Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why so defensive Sallymae?


I read a message board this morning where a woman wanted advise because her husband had thrown a tantrum because she had put his clean, folded, ironed laundry on his dresser and had not hung his shirts for him in his wardrobe. He "retaliated" by throwing his laundry all over the floor and screaming at her for not doing "her job" correctly.

On the same message board another woman posted about her husband being laid off. That sucks right!
However she was now working overtime, up to 80 hours a week to make up the financial difference and she was coming home to him laying on the couch moaning that he was hungry and when was she going to have dinner ready? When she sat down and strangled him (oh no wait she didn't, damn!) and talked to him about the fact he really needed to help out now he wasn't working. She asked if he could do his own laundry, if he could maybe cook or do the dishes he replied that he had loaded the dishwasher and what more did she want!

Now after I picked myself up off the floor, I posted a reply stating what I believed.

That a man and woman are equally responsible for a household (how they divide the chores up is their business) but that these women needed to assert themselves and point out that if they are working out side of the home, their husbands should be contributing to household cleaning/cooking etc. I pointed out that if one half of the partnership stayed at home while the other was out working then the stay at home person should be responsible for the majority of the household chores. If they BOTH worked outside the home then they should BOTH be responsible for the household chores.

I was promptly blasted by a series of women who felt the need to state that it was woman's job to look after the home and a mans job to earn the money. They told me I was putting down a stay at home mother's role and that it was in a "woman's blood to care and nurture her family".

Granted there were other woman who held the same beliefs as me, that if one person a wife is working outside the home, then the husband picks up the slack and vice versa. They stood up for my post, emphasising that it was not a womans
"job" to care for her family simply because shes is a woman. I was called naive, feminazi and that I held myself "superior", so were the other women who stood up for these two ladies and told them to stand up for themselves.

Now I use that example because that's what was discussed on the board. I am FULLY supportive of a stay at home Dad. I personally believe that both men and women are equally able to care for a child or the home. I personally do not believe in gender assigned work. Ask my Mum, I begged to mow the lawn as a kid, or to clean out the drains or to paint fences etc. I hated that it was considered "mens" work.

The strange thing was, the immense amount of anger that came from the "gender roles" side. I never once in my message put that I thought it was backward or wrong. I never desecrated the importance of the role of a Mother, or a Wife. I do believe they are hard work, that they are VERY important jobs. I believe that taking care of a household and raising children takes A LOT of tireless and thankless, day after day, effort.

What I did say was that these woman needed to give their husbands a swift kick in the pants and let them know that they were not their maids. If the wife worked all day, then there was no reason the men couldn't cook dinner and do some dishes and laundry. If the roles had been reversed the women would have been expected to, so why not the men?

Let me say this again.

Being a wife and a mother is a wonderful thing, I do not begrudge it at all! I applaud women and men who stay at home and cook and clean and raise kids you people are awesome.

Why do people get so blamed defensive if you dare to present a different lifestyle! Just because I life differently from you does not mean I am saying your lifestyle is wrong. Seriously these ladies came across as insecure, resentful and a little off balance. Mind you if you believe your husband has a right to lay on couch all day while you serve him, I think you are a little off balance! (disclaimer, if hes sick that's different and temporary!)

My point was, if Kyle ever threw a tantrum because I put his clean laundry on his bed instead of hanging it up, and tried to teach me a lesson by throwing it on the floor. I would promptly pick it all up, carry it out to our balcony and set it on fire. Problem solved.

Thank goodness Kyle would never ever do anything like that. He is an incredible hard worker both at work and in the home. I appreciate every time he does a load of towels, or cleans the bathroom or takes out the trash or cooks me a delicious meal. I do not however believe that I should be grateful because hes doing "My job". I am grateful because hes is my partner, and because he is doing his fair share. He is not doing me a favor, he is doing his part.

At the moment I am prohibited from working so I am doing the majority of the housework. NOT because I am the female of the relationship, but because I'm at home while Kyle is out working. In the past when we have both worked full time and managed to be in the same country, both of us have cooked or cleaned fairly equally. Granted I tend to cook more, and Kyle takes out the garbage, but that does not mean that we took those jobs because he is male and I am female. Kyle cooks and I take out the garbage sometimes... whatever needs doing gets done.

Kyle does his part, I do mine. When I work, he cooks and cleans. When he works I cook and clean. When we both work, both cook and hire someone to clean!

Whats so wrong with that? Well to these women apparently expecting Kyle to share in the household chores makes me a terrible woman. I couldn't imagine what they would think of my own Mother who (GASP!!!) expected my brother and I to vacuum or do our own laundry!

There is a difference between being a kind, caring and loving Mother/Wife and being an unpaid, unappreciated maid.

Why is it every time someone talks about feminism or gender equality people feel that they are putting down a SAHM or attacking their beliefs in some way.

I have ultimate respect for people who have decided to take on a traditional family structure, but I don't think its cool for those people to look down on me because my family isn't structured in the same way. Just because I want to focus on my career (when I'm finally allowed to work... I'm counting the freaking days) doesn't mean I look down on someone who takes joy and pleasure for cooking and cleaning for her family.

It does really make me angry though when people think that just because I don't think its a wife's responsibility to automatically be a maid to her family it makes her a bad person. Or that I don't understand a "womans nature"

Ohh that one really got me mad. So did the person who said "its in a womans blood" It is no more in a woman's blood than in a mans. What a huge insult to men! I would trust that if Kyle and I had children (in a FAR FAR away time) then he could care for them with as much love and ability as me.

Just because I am a woman, does not make me responsible for the cooking and the cleaning anymore than Kyle being a man makes him responsible for bring home the bacon. If thats how your family is set up, good for you! If its not good for you!

Im not arguing that its "wrong" or "old fashioned" to be a woman who cooks and cleans and stays at home. I AM arguing that its wrong and old fashioned to expect me to stay at home and cook and clean JUST because of my gender!

Do people really think its fair for a woman to work full time and then take care of the majority of the cooking and cleaning while her husband mooches on the couch for days on end?

Do people really think its okay for a husband to throw a tantrum because he had to hang up his own shirts?

I think if I had been born 100 years ago I would have been burned as a witch because I sure as hell don't think that's right!


Trish said...

wow!!you have said it better than anyone.
what a sad life some women make for themselves.
A parent role is to teach independence so BRAVO to you!!
I couldn't stop laughing at the part where you said"I would promptly pick it all up, carry it out to our balcony and set it on fire. Problem solved."
I would have probbly been burnt right along side you...

Kyle said...

I do things like clean the toilets because you dont like to more than me, and you cook most of the meals because your the better cook :P

Chanelle said...

toilets! EWWW germs!

That's the first thing we do when I'm working again, hire a cleaner!