Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Woman's Work Is Never Done - A Dialogue

Blind Freddie knows that work associated with women is traditionally undervalued!

Housework and raising children are expected to be their own reward and, indeed sometimes they are.

Occupations and professions associated with women - nursing, teaching, social work - are not the big earners. Women are dressmakers; men are tailors. The name of the television show The Cook And The Chef says it all - she's the cook (the daily grind); he's the chef (the prestigious special event). And if the title doesn't say it, the numbers do: When girls get married, they double their domestic load; when boys get married, they halve theirs!

And if wildlife documentaries can be trusted, even lionesses have their crosses to bear. It's they who bring home the bacon, only to stand back as the big boys have their fill of the choice parts. Leftovers then go to the hungry, growing cubs, before eventually, all tums contentedly full, the ladies can sit down to lunch....of what's left.

If life on Earth relies so heavily on the female, it's probably not surprising we call so abundantly on domesticity to furnish the metaphors of daily life. We have a lot to do, we have many pots on the boil and we may be cooking up a storm.

We prioritise some tasks (put them on the front burner) and downgrade others (they're on the backburner); and eventually, some will come off the boil altogether.

Problems emerge and we have to sort things out, which may involve clearing up, ironing out the creases or smoothing things over. After all, we don't want a ragged seam! We finish a project and draw a line at the bottom of the page before putting the task to bed. The days that follow may see us tying up the loose ends or mopping up.

It's not all cut and dried but we do our best.

Joseph - February 2007 - His mother was multitasking!


Meow said...

So true..A women's work is never done. We must keep working 24x7 like a machine. I wish there were more people to appreciate what we do & pamper us for that :)

Blessed Be,

Brandi said...

Great post Peg!


avtcoach said...

I truly hate to say this..I do know many men who are equals in the dometic department, my hubby included but over my life when I have had friends who have men in their lives in the role you so aptly described I tend to blame their mothers. (Yikes, kill me now!) but I have found that mothers who instilled in their young men respect and equality, who taught them domestic skills and who expected them them to "pull their own weight" seem to be the men who "share the load". I am sure this is just as sexist a statement but as a mother of two young women of marrying age..I implore mothers of men to please teach your children well!! Thanks Peg...fun post with language!

avtcoach said...

sorry for typo.."domestic"

Jan said...

I feel that what you say is so very true! Sometimes I feel that men actually act clueless to avoid contributing. Now here's the interesting thing to consider -- my daughter does no cooking and her husband does the housework (or directs her to do her part). I read somewhere recently that there's a whole generation of 30 something women who are living their lives like that. Hmmmmmmm..... Let me not leave this posting, however, without saying that she works really hard in her job and is a GREAT Mom, daughter, wife, and friend.

MrsPeel said...

Great, amazing post.
I wont go deeper into this because it has always been an element (and a subject) that awakens some social anger in me... especially when we are so taken for granted...
Missing you here, Peggs, but I'm delighted that you are writing...this is a more than beautiful, wise blog...
Hugggzzz from sarita too.

miruspeg said...

Thanks for your feedback my dear friends.

This dialogue pertains to my generation and generations prior to that. I was just interested in what feedback I would get and was hoping there would be some male comments as well.

The young men I know in their 20's and 30's definitely 'pull their own weight'. Equality of the sexes is not far off (if it isn't already here) as mothers of today are teaching their boys and girls how to share the load.


Anonymous said...

Another interesting debate. I'm actually really lucky that my husband is excellent at doing just about anything and everything inside and out of the home.The downside to that could be that he is BETTER than me in most aspects of the household.....so I could question what my role actually is!
Now....our son in his mid-twenties...that is ANOTHER matter. He actually goes against the grain about what you said in your comment about young men in their twenties and thirties! CJ

Caroline said...

So true! What a wonderful post! Women carry so much of the burden...but it is what makes us incredibly strong! I wish I knew more men like avtcoach! I wonder if it's because my husband is Asian and raised differently. His father is very "tough" and never shows emotions. Thankfully, my husband does help around the house (but I do most of the work and all of the cooking).

I feel stronger today just by remembering this...thank you!

McMGrad89 said...

Funny, but true. I, of course, "have too many irons on the fire" to be able to properly take of my home, but it's all on me, so be it.

I must say, however, that my husband is very domestic and not very handy. In this case, the roles are reversed - except in cases when my body has given out and can no longer start the mower or reach the lightbulb.

You made me smile today.

Fly Girl said...

Love your play on words! (I feel like I'm on scrapblog because I've been "loving" a lot of blog posts tonight!)

Fortunately, for me (and my daughter), my husband's mother taught him well. He's the cook and does a lot of the cleaning and most of the laundry. It was so funny though over Thanksgiving... My mother-in-law called my father-in-law into the kitchen. When he walked in, she handed him a recipe for pecan pie and said, "Make it. I'm tired." The phone rang, as if on cue, and she sat down and enjoyed a friendly conversation while he slaved a bit in the kitchen.

While that would be a common occurrence at my house, it's funny considering he's never been a cook - barely of anything - and he's 84 years old. So that was a new challenge for him. I can happily report that the pecan pie was delicious, and my mother-in-law was a little less tired after all of the Thanksgiving food preparation!


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Stefunkc said...

Very well said! I was amazed that as soon as my husband said 'I do' he could no longer cook or clean. Such interesting creatures!