Thursday, February 4, 2010

Super women

Women are super.

At least that's what I think.

They do it all.

Well many of them ... us.

Though I will confess I have said many times that I could never become a lesbian (aside from personal views perhaps) because I also think woman are crazy hormonal messes. All in all though ...they amaze me.

I bring this up as I strive to get back into a full time job as well as a full time household. I want to say first off that I have absolutely no earthly clue how women work full time and have kids. No idea. This by no means is a judgment just a mere wondering.

I shared with you how lately I have been overwhelmed by the 'catch up' around the apartment. Let me tell you, it builds up over a few months. This past week I was determined to try and get some of it done. Of course this was heading into a 53 hour work week.

Astoundingly I have made some real headway and am felling like a different person because of it. Instead of putting off little jobs, I've been tackling them when I've had the chance. I mentally feel much lighter and happier because of it.

However there's another side to the coin. When you get into the routine of HAVING to get the little job done, you often overlook the chance to catch some relaxation you may need.

I have an aunt (who I think could be reading this). Who has struggled with this for years. She's a mom of three grown children, who were born very close in age. She spent years as a home maker and mother raising them, until her husband was ill (he has kidney disease). Then when they were in their 'tween years she had to work outside of the home to help provide. It soon turned into full time and she then bore the weight of the household entirely on her shoulders.

Because her husband was sick she HAD to do it all: raise the children, cook, clean, work full time to provide, entertain company and so much more. In some ways this doesn't sounds all that earth shattering but if you knew how she completed all of these things you'd be astounded.

You see my idea of cooking in those conditions would be sidekicks with some chicken added, or mac 'n cheese with hot dogs. Not her, it was always a healthy well rounded dinner, a spotless home and to church on time.

I know she wouldn't necessarily say she did everything right and perhaps would do things a bit differently next time (she wore herself out). THe point is I think that we, as women, do it. Or at least we try.

I am by no means knocking men, I'm not a feminist either, but I find it very interesting how we as women feel the deep need to 'do it all'. Why?

I only recently witnessed my husband remotely concerned about the floors being vacuumed. I remember when Wally went to school we did everything we could so that he could concentrate entirely on his school work. After 5 or 6 months we quite working even part time at the barn. When I went to school I continued to clean, cook (as much as I could), work part time, do the laundry, do yard work, take out the garbage, deal with the animals and on and on.

Again, I am not saying men are lazy at all (though I'm probably not convincing you at this moment) just that they think so differently than us.

Their primary thoughts on their purpose in life is work, providing.From my experience, when they are focused it's on primarily one thing.

Women have a thousand and one things on the go at any given time.

I really had to learn to step back during my last semester and was amazed that Wally could indeed pick up the slack,in fact he was better at many things than I was.

I think we need to provide more opportunity to men to flex their multi-tasking abilities. We need to let go more and relax (even though I know that sometimes doing the dishes and getting the dusting done seem more relaxing at the time!)

I'm not sure where that all came from, but there you have it. You have my permission to rest!


Anonymous said...

Do you ever get frustrated at the fact that men's "focus" tends to only be on one thing at a time? I know in my experience I have found that Charlie's disregard for things such as a floor in need of vacuuming or not being able to take the initiative and do things without being asked is extremely frustrating. I know that when push comes to shove he would step up and take care of things, but I'm also pretty sure that his standard for when things need to get done and what mine are would be much different (ie - if you can still see the floor it doesn't need to be cleaned yet). Any insight into how you mentally/emotionally approach this?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I totally agree! Before we had children, I worked outside the home and did most of the at home stuff (cooking, cleaning, etc.) When I was off on mat leave, I did even more while my husband was working. After that magical one year of being home with my little guy was over, I went back to work. Suddenly we were working parents and to my delight my husband did step up and did a lot.

A lot of stuff I had to ask or suggest for him to do but he always did it without complaint and after some time passed, he could do things without being asked.

Now that I'm on mat leave again...well he's gone back to leaving a lot of it to me, which is ok, most of the time. But I'm happy to know that he can do it. And I know with a little bit of gentle encouragement he would start doing it again.

In a household where both partners in a relationship work, it's only fair that the duties are divided and tackled together. I think most husbands would find that they have happier wives if they help a bit....

Eva said...

I think commenter two said it well. Often necessity is the mother of invention and that seems to be (or at least from my own experience) the time when 'push comes to shove' and our husband's - or at least the great ones, step up to the plate.

I would have never had the chance to see Wally amaze me until I completely let go of my need to be in charge. In order for that to happen (for ME)I needed to be put in a spot where I had no other option but to let go - because of the choice I made to do other things outside of the home. It would be physically impossible to do everything I was doing before.

I will admit though now that I am not working 70 hours a week I still work between 40-50 hours a week and the tendency has been for me to pick up all of those extra jobs. I don't mind too much, but as commenter #2 said - gentle nudging seems to be necessary to remind Wally of what could be done.

Overall things are better than they were before, but those traditional roles seems to be drawn to us (at least here). If it hadn't' been for the need for his help though I would never know what it is like to come home to a vacuuming husband.

I don't think there's a magical event - unfortunately like many things in life marriage seems to be a progressive journey. There seems to be no end or destination, just growth.

Anonymous said...

I haven't commented on this post before (even though I've thought about it a lot) because it's so far removed from my word. I'm NOT one of those super women. I'm one of those women with no kids, and a job and yet still has a messy house, and still is overtired, and still feels overworked. Something is wrong here!

I suggested getting a cleaning lady to my mother-in-law before, and she was NOT impressed. She said, "You'd better be joking Bex!" I said, "Well I'm joking if my husband says no, but if he goes for this, then I'm completely serious!" I guess this is why I'm not the favourite daughter-in-law :)

For people who want a hard worker for a husband, it might be too late for you, but for anyone who's single - get a husband who's lived away from home for a while and has done his own cooking and cleaning. Then he KNOWS how long housework takes and he'll be MUCH more appreciative and MUCH more helpful.

When I'm off work, I do the housework, but when we're both working, he's VERY concerned with things being fair and sharing laundry, cleaning etc. (He always does the vacuuming though, I think he enjoys it.) I don't know how I lucked out, but I'm very thankful for such an awesome husband.

The job that's almost always mine is the cooking, but he does all the cleanup. It makes me kind of mad when I go to other women's homes and they prepare all the food, and then do all the clean up while the man sits there.

I don't mean to brag, I just have NO IDEA why my husband turned out this way! And I'm very glad he did!

I know my case isn't average, but thoguht I'd share anyway.


Eva said...

Bex I was a cleaning lady for 10 years and it wasn't until the very end when I was the only 'bread winner' and home keeper that I decided I deserved to have some help. It was only a one time deal for a few hours but the intention was to treat myself because I finally realized I needed help. I chose to work outside of the home and for the most part enjoyed it. Of all the people to be having a housekeeper come - I wold been seen as the most ridiculous candidate - a cleaning lady!!

But I did it for me and I think it was a great thing. Even though sometimes things like that don't make sense they are what you need. If we broke down how much money came off of our pay cheques at times for eating out and how many hours we worked for it we'd probably freak out but the reality that is sometimes just what you need to relax or help you through the day (not necessarily with food, but with whatever you may spend a little extra on).

When it all comes down to it you are the one that lives with your life - no one else. So unless your Mother in law is coming to do your job, clean your house or pay your bills (with all due respect) she has no right to voice her opinion like that.

Sorry if that's a little strong - struck a nerve!