I've said some of us, because I'm sure there are plenty of women to whom none of this will apply. Those who aren't in any sort of marriage or partnership with a man, for a start. Possibly most younger women - (although read on anyway, because I'm willing to bet some of it will still apply to you). Those whose partner is less able, for whatever reason, to take care of things than the woman is. Those who are just very strong, independent women who do absolutely everything for themselves. And if you're nodding enthusiastically now, confident that this last category includes you - good for you. I thought it included me, too, but recently I've been taking a more honest look at what goes on in our house and yes, I have to say: he's started doing too much for me. And I don't think I like it.
What? I hear you cry. What is he, some kind of super-husband who vacuums the mattresses and irons the curtains? Does he cook our meals, do the weekly shop, put on the washing and clean the toilet? Well, no, obviously not. He doesn't do any of those things, and that's partly my own fault because I'm so used to doing them myself, and I carry on doing so, out of habit. So I'm lucky if he just slices the occasional mushroom, under my guidance, and makes me a cup of tea once in a while. But the point is this: if I weren't here, he'd be able to do all those things, no problem. Or not too much problem, anyway. How long would it take him to learn how to twiddle the right dials on the washing machine, or how to put a pie in the oven rather than try to grill it (as he once did when I was away)? I know he can iron. He can hoover. He'd soon learn how to clean the loo and find out where I keep the clean bed linen.
|No-one can honestly say they enjoy housework, can they?|
I don't just mean that he does the gardening, and the DIY - although yes, he does. I used to get far more involved in both of those than I do now. I was pretty good at wallpapering, although I say so myself, and I regularly mowed the lawn in a long garden we used to have, with an ancient push-mower. Now, though - well, he's a lot stronger than me. And he has more time, too, these days, that's my excuse - I have book contracts, with deadlines, I can't be expected to wield lawnmowers and paintbrushes for God's sake! But if he weren't here, I'd have to take up the brush again, fair enough. Or pay someone to do all that stuff. Or move to a house with a smaller garden!
|If someone gets satisfaction from doing a job, far be it from me to take it over from them!|
I've discussed this recently with some of my female friends who are of a similar age to me - and have been shocked to hear that some have relinquished even more than I have to their men's control. Some don't know where their husbands keep important papers. One has never put petrol in her own car. One or two don't even know how to access their joint bank account on line, don't pay their own credit card bills, don't even access email, believe it or not. All of these things seem quite incredible to me and fill me with horror, but am I, God forbid, headed in the same direction?
|Household accounts - definitely not my favourite thing, but of course I'd do them if I had to ... wouldn't I?|
OK, it's not the end of the world, is it, if someone loves you enough to insure your car for you. But I actually do think there's a serious side to all this. If any of us - young or old, male or female - can say we're not sure how we would manage certain aspects of our lives if our other half wasn't there to do it for us, then we're potentially setting ourselves up with a problem for the future. Or, perhaps worse, potentially setting up a worry for our children because one day we might not be able to cope on our own. And as a mum who hates her daughters being worried, that's an unacceptable scenario for me. So I think I need to get a grip on those Hoover filters - and a few other things too - before I finish that novel. Take a look at what your man's doing for you, ladies, and be honest with yourselves. In some ways, we all know it'll never be enough! But on the other hand - is it actually too much?