Do you want to wash the dishes?
Of course not! But neither do I … and someone has to do it.
“Do you want to wash the dishes?” Is my way of saying “I’d really like it if you washed the dishes, but you don’t have to … but I’d really like it if you did”. I mean for it to be a soft request. Ryan doesn’t like the linguistic construction (not that he’d use those words to describe it), so he always replies “I don’t want to, but I will”.
Recently I had an interesting chat with some other women about how they divide the housework in their homes. We had a woman who works part-time, one who works full-time, and one who doesn’t work outside the home, and one who does two part time jobs. Their divisions of labor ranged from “I choose to do all the housework because he contributes more financially than I do” to “I made him a list of everything I do and how often, and told him that we could add to the list … but not without taking away something else. And he said ‘Wow, I didn’t realize how much work you do’ … and he picked something off the list for himself to do.” to “He recently figured out that if he helps me get the kids ready in the morning, I’m happier … so in turn he’s happier.” to …”We’ve hired a maid … which makes everybody happy.” :)
Thank God for dirty dishes,
They have a tale to tell.
While other folks go hungry,
We’re eating very well.
With home and health and happiness,
We surely shouldn’t fuss.
For by this stack of evidence,
God’s been good to us.
This weekend I watched Mona Lisa Smile again – which deals with the decisions that women in the 50s faced when they were nearing the end of their college education. Work? Marriage? Children? Graduate school? The film presents a view where it wasn’t possible to pursue one’s intellectual passions … and still get married. Tradition said that a woman (even one with a college degree) was expected to stay home and care for the household, the children, and her husband. Married women were given excuses and second chances in classes because they had the responsibilities of the home. At that time, the struggle was hardest for the woman who wanted to buck tradition and pursue an advanced degree or work outside the home. Which women have it hardest now? Women who wish to stay home to care for their families may be chastised by women who work, and women who choose to work may be chastised by women who don’t. It’s all rather vicious, actually. Leaving the men aside, it’s actually the women that I’m most disappointed in. Women have gone through a lot of struggle to get to the point where they can choose to work – but let’s celebrate that women have a choice! And not critique each other for what we choose. … And that includes who does the dishes. ;-)
p.s. I usually do the dishes … but Ryan always vacuums. ‘Cause that’s what works for us.