What I see are wives who are living under the oppressive expectations of what modern family life is supposed to look like — expectations that have only ratcheted up as other demands on women’s lives and time have also gotten more pressing, and expectations that most men were largely raised without.
[I]f I dig in, I feel like a messy house — even an imperfect house — reflects badly on me. He hauls around no such baggage… it’s the wife who feels more pressure to show that she is doing it all and has it all under control — that family vacations are not just planned but deeply enriching; that the kitchen is the beating heart of the house and is welcoming, warm, and ideally well-appointed; that the home is as well-organized as an Excel sheet. Many of us do this without being conscious that we’re doing it, falling into a set of expectations bookended by gender and organized to reflect class status.
These are the sorts of unnecessary expectations I’m trying to root out in myself. They keep popping up! I found myself today jumping up from my project and scrambling to devise lunch when my husband simply asked what the plan was – I felt obliged to provide our meal even though he didn’t ask for it or expect it of me. We’ve even discussed this before where we agreed it’s not my responsibility to bring him food at lunch if he’s stuck in meetings, though I will often offer since I do want him to be able to eat.