Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Still thinking about cave women...

I had a lovely visit to my homeland over Christmas.  I went home for nearly 2 weeks.  Home has no snow, is tropical by comparison to Minnesota, and has terrain.  And there were 2 grandmothers to help wrangle MJ. 

I also had an interesting conversation with my brother one evening.  In the course of the conversation I came to realize how often I ponder "what would cave women do?"  It turns out I think about this a lot.  It also became clear that my brother fantasizes about aliens landing on earth, and that he's convinced (only half-jokingly) that this is the year it will happen.  But I digress.

And then I read this article in the NYTimes about the Opt Out Revolution.  The article's from 2003, but it rings very true for me.  I know there's been a lot of discussion about it, about the accuracy, etc.  But as an educated woman who can afford the choice of whether or not to work, I frequently ponder how much I am no longer lured by the business world.  Or whatever world this is.

I know there's a lot of discussion about nature vs. nuruture in the parenting world.  And I'm not talking about the children.  Is it because women truly, deep-down want to stay home with the children?  Or is it caused by external factors?  The reality is that there are ALWAYS external factors, so how important are they? 

I find it fascinating (and frustrating) that the men I encounter don't seem to have as much interest in their children as the women do.  They enjoy them, don't get me wrong, but they don't seem to feel as drawn to them as their wives do.  I'm guessing the men I know will object to this statement, which is a testament to the fact that they truly are great fathers.

But when I'm away from MJ for too long, my heart just aches.  My husband?  Misses her.  But it's not the same.  And it doesn't seem to be as intense.  I blame this on biology.  And here's where I think about cave women, again.  Babies used to NEED their mothers for survival.  That's how humans evolved.  So doesn't it work out great if the mother's also WANTED to be with their children?  Doesn't that seem evolutionarily advantageous?  If a mother didn't want to be with her child, her child's survival was undoubtedly less likely.  I realize this is crack science.  But it just makes so much sense.  And it gives me a handy explanation for why I spend so much time thinking about my baby when I should really be working.


  1. I like your explanation.... since I also spend a large portion of my day thinking about Annie, looking at pics of her, talking about her... although I try to avoid that last one too much. And I totally get what you mean about the heart aching - by the end of the week even I am just craving some solid Annie time.

  2. I couldn't agree more. You said it exactly how I think it, too. It's purely biological. Along those lines, I have had a blog post rolling around in my mind for months (no time to write) about how moms and babies are just primates. We are no different from our chimp counterparts.

  3. I'm a friend of Molly McClure's (I believe she's a neighbor?). As I was reading her blog, I stumbled upon yours. Great posts. I had to comment on this one b/c I also have a brother who fantasizes about aliens landing on earth. I find it funny at times, but he always gives me something to think about it... I have an 8 month old and I also "ache" to be with him. I work all day,but cut corners to be with him a.s.a.p. My husband loves him, a lot, but yes, it's different - I think you're right, it has to be biological. thanks!