Domestic Labor Balance
By Tracee Sioux
We had a fabulous time over Memorial Day weekend when a very generous friend offered to let us stay at her bed and breakfast for three days. It was super-glorious. We were so grateful we couldnt help inviting a few friends over to share it and made it a lovely party. It got me to thinking about who does the domestic or social labor, men or women?
When my extended family socializes or have parties it is literally exhausting hard labor for the women. My grandmother, aunts and mom will cook for days. They are the last to sit down and when the eating is over the women are the ones to clean up. As a child I just accepted this as a matter of course. The women did the work in the home.
As an adult, however, I am one of the women expected to work my butt off. As an adult Ive come to realize how exhausting putting on Sunday dinner is. Its a day of rest for the men, but a day of hard labor for the women. As a little girl everyone in our family had to clear their own plates from the table, except my father, he was treated as a pampered prince because he was the man and brought home the money, my mother would explain. Well, women are bringing home much of the money in todays society, but were still doing more than our share of the domestic labor.
I dont resent the work to create a hospitable party. I resent the men sitting there taking it for granted that its the womans job. I cant change my extended family, but Im straight up with my daughter that its the wrong attitude and its unfair.
When I throw a party or get ready for company my husband pitches in. He is expected to help me clean for company, prepare the food and to clean up after the party. Why shouldnt he really?
I think we’re in a a girl revolution and we, their parents, are the transition generation. Its not too easy to convince my 50-year-old uncle that its his job to clean up after dinner as much as it is mine. However, my daughter can see that I expect my husband to help in the same social situations. This way, by the time shes grown up shell know that its within her rights to expect her husband to help with the domestic chores.
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