Saturday, August 18, 2007

feminism can suck on my big toe.

I got all fired up after reading this post at anns' blog. There was a time in my life, not too long ago, that was relatively stress free. I went to work and then came home and relaxed with a glass of wine. I had roommates for years. Truly, it was the best living arrangement. I got to live with my best friends, only had to worry about feeding myself, cleaning up after myself, when I was ready to go to bed, turning off the lights and never having to put the proverbial toilet seat down. No one ever asked What are we doing for dinner, Is my so-and-so clean, have you seen ___________, etc.

And then I fell in love with the most wonderful (and I am just going to say, hottest man) and got married.

And so here we are. I get up every morning at 5 or 5:30. First thing I do is make coffee, which I've recently started drinking again. I know, I know, caffeine = bad. But I love it. Sometimes I do the dishes or some laundry. D sleeps a little later and gets in the shower, gets ready and leaves for work. We both have the same job, and the same responsibilities, and make the same salary. We both leave work at about the same time, 5 or so. So, our work days are about 9 or 10 hours. That's not counting what we do at home almost every night - email, grading, etc.

After work, he runs. I try and decide what we're eating for dinner. Usually, that means going to the store because we're trying to eat out less. Then I come home and cook. He comes home and sits down and talks to me while I'm cooking or watches TV or takes a shower. We eat. He does some work. I clean the kitchen. Then I do some work. We go to bed. I try and go to sleep with the light on because he likes to read.

Sounds like fun, no?

We don't have a housecleaner, because we don't want to spend the money, so the only time to really clean is the weekend. So I will do that but not as often as it needs. We have a fairly large house, which we bought because we were going to have kids soon. Ha. So it takes almost the whole day. Sometimes, he will help me clean, but honestly, he doesn't really clean. So that means at some point I have to go behind him. Which I hate to do. It makes me feel like my mother. But I can't stand the bathroom all gross if I've actually found the motivation to clean. And if you don't clean it for several months and then just sort of clean it, yeah. You get the picture.

He does all the major yardwork which is a huge job, but honestly, it's only 7 months out of the year. He helps out with the laundry too. It's not like he is some caveman or something, but it still doesn't feel like we have "equal responsibilities".

Before I continue, let me just say I absolutely adore my husband and love him so very much. I wouldn't change anything about getting married.
But.
Its all me for the daily stuff. And I hate it. I really do. I resent this whole arrangement to no end. It's just not fair. We work the same hours. I want to come home and relax. I want to run after work with friends (if I had any that ran, which I do not. They are either pregnant or have little babies.) I want to not worry about whether the bathrooms are clean, if we have clean dishes, do we have milk, bread, and on and on.

I know many of you are thinking "Can't you both switch off day to day things?" Well, we've done it for awhile, and then it always ends up falling apart. He's just not going to remember. And it's not going to change.

What the hell am I going to do if we actually have children?? I can't even wrap my brain around that one.

So this brings me to my biggest complaint. Feminism.
But first here is my disclaimer:
I think the feminist movement was wholly necessary and needed, please understand that. But women's roles have morphed into the everythingcaretaker-corportateladderclimber-roommother-breastfeeder-teardabber-cooker-lovemaker-and on and on.

Sure, the workplace is substantially more equal than 30 years ago, but guess what?? That's where it ends. We still have the children, nurse the babies, and, lets face it, take care of our husbands to varying degrees. We still end up falling into the roles of our grandmothers ON TOP OF taking on more and more at work, because we were all told we could do it all.

I suppose the argument here is we have the option to do it all, and our grandmothers didn't.

But I don't so much think it's optional anymore. I certainly don't feel as though it is.
Just about every woman I work with is either on antidepressants or antianxiety medication. They are constantly stressed, and will freely admit they have not one ounce of time for themselves. One is going through a divorce, and told me the other day how nice it was to go home and just take care of her two kids and herself on her own schedule. Once she puts them to bed, she has the evening to herself. She's reveling in all this free time.
I am I the only one that finds that sad and depressing?

So here we are, 30 years later, and I just don't think anyone is necessarily happier for it. Women tear each other apart on childraising strategies, breastfeeding, cesareans vs. vaginal births, natural vs. medicated, and on and on and on. There is no feeling of common sisterhood among the general female population. We are so busy competing at the workplace and trying to do it all in general, it's spilled over into our collective female conscience.

While I don't want to quit my job and stay at home, even if we have children, I just want things to be less . . . .contentious and competitive among women.

I am tired of trying to do it all, and I've still got quite a ways to go.

Screw complete independence.

Sometimes, I just want someone to take care of me.

33 comments:

Carrie said...

I could have written this post. I too love my husband and don't regret marrying him for a minute BUT it does seem the division of labour is very unfair.
I think what is even worse is that if you asked him he'd say we shared the chores. He really thinks loading the washing machine every so often and the occasional meal is half the tasks.
I'm sorry you feel done in, the daily grind is not what life is about, it just feels that way sometimes.

The Oneliner (Christina) said...

that division does seem unfair. but you're right, what are you going to do? ask him to help more, which he will for awhile, and then he'll stop. you'll just end up where you were, only more resentful. Although, i'm sorry he can cook, at least some mac n' cheese, i mean he can do THAT. Does he at least do the dishes?

k and i fought like crazy about housework, until we got a housecleaner. BEST $$ EVER SPENT. And we could barely afford it at the time. You can find someone to do it who's pretty reasonable. We quit eating out altogether to pay fot it for awhile. Just get someone to come in every other week like we do to do the big things like the floors, etc.

