by SHANKARI CHANDRAN
A friend of mine recently told me that her husband refused to do the early morning childrens’ sport run because he said he was the one who made the money for the family. Therefore (according to him) he should not be expected to do onerous domestic duties and his weekend rest and recreation should be prioritised.
I have to say, I wasn’t shocked. I’ve heard this one before (from men and women) and I think what I found most interesting was that he was prepared to articulate this philosophy so clearly and so politically incorrectly.
He didn’t sugar-coat it with a “Darling, would you mind doing the 7am netball again, I’ve just had a really hard week trading over-priced derivatives…”
No, it was a very clear “I hunt, so you must gather, even on the weekends when I’ve hung up my spear and I’m watching the footy.”
I also wondered how many men and (let’s be honest) women share this attitude. Another friend (a stay-at-home mum) told me that she deals with all of her baby’s night-wakings, every single night.
Her rationale is that her husband (a really nice guy – not some chauvinistic Neanderthal), had to go to work and have his wits about him. He had to be able to perform and communicate at a higher level. Therefore his rest was more important than hers and even on the weekends she continued to carry the full domestic load.
I have some issues with that, and not just because driving the car whilst profoundly sleep deprived can be fatal. But I also understand the attitude because I know that I have an impulse to do the same thing. It is possible that I share this attitude whilst also resenting and disagreeing with aspects of it.
I have almost always been the Secondary Earner in our family (and more recently the Non-Earner). And, whether I am earning or not, I have always had an impulse that I don’t understand (or particularly like). I have this primal (or is it Stepford-esque) impulse to let my husband (currently the Only Earner) rest and recover when he comes home. Thankfully he has an impulse to ignore me and he pitches in happily.