Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gender equality

In college, I studied sociology. And, inevitably, in studying sociology, you study gender roles and household dynamics.  There are various ways a household can be structured (as far as chores etc) and one of those is egalitarian (equal).  Unfortunately, right now, I do not remember the others.  

Needless to say that egalitarian is the one that stuck. I liked that one, one where husband and wife (or partner and partner) shared equally the chore responsibilities of the house.  The inside jobs aren't "women's work" and the outside jobs aren't "men's work" or even vice versa.  They are shared.  The laundry, the dishes, the yard, the trash, the cleaning, all shared.  I liked that theory but was not quite sure how it would actually work in terms of execution.  

Well, I've been married 5 months now, and so far, we seem to run our house in an egalitarian way.  I realize that in coming years, things may pan out differently, but for now, we both cook, we both clean, we both procrastinate against the laundry but do it anyway when there are no underwear or pants left in the drawer.  The church pays for gardeners to do the lawn, but we share picking up dog poop, or weeding, or working in the garden. And I just have to say I really like it. I like the balance. I like knowing that we can share the responsibility and make it nice for the other person without always feeling the pressure of one job being specifically mine or his. 

All of that is really just the foundation or back story so I can say this: despite the balance within our household, cultural norms are really hard to shake.  The other day R did a bunch of cleaning in the kitchen and some laundry too I think, and while I was super appreciative, I couldn't shake the guilty feeling.  

One of the first thoughts that came to mind was, "If I were better at keeping the house clean, he wouldn't have to do that."  Now, keep in mind, we do well at balancing and that's my ideal (while recognizing that for others it's different), and yet the cultural notion that the housework is the woman's job would not leave me alone.  I shared my guilt, and the notion that I knew I didn't need to feel guilty because the dishes and laundry are just as much his responsibility as they are mine.  And he of course reassured me that it wasn't all my responsibility but that we both dirty dishes and clothes and so we both have an obligation to keep them clean.  

I don't think I have a final point per say, other than to say it's complicated and we're learning together. And I'm grateful for a husband who is willing (not by coercion but by choice) to share those responsibilities so it doesn't feel like a constant battle on my side, but instead a regular balancing act on both our parts.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In other news...

We're having a baby! Yep. I'm pregnant.  It's early still, but as far as we're concerned, May can't come soon enough.  

I'm not sure there's a "good" way to make this announcement online, if there is, would you please share so we know what to do for our next child?  

Long before we were "going public" I started journaling privately about each week of pregnancy, what was new, what was different, what was difficult.  We've known for just about 6 weeks and, to be honest, I have no idea (other than force) how we will survive the next 6+ months of waiting.  

And in this moment, while it feels like there is everything to share, there is oddly a shortage of words and stories in my brain.  

R was of course the first to know. And he was definitely anticipating and waiting for that news. So it wasn't a surprise, but he was super excited (still is actually) and we went out shopping and got him the what to expect books for dads. He's finished it and is either done or close to done with the first year book we also got (they came in a set of three, next is the toddler years).  It's really cute.  For the first couple of weeks, he would keep me up at night talking about the baby and what to do and what he wanted to learn first and how he would want/need help.  

I can't imagine having anything besides an elated partner and though I longed for sleep, I was so thrilled at his enthusiasm and excitement that I wouldn't have traded it for a long winter's slumber.  

We have shared the news with family (excitement there!) and with the church (a mixed bag that lacked enthusiasm at the personnel meeting but got cheering and clapping in worship), and have tried to get a hold of as many friends as possible.  

To date, everything is par for the, nausea, extra "fun" that needn't be explained here unless you're Heather Armstrong and don't write for church folks.  =)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hurry up and slow down

It's the times I most feel like I need to hurry up and get stuff done that I really need to slow down and breathe.  It seems counter-intuitive, and it probably is, but it's truth. At least in my life.  

I live in a state of busyness. I tend to be always going somewhere, doing something, meeting someone.  I'm busy. And most of the time, I like being busy. I feel more productive. I feel more focused.  

But then, the momentum builds and a few projects becomes a ton of projects.  And I feel further and further behind. And even when I check email a bazillion times a day, there are still more emails to answer and phone calls to return than I can even fathom.  

And so I go harder and faster and do more and stay later at work and don't take the necessary breaks. Because somehow I've convinced myself that I can actually get it all done if I just work harder.  Which, if you know anything about ministry (or just life in general?) is just plain laughable. Because you can never do it all. Never.  No matter who you are or how productive, for every call you make, there is another one looming. Maybe not one you have to make, but one you could or should make.  So, there you have it. You're behind. Again.  

Well, maybe not you. But me. Because that's how I look at it.  Critically. Like I can never do enough. I know it's not helpful and I know it's not healthy and on those rare occasions when I can slow down just enough, I can see that, but most of the time I just keep doing...

Well, this week I'm slowing down. I've schedule study days. Which also, as a consequence of always going, starts with slow down time where I lounge and nap, and sleep in and doddle because otherwise the studying feels like a punishment rather than a blessing.  

So, here I am writing, because that's what I get to do when I slow down.  And, as usual, all the burdens and unaccomplished tasks crash into my brain and my ego just enough to hurt. And long enough to remind me that I shouldn't only have this time every now and again, but weekly, with my regular sabbath days.  

It's my time to slow down. It's my time to think and pray and listen. To read and to write. And to hope that after 3 days of study time and a day of sabbath that my soul will feel renewed.