I believe that in order to change, we must first know what is wrong or needs changing… so I write these stories to help recognize these very ingrained actions that are archaic and no longer serve us, in fact keep others down.
My husband is one of 7 children and they are truly wonderful people. Because he and I have the largest house, it is easy for us to host Thanksgiving. This year I really didn’t have the energy to host a large gathering that would involve a lot of planning, cleaning, cooking and cleaning again. I had been dealing with my father’s extreme health issues and trying to support my mom through it all. The family asked if we could please have Thanksgiving at our house… I reluctantly said yes with the caveat that I would need it to be minimal work… we would eat on plastic plates and they all had to do the planning with my husband.
A few weeks later my phone started ringing with Mike’s sisters and mother calling me to find out what they should bring, what everyone else is bringing, what time, etc… I didn’t even return the calls, I simply told my husband and he took care of it. My husband is great at planning and coordinating get togethers, parties, events. Etc…
It became very evident to me that we are programmed to assume that the woman of the house would be taking care of all of the issues around a family dinner. Mike kept telling me about how he took care of it and how he was helping keep it off my proverbial plate… I explained to him that he doesn’t and shouldn’t need to keep telling me that… that it should be normal that he would handle his families thanksgiving planning and that I didn’t need to be in charge.
Set your boundaries and push against the old assumptions, teach others to do it different. Sadly sometimes it takes a desperate situation (my exhaustion from dealing with my own families needs) to recognize how one sided things can be..
No wonder women have a hard time getting ahead in the workforce, they are expected to do all these other things too!
Are there any assumptions you have to deal with around the holidays?