Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I SEE YOU
I recently had a very good friend who was going through a tough time in her marriage. We have talked on numerous occasions and the one thing which kept popping up in my head was hearing her say she does this or she does that and her husband never acknowledges anything. Her worth is ignored. He is the primary breadwinner but when she sells a book I am sure the roles will be reversed. She stays home with the kids, keeps house, cooks and cleans, pays the bills…manages everything while he simply works at one job. In all her free time (this is sarcasm) she tries to write.
Not to sound like a Na’vi but “I SEE YOU.” And I see me – I see all of us making the same mistake.
Society has placed a role on us to keep the home, to nurture the children and be the lover – multiple roles. Economics, however, has forced many of us out into the workplace. Even those of us (and I am one) who have the luxury of staying home still have many more jobs than just one. Women work more than their husbands – a simple truth. That’s fine; we are the smarter of the species and can handle it (no sarcasm intended). But what I see, and have been guilty of myself, is that we devalue our worth. We matter but no one seems to notice. The jobs keep piling up and we go about doing them without complaint to keep the peace. It’s easier to just do it than nag constantly for help. Eventually we become Edith Bunker nervously serving Archie in his ratty recliner (Not a very pretty picture is it?). Every one else’s needs (children, friends and husbands) must be satisfied to the exclusion of everything else. At the end of the day we have nothing left for ourselves or of ourselves.
Well ladies, it’s time we took back our lives. My friend, who is a very industrious person, started listing everything she does in a day (which was mind boggling) and I had an idea. I told her to keep a running diary for one week – writing down everything she does. Chauffeuring the kids (hired driver), cooking (chef), shopping (personal assistant), cleaning (maid), paying the bills (accountant), washing the clothes (laundress) – whatever. Then assign a dollar value to her jobs and add it up (okay if hubby unloads the dishwasher give him an hour of menial labor at minimum wage). Make two columns with a his and a hers. I would be more than willing to bet that my friend, if she were paid for all these jobs, would make more than her hubby in a week. I told her to show it to him and point out the inequity. We do so much that no one values us. Perhaps if he sees it in black and white, he will begin to see that what she does has a monetary value (my point is not really the money but to wake him up to what she does day in and day out).
I know, I hear you. If I don’t do the job, no one else will. So? Life does not end if the furniture does not get dusted or he has to eat a ham sandwich instead of a five-course, home-cooked meal. Live a little – that dustbunny will still be lurking under the bed after you’ve given yourself some time off. And, if he mentions that little bunny, hand him a vacuum… As women, we want peace in our homes and we try to make it a reality. Well, reality has a way of reaching up and biting you in the posterior. Eventually, if you do not assign a value to yourself, others will not see you.
The Holidays are approaching and with them come attendant additional chores. Do not lose sight of yourself. Your needs, your wants, your desires are important. You are entitled. You are a person with value and everyone should appreciate that. I SEE YOU!