Sunday, January 4, 2009

Why Me?

This is a thought that occurs to me a lot. Way too frequently. I am going to work very hard to stamp that question out of my repertoire. Want to know why? Because basically, its a pointless question. Who knows why me? Who cares? The fact is, it is me. I am responsible for whatever it is that needs doing. Whining about why I have to be the one to do it is a tremendous waste of time. My time and yours.

I don't know if you do this, but I ask myself that type of question far too often. Why do I have to be the one to clean up the dishes in the kitchen? Why is it always me expected to empty the dishwasher? Who cares? Just shut yer trap and do it. Why is it me that has to make sure the kids have their back packs ready for school? Why do I have to be the one to make the lunches? Because you're their mom you whiney baby. Shut it and do it.

While I am working to stamp those questions out of my repertoire, can you do me a favor though? Dump your stereotypes please. Stop over generalizing and trying to fit me into a box. I am not going to be Beaver Cleaver's mom and wear dresses. I wear jeans and/or sweat pants. They are comfortable. Way more comfortable than those stupid nylons. Warmer too. I hate to be cold. I like to cook sometimes, but then there are periods of time that I have zero interest in cooking. If you are a member of my family I will try to provide you with three nutritious meals of some type every day, but don't count on it to be from scratch. I have to be in the mood for that. If you think I am lazy, then feel free to cook something yourself. Unless you are under twelve. Then you can accept what I am offering for the meal or feel very hungry. If you are over twelve and don't like what I am offering or when I am offering it, please feel free to crack open a cook book or two and whip up a meal. I won't be offended. I won't stop you and I definitely will not hover over your shoulder telling you how to do it. Mi casa is su casa.

I'm generous like that. I will open up my home to you. If you want something to eat, you are free to cook. If you feel that your clothing is not clean enough, I am happy to share my washing machine with you. If you don't feel that I am doing a great job with the housekeeping, feel free to pick up a mop, a broom, or a dusting cloth and show me how it's done. I have no ego about it. I am open to instruction. I just learn better if you demonstrate - just telling me will not be enough.

My husband and I are pretty flexible about any of the tasks that need doing around the house. We don't have any preformed ideas of whose job it is either. We are both generous souls, willing to let anyone step up to the plate and show us how things are done. If something bothers you and it is not up to code, please feel free to instruct us. We take criticism quite well, as long as its constructive, and you are willing to instruct us in ways that we will absorb your lesson. If you have some 1950's notion of the roles of men and women in the household, please feel free to elaborate. We will not necessarily agree with you, but you are more than welcome to share your ideas with us.

If you are interested in my thoughts, however, I am happy to share those as well. Since this blog is a place where I have said that I will share my thoughts with those who are interested in reading them, I will share my thoughts here. It seems that the topic of discussion for tonight is men and women's roles. I don't really know why that is the topic of discussion, but since it is, I am happy to share. If this stuff bores you, feel free to skip or skim this or you can come back another night, when I am not ranting about this stuff.

So let's begin. First off, during my college days I read a little Dorothy Sayers. I won't pretend to be very widely read on the subject, but something I read that she said a number of years ago has stayed with me all these years. I won't try to quote exactly, as I don't have the source right at my finger tips, but it goes something like this: "I do not want to be considered for a particular job or function because I am female. I want to be considered for the job because I am me, uniquely qualified with my set of skills and talents to do the job well, and I want to do it." So let's stop pretending that a vagina or penis makes you more or less qualified to complete a job, unless that job is one of procreation or delivering babies.

Do I agree that men may have certain proclivities that lend themselves to certain functions? Perhaps. But that does not rule out the possibility that there are women who have unique abilities and interests that make them suitable for the job. Let's talk about specifics here. Let's talk about childrearing. Many people would say that women are the softer sex. That because of this perceived softness they are more capable of being nurturing. But what if a particular woman was not reared in a particularly nurturing environment? What if those aspects of personality were not valued or encouraged? Couldn't it be possible that she may not have developed those skills? Perhaps the capacity to nurture is like a muscle, and if not exercised it withers. What then? Is she a defective woman, to be thrown out with the curbside trash? Or is it possible that lacking that nurturing personality, other things may have been developed that could be of value? Other things that may lend themselves to taking care of a family? Perhaps she identified with the bread winner of her family. Perhaps she was raised to value toughness and work ethics, salesmanship and the ability to barter. If said woman had this skill set, would she be considered less of a woman, less capable of taking care of her young?

Conversely, if a man was raised in a particularly nurturing environment, wouldn't it be possible that he may develop those soft and nurturing skills that would lend themselves to childrearing? Is it possible that he may be better suited to providing the love and attention that his young would need? If he were to nurture his children and see to their needs both physically and emotionally, is there something wrong with him? Is he raising sissies? Why is it that when we see a man who is emotional, our first thoughts are often to wonder if he is gay? To think that he is somehow, "flamboyant?"

Many would argue with me that we have moved away from such extremes. We are modern men and women. We have stay-at-home dads, working moms and the like. So why is it that women still get paid less than men for the same jobs and men get ostracized from the mom's clubs or playgroups in our neighborhood parks and churches?

Just some food for thought. We can talk more at another time. For now though, I am signing off. Vacation is over and I want to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the start of the week. But here are my five things that I am grateful for:

1.) I am grateful that my husband and I see eye to eye on many of the household tasks
2.) I am grateful that I can choose my own path
3.) I am grateful that I can recognize and stop myself from whining
4.) I am grateful that I can refuse to be boxed in to a stereo type
5.) I am grateful that I can write.

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