I really like the cumulative information you’ve shown us about Jaden so far.
She watched her mom unable to afford basic necessities and they probably had to go without food some days.
Jaden experienced first-hand if she wasn’t perfect, if she had a bad dream or had any kind of problem, she was a bother and an extra source of stress for her mom who is about to break. So, she decided not to have any problems ever again. I imagine little Jaden didn’t want to be the straw that broke her mom’s back. If she dropped her bus pass in the yard, her family was so destitute and unable to get another one. She couldn’t afford to make a mistake.
She listened as her grandmother and mom mention her father’s side of the family wanting nothing to do with them. They are totally alone. They are on their own. There is no one coming to help them. There is no one who cares. So, Jaden needs to grow up fast and do her best to become a doctor ASAP so she can help her mom and little brother survive. She needs to be perfect because her family isn’t able to afford medical school and you can’t get many grants or scholarships if you don’t have excellent grades before college. I’m not sure what it’s like in Australia, but in America where I live you can get free money for college if you’re poor enough (I know because I got that kind of assistance lol), but it doesn’t cover everything. You need near perfect grades, extracurriculars, well-written entry essays, and putting in lots of work to fill out tons of scholarship applications to win more money for college. Having a C average wouldn’t cut it.
Jaden watched her mom struggle to get a job after being a full-time mom. She’s seen you can’t put any of the work you’ve done as a mother on any of resumes regardless of the years of sleepless nights, dedication, care, undying and unending loyalty, time management, disciplinary skills, and multitasking you need to have and develop as a mother. The reality of that would sink into me at a young age, too. This is our life as women, especially the reality of being a woman who has children. I don’t have children of my own because I listen to women who do and I’ve watched my own mother struggle alone even while married. It’s back-breaking and exhausting work. It’s the most critical job to have that gives the human race a future, but it’s taken for granted, looked down on, or assumed easy because somethingsomething “women have maternal instincts so it should come naturally easy for you” yadda yadda. I couldn’t do it. I’ve listend to and watched women, I know the reality. And I know the reality of men’s attitudes on it, so I’ve known since I was little what I’d be up against if I ever had kids.
Thanks to Jaden’s help with cooking, cleaning, doing the dishes, laundry, chores, etc. Jacob doesn’t have many cares and is free to play outside, play video games, and have parties with friends. Instead of Jacob stepping up and asking if he can help, he lets Jaden do all the household chores on top of her own schoolwork and helping Jacob with his own. Jaden’s too busy to have a birthday party of her own, even. It makes me wonder with all the work and studying she’s doing while turning down other kids to play, does Jaden even have any friends? I feel sad thinking about it.
As someone who would have died if I were to ever get a C in school, I feel like it’s kind for Jaden’s mom to celebrate both straight As and average grades, too. It’s kind to tell people you don’t have to be perfect and being a C student or mediocre at stuff is okay. But many of us don’t have the luxury to think that way. Jaden and her mom is working hard for Jacob to be able to relax and have that luxury.
All that, cumulatively with other scenes, the unfairness of it all shines through. Jaden’s straight As isn’t celebrated as anything exceptional or special. It’s celebrated the same as a C average regardless of how much more work Jaden is doing. I get the feeling everything Jaden does, every time she’s stepped up and gone above and beyond, it’s just expected now.
The same thing with Jacob innocently telling Jaden she’s good at explaining things so she should “just be a teacher.” On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that statement, but anything other than surface-level, it shows Jacob’s total ignorance of what is going on with his family. He has no idea why Jaden is studying so hard to become a doctor. He has no idea about Jaden’s childhood trauma. He has no idea about the money problems his family has and how and why Jaden is doing what she’s doing to help them. To help him. Part of me thinks, “And why would he know if no one tells him?” but when you see everyone working hard around you, wouldn’t you offer to help? I remember asking mom as a 5 year old if I could help her with the dishes when I watched her do them. Kids want to help even if they’re too small to reach the sink! But I haven’t seen any panels of Jacob wanting to help around the house?
All this comes with the message: Jacob is sheltered and Jaden has had a lot of pressure on her since little. If I grew up with my mom yelling at me and I watched her fall apart under the pressure of being a single mom, I’d be hypervigilant about making her life easier, too. And if my mom cried in happiness while hugging me when I told her I’d be a doctor and make a lot of money for her and for Jacob, I’d be stuck for decades on that path in life, too. The pressure of disappointing family is intense…
To make it worse, Jaden has been watching her grandmother deteriorate. Jaden watched her mother not able to survive without her grandmother helping. Soon after, Nana is forgetting things and Jaden is starting to look after Nana, too.
All the while, Jaden is such a good daughter and sister?? Even with all this pressure and the unfair dynamics, I don’t see her complaining!
