Some days I’m in the unenviable situation of people directing all their anger, frustration and criticism at me, and it’s easy to absorb it all and become a small ball of Jenni sad and rage. So to counteract that and hopefully provide some happiness for other people too, here’s a list of ten ways to make your day more positive.
A few weeks ago I went out for lunch with two of my female friends, one of whom had a baby a few months ago. She was talking about how she does everything round the house as well as looking after the baby pretty much 24/7. When I interjected with ‘But what does Kevin do?’, they both chimed in with ‘Works!’.
Now both these girls work extremely hard themselves (one of them pre-baby was working up to 60 hours a week and we’re talking on your feet, not a sit down job), and manage to run a household each and have pretty considerable social lives. Yet it’s enough for the guys to just work 37-40 hours a week and that’s it? No responsibilities, just sitting around the house playing computer games?
I grew up in a household where it was pretty much the norm. My dad worked and my mum had a part time job teaching but mostly looked after the house. It was partly a cultural thing, although that’s no excuse. On the other hand, my dad works a hell of a lot of hours and he was happy to cook and fix things round the house, so it’s not like he didn’t do anything.
In my house, it’s pretty different. People think it’s ‘weird’ that I go out to work and Joe stays at home most of the day and works. He earns a lot less than me (which people also think is weird, again with the ‘incompetent women’ theme), but he also gets to work the hours his body clock is suited to and have more than a half hour lunch break. We split the housework equally, Joe does the cooking and I do the washing up. We generally split the food shopping as well.
You know I’m busy. A typical working week for me is 60+ hours, often 80 or more. I couldn’t cope if Joe didn’t do stuff around the house. There is no way on earth Joe would get away with not doing his share (notice I say ‘doing his share’, not ‘helping out’ as if he were doing me a favour) even if the situation was reversed. We both believe that the people living in the house are responsible for taking care of the house. There are no real defined roles, but we try to run the house like a business so we never run out of anything and all the necessary tasks are completed.
If you’ve read any of my blog posts before, you’ll know that we love to eat out. Unless we have a student waiter/waitress, the server will look at Joe every time and ask how he’s paying. Even if I have my purse out or my card in front of me and I make eye contact, they will still put the card machine next to Joe and hand him the receipt. I do find it quite rude that they don’t ask who the card belongs to, and I also find the raised eyebrows and surprised looks uncomfortable. What’s even weirder is that the waitresses act in exactly the same way, even though they’re earning money themselves and will surely take their own partner out to eat at some point. Or perhaps it’s just because men like to feel in control and decide they have to pay in restaurants, I don’t know. Some women say it’s because they ‘like their men to behave like real men’ (whatever that means), but personally I’d much prefer to be independent and be in a relationship with someone who can be nice to me without having to throw money around to prove a point.
I’m rambling. But I do feel that a lot of women aren’t given anywhere near enough credit. A lot of the time women don’t even realise how much they do, and I believe that’s partly because it’s not valued by society. A man is praised if he washes the dishes, or changes a nappy, and it should be the norm. Joint responsibility, even if the roles are different in themselves, should be an established standard in our culture. Dinner doesn’t cook itself.