here's an excellent post and discussion thread at blue milk, which i just caught up with today. it's basically about sharing the workload of housework and childrearing, and the difficulties that tend to arise from that:
I have had two important breakthroughs. Let’s skip the whole idea that one of those breakthroughs might have been achieving true equality as feminist parents with our work and family life. I don’t want to disappoint. Frankly, if becoming a parent (at least in a heterosexual way) isn’t an experience in compromising your feminist principles and seeing just how far you can bend over backwards to accommodate the patriarchy then I don’t know what else it might be.
I am five years into this working mother thing, and I am still shocked about how unfair the work-family split is – all the work of getting it to happen, getting it to work, and keeping it running smoothly is done by mothers. It seems ridiculous – two people working, two people are parents – the organisational workload should be shared, but that isn’t how it happens. I am torn between fighting to get some equality and conserving my energy to deal with making what actually happens work for me, and especially for the children (which are like the carrot to the donkey for women).
i'd really recommend reading the whole thing, including the shared experiences in comments.
i won't share my own experiences on the matter, since i don't blog anonymously. but after reading this piece, and i know it's strange, but i really came to appreciate my gardener. i mean, i did already appreciate the work he does and his reliability, friendliness and helpfulness.
admitted that this is someone i pay to do stuff for me. yet it's just so relaxing to ask him to do things and have them done in a timely fashion, and with a cheerful manner. no need for constant reminders, no having to put up with him taking as long as possible to do it just to show that he's not subservient to his wife, no huffing and dragging himself around as if it's just so inconvenient to be doing this particular thing, no acting like he's doing me a big favour just by doing something that i shouldn't have needed to ask him to do anyway, no frustration at having the job done sloppily, no bewilderment/frustration that i don't appreciate that he finally got up and did stuff that other men don't do, no arguments, no stress.
not saying that i had to deal with any or all of these, but it just nice to know that they won't be an issue. and mostly i don't even have to ask him to do stuff, he actually works out what needs to be done, checks in with me that it's ok to go ahead, then just quietly gets it done.
in fact, it's the perfect relationship.