[Ed. – Imagine the old gendered, mid-century days when your own mother — the kid’s grandmother — would have told you to stop being a big baby about taking turns emptying the Diaper Genie, dear. It’s not worth it. Pick another battle, and choose well, because all battles come with the highest possible costs. Maybe you don’t really need them.]
Two months into our daughter’s existence, my husband, Tom, and I nearly came to blows over whose turn it was to empty the Diaper Genie, whose plastic entrails had become bloated and coiled like a postprandial Burmese python. Normally we’re peaceable types, so the volcanic ferocity of our anger surprised us both. I remember glancing down at my hands, clutching the Genie sack, and envisioning them around Tom’s neck. When he yelled that he did it “last time,” I hollered back that I had carried and delivered the baby “the last time.” This was a tired, if effective, retort.
On this upcoming day of celebrating mothers, here’s a cautionary note, something many mothers-to-be don’t expect when they’re expecting: If you have a husband, you will hate him when your kid is born. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t be fooled by the pictures on your social media feed of your friends serenely beaming with their infants. When they’re not letting you know they’re #SoBlessed, they’re probably fighting. …
I thought I had married an evolved guy—one who assured me, when I was pregnant, that we would divide up the work equally. Yet right after our baby was born, we backslid into hidebound midcentury gender roles as I energetically overmet my expectations. I was feeding the baby, so I started cooking for the whole family (pre-baby, Tom and I had alternated). I was laundering our daughter’s absurdly large mountain of soiled onesies, so I took over laundry duty. Soon I was the “expert” in changing a diaper.