This weekend I am going to be taking off for a week in the sunshine visiting my darling daughter who is living and working on an island far from home.
As is usual when planning a trip I have managed to complete all the tasks the airline used to do for us, I have checked in on line, printed my boarding pass and am packing my suitcase,not that the airline ever did this for us, pack a suitcase, but you get my drift.. This trip I am making alone, my lovely hubby is staying at home, he has to work and of course the cat needs someone to love her if I am not here.
I was chatting with a friend and explaining all these exciting plans. She asked me if I had done all the washing and ironing for hubby while I am away. If his shirts are all ready for the week at work, if I had made him some food for him to warm up when I am not here to serve it to him. I explained that no, we didn’t really do things like that, my hubby is a man all grown up and more than capable of washing his own shirts. I admit he is challenged on the cookery front, but he knows where the chip shop is, and I suspect he is secretly excited about all those fish suppers he can eat in front of the football on the t.v.
It made me think again about the gender roles I was so strident about back the heady 1980’s, a time when we once complained (and this is completely true) about a conference venue labelling the toilets Ladies and Gents, we wanted it to say Women. While I think I have mellowed since those days, and now will happily use a toilet without actually thinking about the sign on the door, I do think we did have a point. When I was first married it was expected that I would provide all the nuturing in the family home while my husband went out to earn the money. Soon I was also earning money, did that change the dynamic? Not much, I was now doing everything.
These days I live a much more equal life. Yes, my hubby does lots of the traditional male roles, he will change light bulbs, fix things and generally I do the cooking, the difference now is that we do this because it suits us not because it is expected. I can change lightbulbs, he could at a push cook something to eat. We also talk and discuss things in a different way. Maybe this is because I am different. The twenty something me was quite angry a lot of the time, she often felt suppressed and frequently blamed this on her gender. I think she was right to do so. The fifty something me has grown into herself and is comfortable in her own skin. This means I see the world as a different place.
Meanwhile back to the packing, as ever the only things I really need are my passport, the tickets and some money, it doesn’t stop me worrying about how many shoes should I take? As it happens Hubby does have clean shirts, whether they will be ironed or not is up to him, he is all grown up and can sort himself out. Going to miss him though.