I’m a Feminist and I Do Housework because I Love My Husband
I haven’t posted anything on here for quite a while. That’s because I’m very busy these days taking care of 6 month old Isabella. And when I’m not taking care of her, I’m trying to maintain the business I’ve worked so hard to build. And if there isn’t writing to be done, there are the endless piles of laundry which seem to be reproducing. And while I’m parenting, working, and cleaning, I’m finding a little bit of time here and there to take care of myself.
Much to our joy, Stephen recently got a job after 15 months of searching and waiting. And while he still works from home and it’s more flexible than most jobs, he works hard and is usually in his office all day, so I’m sort of on my own on weekdays. It also means that a lot of the work for my business that he had been taking care of is now falling to me, and I’m feeling the added pressure. It’s been a sore spot for us lately… I feel like I work more than he does. I’m certainly balancing more things at once than he is. But then I realize that Stephen gets far less time with our daughter than I do, and even less time to take care of himself.
Recently Time magazine published a story about how working dads and stay at home moms work pretty equal amounts, albeit in often different ways. But just yesterday, I read an excerpt from Think: Straight Talk For Women To Stay Smart In A Dumbed-Down World by Lisa Bloom suggesting that women should be hiring someone else to do our housework, and women who do it themselves are stuck in the 50s, and that we have “no excuse” for this ignorance. (You can read it here.)
The suggestion that I’m an unenlightened and powerless domestic slave, or worse, oppressed by my overbearing misogynistic husband because I’m not spending our hard earned money paying someone else to do a job I could easily do myself, is simply infuriating.
Do you know why I do housework? Because saying “I love you” in Stephen’s love language means acts of service. Popularized by author Gary Chapman, there are 5 love languages: physical touch, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation, and acts of service. Most people find that they naturally communicate and receive love using mainly one or two of these languages. When Stephen sees dishes in the sink and just cleans them, or brings me a cup of coffee without me asking, or voluntarily cleans up a mess that someone else made, he’s showing love. Just like when I give a giant hug or launch into a long winded soliloquy praising all your minutest qualities, I’m showing love. Because my thing is touch and words (lots of words).
Even though our languages are a little different, we try to speak each other’s language regularly. So, although cleaning doesn’t come naturally to me, and in fact goes totally against my nature, I do it because I love when Stephen emerges from his office and sees that I’ve vacuumed up the astonishing amount of ever accumulating dog fur, and his appreciation is obvious on his face.
I enjoy making my husband happy because I love him, and that doesn’t mean that I think we should go back to the good ol’ days when women couldn’t vote.