Monday, November 26, 2007

Family, I love you, but I am not your bitch.

It is the case in my family that the men do nothing during the holidays. None of the baking, none of the cooking, none of the shopping, and certainly none of the cleaning.

I washed the dishes 3 times on Thanksgiving (along with help from my cousin Jessica- thanks dude, you are awesome). I also made a dessert and helped to cook the stuffing. I was happy to relieve my aunt from her kitchen slavery by helping with dishes, but I am still a bit perplexed as to how I ended up spending a large portion of my day in the kitchen (and all night the evening before) whilst the men (and lazy women) spent no time in the kitchen.

Memo to my family: you are not guests. You are family. You should offer to help with dishes and then do so.

Memo to my friends: you are guests. Offering to help with dishes is awesome and important, but I will never allow you to wash a dish. It is not your duty but you are awesome.

Memo to relatives older than my generation: not choosing to have children does not hit pause on my aging. If the kids are taking care of dishes, then the children may do so.

Men of my family: I do not take joy in cleaning up after you. Neither of us wants to do the crappy jobs, but when you refuse to do them, someone else is forced to carry your weight. If you are comfortable doing that, there will always be some sucker to do it (me), but remember that my goodwill is contingent on relationships built upon respect and nothing says "I don't respect you" quite as well as, "Here make me food! Now clean my plate."

My family is perpetually exclaiming how wrong it is that I am not married. Why should I get married? I'm already taking care of them like they're children. Raising another baby trapped in a grown man's body sounds awful and frankly I don't know how to screen for lazy. You figure out how to do that and you let me know.

Family, I hope you don't take this too hard, I still love you. I just would also like to feel appreciated and maybe have enough time to chat with you before being called in to 'set up' dessert and then do your dishes. I'm pretty sure that the few of you will read this and think that I'm kind of being a jerk and maybe over-reacting. You go right ahead and go into the kitchen and make a breakfast for 8, then do the dishes, then make dinner for 20, then do the dishes, then make dessert for 20, then do the dishes. Then you can kiss Jessica, my Auntie and my collective butts.

PS- Last time I mentioned something of this nature I got sassed for being a sexist. Well, I don't think that it is outlandish to say that the American cultural norm under which most men were raised is not acceptable to me. Men can certainly say that the same is true for women.


cymberleah said...

Amen. I am entirely in agreement with you.

That said, I wasn't much help for dinner on Thanksgiving, but that was because my mom was awesome and had everything staged out for cooking. She didn't *need* any help, but I was in the kitchen and willing to help if she asked. I ended up steaming some potatoes and opening a can of cranberry... glop.

My brother and I set the table, and my dad did the dishes that didn't fit in the dishwasher. It was awesome.

I do think you have a real reason to feel sassy; your family guys seem to feel that female = house labor. Which is fine, from, you know, forty+ years ago when female *did* = house labor. But now that adult = job, there's no reason to feel that female + adult = house labor + job, other than people can be lazy and feel entitled. Many hands make light work, and it's not as if you are asking someone to take care of you so you can be a freeloader instead. Equality = equal work for equal reward, and it's not such a horrible thing to expect from people who profess to love you.

qtilla said...

I have heard from a few people about this, and so far everyone has agreed. Across gender lines even, although those men in agreement are super-enlightened awesome men who would never fail to offer help anyway.

I still feel like a whiner, but at least I'm not a completely delusional whiner.