Monday, January 12, 2009

Battle of the sexes

I was reading the NYT Sunday and was struck by an article in the STYLE section about the realities of previously well-off families in the NY area who have taken an economical hit and now have found themselves in the situation of the husband not working and the wife going back to work after being able to be stay-at-home moms. The article implied that this situation was working to increase the numbers filing for divorce. Not because the women resented going back to work, but because the men failed to take on all of the responsibilities of stay-at-home dad while unemployed and were now “clickers”, meaning they sat around the house watching TV all day causing frustration and resentment on the part of the woman. As I read parts of this article out loud to my husband he wondered aloud “what about their love for each other?”

I was able to relate to this situation. As a part-time stay-at-home-mom and a part-time OB/GYN I have assumed full-time household responsibilities. And although this makes sense (both due to my available time and our finances), I still become frustrated after I come home from a day at work and find dishes in the sink or clothes strewn everywhere. Like the women in the story I always expect that stuff to be part of the “stay-at-home” package, but it rarely is.

What is it about this part of “homework” that is so undesirable, overlooked, unrewarded, and undervalued? Is it the manual aspect or the dirty aspect or the temporary aspect? Is it the bleach-antifungal-antibacterial nature? Or is it that men are just lazy when it comes to this stuff. Apparently, this is the last great divide (at least in my household) to true equality of the sexes. I will continue to fight this fight, not because the housework is too much work for me, but because my husband needs to appreciate me and all the “little” stuff I do to keep things running smoothly. And he usually does...

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