It’s been over a week since my original post Dragon Mamas? A Dad’s Perspective where I suggested that perhaps I needed to mull over this topic in a calm, measured way and come back with a considered response. I was afraid if I responded immediately, I would just fly off the handle so I gave you the polite holding statement. Now that I’ve let it simmer, I’m ready to step firmly off that handle because even after a few days I still feel the same…
…it’s an outrageous, offensive, misogynistic thing to say really, isn’t it? That a lot of women turn into dragons after they’ve had children.
I know women who are dragons, who went on to have children, and are in fact still dragons but that’s not the same thing.
I know women who were dragons, who mellowed considerably in motherhood.
I know women who had babies, and then got a terrible shock when they discovered that their partner thought that his life could stay the same and she would have to adapt to all the life changes having a baby brings by herself.
I know men who refuse to help their partners with childcare in the evenings when they come in from work because they believe they are entitled to “a rest” after a hard day in the office. In fact I feel sorry for these particular men because their babies’ childhoods are disappearing before their eyes (or behind their backs, as the case may be) and they’re missing out on such joy. I also wonder what kind of relationship these men expect to have with their children as they move into adulthood and will they be surprised when friction arises?
I know a huge number of loving, involved, nurturing men who are passionate partners and fathers.
I know that being a mother is one of the most incredible things that a woman can experience, if it’s an experience she wants, but I also think it’s possibly one of the loneliest jobs in the world. Because no one else in your child’s life thinks like a mama, do they?
Mothers sense danger first. Mothers wake when their babies wake. Mothers whose babies are sleeping through the night for the first time, or the first time in ages, sometimes lie awake with their minds working on overdrive, planning, thinking, worrying, when they really should be sleeping too. Mothers walk the floors with their upset or sick small babies for hours into the night so that their partners can rest for work the next day. Mothers hold and soothe and feed their babies in the dark knowing they have to be up for work themselves in an hour or two. Mothers wash and clean and cook and fold and vacuum and iron and study up when they should pause and rest, even for a minute. Sometimes – maybe not often, maybe all the time – mothers are exhausted.
Dragon slayers, don’t belittle your partners behind their backs. Don’t ask yourself why you think the woman you love’s behaviour has changed.
Ask her. She might tell you.
Listen to her.
Do I sound angry? That’s because I am. It’s always more complicated than that. “She turned into a dragon when she had her babies”. Give me a break.