Sunday, April 27, 2008

Division of labor

My partner and I help each other with chores as needed, but in general we practice a division of labor. I clean the bathrooms, he vacuums the rest of the house. I wash the dishes, he takes out the trash. I trim bushes and remove fallen branches, he mows the lawn and does minor treework.

We have a bush near our driveway. I believe this bush is encroaching on my driving space. My partner likes the bush (and the birds it attracts) where it is and does not want me to trim it. I once attempted to complain about the situation to my coworkers: but they totally misunderstood.

In their minds, trimming bushes is a man's job, and the only reason a man would not trim a bush is out of laziness. The wife may direct the man in trimming bushes, but she will only take up pruners herself if she is really, really angry at her husband for failing to do his job. The concepts that a)in our household trimming bushes is my job, and b)that my partner actually enjoys the bush and isn't just reluctant to do yardwork, were not grasped.

I not only completely failed to get the kind of sympathy I was looking for, but inadvertently portrayed my husband as lazy. Ouch.


Keith Bertelsen said...

I find it odd that trimming bushes would be considered a man's job, given how gardening is supposedly a woman's job. I suppose it depends on how much you consider bushes to be similar to flowers in terms of trimming.

lyrl said...

Or how similar bush trimming is to treework, which is stereotypically a man's job.

But, yeah, it's interesting how concepts of gender roles vary from person to person.