My wife doesn’t find farting funny. Not even a little bit. In fact, it makes her so very angry. This is a problem for me as her anger grows in lockstep with my amusement – and her anger lingers far longer than any wafting odor.
It can be hard to be me, being persecuted for finding mirth in a natural expression (she claims that the expressions are most unnatural in both form and function). And in heart of hearts, I feel I am denying a part of my being by giving up this simple pleasure.
And then I remember the compromises she makes to keep our family functioning.
It was supposed to be an equal venture – fifty-fifty co-parents. It hasn’t worked out that way. I’m hoping to even that out in the long term, but after one year, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
My wife does about 80 percent of the stuff that makes T.’s life with us possible. While I do all of the cooking (and ordering out) and bathing, she does 100 percent of the appointment making and keeping, 90 percent of the driving, 100 percent of the clothing, 75 percent of the minding, 65 percent of the entertaining and 100 percent of the worrying that she has forgotten something that never occurred to me in the first place.
In all families, parenting is a joint venture, with the shares divided according to who takes on what responsibility. Family Meetings are like shareholder meetings. You present your ownership claim and vote. If it turns out that you’re only holding 25 percent of the shares, good luck pushing through the motion to vacation in Las Vegas during the Miss Corona contest.
We are not co-parents as much as I would like us to be. And much like my flatulence, I try to explain that it is not in my control – it is nature’s way.
When I only was considering typical parents, I came up with a theory that each parent starts with 49 percent of the shares. The two majority shares belong to the uterus. In the event of a deadlock, the uterus that produced the child breaks the tie. Being in our atypical family has given me the insight that the majority shares are not held by the uterus, but on the leg of that second chromosome that makes it an X rather than a Y.
Being a mom has nothing to do with giving birth and everything to do with being a woman.
My wife does 80 percent of the childrearing because not doing it is out of the question. We both work, yet she is the one who can figure out how to shuffle her schedule to accommodate him. She is the one who keeps track of his appointments in her head, because if it were up to me, we’d be paying for a lot of missed doctor’s visits. She knows what size shoes he wears and the last time he had a haircut and when pajama day at school is.
I’m confident that if pressed, men could figure out how to have children without women. I’m also confident that would mean a world full of illiterate kids covered in festering rashes and wearing dirty ill-fitting clothes.
It’s not that I love him less, it’s that she thinks about these things more. And truth be told, we’d both like it if she could do a little less thinking by me doing a little more.
Until that happens, the least I can do is step into the next room to break wind.