Monday, July 12, 2010

Work

The other day, someone I like a lot said to me, "a woman's work is never done," while the two of us were finishing cleaning up after supper.  It's one of those throw-away statements that people say without really thinking about, but you know me: I think about everything.  It is true that in our family, generally the woman (me) does more of the cleaning, cooking, and caring for children, while the man (Hubby) does more of the outdoor and repair-type chores, but in our case, the division of labor is more about what each of us is good at and what we enjoy (or, should I say, what we tolerate versus chores we despise), and what we have time for than it is about stereotypical gender roles.  In our house, Hubby is responsible for cleaning bathtubs (a chore I hate) and mopping, while I've been known to clear drains, clean out gutters, wash cars, and fix a broken toy or two from time to time.  I resent the implication that women should be the ones doing the cooking and cleaning, while our men sit on the couch flipping channels.  I resent the attitude, that apparently still exists, that gives men a free pass on all things household because they're the breadwinners (which is no longer even true in many cases).

Usually I have no problem with this attitude, because, as I said, in our house, it's not an issue, each of us doing what we can to keep our household running, somewhat clean, and in good repair, but sometimes... sometimes I come across someone who expects me to behave differently: someone who expects me to be doing "women's work," while my husband and sons sit by doing nothing.  And that makes me mad.  Because while I choose to do what is needed for my family, and often that includes doing the work that has been traditionally done by women, I don't want anyone telling me that I have to do it, or expecting me to do it because it's my womanly duty.  And I don't want anyone teaching my boys, by word or by example, that there are some tasks that only women should and can do.
***
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ...
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:2, 4-8

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