18 October 2008

Is This Feminism?

I have described a slight shift that I've had in my thinking of late about male and female roles. After hardly blogging for a while, being rudely awaken at 6 am on a Saturday morning and now being unable to go back to sleep has me feeling a bit thoughtful, and edgy.
The roles that I took on as a homemaker, wife and mother were things that I enjoyed. The duties that I carried out on a daily basis were important to me, not because someone said I had to do them, but because it was my heart's desire to make a nice home for my family. However, none of this negates the fact that it takes a whole family living in a home to work together to make it all run smoothly.
This morning, before work my husband woke me up and asked me if I knew where there were any clean towels in the house. I started running through all of the things in my mind that I knew we had washed over the last several days and my mind eventually made it to the towel hamper. Sure enough, I had washed a load of towels last night, but they never made it to the dryer. He starts to mumble under his breath while walking in and out of our bedroom throwing lights on in both bathrooms about how our daughter should have gotten the towels washed. While it is a job I ask the girls to do to help around the house, he was home with them yesterday all day long while I was out running errands such as picking up medicine for my son who spent the previous night in the ER with a severe asthma attack and grocery shopping. He was home with the girls all day. They watched movies together, the girls took walks around the neighborhood, painted, did some drawing, read books, etc. I got home and both sinks were full of dishes, and of course nobody thought to do the things necessary to keep the household running smoothly. Did Dad remind them? No. Did he wake up the daughter who is responsible for the towels to ask her if there were any clean? No.
As the complaining and grumbling went on, I asked him if he was trying to pick a fight. Seems just two days ago when I got home from driving for 3 days, there wasn't a clean towel in the house. I mean it - not one hand towel, washcloth, or any of the 30 large towels, including every beach towel that we own in the entire house. Thankfully we had all taken showers in the hotel that morning, and I had the time to wash a load of towels before we would need them again.
Did the grouchy towel-less husband move the towels from the washer to the dryer this morning in an effort to assist with the household needs? No. I could possibly conjure up some sympathy that he had to drip-dry after his shower if I worked really hard at it but I don't have the energy. I am exhausted from this life. I don't know how to engage a partnership for these duties, but I know that I am wearing out. I am tired. I think it's my turn to have a wife. I want somebody to take care of everything and a job that I clock in and out of for 8 hours a day. Does that make me a feminist? I don't know - but it is what it is.

10 comments:

  1. I love you and am praying for you through this time! What else can I say?

    Burnout's stink!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh Julie I hear you! My DH is of the mindset that he works everyday and I don't, so every single thing that needs to be done in this house is my responsibility. I too was ok with this arrangement when my children were younger, but the older they and I got, the more resentful I have become. I want to work. He doesn't want me to. I want an equal partner in all things, he wants the power to decide what happens where and when and who will do what where and when. It does wear on a soul. Sorry that I don't have any answers for you, but know that others share your pain. You are not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry!
    Who washed the towels while you were gone for a month?

    In your family's defense, It's not natural for them to think about the laundry or the dishes. Why is it natural for you and I? Not sure!

    Now if you went somewhere or went to bed and asked someone to put the towels in the dryer, that would be different.

    A few weeks ago I forgot to put Jason's work clothes in the dryer, he didn't look until it was too late.
    I just plain forget he was mumbling and grumbling but it was because he had to get to work. Of course I said I'm only human and I forgot.

    I'm not helping am I?

    My husband and kids are helpful when I ask specifically but they don't usually just do it.
    As for roles or gender or whatever we don't have any problems. I do what I do by choice and he works out of the house. There is no man's job or woman's job.

    Although there are things I just don't do, HA!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey, Julie. Welcome home to Texas! (I know, I heard the grumble.)

    No, you're not being feminist. You're asking for respect you're not getting. In the long term you need to turn loose and not be so responsible. Short term, say, "awwwe, you should have dried them. Sucks, huh?" And then don't buy into the argument that might follow.

    Oh, and next time go pull a dirty one out of the hamper and say, "here, a towel." Serve dinner on dirty dishes. Might be a wakeup.

    PS: I've been trying to keep up with your blog. Almost lost my mom and she's in ICU after surgery. We've been pretty busy.

    I have an ear when you need one.

