Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Want A Sex Change

Over the last 3 weeks I had a taste of what life must be like for a lot of working men.

Each morning, I would awaken bright and early, shower, (then perform female activities such as apply make-up and breastfeed child), dress, and walk into the dining room to be presented with a delightful breakfast. Breakfast consisted of a first course of fruit salad, followed up with muesli and yoghurt, and then chased down with a hearty serve of scrambled eggs and wilted spinach. I would always politely decline offers of tea, as habit dictated I had this once at my desk. Should I attempt to put a single dish in the dishwasher, or start to soak even a single pan, I would be hustled out of the kitchen and told to "get to work, don't worry about any of this, you're far too busy". O-kaaaaay....

And the day would just get better from there. At work, I would engage in adult conversations with colleagues about politics, work and a smattering of sport. I would mention the delicious meal that was cooked for me the night previous, as I heated up the left-overs lovingly packed for me that morning. In the evening, I would return to a happily bathed baby cooing sweetly and blowing raspberries. Dinner would be served and again, there would be no convincing anyone that I should wash up. Ice cream and mango was brought to me some time later with the urging that I needed to keep up my strength, and chamomile tea was delivered with a kindly warning not to stay up too late. Clean clothes appeared magically in my wardrobe. The floors were consistently spotless. My only task, it seemed, was to make a suggestion regarding what I might feel like for dinner.

When someone else does it for you

What parallel universe was this? The universe we all probably experienced to some degree as children. It's the universe where you live with your mother. (In the case of grown men, it's the universe they are also lucky to inhabit once they move out of their slovenly bachelor pad and in with their girlfriend/wife).

And oh how glorious it is to step back in to the mummy cocoon once you're a high functioning adult female with an infant. Life was lovely. I received the unconditional love that only a mum can give. She took my side on pretty much everything. She worried that I worked too hard and didn't get enough rest. She folded things the way I folded them (or really, vice versa, since I'm a product of her techniques). She fussed over me in the way men don't really seem to know how to fuss. Oh God it was marvelous, and how I cried when she left.

I feel like I should say something funny about being reincarnated as a man or having a sex change, but that's kind of depressing because (a) I like being a female; and (b) it signals a lack of hope that things can change. And I know I'm not just trotting out an outdated stereotype: my girlfriends complain about it, and there are entire books written on the topic (in particular the hilarious Annabel Crabb's take on the topic in The Wife Drought). So yeah. I guess for Christmas I should put in an order for a Fairy Godmother who has studied at my mum's school of child rearing, cleaning, caring, fuss-potting and folding of clothes.

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