Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sharing the load

Via Laura at 11D, I found these two articles about managing the household load and how angry many mothers are that men seem to not take on their fair share.  Given that this conversation is quite fresh in our household as my work is morphing--changing daily, we're both starting to realize--these were timely articles.  And the advice by the commenters pulled out in the second article is spot on.  Women need to ask for help and they need to find a way to do so without sounding bitter or pissed (most of the time).  As Belkin says at the end, a primary reason we don't ask for help is our sense of responsibility for our choices:
A final reason for our reluctance to ask for help, I think, is the feeling that we made this bed, so it is ours to lie in. We chose to have these children, or marry the less than egalitarian spouse, or be a mother and hold down a full-time job, or leave a the paid workforce to take on more of the load at home.
I was feeling pretty bad this last week when I couldn't keep up with both the house and the work, especially since most of the work I was doing I wasn't getting paid for. I was in this bind of, "I'm not bringing in cash so I should contribute more on the household front, but I don't have the time, but if I do the housework, I can't get the business going, but . . ." And I *chose* this course of action, of quitting a regular paying job for this crazy life, so I was thinking I couldn't ask for help. And I know plenty of women, myself included, who just assume that they've married these enlightened men and the men will just figure it out. Well, I can tell you, Mr. Geeky is quite enlightened and there's quite a bit he's figured out all by himself, but I still have to ask him to do laundry. And I have to let go of being mad that I have to ask. Because no one's a mind reader. He has no idea that while I'm working on a project, in the back of my mind is the nagging thought that Geeky Boy might not have any more clean underwear.  Now I think men could ask more often if there's anything they could do to help, but you know, I'm not gonna wait around anymore for that to happen.  And maybe, if I ask for help more often, my husband and kids will start to ask.