But that doesn’t mean she’s always made smart choices.
As her daughter, I’ve seen just how much two decisions she made early on in her marriage have continued to impinge her, every day, in the three decades since.
The first is not at all unique to her at all. A generation of women seemingly made the same mistake. From the moment she and Dad lived together, she took on the complete responsibility for all of the housework.
Even if you do split the chores equally, women end up carrying the mental load. We discuss the difference between the mental and physical loads and Holly Wainwright has a plan to beat it. Post continues.
She mopped, she vacuumed, she dusted, she washed and dried the clothes, she ironed his shirts, she made the bed and she changed the sheets.
Mum took on this role as house cleaner from day one of their marriage and continued still to today. Despite her and dad both working the same number of hours in an office per week before they had children, despite when those children came along her being the primary carer, despite her going back to work part-time, then full-time, in the months after we were born, despite her juggling study and work and us.
No matter how their circumstances changed, mum’s role was to clean the house, with dad’s only contribution to mow the lawn and cook occasionally.
I love and respect and look up to my mum, but this is not a life I want for myself. Not dividing the cleaning responsibilities early on in my hopefully-one-day marriage, is not a mistake I want to make.
Nor do I want to repeat the other oversight my mum made in the early days of her marriage.
When they were wed, she handed too much control over their finances to my Dad. Unfortunately, again, this mistake is an all too common one that thousands of women make.
Thankfully for my mum, this handing over of control didn’t result in the abuse that it has for so many other women. Women who don’t even know how much is in their own bank account. Women who, at 40, didn’t even know how to use an ATM because their husband had always given them an “allowance”. Women whose husbands were able to rip them off in the thousands of what they were owed during a messy divorce because they simply didn’t know where all the money was.
For my mum, the consequences have not been so disastrous. But I still see how it’s impacted her, as well as my parents’ relationship.