A post popped up on my Facebook page last week that made my eyes go REALLY wide.
Here’s what it said: “My husband and I both work full time jobs. Every morning (without fail) his alarm will go off at 5.50am and he will roll over and ask if his work clothes are ready (i.e. Ironed shirt and pants). I’ve set my alarm for 5.45am tomorrow and I’m going to roll over and ask if my work clothes are ready. Stay tuned for the response!”
It was sharp reminder that I inhabit a charmed bubble: the world described in that message is sooooooo far removed from mine. I forget such situations are still quite common.
Sure, I’ve occasionally ironed a shirt for a bloke as a favour, but it’s never, ever been a given.
I’ll admit there were certain divisions of labour in my marriage – I expected my husband to put the bins out – but the idea that I’m supposed to iron his clothes for work each day … hello? What’s THAT all about?
On the other hand, I just admitted that my husband was expected to take the bins out. What’s the difference?
Maybe ironing is one of those divisions of labour in their household and there are lots of jobs the wife expects the husband to do each week.
So, what is it about the “are my work clothes ready?” question that bugs me so much?
Because it REALLY bugs me.
DD was funny when I sent the comment to him, expressing my horror. He replied: “I mean that is out-rage-ous. He doesn’t want sex first?”
That made me giggle and eased the righteous indignation a little.
I mused on the subject throughout the day and realised that perhaps it HAD touched a cord regarding my own marriage. While we both cooked and cleaned and ironed, there were assumed responsibilities that bothered me.
For example, despite the fact I was the major breadwinner during most of our marriage, it was my responsibility to pick up the kids at the end of the day. That was pretty tricky some nights when I was working as the editorial director of a weekly magazine. While most of my staff remained at their desks, toiling to get the latest issue ready for publication, I was sneaking out the door.
Sometimes I’d feel so guilty that I’d leave my handbag at my desk and duck out with just my wallet and keys to give the impression I was still in the building somewhere, perhaps at a meeting.
It made every day incredibly stressful. I felt like I was failing at both my career and motherhood as I made that frantic dash across the city to childcare.
So perhaps I’m no different to the woman being asked by her husband at 5.45am if his clothes are ironed.
Maybe I’ve been kidding myself all along.
Song of the day: Tom Jones “She’s a lady”