Ok I do agree with a lot of the above but in the panel shown just on this page Jacob is helping hang up laundry to dry. Doesn’t change the overall dynamic though
Oh! Jacob is helping hang up laundry to dry on this panel? Sorry, I only see Jaden and her mom hanging laundry! Could you tell me exactly where Jacob is? I’m blind, I can’t see him!
I don’t know what the other comment mean, Jacob is no where in that panel and I would know since I drew it 😂 unless he snuck in with an invisibility cloak from a magical alternate universe some how!
Your commentary was spot on and an absolute treat to read. Thank you so much for such a thoughtful response.its so encouraging to see that what Im going for in the story is getting across.
I’m not sure if it was rhetorical or not but the reason why Jacob never asked to help is he’s male 😂 way less expectation to help and no desire to when he’s been pampered his whole life.
I drew the panel and I’m here to tell you Jacob is not in it! What made you think he’s there helping with laundry ??
Oh… I thought the short little sized person in blue was Jacob. They’re on either side of a clothesline which means to me about the same distance from us, so I just assumed that was Jaden (skull jacket) and Jacob (“child sized” and short hair) I missed the difference in hairstyle … this is partly me thinking of Jaden as kid sized too so I thought the line was SHORT.
OOOOH. LMAO I was thinking you somehow saw him somewhere else in the picture and was losing my mind 😂😂
Jaden is 16 by that image so she’s at her full 6’1 height !
Cake Spider-Man is THICC 😩👌🏽
Silly arachnid guy is very empowered in this universe
Ooh that last panel hit hard. I would get straight A’s in middle school (and lower) and my parents would be silent. Then my sister got an A and it was cause for celebration. Never getting your hardwork acknowledged as a kid really fucks you up.
Guy Dullard 😂😂 i love your generic moid names
R.I.P to your tumblr. I am so glad you host your webcomic on your own site!
It’s so nuts how well-written and realistic the mom daughter relationship is. I mean I have to imagine so many women really resonate with so much of what you have shared. I’ve long ago settled a lot of the stuff I’ve had going with my mom, and I feel like I’ve really come both analyze and understand the stuff we had going on YEARS ago and yet here I am reading a webcomic and going “….huh!!!” Most of the things I related to with Josie and Jaden just had me going “ah haha that’s so familiar” but then this page… HUH!!!
My mother groups me and my brother together A LOT with stuff. Both our achievements as well as our failures. But I tend to notice that this grouping never seems to work out to my benefit…. 🤔 I never before considered the reasons she does that could be related towards sexism, and to some extent I had sort of didn’t notice how often she does that.
I think as a result of giving this some consideration, I’ve started to speak up a little more when I notice this happen, ha! She’ll say something like “You guys need to learn how to do this task better” when it’s really just something being directed at my brother, and I’m like “Hey I do the task regularly and I do it well.” rather then being quiet or agreeing. Though admittedly I don’t have as much opportunity to correct that now as an adult then I did when I was younger. oh well
I guess this is to make him feel like he is just as valuable as me, and that she doesn’t want to praise me more then him or make him feel left out. But again, it never seems to work the other way around! When I fail, it’s just my fault. When he succeeds, it’s his success alone and not mine! I’m willing to bet it’s the same way with Josie, Jaden and Jacob, oh dear!
It’s so weird how these things just happen! Mom doesn’t mean to be malicious, she is a great mom! But somehow, someway, she definitely thinks I’m more hardy then my brother and that my brother needs more Special Praise then I do. I have to wonder if strong women who have been through a lot tend to be like “well my daughter has an innate strength just like all women do” or something like that.
I can’t even say women who think that way are wrong. So many of the men I know are fragile and break down over nothing. How often is their delicacy related to the fact they’ve been coddled since they were babies though?
ANYWAY, my MAIN POINT HERE…. Is that Leasebound gave me something to think about! It’s helping me change my life a little bit and try to stand up for myself a little more. I thought you should know that! 😀 I’m glad I read this and analyzed my relationship with mom a little more. (sheesh i thought I was done XD I guess it’s forever!) So thank you for that. I’m sure this comic is going to help a lot of women grow. I know a lot of women all the time talk about relating to Riley. Your creation has definitely already inspired women, like me, and it’s going to keep inspiring more women! Hurray!
God I feel this comment so much. I’m glad it got you thinking! I think a lot of women have gone through similar mental journey’s relating to this chapter.
I actually wrote a lot of this chapter to reflect a lot of my own relationship with my mother, trying to reconcile the ways I was hurt by the misogyny she perpetuated, and recognizing the life of misogyny she experienced herself.
It’s a difficult balance of mourning her pain, but not disregarding the pain she inflicted as a result. Very much what I was going for her with Josie and Jaden.
Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment, I really enjoyed reading it.
Puncture the Facade killed me! Also I’ve been reading this all night and I have work tomorrow but it’s so great. I can’t stop! Thanks for all the heart and work you’ve put into this. It’s an awesome story.
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