This isn’t a man-bashing post. The thing is there are plenty of examples of men who are stepping up to the plate when it comes to parenting. However we live in a patriachy and it’s interesting to think how our world would be shaped if MEN were the ones who got pregnant, carried babies, breast fed and took the long periods of leave from their professional lives.
What would it look like in this alternative version of reality?
1. Feeding babies would be easy with no judgement
Men would either breastfeed or bottle feed. There would be special ’feeding and happiness consultants,’ who came into hospital to provide support. This would be in the form of tutorials, videos and hands on help. Two weeks would be set aside to ensure the man was happy with his feeding choice. Each man would leave the hospital confident in the knowledge that they could feed their baby.
2. The government would provide complimentary cleaners and wet nurses to each household
Men coming out of hospital would travel home with their wet nurse who would get up each night and do the night feeds. There would be an app devised by someone clever in Silicon Valley so the ideal wet nurse could be matched to each household (living expenses fully paid too). Cleaners would also be provided (cleaning robots would have been designed years ago to make men’s lives easier).
3. There would be a three day work week for all new Man- Mums
It would be written into men’s contracts that they were automatically eligible to have part-time roles. This would be whatever their level of experience and not be dependent on how many years they’d worked in that company.
4. Post-birth Massage would be available and the post-birth body celebrated
Men would attend weekly massage sessions with a therapist. These visits would be subsidised depending on their post-birth health check (which would happen in hospital and would be a comprehensive two hour session with the doctor focusing on mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing). There’d be no pressure from the media to ’snap back into shape’ . Magazine covers would feature men celebrating their saggy tummies and stretch marks. Stretch marks would be seen as a sign of beauty (and those without babies would draw them on their bodies).
5. A man breastfeeding whilst reading the news would be an everyday thing
There would be no taboo around breastfeeding in public and men would openly feed wherever. Politicians. Musicians. Authors at the Hay Festival. It would be normal to see a row of men on ’Question Time,’ feeding their babies – there would be no debate about whether it was appropriate. There would be no debate… full stop.
6. All school holidays would be given as paid time off
Just that. Oh and all childcare would be heavily subsidised from 3 months onwards.
7. There would be lifts at all tube stations and everywhere would HAVE proper buggy access
There would be a large area on each bus and tube dedicated to buggy travel. This area would include microwaves, baby food, goverment childcare to help if men wanted to nap and complimentary tea, coffee and play areas.
8. Donald Trump would be too busy bringing up his babies to go into politics
This would be one of the best things ever yes?
9. Birth would be pain and trauma free
The scientific establishment would have spent a hundred and fifty years researching a way for men to have pain-free births. There would be no birth injuries, no scarring- men would emerge from their birth experience feeling tickety-boo (perhaps a little flu-ey). There would be an easy contraception method with no side effects that would involve holding your phone over your abdomen once every five years.
10. Flexible hours would be normal too
There would be no such thing as the 9-5 job or presentism. Man-Mum work spaces would be common place (with free wifi, free and childcare, free massages etc). Working from home would also be accepted and part of work culture.Add to this free coffee for all Man-Mums and several additional holidays to celebrate Man-Mum-hood and we see a very different picture emerging.
So there you go…life sounds good yes? And what could we women achieve?
The world would be our oyster.
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