Delineating Responsibilities Even if it Conforms to Gender Roles
As a follow up to my post, "Trusting My Husband's Approach", I wanted to discuss responsibilities and gender roles a bit. My thoughts may come across as controversial and that's okay. By now you all know that I am a womanist. I won't even get into what that means but you can click on the word if you'd like more information. Just know that I am a feminist that doesn't like to be called a feminist, as womanist fits me so much better.
I am all for the equality of women. I believe that men can do what women can do and that women can do what men can do. Simple. At the same time, I don't mind admitting that there are some things that women are good at that men can do; however, it may take the man a bit more effort to do it. It's the same if the scenario was reversed. For instance, I think women are nurturers by nature. Doesn't mean that men aren't, can't be, or can't be equally as great at it. On the other hand I think men are protectors by nature. Doesn't mean that women aren't, can't be, or can't be equally as great at it. I say all that to say that I've allowed the feminist, womanist, everyone can do what everyone else can do mentality force me into thinking that my husband and I shouldn't buy into doing what each of us are best at if it meant conforming to gender roles. Not buying into gender roles would mean that we would both do any given task to keep the house running and not delineate between what he should be doing and what I should be doing. However, we've found that the house runs so much smoother when there are set responsibilities. Without rules there is chaos and arguments, folks.
I was thinking about it all wrong in the beginning. But now we delineate responsibilities, even if it means conforming to gender roles.
I enjoy cooking. My husband does not. So I'm the one that cooks. My husband cleans very well so he handles the bathrooms in particular because I think bathrooms are gross. I manage the cleaning of the rest of the house because I like things to look a particular way and be in a particular order. My husband deals with bugs and mowing the lawn and relighting the pilot light when the water heater is acting up because I don't want to deal with those things. You see where I'm going with this?! We have roles, and I'm not mad about it.
With me traveling often now, we see how clearly we've set our roles too. Yes, my husband can cook, clean, do our daughters hair, etc., and I have full confidence in his ability to raise our child and keep the home. But, I don't expect him to do certain things like me or as well as me even (no shade), and there are some things I don't expect him to do at all because it's my thing, my approach, not his. Do I have his support for those things? Yes! But that doesn't mean that it's something he has the gumption to take upon himself to do in my absence while I travel. This also extends to what I am/am not expected to do either. Like driving or pumping gas whenever we're together, taking out trash, or cleaning toilets ever. And I mean ever. yuck!
It's all about setting responsibilities that the two of you are comfortable with. Some responsibilities will feed into gender roles, my friends. It doesn't mean that you believe in the oppression of women or a patriarchal society. Does your setup work for you and your family?! Yes?! Then that's what matters. That's what's important! Isn't feminism/womanism really about our right to choose, and the need to create balance between men/women. I assure you, choosing to delineate responsibilities creates balance.
I encourage you and your partner to take the time to determine what each person is responsible for. Setting expectations for the weight that each person is expected to carry takes the guess work out of "chores", reduces arguments thereby reducing tension and stress, and means that things are more likely to get done! Ultimately, knowing who is/should be doing what makes for a happier (and more clean, organized) home, in my opinion.
But that's just us.
Do you delineate between who does what in your home? Do you let the gender role debate affect how you structure things? Let's chat!