“…I Ain’t Your Mama!”

In this context, I’m using my ex as an «example,» not as a whipping boy. In this particular situation, a majority of men in both my generation and the previous one still have the idea that anything having to do with maintaining the household is automatically women’s work!

Women, not just women in America, have been forced to fight for their rights as human beings for centuries.  And even with our Founding Fathers, the idea of allowing women autonomy — even of their own bodies — was considered laughable.

The excuse has always been the same. Women already have too much power over men.  If women get equality, then men will be forced into subjugation.

While there may be fringe groups who think a matriarchy would be the best form of government, they are a minority.

We as women, once we gained the right to a wider selection of employment than nurse, teacher or secretary, have still struggled with tyranny at home.  It doesn’t matter if the gender of the tyrant is male or other females. The expectation is that the workings of the household fall firmly on the shoulders of the woman, on top of any job she may have outside of the household.  Men are encouraged to think themselves overworked if they are expected to do their share of the chores in a household.

The repeated complaint is “but I worked all day.”

This was my ex’s consistent excuse.  And it was always justified by the excuse of: “I do manual labor, and you sit on your ass all day.”

He also had a chip on his shoulder about the differences between blue collar and white collar work. He assumed anyone doing white collar work was just sitting on their ass 8-10 hours a day.

So, supposedly, a man will become tired after a normal work day and need to relax, but women don’t? In families with no children, women are still expected to spend 2-4 hours a night cleaning the house, washing the dishes and making dinner.  With the addition of children, there are anywhere between 2-4 hours before work to get the children ready for school, and anywhere between 2-6 hours after work (dealing with dinner, dishes, cleaning, overseeing homework, dealing with dueling siblings, etc).  And then comes the weekend, which STILL ends up with the wife not getting any time for herself.

Thankfully, this is no longer ALL families or couples, but it is still far too many.

Expecting a man to be responsible for himself, to actually do chores around the house (and not just mowing the lawn), is a huge fight still.  Hell, my ex most often refused to mow the lawn, and had to be reminded repeatedly to remove the snow (because the city would fine us).  More often than not, the three of us ladies ended up doing those chores.  And the two chores he did agree to do?  Cleaning the litter box ended up being maybe a 1x month schedule.  Which yes, meant we lived in an ammonia smell. And doing the trash ended up being a constant argument. Occasionally he would do a different chore or two, but he always wanted a pat on the back for doing it.

I was just as much at fault, because I bought into that whole “women’s work” paradigm for most of our early marriage.

But, no more.  Because I Ain’t Your Mama!

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Categories: body autonomy, Feminism, Gender Inequities, Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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