Friday, May 9, 2008

the persistence of traditional roles

My husband is outside mowing the lawn, while I sit inside at the computer. On the one hand, I don't really like mowing the lawn, especially with the gasoline mower, and the grass is too high for the reel (human powered) mower. On the other hand, I am troubled by the fact that my husband feels that he has to be the one to do that task. Particularly at this moment, when it was my idea to take advantage of the brief break in rainy days to finish up the yard, and I had ever intention of getting out the mower and doing the job myself.

Had I been able to just simply get out the mower and get started, I'd be nearly done, and John would still be enjoying doing whatever he was doing in his study. But I had to come inside and find the key to the shed, and that alerted John to my intentions. So he felt he had to take over the task.

We are so non-traditional in many ways. I'm the primary breadwinner, and John's a far better and more regular cook than I am. We both do dishes and laundry and share equally in the huge task of animal care (10 cats and one large attention demanding dog). But I'm the only one who worries about how dirty and dusty the house gets, and John's the one who worries about what the neighbors think about the lawn. At some level, we are still driven by traditional marital roles.

Post script: After finishing the lawn, John came in and when I mentioned this post he said: "Honey, it's not because you are a woman, I just don't trust you to do it right." :)

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