“Ladies if you have a husband who is supporting you for being here, studying in this class and is happy that you are learning, you have a good man I think.”
This is from my sociology prof. He stands at the front of his class with his silver hair and lime green tie offering wisdom that only a seasoned lawyer could do. His great italian accent is complimented with his hand gestures and quirky “think about it,” just like on the Soprano’s. He must be at least 75.
I am studying family and marriage. And although I do have experience to fall on I can still learn that which I knew intuitively. It is spoken now. The generational differences are explained and theorized and I think about it on my drive home on the cold roads.
Wes and I come from working mothers. Grandma Wicks is maybe a generation older than the normal mother but she was already a full time farmer and housewife. Together, her and dad, they ran the farm. She planted, harvested, milked cows, pulled weeds and hand cranked the laundry. The money was shared that they earned. But still she did her share of double shifting. A sociological term for women caring for a home and working full time.
Then take my mother in law who at periods in her life was co-working on their farm. She too watered animals and cooked meals for many. Yet, maybe she had more of the traditional, men at work- women stayed home experience?
At first I thought that so much had changed for women since the feminist movement. Equality and all that thinking. But really, who changed the most? My mother was already a working women some 60 years ago.
It’s the men that changed the most and they do deserve some credit for that.
When my husband comes home and promptly unloads the dishwasher and hangs up his coat I think nothing of it. When my husband folds most of the laundry a
nd puts them in the wrong drawers I think that’s normal. When my husband drives the kids to their volleyball games and watches I expect that. He (my husband) cannot remember his dad EVER seeing him score a soccer goal.
I am a person, not a just a gender with-in our marriage. We have roles to play that I have chosen, not been forced into. Let’s be clear, it’s not perfect, lest you think I married a saint. And yes, these roles have changed over time. But he has not followed in the footsteps of his father’s expectation of women and wifely duties.
If Wes hadn’t cleared his schedule and put off going to hockey so I could study yet again, I wouldn’t be in university. And if I didn’t clean the bathrooms despite hating it we’d have a filthy home. Together. We both have adapted.
Remembering the history of patriarchy is a gentle reminder to women of this generation, not to abuse the freedom that equality offers us.
We must remember that kindness and mercy go a long way in a relationship.
If your family life doesn’t look like this, that’s ok. I would expect much diversity in all marriages because we all come from a different upbringing. I’m just thinking that I have to remember to thank Wes for any work he does, NOT because he’s a man doing women’s work, but because I appreciate him. Period. Only 2 semesters left honey!!