Amanda Marcotte points out that misogynistic “pro-life” jerks like Kansas Republican Pete DeGraaf, who essentially compared rape to getting a flat tire, are usually married with children, so they must have an enormous disconnect from the daily realities of motherhood. Amanda initially suggests that their wives must be skilled at shielding their husbands from the truth, but most commenters agreed that these guys are willfully oblivious.
On a tangential note, Amanda made an offhand comment about how as a pet owner, she requires a lot of her boyfriend’s support, so how much more difficult must it be for mothers of humans to go it alone:
I mean, a pet is like 5% hassle, 95% fun, and with kids, the ratio is more like 75-25, especially when they’re little.
Naturally, several commenters seized on this “75-25 ratio” and ran with it, debating whether the “hassle” number is higher, lower, depends on the kid, depends on their age, etc. A lot of good points were made, but I have to disagree with the fundamental assumption.
Raising children is 100% hassle. Even when it’s fun.
Parenting eats your life. At least, it’s eaten mine. Once that little person enters your household, your time isn’t yours. Even when they’re sleeping or away at day care, you’re still on call 24/7. That doesn’t mean you don’t ever get to relax or have fun, it just means that your needs and interests no longer come first. You want to do your own thing, that’s fine, but you have to plan it around the children.
For many of us, the time that most resembles life before children is time at work. When I’m at the office, I’m tending to responsibilities that have nothing to do with my family obligations. In our patriarchal society, that means fathers (who work outside the home) get to spend more time in a non-parenting role. We might have a demanding job with lots of responsibility and little self-direction, but it’s still ultimately our own time.
Conversely, you might have a great time playing in the sandbox or building with Legos or reading a story with your child, but that time is still not yours. It may be a joy, it may be frustrating, but either way, it’s not about you.
Maybe I’m interpreting the word “hassle” too broadly; I think most people read it to imply an irritation. But in context, Amanda used the word to contrast with “ease,” and I think she’s right: when you’re in a parenting role — a role that the traditional patriarchal marriage allows the father to spend very little time in — it’s sometimes fun, often rewarding, but never really what I’d call “easy.”