Sunday, February 3, 2019

Hugh Wants Dot to Quit Her Job After they Get Married

This week I watched season two of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

In one of the episodes, Hugh (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) asks Dot (Ashleigh Cummings) for her hand in marriage.

Lovely.

But then he lets her know that he expects her to quit her job as Miss Fisher's (Essie Davis) assistant.

Hugh wants Dot to be unemployed so she has time to take care of their home while he goes out and works.

The show takes place in the 1920's.

Things have improved since then.

Right?

Actually, from where I'm standing...I don't think so.

And unfortunately, I'm sure I'm far from alone.

I think these days most husbands will not stand in the way of their wives being employed.

I think most men, these days, happily see themselves as modern and supportive. Yes, their wives can get jobs. Of course!

BUT.....

At the same time, these women are still expected to take care of the home. There's a gender gap in household chores.


So my feeling is....

Unless a man is doing his fair share of housework, he is no better and no more modern than Hugh.

What is the fair share?

I think it should be this.

A) 50/50 if both partners have equal employment status.  If you both have full time jobs, you do equal housework. If you both have part-time jobs, you do equal housework. If you're both unemployed, you do equal housework.

B) 40/60-If partners have slightly differing employment statuses. For example, one person works a predictable forty hours a week, and the other has to do a shitload of overtime.  Or one person works full-time and the other works part-time. 

C) 30/70-If one person in the relationship is employed and the other is not. 

And by employment, I mean a job that is guaranteed to make money.  It's not working on your paintings, because it is your dream to sell something one day...or working on a novel. Or working at a non-paying start-up venture. Or going on auditions.

Of course I totally support artists, entrepreneurs, and dreamers. And yes I believe that some of them will succeed and the money will come pouring in.  But the thing all of us need to remember is our partners have dreams too.  If they're busy doing the majority of housework because you're off going on auditions, when do they have time to follow THEIR passions?

So...no.

Keep dreaming. Keep planning. Keep creating. But make sure you're doing an equal amount of housework. 

If your dream pursuing gets a little intense at times, fine. Maybe do a little less housework. But then when things die down a bit, return the favor by doing more than your share. 

And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if your dreams, hobbies, and leisure activities get in the way of doing your fair share, at the very least, notice the extra work your spouse is doing and thank them. 

Thank them, not in a quick, dutiful, polite way but a sheepish, groveling way. Apologize with the thank you, promise to do better in the future, and then work your ass off to make the promise a reality.   

The same goes for when you're unable to work as hard because of injury, illness, family tragedy, etc.  Yes, it's totally fine to expect your spouse to help you in your time of need. But it's also nice to show gratitude. 

One last thing (for now). 

It's important to realize and be aware that household needs fluctuate based on what's going on.

For example, there's going to be much more housework needed when there are infants and toddlers in the house.  If you have a new baby in your house and are thinking, Well...really life actually hasn't changed that much. I still have time to do all the things I love. This is easy! We should have another baby soon! Something is probably not right.

Right now, our family is in the midst of trying to sell our house. The housework that needs to be done has GREATLY increased....mostly because we indulged in too much leisure time, the past several years, and let our house become a super cluttered disaster-area. 

So yeah. At this time, much, much, more effort and time needs to be put into our housework. I am pleased and proud of myself for working hard, AND I'm actually enjoying most of the work. But at the same time, I'm stressed, scared, and overwhelmed. 

After we sell the house and get settled into a new home?  Well, I don't want to end up living in another cluttered-disaster. But we can probably do a moderate amount of reductions in our household chores workload.