Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Is This a Guy Thing?

A couple of things are on my mind as I type today. First we have Rebel Dad's announcement that he is taking a job (something I will explore more fully in Friday's post). The second is an observation my lovely and brilliant wife made last night, that these things that are a revelation to me would not be so revelatory to a woman, and that my blog would not be all that interesting if it were written by a woman. Or at least, not as interesting to others.

After thinking about what she said for a time, I've decided that's not quite right. Now, certainly, a woman writing about staying at home with the kids would be totally in the category of dog bites ma-…er, person. But I can't help but think that its actually quite likely that any woman today choosing to leave the "workforce" after 15 years to take up a place in the home would discover many of the same things I have, and face many of the same issues. Especially if she came from a family where the mom worked outside as well. And popularity would depend on the quality of the writing as much as the subject matter. Erma Bombeck wrote a column for years just about things she did with her family (and how many Bombecks were there? Good point, but I think that had as much to do with opportunities for women in general as interest in the subject matter).

[pause to toss dog toy across room]

We'd both discover time, we'd both probably struggle with the change in tasks, issues of self-worth in sweeping the floor as compared to memo-ing Marketing to death, that sort of thing. Maybe she wouldn't be as surprised by the amount of pet hair that collects in just 48 hours time (having gotten some training in domestic issues that a brother wouldn't have), but that's not the sort of revelation that I think about when thinking about the changes I've made.

I even suspect there have been about as many news articles written about women leaving the "working" world for the home as there have been about men doing the same. More, even. Granted, they would have a different emphasis, but its not as if there is no interest.

[pause to toss dog toy across room]

Differences there would be, of course. Vastly fewer people would look askance at her or call her manliness into question, for example. A mom that says she stays at home in response to "what do you do" doesn't have to explain any further. But she might feel pressure from other women that are working to justify her decision in ways that are uncomfortable. I don't pretend to truly understand the contradictory pressures women face in dealing with work and home, but I do know they are there. Issues of working and staying home affect women very differently, and I'm not saying it would be easier at all, just err..., different.

I await the slings and arrows of women who will point out to me all the ways in which I've gotten it wrong. And really, if I have I'd appreciate hearing it. I'd like to think I've cogitated on the matter logically, but I'm no woman and many a beautiful hypotheses has been slain by an ugly fact -- and rightly so.

No comments: