Herwriter, Susan Schade, wrote not long ago about comparing modern domestic duties to the image of a Carol Brady (I say image because Carol Brady is a fictional character). Taking the idea further, a good friend forwarded me an excerpt from a book highlighted on the Today Show site called, “The Superior Wife Syndrome,” by Carin Rubenstein.
In the book, Rubenstein discusses something I’ve seen and experienced first hand—the husband who does as little as possible, and the wife who does everything else. Yes, Everything! It’s a cheap cologne commercial run amok—we not only ‘bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man’—we clean, pay bills, plan and run birthday parties, take care of sick kids, do laundry and put it all in its rightful places, feed the dogs, get the oil changed in the car, and somehow find time to make dinner, work out, do all the grocery and clothes shopping, etc., etc., etc.
I always have to qualify all I do with the fact that I know my husband does a lot more than some of my friend’s husbands—I am eternally grateful—but he never lets me forget any of his contributions. Part of the reason he does more than other husbands, is because I truly feel I would lose my mind if I had to literally do it all. I know women who do. They are hanging by a very thin thread. I suspect that if they ever were to tell me they were getting a divorce I would know the reason, at least partially.
A good friend has a husband who is in school for an advanced degree. She literally does everything. She has the ability to look at it as an investment in their future. She is a bigger woman than I am. I am glad they have the understanding they do, in fact I too am hoping to go back for an advanced degree some day, and hope my husband will support the decision like he claims he will. But as a woman, I of course am waiting until the boys are in grade school, thinking that they will be less dependent on me by then. Who’s kidding whom? Will they ever be less dependent?
The case the ‘Superior Wife’ book makes, is that we girls do it to ourselves. We have come out of the sexual revolution still stunted. We have not shaken our domesticity.