Comments

  1. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this as a formerly over-worked wife resenting the lack of equity in our home-keeping.

    There has been a strange and unexpected liberation when we left the extremely expensive and hectic world of southern California and moved out to Ohio where we could easily afford to live on my husband’s salary and my income was nice, but not necessary.

    The reality is: we are evolved from hunter gatherers and there are certain roles that are in our DNA. I am a tough lady, I am smart and I can work hard and lift a 50 lb bag of topsoil with the best of them. But at the end of the day, my husband can lift more than I can, he can reach things on higher shelves and he can chop a lot more wood than I can. Being humble enough to see that be grateful for his strengths (both spiritual and physical) and to respect him is a key part of our ability to turn the corner find a sweet harmony after years of arguments.

    I think our problem is that when we divorce ourselves from the land, we begin to divorce ourselves from one another. In a life that is separated from the cycles of hunting, cultivating and growing the daily tasks we are left with are often indoors – traditionally the domain of women. Unsurprisingly, women have more of a knack for tasks that have to happen within the domain home and hearth that their mother’s and grand-mothers have been ruling for millennia. Males have evolved on a primal level to hunt, build, protect and provide. Females have evolved to gather, nurture, feed, protect and heal. This is just basic anthropology and evolutionary biology.

    Oikos is the greek word that means household – it is the root of the word ecology.

    We have lost balance in the ecology of households. There are certain niches that we naturally gravitate toward – but somehow in the 60s there was a thought that the niches where the traditional womanly arts were practiced such as weaving, gardening, herbal medicine, cooking, collaborating, making, baking, sewing – somehow these were seen as “less than” then the tasks in the traditionally masculine niche – such as building, repairing, driving, conducting and providing security.

    My friends who have been living a completely trimmed-down back the land life have naturally found ways of honoring one another and the natural ecosystems that develop when you let go of societal expectations and just listen to basic biology and listen to the simple notes in your own soul.

    Dad heads out inot the snow chops wood and brings the fuel to the wood-burning stove. Mom makes sure the fire doesn’t die. Both tasks are endless. Both deserve mutual respect.

    As for me, I would rather spend the day canning an over-abundance of tomatoes from the yard than going to the office. I am grateful that my husband can chop wood to keep us warm and that he enjoys that endless process. I would rather spend the day learning how to pray while washing my dishes and hanging laundry on the line than sitting in my old cubicle trying to finish writing a grant.

    I think the key is being happier with less stuff. Simplify, move to a part of the country that is more affordable. If you are overwhelmed by working full time and keeping up with the house, the answer may not be to have yet another argument about how the man needs to pick up his domestic game. The answer may be to reorganize the domestic ecosystem so that each species can play to his/her strength and his/her joy. It also means being humble and being OK with not achieving status, a certain level of wealth or what have you.

    “‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free. Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be.”

    The reality is that my husband is never going to wash as many dishes as I do. And I will never fix as many small engines as he will. And that’s OK.

    Thanks for letting me share this stream of consciousness. Now I must go dig up the last of the potatoes from the garden.

  2. Years ago I read an article about who does which jobs around the house. The article expressed that men generally tend to complete the more finite jobs like, repairing a leak, getting the car fixed, more or less attending to one-time events. Women were tasked with the more infinite daily recurring jobs like cooking, laundry, childcare. I believe these jobs have become less gender specific over the years but they still provide fodder for resentment and challenges for all couples. It’s a good idea to inventory the finite and infinite jobs and look at ways to reallocate them as needed.

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43195

Virtual Reality

Gender Norm Revival

Women are often working outside of the home and still expected to manage household and kids.  Burnout leads to resentment which leads women to insist on increased domestic labor equity, and rightly so.  Men are faced with the choice to contribute in new ways, or to check-out and hope their partner’s unhappiness floats away on the breeze.

Common barriers to the change I see in the many of the men I work with (and in myself) are fear of inadequacy, laziness, entitlement, and lack of assertiveness.  I see marital unhappiness haunt so many couples as they struggle to adapt to life’s evolving family structures.

 

Comments

  1. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this as a formerly over-worked wife resenting the lack of equity in our home-keeping.

    There has been a strange and unexpected liberation when we left the extremely expensive and hectic world of southern California and moved out to Ohio where we could easily afford to live on my husband’s salary and my income was nice, but not necessary.

    The reality is: we are evolved from hunter gatherers and there are certain roles that are in our DNA. I am a tough lady, I am smart and I can work hard and lift a 50 lb bag of topsoil with the best of them. But at the end of the day, my husband can lift more than I can, he can reach things on higher shelves and he can chop a lot more wood than I can. Being humble enough to see that be grateful for his strengths (both spiritual and physical) and to respect him is a key part of our ability to turn the corner find a sweet harmony after years of arguments.

    I think our problem is that when we divorce ourselves from the land, we begin to divorce ourselves from one another. In a life that is separated from the cycles of hunting, cultivating and growing the daily tasks we are left with are often indoors – traditionally the domain of women. Unsurprisingly, women have more of a knack for tasks that have to happen within the domain home and hearth that their mother’s and grand-mothers have been ruling for millennia. Males have evolved on a primal level to hunt, build, protect and provide. Females have evolved to gather, nurture, feed, protect and heal. This is just basic anthropology and evolutionary biology.

    Oikos is the greek word that means household – it is the root of the word ecology.

    We have lost balance in the ecology of households. There are certain niches that we naturally gravitate toward – but somehow in the 60s there was a thought that the niches where the traditional womanly arts were practiced such as weaving, gardening, herbal medicine, cooking, collaborating, making, baking, sewing – somehow these were seen as “less than” then the tasks in the traditionally masculine niche – such as building, repairing, driving, conducting and providing security.

    My friends who have been living a completely trimmed-down back the land life have naturally found ways of honoring one another and the natural ecosystems that develop when you let go of societal expectations and just listen to basic biology and listen to the simple notes in your own soul.

    Dad heads out inot the snow chops wood and brings the fuel to the wood-burning stove. Mom makes sure the fire doesn’t die. Both tasks are endless. Both deserve mutual respect.

    As for me, I would rather spend the day canning an over-abundance of tomatoes from the yard than going to the office. I am grateful that my husband can chop wood to keep us warm and that he enjoys that endless process. I would rather spend the day learning how to pray while washing my dishes and hanging laundry on the line than sitting in my old cubicle trying to finish writing a grant.

    I think the key is being happier with less stuff. Simplify, move to a part of the country that is more affordable. If you are overwhelmed by working full time and keeping up with the house, the answer may not be to have yet another argument about how the man needs to pick up his domestic game. The answer may be to reorganize the domestic ecosystem so that each species can play to his/her strength and his/her joy. It also means being humble and being OK with not achieving status, a certain level of wealth or what have you.

    “‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free. Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be.”

    The reality is that my husband is never going to wash as many dishes as I do. And I will never fix as many small engines as he will. And that’s OK.

    Thanks for letting me share this stream of consciousness. Now I must go dig up the last of the potatoes from the garden.

  2. Years ago I read an article about who does which jobs around the house. The article expressed that men generally tend to complete the more finite jobs like, repairing a leak, getting the car fixed, more or less attending to one-time events. Women were tasked with the more infinite daily recurring jobs like cooking, laundry, childcare. I believe these jobs have become less gender specific over the years but they still provide fodder for resentment and challenges for all couples. It’s a good idea to inventory the finite and infinite jobs and look at ways to reallocate them as needed.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *