A woman’s work is never done
Today, Siobhan talks about the aspects of building a life together that are considered ‘the woman’s job’. It goes much deeper than the washing up. I’m alternating between my hackles rising at the thought of me being the more “social” part of my marriage because I’m a woman, and wondering whether that actually is the case. Reason tells me no. My gut tells me…. maybe. And readers? That enrages me.
Over to you, Siobhan:
Recently I have found myself being befuddled by people telling me that certain things are “the woman’s job”. These people have mostly been women, much to my consternation and confusion.
For example, we have recently moved to Edinburgh. For the first three and a half months I was commuting between Edinburgh and London, but apparently as the wife, making friends in Edinburgh is down to me. The woman’s job is to make friends for both her and her husband. Because I can make friends for Matthew. I have slowly started making friends. He is meeting people too through me, but you know what? I think he feels the people he meets through me are my friends and not his, so that kind of puts a downer on the idea that I am making friends for him. More to the point, should I be making friends for him?
If housework comes up (and what a riveting topic of conversation that is) and I say I have done all the housework apart from the bins and hoovering as those are Matthew’s jobs. I get this wide eyed look, like I am a horrendous wife for having him do any housework, but those ARE his jobs. While I am off at the moment I am putting the recycling out but he has jobs and I have jobs. If life makes one of us too ill or busy to do our bit the other one picks up the slack for a bit but most of the time we are equally busy so we split the jobs fairly equally.
Maybe the reason they think I should do the housework is because Matthew will be “providing for me soon”. I have NO doubts about his ability to move up and up within whatever company he joins as he is amazing but this assumes that I am not. Now maybe we will be able to have children and *maybe* that will mean I have to step back from my career for a while; but I do not like people who do not know my career or family plans assuming that I will step back completely and will not want to pursue my career. I also hate the assumption that he wont want to spend time at home with these hypothetical children.
The final thing I get confused by is the assumption that as a wife I am also social secretary. That if we forget any birthdays (including on his side) that it reflects terribly on me. I hate that this assumes I am more able to find the time to get the cards, stamps and so on. I also do not understand why it is assumed that I am better at this than him. I sent all my January birthday cards in February. I sent no March birthday cards. I missed my parents anniversary as I was finishing up at my old job and barely knew what day of the week it was let alone the date. For three years I thought the birthday of my friend, my BRIDESMAID was in July not June. I am not automatically better at this than him but if we fail, it is seen as my failure.
I seriously find it just so confusing that this is still the assumption, and that most of this has come to me from women. It seems to be so pervasive though so now I am wondering if I am wrong? I know growing up my Dad was the better cook and both him and my mum seemed to ENJOY ironing. I have never thought that was weird. All of us did the hoovering. All of us did the dishes. All of us made cups of tea. Why then do I suddenly seem to assumed to be in charge of all of this? I just do not get it. Do you? Do you think I should be in charge of the social and housekeeping aspects of the relationship because it is woman’s work? Or as I suspect, is this something that each relationship decides within the relationship? And if this is the case why do I still get judged for what WE do?