Girls and Boys

I was going to blog about the TSwift song stuck in my head, and then another thought came up – family roles.

I promise it’s not as random as it sounds. I was just rushing out the door this morning (like most days) and thinking of all the things on today’s agenda at work. Every time my husband’s alarm went off, I hollered. I have mixed feelings about the fact my voice is 100000x effective as an alarm clock.

And even though I was late and scrambling, I loaded the dishwasher. And filled up the water pitcher. And made my side of the bed.

Part of this is my OCD, and part is inspiration from a blog I was reading this morning about leaving things, not as you found them, but as you’d wish to find them yourself. And part comes from the woman in me.

Say whatever you want about gender stereotypes, but I am both breadwinner (meaning the day-to-day paycheck – my husband definitely works harder than I do) and traditional female in my little family. I suspect many farm wives understand this conundrum. We married into – if we weren’t already born into – a profession and a culture that emphasizes masculine work. Women are often called upon to take a share of the lifting, pulling, mechanicing, hauling, throwing, pasture checking, tractor driving of a day’s work — because that is what’s needed for the family.

Of course, after this, she’s also going to take the lion’s share of feeding tired workers, cleaning the calf lot off the living room carpet, and turning the wheat stubble into a pretty arrangement. Because that’s what the family needs.

In my family of 2, my husband is building the future as I finance the present. I’m making the home as he does dishes after I leave for work. We’re sharing family jobs because that’s what the family needs.

So while I don’t want to slight my feminist foremothers, who gave me an equal education and an equal career, I can’t turn my back on my genetic foremothers — you know, the women who raised me. The ones who forsake dreams of their own to make sure I was healthy, clothed, socialized, and capable of reciting my ABC’s. Through their nurturing, I came to a position I use my intellect for a living. I also learned from and enjoyed time with my father and my friends’ fathers (mostly blue collar-manly men) and the few male teachers in my school system (mostly football coaches), but found a different experience.

Not better/worse, just different. That’s men and women in general. Separate but equal. If the goal in life is self-serving independence, I’m going to have a ball and humanity (and society) is going to the dogs. As long as my heart is about family, I’m going to be stuck here…

… Just a farm wife with a city life.

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