I grew up in the 1970’s and ’80’s so I am influenced by a lot that was going on in that time period.
There was a diverse range of music – the Disco tracks, the New Romantics, the beginnings of Rap and Hip Hop, Break Dancing and the ‘end’ of country.
The clothes were pretty diverse during this period too. I went from wearing brown flared corduroy pants with white t-shirts, socks and sandals to wearing rara skirts, pastels, fluoros, torn clothes to shoulder-padded jackets and dresses. I mustn’t forget the shot taffeta dresses when going out for special occasions either.
Hair styles had big changes also. I went from having dead straight hair with a cute bob and fringe to long hair with no fringe, to having just my fringe permed, to using lots of hairspray to get the flick at the side just right, to getting the crimper out for a wavy look or for seeing how big and full I could get my hair.
I didn’t really realise it at the time so much, not really until the end of the 1980’s, but the roles women had were changing too.
I went from a period when women were just starting to emerge from their roles as mum and wife keeping house, to shunning all of this so they could climb the corporate ladder and play in the ‘big time’ with the ‘big boys’. Hence the big heavily padded shoulders in the ‘power suits’ of the time. They were wanting to appear more masculine so they could fit into the cut throat world of men.
Women were wanting to prove themselves and support themselves more. They were not wanting to rely on a male partner for income and they did not want to be at their beck and call either.
Even though they were wanting to support themselves and their families, if they had one, they were shunned by women who were happy to be at home doing what they had always done and couldn’t understand why these women were rocking the boat, upsetting the status quo. They were shunned by men in the business world as well who didn’t appreciate their worth and didn’t want them upsetting their status quo either. Oddly enough they were also shunned by other women in the industry as well as they saw them as rivals. They did not see them as equals trying to get ahead or prove themselves just as they were.
Despite going outside the house to work, they still had to have tea on the table at a set time, make sure the clothes were washed and ironed, keep the house clean and tidy etc. etc. etc. If these women wanted a job, they had to go out to work for it, but they still had to come home and work in the home as well.
Women had to be Superwomen. If they wanted it all, they had to do it all, no matter the toll.
These women were pioneers and paved the way forward for many more women to be in the workforce today.
During recent months we have had female friends unwell, in need of hospitalisation or out of action for a number of reasons, which has left their male partners at a loss of what to do. These males had everything done for them by their mothers growing up and then once they were in relationships, by their partners. They were never taught how to cook even the most basic of meals, never shown how to wash up properly, don’t know how to use the washing machine, aren’t sure where things belong in their own house, aren’t aware of their own financial obligations and basically just have no idea how much their partner actually does for them.
Now you could argue it’s their mother’s fault for doing everything for them as a child, and it could also be said that at that time historically, that is what a mother and wife did if they were doing their ‘job’ properly. They were looking after their men so the men didn’t have to lift a finger inside the house. You could also argue it is the partners fault for carrying on with these ways or for believing it is sometimes just easier to get in and do it herself.
Either way, neither is right or wrong, but there is a solution.
The solution is to get your partner and your children – both sons and daughters – involved in what you are doing.
You don’t need to be ‘Superwoman’ going out to work then coming home to clean up after everyone.
It is for your husband’s, your children’s and even your own well being, that every member of your household knows how to run a house properly, knows how all the appliances in your house work and knows where everything is kept.
It is for your partners well being so he can look after himself and you should you fall ill or be in need of taking care of yourself. It is in the best interests of your children so that when they leave home they will know how to take care of themselves.
It is for the whole household that you keep your sanity by having time out from running a household.
I know some of you will argue that you don’t like anyone else in your kitchen, or you don’t like how slow others are, or you don’t like a mess left, or you can’t wait for others to do it, or they don’t do as good a job as you do.
But how can they if they haven’t been shown or if you don’t let them?
They have to been shown and they need to do it on a regular basis. If you can continue to guide them, then one day they may do the jobs in the same way you do and to your way of liking.
But you need to show them,
you need to let them keep doing it and
you need to let go.
It is never too late to start teaching them and showing them the way.
Next time you are preparing a meal, get all of them, or one person each night, to be in the kitchen cutting up and preparing a meal with you. You will get to a point where you will not be required in the kitchen supervising so you can then go off to do other chores or to relax. You may even find they like the opportunity to cook.
Do the same with clothes washing. Let everyone in your house know that unless clothing is in wash baskets that it will not get washed. Make sure that everyone knows how to pick up after themselves, how to use the washing machine, how to hang up the washing, how to fold the washing and where the washing needs to be returned to or stored.
You might think it is so much easier to keep peace by doing it all yourself, but it only adds to your work load, makes your children or partner lazy and you are not valued or appreciated any more for doing it.
The same goes for other chores in and around the house.
Unless you are being paid to clean house, you are not obligated to be treated like a maid.
You also deserve the peace of mind of sending your children out into the world knowing you have done the right thing by them in teaching them how a household operates. You also need the peace of mind should you need looking after yourself one day that others in your house know how it operates so you can focus on your recovery more.
It might be quicker and easier to do the grocery shopping by yourself as well, but this should also be shared and done as a family. This way everyone gets to see how long it takes, what is involved, what choices have to be made, how to budget, how expensive it can be, how hectic it can be and how much running around you have to do.
Yes you might meet some resistance, but
your time is just as valuable as any other persons time.
To me growing up, the women going off to work in their ‘power suits’, mixing it with the ‘big boys’ in the corporate world, foregoing their feminine beings and putting off having a family until they had ‘concurred’ the world never sat right with me.
They still seemed to be missing the mark.
I did not see them as being feminine because they were trying too hard be too masculine, while still trying to be seen as sexy, and trying to ‘prove’ themselves to men at the same time. I respected the women for wanting to have these roles but not by working them in the same cut throat way that men did. A lot of the time, these women totally put their lives on hold so they could fight for their chance to work trying to make it to the top.
They tried to be Superwomen. They tried to have it all. They really did try, but mostly, they failed dismally with little to nothing to show for their efforts.
To me, being Superwoman is about being smarter.
Being Superwoman is about sharing what you know with others so you can help them and they can help you.
Being Superwoman is about knowing what you want and working towards it in a gentle but targeted way.
Being Superwoman is about knowing your strengths and using them.
Being Superwoman is about knowing your weaknesses and getting help in those areas.
Being Superwoman is about doing what you can and getting help when you can’t.
Being Superwoman is realising your challenges and finding suitable ways to overcome them with help.
Being Superwoman is about realising when you need to take a break, step back or let others step up and take over.
Being Superwoman is about knowing what to hold onto and what to let go of.
Being Superwoman is not about controlling, but about being in control.
Have you thought about what will happen to your children when they are old enough to leave home, how they will look after themselves?
Have you thought about what would happen to you if you take ill or can’t get around so well and then it is up to your partner to look after you?
How much easier would all of this be on you if you had taken the time to teach them what you know?