Thanksgiving’s traditional gender roles are getting stuffed. That’s pretty exciting. Want to know how I know? Our local free paper ran that as its cover story last week! Unless I accidentally picked up an issue from the 1960s. Or 1970s.
The article quotes one local 50-something housewife whose husband cooks at Thanksgiving: “I’m not going to complain. I’m his assistant. It’s nice. Lucky lady, huh?”
I don’t think I was supposed to laugh.
I’ve written here before about how “stress related to cooking healthy home-cooked meals night after night” is just not worth it to the women who do the cooking. I’ve also written about the rise in diversity in the structures of American families. And I wonder, as you probably are right now, how family structures could change –dramatically — and yet somehow the women are still in the kitchen.
Reading the cover article from our most liberal, most artsy, youngest paper I was struck not just by “the invisible stuff” women do at home (the article cites “making sure beds are made, towels are clean, and the kids have nice clothes on.” I’m totally failing at my invisible work, but didn’t notice, haha), but I was also struck by the invisibility of women’s cultural work, which has by and large changed the shapes of our possibilities in the world.
The article does well to point out that the holiday can be a “third shift” for working women, and that “some men are crossing the divide and proving that traditions can change.” And these are timely reminders as we rev up for a big holiday season. Still…
When I told a new friend what I do at Funnermother, helping lay out meal plans that negotiate diets, food allergies, palates, and finicky kids; or gathering a kit to make moving to a new school easier; or working out family sleep issues — all within the bounds of your family culture as it’s already built (how your family operates) —
she put her head down on her arms, and said “Oh thank god, then we all don’t have to spend our time reinventing the wheel.” YES! And reinventing the wheel seems to be what women end up doing over and over.
We do it in the kitchen, in the home, at work, and in culture at large, as we still press on about gender roles, pay equity, assault, catcalling…. but also home organizing systems such as meal planning, bedtime routines, moving — all with new emphases on our kids, and all things that women worked on in the 70s.
If you want to work together on building flexible systems that work in your family, and take some of the “guess work” out of parenting, follow me on Facebook, sign up for my weekly-ish E-zine, or email me: Funnermother[at] yahoo [dot] com.