There are many people in this world — of all genders — who belittle the work it takes to do basic self-care. Things like doing the groceries, a necessary process, can be a challenge. When I left the house today to stop by my doctor’s office to have labs done, I felt extremely well. In fact, I felt better and more energized than I have for a very long time.
But, it was also grocery day. I went straight to it from the office.
I point out women in the title of this post, because more often than not — at least in the heterosexual portion of the world — groceries are one of the many chores that most often are completed by the female in the relationship, as are things like cleaning, dusting or even washing dishes.
I know that my ex belittled the assorted chores that we (his polyamorous “wives”) were expected to complete. He excused his unwillingness to do his part because he worked retail, and “blue collar” jobs are harder than any other job. We eventually got him to do dishes, but even then (as well as the garbage and changing the cat litter) it was never actually a regular thing. We had to “nag” him to get him to do the chores he agreed to do. Even the “traditionally male jobs” at home (i.e. lawn care and snow shoveling) were rarely done without nagging (which is what reminding him that our city had regulations for how long snow was allowed to accumulate on the sidewalk was considered).
It didn’t matter what kind of job we women had. The time I spent as a driver for a handicapped company was considered just “sitting on my butt” for hours a day.
Too many of us essentially have two jobs, one working for an employer and one working for our significant others.
Hell, even I ignored how much work that many of the necessary day-to-day chores were. They were just things I needed to get done.
While I am recovering from the extreme exhaustion, the chronic pain will never go away. I can do things to try to keep it as low as possible, but it is still a daily struggle. And even though I started the with what seemed like extra spoons, by the time I was done and back at home, I was exhausted. Even with my nephew and his girlfriend helping me (sister is sick as a dog – even if she tried to help I would have made her sit back down), I actually needed to rest before we did and even with that rest I wasn’t up to putting away more than just the cold stuff.
When you have to choose between two sets of self-care — basic food vs. basic exercise — it becomes very clear just how much work it takes to just deal with day-to-day life. Hell, there are days when just washing my hair is all of the exercise I can handle.
Yes, as I work out, my stamina should get better. But most people have absolutely no clue how much energy is expended by someone who has an “invisible illness” to just try to do the best they can when their body is sometimes great and sometimes as bad as it gets. I never know how much energy I will have any given day until after I’ve had some coffee (because I have always been someone who is hard to wake…it’s like I’m a classic car that has to be encouraged to start running on a cold day).
So, before you automatically assume that your significant other should be the person doing the greater amount of household chores, maybe you will think again. Or, at least, ask them to teach you how to do the chores so that you will know how much energy it really takes.