I think gender is socialized from day 1 in this culture. Day 1. I think from the moment a girl or boy child (or any other type of child) is born, they are pushed and influenced into box B for boy, or Box G for girl. Period. Nobody is ever going to convince me that in a world without these influences (an environment that cannot exist in a patriarchal world, anywhere), little boys would seek out blue and machinery and little girls would seek out pink and lace. Never.
Now, childcare responsibilities are gendered in the primate world. We are primates. However, we also have the human capacity of self-awareness to an extent where we can change our behavior if needed/desired. I think our attitudes towards parenting, children, and who should do what need to be examined, and changed radically. Biology does not have to be destiny, and it no longer should be. Men should have equal parenting responsibilities, beyond the obvious exceptions of pregnancy, birthing, and breastfeeding. In regards to the OP, if the situation seems reasonable to her, her ex, and her child that he live with his father for a time, I see no reason at why people should be up in arms over it (actually, I see no reason at all why anyone should every be up in arms over someone else's personal life, but that's another issue).
The reason men do not currently have equal parenting responsibilities is because patriarchy tells men childcare is women's work. That is is beneath them. Even 'good' fathers believe this, and as such define their contributions towards childrearing as 'helping' instead of 'parenting'.
I do not buy the father's rights arguments. We live in a patriarchy. Men have all the money, guns, and power. There are disadvantages, especially emotional ones, to being a male in patriarchy, but they are the dominant class, the oppressors. They oppress us, not the other way around. As Thismama said, men who petition for custody usually get it. All arguments to the contrary are antifeminist myths designed to attack feminism, feminists, and legislation that helps women and children. Most men who do not have custody of their children do not pay child support, even with a court order. If they do, it's not enough. Though there are exceptions, it is usually men who abandon and refuse to parent/support their children. Father's have plenty of 'rights'...they're men. They have all the rights they need in a world which casts them as human and women as other. Acknowledging that is not 'playing victim'. It is dealing with reality. We are victims. We are victimized every day by men. Does that mean we should give up, lie down and take it? No, but then I can't blame some women for losing hope either. It's a very tough world out there for us. We're damned and starved if we do and damned and starved if we don't. Look around you. Look at the situation of women who are poor or who are of color. Look at women who live in other countries. It's nightmarish. It's obscene. It's women
who are suffering.
The day women run the world, have all the money, have control of all the bombs, run all the governments, and have sovereign rule, fully supported by society, over all their men at home (and no, ridiculous sitcom portrayals of lazy, willfully stupid men lying around expecting everyone to wait on them hand and foot does not in any way equal power over men...in fact, it's the opposite...these depictions are intended to make women out to be shrill nagging perpetual maids who's only real concern in life should be the care, feeding, and civilizing of their men and children...and will someone please explain to me how household cleaning products being marketed only to women as a consequence of outdated gender roles/double standard is harmful to MEN? It benefits them! It keeps women cleaning and them doing whatever they want and making excuses about not cleaning, or refusing to clean outright!), will be the day I entertain the notion of men
being victims and women being oppressors.
Again I will reiterate the vitriol, the venom, the palatable hatred in some of these responses to the OP. The sarcasm. The baiting, condescending questions. The assertions that if she loved her child enough, she wouldn't even consider
such a thing. And again I say that has nothing to do with being helpful or offering advice, and everything to do with putting yourself on a pedestal for being a better mother or person and kicking dirt in her face for falling short...of the ever-selfless, all-giving ideal of women/mothers under patriarchy
. An ideal which does not serve women, whether or not they are mothers. An ideal which serves men, whether or not they are fathers.
And that, friends, is internalized sexism. Of joining them instead of trying to beat them. It hurts all of us. It aids in keeping all of us oppressed. It doesn't have to be this way.
Mama41, I don't think we need men to fight our battles for us. I think if women stand up, speak out, and stand united on whatever fronts we can, come into our power and make it our own, we can beat sexism on our own terms. Not to mention the fact that I don't think violence ever solved anything, especially in regards to men.
And Mama41, the aforementioned ideal of the perfect, passive, forever giving and never asking or doing for themselves mother has an awful lot to do with why women give up careers to be with their children. For the most part, they have no other choice. The American workplace was designed for men with wives at home to take care of them and their children. Women were not considered. Same with society at large, it is still set up to be much easier and convenient for men to move around with freedom and ease than women. That's all about socialization. Socialization is at the root of all of it.
OP, I hope you are doing well, and have made the decision you feel is best for you and your family.