I get what you're saying about the "having it all b.s." but, b/c i took waaaayyy to many women's studies classes i can tell you that the feminist movement never advocated women having it all. In fact, feminists were the ones who invented the phrase "work at home mother." And the very notion that housework was WORK. Feminists just pushed the idea that we could do any job a man could, or stay home to have an equally difficult job. It's the rest of society, er, men who expect us to now not only work but also do everything else with perfection. While he sleeps on the couch.
There's a great book called The Second Shift that talks about how much more work women do at the end of the day that i read in college. Although, you shouldn't read it, b/c it will make you so mad!

Hey, I fun yesterday despite being followed into a corner by a crazy homeless guy.

Rebecca30 said...

Get a housecleaner - the resentment just melts away. My mother pushed me to do it and it's drained out so much stress. I never saw myself as someone who needed cleaning help until I got it. It literally changed my life!

Anns said...

Hear hear girl... thanks for spreading the movement and encouraging all ladies to come out and admit that this double-standard is WRONG.

Anns xo

Kristen said...

Love this post. We really don't have a choice. In order to afford childcare in my area, you HAVE to have two incomes. And we already live in an apartment because we can't afford to buy.

I don't think being a SAHM is in the cards for me, even though I would like a bit of a break. I don't think I could ever get my career started again. Advertising is so cutthroat and it is still one of those industries that is sexist and men get the top positions as it is.

I still do the majority of the cleaning in our household. Asking DH to clean means a "once over". Not hands and knees scrubbing and well, if you're not going to do it right, I'd rather do it. He does do most of the cooking so I have to give him credit there. We try to balance it out.

I agree that a housecleaner, if you can do it, would take off some of that stress.

Sticky Bun said...

We definitely went the housecleaner route as well. It's made things a bit easier.

I think it was Gloria Steinem who said, "I have yet to hear a man as how he's going to balance career and a family." I think that's the crux--we may have made strides in the workplace (though imperfect ones), but we haven't gotten to the point where we've made similar strides at home. Until then, the struggle will still go on. The challenge, though, is this struggle ends up being a much more private struggle within each household...

Geohde said...

This is very politically incorrect of me.

The stress of trying to do it all just isn't for me.

If I do ever manage a viable pregnancy, I fully intend to stick to 'home duties' and not get shitty because my husband sucks at domestic stuff (which he does, and I love him regardless, I'm just not juggling a job and a baby and a house. Something's gotta give)

Nicole said...

Heh. Yes. It almost seems that women are PRIVILEGED to work outside the home, in addition to home duties at times, whereas for men, its just a fact that they work outside of the home. Liberal feminism did a lot of good, and a lot of bad for women.

(I have an MA in Political Science - heavy on the theory and sociological aspects).

When we bought our 2000 sq ft townhome, the cleaning all the time got to be too much - only weekends were left for that, and those days were supposed to be "us" time, not cleaning time. So I hired a cleaning service. Since there's only two of us and cat they come in once every three weeks, clean from top to bottom and they charge $160 on my VISA (that includes taxes, and I live in Canada where taxes are higher). For about 4 hours work, that $160 is worth my peace of mind. All we do now is cooking, dishes, laundry and I pour a bit of bleach in the toilets once a week. And we're much happier. If you can do it, get the cleaning service - even if its just once a month, it'll help.

My Reality said...

I got some toes to suck too, and an ass to kiss!

I hear you. Loud and clear. It sucks.

I tell my husband that until I can stay home and take care of the house, he gets to help. It is a fight, but it is what we do. I think in the next little while, I am going to get a housekeeper to come in and do the crap stuff like dusting and floors and scrubbing showers, etc. Now, I just have to get everything clean enough to feel comfortable enough to have someone in my house doing that!

niobe said...

I'm going to echo what others have said: get a cleaning service. And get them to come in as many times a month/week as you can possibly afford. Yes, it costs money, but it will bring you some peace of mind. Otherwise, your (completely justified) resentment at the unfair division of labor will eat away at you. Look at it as an investment in your marriage. Because no-one (and I mean no-one) can do it all.

Sarah said...

sing it, sista! just wait till there are babies in the mix...

Sitting in Silence said...

Here Here on screw complete independance....

I'd give my left leg just to stay in bed all day and have some one look after me.

Thanks for a great blog. Thought I should start leaving comments as I have been following it for some time.
Danielle.

Heather said...

You are right on point with how I feel also. When Jake was home (I'm not going to re-hash that one here... you can read my blog if you're interested) I did EVERYTHING. I would ask him to help, but it took more time to ask him and ask him again than it did to just do it myself.

Then Zack was born and I was still trying to do everything and take care of him. Now I'm on my own and I ask for help a lot. I don't know if these people will still be able to help me once Jake gets back but I hope by that point Jake will help more.

So what's my point? I swear I did have one. Ask for help. Really, ask your husband first, obviously, but if he doesn't step it up see if your family or friends would be willing to help you deep clean one weekend. You never know, he might step it up after he see's that they are "judging" him for not doing it himself. :-)

K said...

I think that you are living in my marriage!!!!!!!!!!!

Reminds me of a great quote I heard the other day "At least the war on women is going well!"

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