A few posts ago, I mentioned that I won tickets to go see the new movie, Babies. I actually did get to go see it with Billy, thanks to Tanya for offering to babysit!
I wasn't sure what I would take away from this movie before seeing it. Part of me thought I would learn some new ways to do mommy things after seeing how other women in other cultures do it. However, I ended up coming away with something very different, something I almost didn't realize until I read another, completely unrelated blog post, about work-life balance.
I don't talk a lot about work-life balance in the "traditional" sense because I don't have a job outside the home. However, that doesn't mean that I don't understand what it might be like for those parents that do or even have similar struggles myself. Either way, I have come to realize that our lives (here in this corner of the world) do not easily accommodate babies. Think about all of the things we need when we have a baby: crib, bottles, safety gates, diapers, exersaucers, strollers, a gazillion toys. And we think all of this stuff makes our lives easier. And in a sense, it does. But we only need all of these things because our lives pre-baby are so ill-suited to infants and toddlers that we have to acquire all this stuff to make it work.
The example in the movie that most drove this point home for me was the boy in Namibia. His family was, from what I could tell, the least "western" of all the families (US, Japan, Mongolia were the others). He had no "toys" - he played with rocks and sticks and cups and other things that were already around him. He wore no diaper - not even a cloth one. His garment looked the same to me as those of the older boys in his family.
But more importantly, he just hung out with his mom and his aunt and his siblings and cousins while the grown-ups continued to do what the did everyday before he came. They did their work while they loved him and fed him and taught him and cared for him. There was no need for "work-life" balance. Work was life and life was work. The babies seemed to just fit right in. Their lives were not completely uprooted by having a baby. That's something I wish we could experience. Unfortunately, the lifestyle we live here is just not designed with babies in mind. They cost us a fortune in childcare, whether we pay for it or forgo our own paid work to do it ourselves. They ruin our nice furniture. They are constantly breaking our nice things. They nearly kill themselves falling off all our hazards. They isolate us from the world we once knew.
Now, its not like I'm ready to ship up and move to Namibia. I'm too accustomed to all my stuff. And I would fry under that sun all day. But, I do envy how motherhood works over there, at least from what I saw.
Has anyone else seen the movie? What did you think?