    Ted

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, I have to admit that I felt very angry while reading through your post Julie, because it reminded me a great deal of many aspects of my marriage...obviously still a very emotionally charged subject for me. My heart goes out to you. We think the same on a lot of things, I've noticed. I, too have talked to my daughter about life having a rhythm and that it flows much more smoothly when we can go with it. I've talked with her about responsibilities around the house and little things that can be done to ease the burden on both of us. I believe she hears me but the changes are oftentimes very slow moving. *sigh* At least she tries though...my marriage is most definitely a whole other story. Seeing as I am of the same frame of mind as you concerning these things, it's quite a challenge to be objective. I don't personally feel that it's feminsim. I hear a woman who has given and given of herself, to the point of absolute exhaustion and has not been refreshed or refilled in a very long time. I can SO relate to being 'exhausted from this life.' I have found myself saying that too, quite a lot over the past few months. When we're giving without any source of reciprocation, it doesn't surprise me at all that this would be the result. A little bit of love and positive touch goes a long way... When is the last time you truly made yourself a priority? I think we as women really have it backwards when it comes to caregiving for those we love. We think that if we give and give and give, it will come back to us; then we find ourselves, empty, alone and tired. I believe the truth is that if we get in touch with what brings joy and fulfillment to our lives and DO those things, we will automatically give out of that joy and the ones we love the most will benefit the greatest. I'm still figuring out how all of this 'fleshes' out but I know it resonates in my heart. Who knows if this is just more babble or it something will help but know that I love you and am always holding you in my heart. ♥

    As a quick P.S., Stephanie, I really appreciate your post. You are fantastic therapy for me! Love you girl!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wash my cup, my plate & my spoon & bowl. We don't have a dishwasher. I wash a cup for company.The others are on their own. When I am too busy to clean up after them, I don't. We own one towel for each person and no washer or dryer, so they have to make it last and hang it up to dry all week til Laundrymat day. I have a house full of Males who definitely expect to be waited on. I don't think so.

    ReplyDelete
  7. P.S. This morning I had to wipe down all the door knobs, faucets & my steering wheel with alcohol...deer blood from yesterday's hunt. Argh. Am wishing I had married a peaceful gardener rather than a mighty hunter. I hate hunting. Also...I brought home TWO female kittens this past year that BOTH turned into boys! I can't win. I am surrounded.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post Grace!
    I have been trying to find balance because I give and do for everyone. I choose this and only once a month am I bothered by it, LOL!

    I'm not a moderate person, I am all or nothing it is so hard for me to balance things, it is a true challenge in my life.

    I would probably be classified as an acts of service love language. That is how I show love, I give and do and once in awhile I expect it back.

    Showing me love is fixing something around the house or helping me when I ask. I also need my nightly tub time to relax and think.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh and if you really want to show me love you bring wine and dark chocolate :)

    Hey Jewls you know I feel for you and love you. I hope all is going well tonight, I did pray!

    ReplyDelete
  10. At age 40, I realized that I knew that it did, but nothing of HOW the world turned -- from routine repression to relative freedom for women.

    I was a pre-teen in the 60s and was vaguely aware of bra-burning and women's 'liberation.' But nothing was taught in school - there were no tv shows - no popular books that would make a person of my generation understand what it took to instill in me the firm belief that there was nothing in the world that I as a woman could not do.

    I believe that my generation of women was the first to come of age with most of us believing, taking it for granted, assuming that the world would be fair to us and that our future would be glorious.

    Of course, that hasn't always been the case, though my life has been blessed with amazing opportunities that my mother and grandmother would not have dreamed of.

    But when I realized that I didn't know how my freedom happened I set out on a journey of discovery and I am now strengthened by the inspiration of countless suffragettes.

    I realize I stand on their strong shoulders, and on the shoulders of other women who keep pushing for more than voting rights, who demand the full range of human rights for women.

    I want to share that inspiration with other women.

    Can you even imagine being a woman and NOT being able to vote?

    Thanks to the suffragettes, America has women voters and wide range of women candidates, and we are a better country for it!

    Women have voices and choices! Just like men.

    But few people know ALL of the suffering that our suffragettes had to go through, and what life was REALLY like for women.

    Now you can subscribe FREE to my exciting e-mail series that goes behind the scenes in the lives of eight of the world's most famous women to reveal the shocking and sometimes heartbreaking truth of HOW women won the vote.

    Thrilling, dramatic, sequential short story e-mail episodes have readers from all over the world raving about the original historical series, "The Privilege of Voting."

    Read this FREE e-mail series on your coffeebreaks and fall in love with these amazing women!

    Subscribe free at

    www.CoffeebreakReaders.com/subscribe.html

    ReplyDelete

Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