This piece isn’t going to change the world, but at least it shows a side of married life that we don’t read much about – the cooperative, appreciative side (Nashua Telegraph, 9/11/09). Recently Keith McLeod had a piece on GlennSacks.com that talked about practicality, the sharing of work, the division of labor. He said, rightly in my opinion, that this happens in every relationship. Both partners don’t do everything; they divide things up according to their skills and their desires.
In the article linked to by June Leman, the husband and wife consciously make the effort to do the jobs traditionally associated with the other sex. She mows the lawn; he cooks. And since the piece is written from her point of view, we get a first-hand look at a woman doing “man’s” work. They have a wood-burning stove, but she’s not very good at splitting wood. When it comes time to mow the lawn, she discovers she can’t start the mower.
All of which gives her and, I hope, her readers some appreciation of what men do and the division of labor in many households. (A parallel piece by a man who does the traditionally women’s household chores could be similarly enlightening.)
A few months back, Parenting.com reported on the results of a survey of some of its readers. The article was entitled “Mad at Dad,” because the women who responded were just that. As I reported at the time, the survey was so poorly done and so at odds with known facts as to be useless for any purpose but denigration of fathers. But certainly the women who responded were, well, mad at their partners.
Curiously enough though, not a one of them seemed to have the slightest awareness of what their husbands actually do. Not a one said anything like “He can’t cook, but he’s great at maintaining the house and the car, which I’m incompetent at.” The women in that survey showed none of the balanced view that June Leman not only has, but seems to enjoy.
It’s certainly not fashionable to express appreciation for men. Over the past many years, conformity to a pervasive anti-male bias has at times seemed to border on the slavish.
So kudos to June Leman for thinking outside the box.