I Tend to Do the “Women’s Work”


2016-07-05 – I tend to do the “women’s work” around our house. I wash the clothes, mostly. I wash most of the dishes. I sew on buttons. I cook. (I used to cook more than I do now. Oddly, I cook less now that my office is in my home than I did when I worked downtown. Not sure why.)

My wife tends to do the “men’s work.” She’s handy. She fixes things and she paints and remodels. I do mow the lawn, but she tends the garden. She pays the bills.

Ten or 15 years ago, I did tackle a “man’s project.” I built a deck.

The deck that came with the house was rotting and one day it gave way when Kit stepped on it. Her foot went through. So she single-handedly tore the deck down. It was gone when I came home from work. There was a bit of tension in the house in those days, so I decided to build the new deck entirely by myself. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I’m fairly smart and managed to get a decent deck built on my own. You can tell that it was built by someone who doesn’t know carpentry. But it is a nice deck and very strong. Very, very, very strong.

Manly strong.

We are not big about gender stereotypes around our house. I am a man and Kit is a woman. When we decided to have children, she was the one who was pregnant, and she nursed them. But I tried my best to be heavily involved in their care.

I even became a soccer mom.

Contrary to my gender stereotype, I was never interested in sports. I got up to bat only twice in my little league career. Popped out once and got on base once by being hit by the pitch (I still remember the pain). And I played the classic “deep-right” position, if I got to play at all. My sports (if you would call them sports in those days) were entirely solo. No team sports for me. I couldn’t make the cut. So I rode a bike and I swam. Not fast, but a lot.

But when my boys reached the age of four, I got deeply involved in their soccer league. So involved that I was a founder of the league and its first head coach—even though I knew next to nothing about the sport. I was told that I knew more than a 4-year-old, and that got me going.

A soccer mom.

Lots of noisy people these days have a lot to say about people who don’t engage in prescribed gender behaviors. But I didn’t mind being a soccer mom. I don’t mind having my boys come ask me to sew on a button. I sewed their Halloween costumes when they were little. That’s what I do.

And if you don’t like it, too bad.

That’s my stance in the gender wars. If I’m not hurting anyone, you have nothing to say about it. Just mind your own business.

2 responses to “I Tend to Do the “Women’s Work”

  1. Sounds a lot like my marriage. Nearly the same distribution of chores. I do the sewing though, and knitting. But I build things, fix things, paint, bills etc, and garden. My husband cooks and does most of the dishes. He spends a lot of time with our son too. Play to your strengths I guess. It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones. I think my grandmother’s finally given up asking me what I’m making for dinner…

  2. I suppose it could have gone in a different direction if I had met someone different, My wife was very serious into building. She rehabbed four apartments before I met her. She even jacked up one of the buildings to pour a new foundation under it. How could I compete with that? I’ve only jacked up cars to change tires.

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