Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gender roles

I'm really not a fan of gender roles. My sons have/have had baby dolls, and my daughters love trucks. They all pretend to cook. Their specialty is mud pies. Still, there are plenty of times when the girls seem "all girl" and the boys seem "all boy". And that's okay, as long as they're happy doing whatever it is they're doing and it doesn't involve destroying my house.

Me? I've been a working mother. Now I'm not. The husband has been the sole income provider for... holy cow, about 7 years now. I am the housewife. The stay at home mom. The family manager. Just please don't be like the census man who insisted I was a "domestic engineer". If I could kick someone's teeth out through the phone, I would have right there.

So, the husband and I have sort of settled into fairly stereotypical gender roles. Not intentionally. We're just doing what works best in our house.

There are exceptions. I've spackled walls, dug up my entire front yard by hand, and I enjoy checking the air in my tires. The husband changes diapers when he's home, washes the occassional dish, and isn't afraid to go to the grocery store (with a detailed list).

But exceptions can cause trouble. When you don't stick to concrete rules, you're bound to have a few things that each person assumes the other is responsible for.

When a toilet clogs on a Tuesday afternoon, it is logical to assume that is my responsibility. And I am capable of handling it. When a toilet clogs on a Saturday evening, there are two capable adults available. Who should fix it? My girly side assumes it should be the man.

When dishes are dirtied while I'm at an all day Saturday meeting, it's logical to assume that they're the husband's responsibility. And he (usually) does them. When dishes are dirtied on a Sunday, who should do them? Dh's boy side assumes it should be the woman.

And this is why our weekends suck. We've spent 9 years navigating enormous issues of serious consequence, but we still can't sort out our down time. As a big fan of counseling, I already know that the key is communication, but I feel like such a dork suggesting we discuss who's in charge of spilled milk. But I'm not about to cry over it. Instead, I'll spend another hour glaring at the recycling pile and pretending he'll follow my lead when I take the kitchen trash out.

Because, without a little bit of passive-aggresiveness, household chores would be extremely boring.


Amy said...

Amen. When I asked DH to check the mouse trap, he smirked and said, "Are you too girly to do that?" Absolutely, lol.

Lorrie Veasey said...

My advice is to use your TRUE girlie super powers and lay off the nookie til he steps it up a notch.

You may not be able to lead a horse to water, but in my experience you can teach a new dog old tricks if you "withhold the treats" if ya get what I'm saying.

OH-and btw--I work out of my home, but i consider YOU the working mom.