Monday, June 13, 2011

Sleeping Through Spring - A New Life

I have returned with a new life.

I don't plan on posting a large amount of personal information on this blog. I feel like I have enough people in my life - through Facebook and other, real life venues - that I can adequately vent the often unoriginal frustrations I face. (traffic, red tape at the DMV, etc.)

I reserve my space here on the somewhat anonymous internet to talk about things I feel confidently enough to espouse as the Real Me. This also ties into the name of this blog and me - "Easily Enthused." Because when I discover a topic or issue that I don't feel that I've "got a handle on," I very quickly get enthusiastic about it, passionately arguing and discovering until I feel I've reached a resting place, metaphorically speaking.

This is my area to explore ideas and challenge common knowledge - and that doesn't really have much to do with my day-to-day life.

In the past few months I've been rather engaged in modern feminist movements. As a child and young adult, I was taught and saw the world in a rather post-feminist way. When I bumped heads with some women in the atheist movement regarding "women's voices," I was schooled in pre-conceived my post-feminism arguments were.

Before this time, when I heard some right-winger bashing feminism, they got the eye-roll and hand-wave. Terms like "man-hating" and "Marxist" were discounted out of hand by me.

But this new (to me) face of feminism (especially on the Web) forced me to admit to myself that not only did I have a pop-psy idea of feminism, but it was possible that in my life I had not listened to some people who might've had a good argument because they were dismissive of feminists. If the feminists that they were dismissing were the same radical feminists I'd bumped heads with - well maybe I had to reconsider all points of view.

This prompted me to create this site and to make a concerted effort to better understand modern Feminism. Irony of all ironies - this decision would come right before and as I made one of the most gender-oriented actions of my entire life: getting married (to a woman.)

Simply signing some papers and exchanging loops of metal wouldn't quite be ironic enough, so chance decided that my college-educated and gainfully employed now-wife would also be forced to quit her job and become a housewife (until she could find a new job in our new city.)

This change has some very obvious financial aspects that I won't bring up here: that's nothing new. But both my wife and I came to a startling conclusion after about two weeks of my 9-to-5 absence while she played the role of housewife.

Our relationship (going on 4 years now) has seen every type of stress related to "workload" there is.
At one point she was the college student, and I was the low-income-professional barely scrapping by.
At another, I was the well earning professional while she was off studying abroad in an open relationship.
Most recently, we were both well-earning professionals pampering our cat and spending too much on food that would rot in the bottom of the fridge.
But now, we play the role of well-earning professional and bored-at-home housewife - and it feels so odd.

Our responsibilities have been divided in a very simple way: I pay the bills and bring heavy things upstairs in our 3-floor townhome - she takes care of the cleaning, laundry and most food preparation.

Since I spend most waking hours in my office at work, I had to rely on my wife's opinion of how her day compared to the "working world."

Her response was shocking. I've said that my dream job is Househusband. I love to cook and although cleaning isn't my favorite thing to do, once I get started, I surprise myself at how satisfying it can be.

My wife's response to housewifing has been - mostly boredom. She has time during the day for a nap and she said that once we get into a grove (we're in a post-move mess right now) that the amount of work for her in a day doesn't add up to the amount of time she'll have to get it done. (That would change drastically if we had a child or pet, but we have neither at the moment.)

During a drive, we were discussing it and believe we've come to an answer: appliances. If she didn't have the benefit of the dishwasher, washer and dryer, stove that didn't need to be constantly stoked, etc.... taking care of a house would be a full-time job, and then some.

But as it stands right now - coming from a professional used to working 40+ hours a week, it just isn't. The argument is that second-wave feminism has more to thank from Kenmore than MacKinnon.

Luckily for me, my wife is a post-feminist. She, who graduated from a small liberal women's college after studying American Culture recognizes that her life is not so different from that of men - and certainly not so different that it makes her "oppressed as a class." It's easy for her to be thankful for the hard work of first and second wave feminists and to facepalm the arguments of modern, man-hating Marxist feminists.

I didn't know this (explicitly) before I married her - but I'm not surprised. I know she's smart.

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