A lot has gone on since my last post. Work has well and truly begun and already I am thinking that the term ‘job-share‘ may be French for ‘get paid for three days, but work full time. Some fellow teaching Bloggers did warn me of this, but I am hoping that it is just beginning of the school year madness and that it will calm down soon.Or not?
My other job- the important one, the full time one, the unpaid and un-appreciated one called ‘being a mum and wife’ has continued to run ahead at full pace. As you may well know, children don’t understand nor care that one of your many talents has become being able to cook dinner, hold a gigantic 2 year old, chop an onion with one hand and turn up the volume on Peppa Pig with the other hand. Now that’s what I call animal adaptation! Last week I even sarcastically asked my four year old what hands he would like me to use to fill up his drink bottle, and in all his wisdom he replied ‘ You just need to get more hands mum’. Yes wouldn’t that be nice son! And you know what would happen if I got more hands? Some one in this house would find more jobs for the extra hands to do too!.
Can I be really honest here? I just need to do a mental purge. I am going to be very controversial now and say that the feminist movement has a lot to answer for. Not so long ago the women’s sole role in society was to be a good housewife. This involved birthing and caring for children, cooking, cleaning and keeping a husband happy. We were clear on the role, as limiting as it was, we knew our gig. Anyway, the mothers who went before us fought tooth and nail for gender equality, and I sincerely thank them for this. For the first time we could throw our aprons and bra’s into the air, run out of our homes in trousers not our skirts, get down and dirty and begin working in meaningful paid positions. Sounds awesome right? What women wouldn’t see this as progression right?
HANG ON…….LET’S BACK THIS TRUCK UP A LITTLE ! Right back to the part where the women were supposed to be throwing away their aprons. Last time I checked, I was still wearing the apron on top of my trousers! Someday’s I’m so painfully aware of it that it chokes me. Someday’s it’s still hanging off me as I jump out of my car ready to take up my place in society as a working woman. What a great deal the men got out of the feminist movement, I can hear them now laughing behind our back. ‘Yes Gerald, great idea- Let the ladies work and they will still do everything else as well, it will work out great for us gentlemen mwaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaa! (insert Dr Evil’s voice here)
I realise more than anyone that in some cultures, the women’s role has not evolved and has not changed much since these times, and some days I look at these families with envy. I also realise it is apparently my choice to to wear an apron and work at the same time, but the hard part here is now we have a choice. When we didn’t have a choice it seemed easier to accept it. It is fine to be a house-mum when everyone else is too. Our roles have become blurred, we have lost parts of our identities and now scrambling to define our new role in society. It is not fine for women to ‘just stay at home’. It is also not fine to be just a career woman. So what do we talented, multi-tasking women do? We adapt and do both- the same as any other successful species.
My problem is that yes now we can contribute and work, but in most houses we are still the ones doing everything else as well. If we have evolved then why haven’t our home roles? Why should we work AND still be doing 80% of every other job that comes our way, child related or not. Something has to give, we can’t keep all of these balls in the air without dropping a few. We are still the ones to organize the children in the morning, we are still the ones packing lunch boxes, we are still the ones dropping by Woolworth’s on the way home to get groceries for dinner, we are still the ones to remember the children’s vaccinations, organize presents for birthday parties, sorting out clothes in the morning, finding lost shoes and nursing sick children at 2am, 3 hours before leaving for work ourselves. Yes It is in our genes, mums can not stop caring and nurturing just because we are now wearing trousers. We will continue to be cross dressing, apron- over- business -suit wearing machines who try to save the world or at least save the chicken from burning.
Before the inevitable ‘My husband does all the housework and cooking in my house’ comments, Lets get real. Clearly It is not just about cooking. Of course there are many exceptions to what I am saying. There are many fabulous husbands out there who work their bums off to help their wives, and to them I applaud. The sad reality is that most, and I say this with slight caution, MOST women are still keeping the homes going. Things have to change. In the past 4 years alone 3 female friends of mine have or have at least considered returning to work and having hubby stay at home with Baby Bob, as they are the main bread winners. The men have been more than willing to let go of a few ‘traditional masculine traits’ (usually the useful ones) whilst taking full advantage of our newly acquired skills, but are a bit slow on the uptake in acquiring their own new skills. Perhaps not quite yet the norm, but certainly is a growing trend.
So where do you stand on this. Should we just drop the ball completely or should we STILL be trying to do it all?