Thursday, October 08, 2009

Traditional family roles.

I may have mentioned before that I feel at conflict with myself sometimes. On the one hand, I'm very much an old fashioned wife and mother. I like stay at home with the kids, I like knitting, sewing, cooking and even feel a bit of pride when I manage to keep the house clean for several days at a time. I like planning things for my family, and bringing it off well.

On the other hand I also enjoy working, or going to school. Maybe because the kinds of jobs I'd be doing would revolve around kids and families. I like being out and about, spending time with other adults, and making money.

I think I've found a good compromise, at least for now, watching kids in my home. I can usually find the time to do the things I like to do, and still make money. Being a good housekeeper is harder to work out, because I feel that my JOB is watching the kids not cleaning the house. Right now I work for 11 hours 5 days a week. I do the big cleaning on week-ends, and do the daily dishes in the morning between waking up to get The Boy to school and walking out the door to get him on the bus. Sometimes I do some dishes or other cleaning while the girl I babysit is napping. I can knit and watch her, but sewing has to wait until the week-end because it's kind of noisy and demands more attention than I'd like to take away from watching her.

My husband and I are equals in our marriage. We are not the same, however. Our talents and educations differ and that helps determine our roles. I'm much better at watching the kids, cleaning, and other domestic things, he is better at things that need more physical abilities, like moving the furniture, and dealing with tools. I deal with the people stuff, he deals with the mechanical stuff. He fixes our computers, I call and deal with people about bills or other problems. I'm sure I could make it without him, I just wouldn't like it as much. I'm sure he could make it without me, he just wouldn't like it as much either.

We seem to have fallen into more traditional gender roles. It's not because either of us thinks that's the way it should be, but because that's the best way to use our individual talents and strengths. There are people who seem to feel that I'm not a very good feminist because I do more of the old fashioned wifely things. Or that my husband is a male chauvinist because I don't work out side the home. Neither is true. I'm learning that what other people think doesn't really matter. It's been a hard lesson for me to learn. I have to keep reminding myself of some advice my Grandmother gave me, "Do what makes you happy, because at least one person will be happy. Trying to do things just to make other people happy doesn't always work." I'm trying to remember that as long as our family is happy it doesn't matter what other people think.

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