Beyond Babedom

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Is There Anything Worse Than Losing One’s Maid?

Ah, how I love Downton Abbey! (I’ve just finished Season Two, so no spoilers, please!) Yes, the upper classes providing for the lower classes by creating jobs for them as servants. How civilized. Talking with he-who-doesn’t-want-to-be-named, I was marveling at how it must have felt to have someone do everything for you: cooking, laying out your clothes, cleaning, laundry. And then it struck me.

It’s not all that different for about half the people in this country. For while Lord and Lady Crawley and their family had scads of footmen, maids and valets, so do many American men. Only instead of being called servants, they’re called “wives”.

Oh, yes, I know there exceptions out there. There are husbands who take responsibility for some household chores. . . though, honestly,  most call it “helping out” as though the real responsibility lay elsewhere. Nevertheless, read any of the recent studies or surveys and it becomes clear that our gender is, generally speaking, still part of the “service” class. But before you start composing your contrary response, let me add a twist: the reason women still bear most of the household duties, even when they work a full time job, is because they have decided to.

Yes, ladies. If your husband/partner just throws his clothes on the floor, it’s because you’ll pick them up. If the laundry doesn’t get done unless you do it, who is making you do it? If it always falls on you to cook dinner, clean off the table, do the grocery shopping, there is one thing you can do that a ladies’ maid or a butler couldn’t do.

You can go on strike.

Yes, sisters, strike while the iron is hot (especially all that ironing that you’ve been doing). Refuse to do everything that used to be handled by a cadre of servants – and for no pay – and stand up for your rights. American men will experience what the Dowager Countess asked: is there anything worse than losing one’s maid? What’s the worse that can happen? Your house becomes a pig sty? Your kids go to school looking like ragamuffins? Your husband starts wearing your underwear for lack of clean jockeys?

I can live with that.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 28th, 2013 at 2:19 pm and is filed under Family, My Pet Peeves. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Joe Schweers says:

    Boy. You finally made sense. Keep it up Lucille.

  2. Leigh says:

    Very true… my wife “chooses” to do a lot of daily chores… although she usually recruits me to help with many… but when the toilet is blocked, or any major appliance breaks down… or something needs to be checked on the roof or crawl space I am the go-to guy, as I think is true for most marriages… also I’m good with problems requiring power tools… us guys are good for some stuff.

  3. Judy Herring says:

    WHen I was younger and newly married, I did a lot of the household chores and my then-husband did a lot of the outside chores. We never talked about who would do what – we just did them. Looking back..I did what my mother did. SHe was an RN and was raised and worked at taking care of people and places. Now in my more mature years…I don’t have the energy to do as much as I used to..or do I have as much time as I once had. SO what happens??? Laundry piles up along with the dishes, the furniture gets pretty dusty, and the floors aren’t mopped as often. And you know what? Life goes on just fine.

  4. Jim F says:

    Sheesh, Lucille your blog made me realize what a friggin prince I am and how somehow I missed marrying or for that matter ever even dating one of these submissive; I-will-take-care-of-it-whatever-you-want-honey types. Somehow I seemed always attracted to the opposite: strong willed, opinionated, you know…sort of like you.

  5. Angel says:

    Leave it to the big sister to correct .. it was the Granthams not the Crawleys who had all the servants …

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