First, let me be clear, my own husband and our household is not the subject of this blog. My husband is very appreciative of what I do and I try to reciprocate.
The work that is done around the house is often undervalued. This is a very old issue and it continues today. (And I want to say here, that while I am use gender stereotypical pronouns here, this can apply to non-traditional relationships as well.)
Many people seem to think that “work” is only valuable if payment in cash is received.
Also, here’s a little lesson in the difference in language use between men and women.
When a man asks a woman what she’s doing (or has been doing all day), she may reply “nothing” or “not much”. Chances are this is not an accurate description of her day.
When she says she’s doing nothing or not much, she is not mentioning that she got the kids to school, possibly with a lunch, she ran some errands, she cleaned up after the kids and her spouse, she may have done some sweeping up or wiping down of floors, counters, toilets, sinks. She got some laundry done, she loaded the dishwasher (which for many of us, me included, means basically, I washed the dishes and then put them in the dishwasher). She took care of the family pets. She found some recipes to try (to make the family happy with what they are eating). She got the mail, maybe sorted it and dealt with some of it. She dealt with phone calls from school, relatives, etc. She ordered gifts for family, friends. She called to arranged scheduling for the family – appointments, pick-ups and drop-offs. More and more things keep popping into my head. But you get the idea.
In other words, her day of “nothing” involved doing a shit ton of little things. Nothing specific, nothing “major”, just some of the million things that keep a household running smoothly.
Why does she say she did nothing or not much? Because this stuff is so engrained that it doesn’t seem like anything to her. It needs to get done. She got it done. It barely registers.
So when someone dismisses what she does or implies that it is not enough , it hurts. She may not even know why it hurts so much.
And that is a shame because it means she kind of doesn’t appreciate and recognize everything she is doing.
When I was first out on my own, I was doing some ironing, and I thought, “God, I hate doing ironing.” And then it occurred to me that my mom did my ironing for me for years and years and I never even thanked her. Not only had I not thanked her, I had not even thought twice about it. How much does someone love you to do something as awful as your ironing for you? I called her right then. I was fortunate enough to come to this realization while she was still alive.
If you do housework. I encourage you to sit down and think about how much you do for yourself and those you love. Really think about it. If it helps, make a list. Just make a list of what you do in one day. And then acknowledge and appreciate all of these things because it is amazing what you do.
And no chastising yourself because the house isn’t spotless or you didn’t get some things done from your list. Face it – it’s never going to be done and it’s never going to be perfect. That’s the nature of housework.
Some folks love housework and are able to maintain at least a semblance of perfection. Pin a rose on them. Most of us, me included, hate doing housework, and I think it’s amazing that we do things that we HATE just to make life a little more pleasant for ourselves and those around us.
We need to start valuing what we do and, even more importantly, valuing ourselves for doing these things – no matter if you are doing these things for yourself or for others.
And if anyone dares call you lazy or otherwise dismisses what you do, tell them to SHUT THE FUCK UP – or if you are too nice – refer them to me, and I’ll handle it. It’ll be my pleasure. It’s “nothing”.