Are you one of those women who frequently wonders how to get her husband to help out around the house? Does your husband come home from work, plop down on the couch and start watching TV? Do you complain to your friends that your husband never helps, even though you both work? Well, stop complaining. We, the women of the world, are probably responsible for this problem.
Tonight, while eating dinner with my husband, we started discussing Fifty Shades of Grey. Gary asked me why I thought the book is so popular. "Why," he wondered, "would women be so interested in reading about a man who was so controlling?"
I immediately responded, "Because we want someone to take care of us." I truly believe this is so.
As a culture, American women have taken control. We control everything. We feel as though we need to control everything. It is part of our lot in life. When we get married, we expect to have to do all the work in the house, even though we hope we won't have to. We complain about our husbands not helping out around the house, but we don't actually expect them to do so.
It used to be that the household chores were in two clearly delineated categories. The woman's work was in the kitchen, cleaning, and taking care of the garden and children. The man's work was in the yard, building, and taking care of the cars. These things had boundaries that were not easily overstepped. And some men and women were happy with this. Some men preferred to cook than mow, and some women preferred to mow than cook.
Then, women got frisky and decided to they wanted to be equals to men. They wanted to be able to vote and get jobs. The dirty little secret is that women have always been equal to men. Sure, we didn't always have the same freedoms that men did. Sure, we didn't always have the same rights that men have. But, we've always been equal to them.
The problem is not that we went to work. The problem is that when we went to work, we forgot that we didn't have to do it all. We just went ahead and added one more thing to our plates. Instead of saying that we wanted to be equals, we just decided to do way more for way less pay. We let our men continue to go about their business working and coming home, while we went to work, came home, cleaned house, took care of the kids, took care of the aging parents, researched education options for our children, saved money, payed bills, cooked, did I mention cleaning?
We didn't stop doing any of it. In fact, we suddenly realized how hard it is to work all day and come home and work some more. So, many women went about hiring lawn care so that the men didn't have to mow when they came home from work. But did we hire maids? No. Why? That would be admitting we couldn't do it all. shhhh
One day, we'll all wake up and realize that we've ruined our men. It's not that men should have specific chores and women shouldn't step out of their niche. No, what I think is that we need to allow men to shoulder some of the burden. We need to share it. We need to allow our marriages to be partnerships. When we're so afraid of losing control that we do everything, we don't have a partnership. One day, it all falls apart and we wonder why our husbands don't help out around the house. Most likely, it's because we don't let them.
So, step outside your comfort zone. Ask your husband to help out around the house. Ask him if, perhaps, having delineated chores will help. It doesn't mean those chores have to fall along traditional male/female lines. In fact, I strongly suggest finding out what chores each spouse absolutely hates and having the other spouse take it over, even if only for a short time. Even if you're a stay at home parent, there is no reason you can't have some division of labor after the other parent gets home from work, especially when it comes to parenting. There's a reason it's called "parenting." Maybe he's just waiting for you to need him. But, you'll never know until you let him help. Let him have some of the control. It means less worry on your part.