legs and his kids as markers on the future they were and are expected to mate and breed because they love each other - despite the fact that kids have little or nothing to do with romantic love and even less to do with the feelings a man and a woman have for each other. Worse: the stresses of parenting and kids can kill those feelings deader than a mackerel in the moonlight.

Not WILL; fortunately most of us find workarounds for the most irritating aspects of childrearing. But CAN.

IMO one of the worst failings of both modern Western Christianity and modern Western pop culture is the failure to accept that children are not an unmixed good, that some people are better off without them, and that some people flat out SHOULDN'T have them. Finally post-modern culture accepts that, but both the mainstream and "conservative" strains insist on the Utter Goodness of Kiddos, and that's just so much horseshit.

Leon said...

I'd say for the vast bulk of families, marriage was a vehicle to maintain property - only the elites would think of increasing their property through marriage.

Funnily enough, possibly one reason they had successful marriages was the husband was freely allowed to bugger other people - usually slaves (if they owned one) or prostitutes. There would be no negative connotations if the latter got preggers since they'd have no inheritance rights (unless adopted which could happen). This meant sex (aside from procreation) wasn't an issue.

However for the wife, obviously sex with prostitutes or slaves was out of the question as her womb belonged to the husband, so it pretty much sucked for her (not much new there until relative modernity). It's possible that their sexual outlet could have been into lesbianism, which would be relatively safe (from a pregnancy POV) but we don't know as the elites (who did the writing) were fairly conservative about writing about sex.