RESPONSE TO COMMENTS IN QCT CONCERNING ARTICLE ‘AM I A MALE CHAUVINIST PIG?’
Thanks to all who wrote in to the QCT and who approached me personally with their comments, both for and against my recent article in the QCT. I’m glad that you spoke out and voiced your opinion.
Just to clarify a few things. Although I find the current situation of certain spousal arrangements with both spouses working at high-level jobs and trying to raise kids to be a non-starter, I am, nevertheless in favour of full-fledged parental leave for either spouse.
As I mentioned in my article, my mother was able to make the choice to devote her time to her children, but only because my father had a sufficiently good-paying job which allowed her to do so, something I didn’t mention. We nevertheless had to tighten our belt in those years, having only one car, turning down the thermostat to 60 Fahrenheit at night and 65 during the day. We never had a cottage, and always bought the bargain brands of most items at the grocery store, with a few exceptions. During the inflationary years of the 1970s, we were even rationed by my father; to three half slices of bacon per person, and only on Saturdays and Sundays, and only three cookies each.
We didn’t have a microwave oven, and our stove was a 1956 Frigidaire that belonged to my grandmother before my mother got married, as well as the spare fridge downstairs, which dated from 1959, and the freezer, which was from the 1940s, which we bought used.
What I’m getting at , is that in virtually all my sharing with women all across Canada, whether they be friends, family, acquaintances, or complete strangers, they virtually all tell me the same thing: That they want flexibility. That given the choice, (I.E. of having the economic wherewithal to make such a choice), they would just LOVE to stay home with their kids for X period of time, to bond with them. Could be months, years, or even over a decade.
Where the system is falling down is that, we have no coherent policy in this country, much less in America, concerning the family. We hear a lot about getting the economy back on track, but what about the family? How can we have a healthy economy, if the basic unit measure of social organization within which economic activity occurs is not functional, and is stressed out at all levels?
I think this says a lot about the mostly men who run our two countries, than about my own views about gender ‘equality’. Why aren’t women, and men, for that matter, not being offered the free choice of being able to stay home, with some sort of employer and/or government-sponsored parental leave assistance? We are spending more money and time on disability insurance for women and men who are suffering from depression, anxiety, and burn out, caused mostly by family-related issues, exacerbated by the fact that they can’t deal with them because they have to WORK full time, than it would cost for this country to invest in a coherent family policy which gives women and men the choices that they truly want and deserve. It has nothing to do with me being chauvinistic or retrograde, but everything to do with getting the elites of our continent to cede money, power, property and prestige from themselves so that the average person can live honourably and with dignity, instead of seeing the wealth of our society disappearing into the pockets of corporate behemoths and their shareholders, who vote themselves huge compensation packages while laying people off and moving jobs offshore.
These are the people we truly need to hold accountable. Pretty soon only the very wealthy will be able to afford to have children and bring them up in a safe and secure environment. We will then have acceded to the inglorious status of a third world country. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
In the meantime, my mother rests peacefully in St. Patrick’s cemetery, beside my father, but the struggle for elemental justice continues. Let’s just hope that concept isn’t also relegated to the rank ‘chauvinist’. ‘Bye for now.