The blaming game

Maturity in love and the ability to evaluate relationships are difficult skills. Looking at the people in my life, and in my own personal experience, a lot of times I am faced with the realisation that I have failed in both.

Love demands dedication but also knowledge. Mainly about one self and their own qualities and limitations. But also, a kind of childish trust and confidence that allows a complete presence and commitment to that relationship.

Evaluating relationships demands above anything else maturity and the ability to put everything into perspective, and specially, our own flaws and limitations. Evaluate is a system of checks and balances. And for that, you need to see your qualities and flaws, but also the other persons. And with that arrive to a conclusion.

One of the saddest things I noticed in relationships is the blaming game.  A lot of people, and I include myself, expresses disappointment in their actual or ex-partner, in an old or new friend, exactly the same way. And always the same point made is: she has tricked me, he has disappointed me, she has betrayed me or he has lost my trust.

And these comments are made about people that once meant everything to us. That we have known for a long time. Sometimes years and decades. Even about people we have shared our bed and personal moments and life.

Like we were fooled or tricked into believing that some part of that person existed when the reality is that it was all an illusion. Like those people had transformed from the person they pretended to be into a real person that has nothing to do with that first impression. And, of course, this new person Is in reality evil, bad, unscrupulous, cheating or terrible.

But, as a matter of fact, people change a lot less then we think. And even more so if we are talking about their nature. People are people. Caring people are caring, suspicious people are suspicious, happy people are happy. Even If sometimes they are not.

So, if we find something we don’t like about that person, that we had never seen before, the most important questions are: why we didn’t see it or we didn’t want to see it?

Both of these questions focus on the very important topic of self-love and the desire to be loved.

It is amazing to see the extent that we go to feel accepted. To feel loved and welcomed. And how, when that fails, it is immediately someone else’s fault and failure. This is probably the most abyssal desire of everyone: to be seen and loved.

When that fails for any reason, then the solution seems to be to cut the problematic relationship to absolute zero. And by that, removing people that were fundamental in our lives before, just because we feel betrayed and cheated. Sometimes to the cost of other relationships, like sons, parents, and friends.

But I am here to tell me and you that the person we should blame is our self. We should all ask what we expected from that person and why that has failed. How, knowing that person so well, did that behavior disappoint so much.  And why we didn’t see it or, if we did, hoped it was an illusion.

Off-course that are situations that truly deserve this kind of radical cut. But those are very rare situations. And sometimes the only thing that is truly needed is a healing period, with some distance, to clear the air, to heal the wounds, and to learn and grow, so that then we can continue to build that relationship. Even if in a completely different direction from before.

So, let’s remember that most of the times, maybe, and just maybe, we are the ones that need changing and correcting. That we are the ones that where blind or refused to see. That we are the stubborn ones. And because of that, we are the ones that need to develop skills and abilities.

To analyse, to understand, to accept, to forgive, to love and to include.

Parenthood and equality

Gender equality issues are profound and debatable. When I look at our society it is easy to realize the large number of situations were women are still treated with injustice, inequality and prejudice and that breaks my heart.

I am not radical or extreme concerning equality. More even, I believe both women and men have different characteristics and roles to play.  And that doesn’t increase or decrease their value. Also, today, as never before, roles can be reversed and changed without that implying an undervalue to either genders.

I am one of those men that always imagined myself as a parent, and even more as a stay at home dad. I can easily see, smiling, the possibility of working from home, taking care of my kids, walking the pets and cooking for the family, taking care of the garden, the plants and the people.

Now that I am a parent it is even harder to leave to go to work and realize that I am away for so many hours from the being that matters the most to me. And also doing things that I can only see as partially important.

What I didn’t know, and had no notion, is how much fatherhood and motherhood are unbalanced socials roles but surprisingly benefiting the mother side.

I want to be perfectly clear: for me it is unquestionable the importance of a mother to a kid or a baby. And that, even if a man dreamed about it, we will not be able to replace, especially in the first years, the founding and fundamental role of the mother.

But at the same time for me it is extremely sad to see how the world regards the role of the father.

It is hard for me to comprehend how some parents live peacefully with the distance toward their children, how they can accept that a mother has a 6 months maternity leave and the father has one. “A father is not that important.”, I have heard people say. Or accept that a mother decides about their children unilaterally.

It is both sad and ridiculous to accept that a father doesn’t get involved, doesn’t participate, doesn’t commit himself. Or even more, if the father wants, desires or has the intention that space, or time or the necessary conditions are given to do it.

This happens also in court decisions (at least in Portugal). In a large majority of cases, at least a few years back, child custody was given exclusively to the mother, without concern or care about the ability, desire, intention or right of each of the parents.

Our son

The birth of our boy was anticipated by three weeks with all the anxiety and related stress. Arriving to the hospital it became obvious to me that the father has a very small role in the birth and post birth of their own child.

The room where my wife was preparing to give birth had a bathroom that only she could use. What about if, in the five days we spent in the hospital, I needed to take a shower? You can’t. And if I need to use the toilet? There is one on the other side of the hospital for visitors.

Ok. So, while I was in the toilet, my son was born with an emergency C-section.

And when I arrived in the hospital room, after my long voyage to the bathroom, there was no wife, no son, no doctors, no nurses, no midwife, nobody. And the following conversation is exactly what happened:

“Where is my wife and son?” I asked in the reception that was just in front of my wife’s bedroom.

“Who is your wife and son?” asks a very rude nurse.

“What do you mean who is??? The one that was just here in this room!” I say getting very nervous.

“But who are you???” Asks the nurse while I start feeling that I was in the Twilight Zone.

“What do you mean who am I???? I am the father and husband of the women that was in this bedroom just ten minutes ago. Are you kidding me?!?!?!?!”

“But nobody notified you???”

And then they realized that no one had spoken to me. That I had to be moved to the C-section zone. That my son was going to be born in minutes. And they didn’t explain anything else.

The stupid nurse started telling me what to do. But I was already mad insane. I tried going in to the room she was pointing to. She yelled at me. She said I had to stay there, and pointed to a tile on the floor. And that I shouldn’t go inside the room. I started walking around being super nervous. She came back to tell me I couldn’t walk around in that hall and that I needed to remain in that specific tile.

Well. What is important is that everything went well. Baby and mother showed up and were looking ok. It was just very stressful minutes of anguish and lack of respect for the father and its role.

Besides this, in the four nights I slept in the hospital I had to do it in a reclining chair with zero comfort. Always invited to exit the room when something needed to happen with my wife or the other female in the room. And if I was sleeping at 5 in the morning who cares???? Wake up and get out I told you already.

Priorities

Can’t really understand the behavior. But it is what it is. The man is optional, not important, Because of tradition, culture or because of the rules.

But I will do mt best to change that. In our house it is our son. We decide everything together. And we divide all our tasks. There are no tasks just for me or just for her. But, because in this situation the mother has to tend to the child and breastfeed all day long I try to do everything else to promote well-being for all at home.

I change diapers, cook, clean the house, wash dishes and clothes, I walk the dogs. And all this is normal and good.

But it is this preconception that I talk about. As it is unfair for a man to have better wages then a female in the same role, it is unfair to assume that a man does less or is less in relations to his children.

In a world where we want to promote development and equality we need to be careful with our prejudices and stereotypes.

I am father. It is a right acquired the moment my son was born. And the fatherhood is 50 per cent. Like the mother is another 50. And only respecting that balance can we hope for a healthy development of children.

OUR children.