When I first heard that women were going on strike on International Women's Day, to show their families, coworkers, bosses, and the world what "a day without a woman" would look like, my initial reaction was, "Hell yeah! Mommy needs a break." This reaction, however, was followed in quick succession by all of the ways striking would be logistically challenging for me, and all of the ways that I'm privileged to even be able to think about going on strike. Besides, I'm a mom, and moms can't go on strike. Not really.
The strike seemed like a great way to show the men in our lives (and in general) just how much women do for our families, workplaces, and communities. After all, every feminist has heard about the day in 1975 when 90 percent of Iceland's women decided to take the day off, generating a nationwide conversation about equality. However, it's not 1975 (thank goodness), and the United States is not Iceland (not even close).
What would a day without moms in 2017 be like? Cue tired joke about clueless men not being able to handle "women's work," like dinner, dishes, and laundry. But also envision empty offices, hospitals, daycare centers, classrooms, call centers, retail stores, hair salons, and restaurant counters. We live in a world where many moms choose to (or have to) work, so if all moms were able to go on strike they'd actually hurt more than just the patriarchy: they'd hurt their families and other moms, too. Also, many people can't afford to take time off or risk losing their jobs by not showing up.
Single moms and breadwinning moms and moms in poverty need to work to support their families, and if no teachers or day care workers go to work, other moms will have to scramble to find childcare or call in sick, so they can stay home and watch their kids. So much for striking. And what about stay-at-home moms? If they go on strike, their partners (if they have partners) would have to take time off from work. Which sounds nice, but is often impossible.
Even though I have an awesome supportive employer that actually went dark yesterday to support the strike, I couldn't really go on strike. As much as I normally like a spa day, could I really enjoy it, knowing that the woman rubbing my feet couldn't do the same? Did I really want to go a day without snuggling my newborn, putting my son to bed, or cleaning my messy house? Not really, so here's what I did instead.
I Fed The Baby
My husband and I try to share parenting duties equally, so that means shifts for sleeping and feeding the newborn. Besides, I love feeding the baby, especially in quiet moments of the early morning. Despite no sleep, I persisted.
I Woke Up Early
I woke up early, as in "two o'clock in the freaking morning" early, and was awake again from four to six, because we have a newborn and that's what they do.
I Held The Baby
Pretty much all day, actually. I can't help it. He is still a newborn and is so darn cuddly, and I am still in the postpartum phase during which all I want to do is snuggle him. Besides, after carrying him for 37 weeks and pushing him out of my vagina, I deserve some snuggles.
I Drank Way Too Much Coffee
Sleep deprivation is real. Coffee is magic. I drank way too much to make up for too little sleep.
I Did Laundry
To be completely honest, I stared at the laundry that needed to be folded and continued to snuggle my newborn. Because, baby snuggles.
I Let My Husband Take A Nap
I know what you are thinking. "Seriously, shouldn't you have been napping?" Honestly, he'd been up late working and desperately needed sleep, and I was in way better condition to care for our home and baby, while he got some.
I Wore Red
Even though I didn't leave the house, I did wear red and post a new profile pic in solidarity with the strike. I have to admit, it was awesome seeing a sea of red on my feed (and I actually put on lipstick).
I Did The Dishes. Twice.
We have five kids, so dishes are a never ending story in our house. Plus, I hate when the sink is full of dishes. It's a serious pet peeve of mine.
I Put My Son To Bed
He honestly won't go to bed without mommy snuggles. I love that special time with him and the alternative is a very tantrum-happy 4 year old. No fun for anyone.
I Did Advocacy Work
I Helped My Daughter Resolve A Conflict
What better way to celebrate International Women's Day than to help my daughter navigate a conflict with a friend and stand up for herself?
I Changed Diapers
To honor the holiday, I did put my son in a Wonder Woman diaper, which of course he immediately pooped in. Down with the patriarchy.
I Had A Beer
Cheers to strong women. May we know them, raise them, and be them.
I Stayed Up Too Late
Then, when my husband said, "Why don't you let me take the baby, so you can get some sleep?" I had insomnia. Because, parenthood.
A happy and belated International Women's Day to all the moms who work so hard to make the world keep running, even when they need some damn sleep.