“Our” Role

“There’s a lot of women out there that demand that the husband act like the wife. I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.~Donald Trump

She is uncertain of her role.

A husband made this proclamation of his wife, a thirty-something new mother, at asmall dinner gathering.

This was decades ago and I am still considering it.

At first, I was taken aback. I had considered this man a playboy, perhaps, but not a philosopher.

Playboy. It’s funny to realize the things you once took for granted and now know as entitlement. To others. To everything.

She is uncertain of her role.

He had mirrored something I too was feeling and hadn’t yet faced. As a new mother, I was caught in a quandary that didn’t seem to apply to the guys.

Once potently sexual and financially flush, she and I were now at-home moms, wanting more, but responding to a call to something beyond ourselves.

He missed that.

She is uncertain of her role.

What he also missed was the gender differential. The gender privilege. The gender oppression.

He did have a point though. His role was solid, pre-determined. He was the breadwinner.

Our mothers hadn’t attempted to straddle two worlds; and even if they had to work, they didn’t expect to find meaning there; to do so would threaten the family, the home, him.

She is uncertain of her role.

To have said this, about her, among others, was an affront. A diminishment of the struggle of becoming, of leaving one self behind for another.

He missed that. His body was not occupied. He did not allow 7 or 8 or 9 pounds of flesh through an opening once occupied by him. His body was not further radicalized by sustaining life. By hormones raging to keep up with the demands of such wildly transformative acts.

She is uncertain of her role.

“We are the Goddamn Fucking Life Givers, you piece of shit!” I should have said it then, but I hadn’t known it like I know it now.

He went on to break her heart.

She is uncertain of her role.

He was right.
I still am.

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