happiness is the sunday nyt

I’ll deal with that tomorrow. I had a lovely day reading the paper edition. But tonight I wrote a letter to my grandson-in-law who finishes his paternity leave tomorrow and goes back to his day job. (I’m not going to say work, because he has been working.)

Dear Matt:

You have been much in my mind the last few months as you have been experiencing a huge lifestyle change and a very large learning curve. You are in the vanguard of a generation of men who have not experienced this before.  I’m sure it was a shock.

 Oddly enough, I experienced the opposite after I was widowed as I realized what men go through and what I took for granted.  E.g. when I went out at night with my husband, all I needed was a lipstick, which I put in his pocket. He had the driver’s license, the keys, the money, everything he needed to take care of me/us.  Later I needed all that plus my glasses (for driving), and always with the consciousness that I was my children’ s only parent so I had to be very careful.

 I remember, too, as I was trying to make a living for all of us, I was in a meeting trying to get an assignment to write a documentary film script (which I didn’t know how to do), and time was running out. I had promised to meet Matt and a friend with two kids to take them swimming in my apartment pool.  But I could not leave that meeting, and I realized the pressure on men who have to meet similar requirements, with no choice but t to hang in there. 

 So, I imagine you discovered the opposite side, when you had to make a decision for Mia and you had to handle a situation you were not familiar with.  Previously  with the new baby you performed tasks that had been laid out for you but now you found that you had too make the plan to follow.  It’s different, isn’t it?

 I keep telling you about Dorothy Dinnerstein (1923-1992).  Her book, The Mermaid and the Minotaur (1976), was in every feminist bibliography when I was writing my book about women’s diaries. Her belief is that the status quo won’t change (even now with #MeToo) until men share equally with the nurturance of their children. That next generation will have a different mindset because of it. It’s not going to happen overnight. It will take a generation – or two?  But  you are in the vanguard.

 You fill me with admiration and hope.

 Bless, Bettyjane


If you don’t mind, I think I’ll make  this my blog for today. It’s important.