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Thread: Sars, re Emotional Labour

  1. #11
    I flunked typing coachgrrl's Avatar
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    OMG yes, I hated the whole gift giving thing. One year I spent time and energy ..and in return I got an Ironing board cover. Because my SIL (who lived next door to me) constantly borrowed my ironing board and thought I needed one (so she could use it...)

    Even now, I struggle with enjoying my freedom and wanting to do for others. I really have to stand back and think about it, talk myself out it and the guilt that goes with it. Family/friends/work...you name it. Planning trips, I still do because I enjoy it. But I don't pack for anyone but myself (now that my kids are all adults)


    ETA- after reading the articles Sars posted, I think this may be one of my biggest issues with my profession. Nursing is by definition a female dominant career. We do this EL constantly. I don't mind it so much for the patients I care for...but we do it for everyone else in the hospital too (management, ancillary departments and even the volunteers). It is exhausting.

  2. #12
    Being it, y'all! Lizzie Beth's Avatar
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    I abandoned the gift thing long ago. I get token things, mostly involving chocolate or tshirts. I've already fallen into a firm pattern of dreading Christmas because I find the kids so difficult to buy for. (Our niece is a snap, though). Currently my six year old is sullen because we didn't make a big enough deal about St. Patrick's Day and I feel Easter stalking me around the corner.

  3. #13
    I'm just here for the lulz. Sarsparilla's Avatar
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    I was interested in how much of the commentary was a mix of emotional labor and real actual physical labor. It's all blended in for so many of us. For instance, I think we should keep the house reasonably clean because it's gross if we don't. M doesn't feel/see that gross thing at the same level I do, so there are things he does simply because I want them done. (there are also things he still doesn't do after 17 years, but I'm not perfect either!) We were discussing this same thing on a thread on Jamie or Eric's wall and Eric was talking about how he just doesn't see a messy house in the same way Jamie does. I know M is like that. At least I think I know that. What if M and Eric are just socialized to be figuratively blind to dog hair on the couch because they know someone else will clean it eventually? Or because they know they will get a social pass on having a gross house because they are male?

    The sad part about me being hands off on the emotional labor of his family is that he is not as close to them as he used to be, especially his brother. There are all kinds of complicated reasons, but I know if I pushed him to call his brother every month or so, he would. And they would both benefit. But that is not my relationship to manage. Even though I would do a better job than they do!
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  4. #14
    I flunked typing coachgrrl's Avatar
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    I have found after 25+ years of marriage, that there are a lot of things I need to just.leave.alone. and let the chips fall where they may. It is hard, because I could do it so much better


    ETA- LB my ds accuses me of just giving up when I got to him. Now admittedly I did OTT decorated cakes for dd1's bday while he got a box made sheet cake with a bob the builder bulldozer stuck in the middle . I told my kids we lived in a lazy tooth fairy district because I would fall asleep and forget to do the "tooth fairy" thing. But they all grew up into successful young adults. They got nice presents and vacations. AND I'm taking ds to see Lady gaga in the fall. So you know what? fuck that shit.

  5. #15
    love and darkness and my sidearm stellarfeller's Avatar
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    I feel like I have to carry a lot of the emotional-labour burden in my house/family...with our two autistic kids, I do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to school issues/appointments/paperwork/knowing what needs to get done and when. Also, my husband is unemployed again and is having much angst about not having much success on the job front, and he is almost constant doom and gloom about that. I understand that it's frustrating, but there are things that he could be doing to further his job search and he isn't. I'm not nagging him about it; I've made a couple of suggestions and left it at that.

    What made me think of the emotional labour was something that happened a few days ago. DH was making supper and I was upstairs while Daniel was having a bath. So our supper was almost ready, and I came downstairs and asked DH if he had the kids' supper figured out (as by this time it was 5.50 pm and we try to have their supper ready at 6.00 pm or thereabouts), and he said, "I didn't know what to make them!" I'm like, so open the fridge and figure something out! I do this practically every day! It's not that hard to do two things at once.

    Oh, and as far as the physical labour around the house, I do the majority. I do the morning/school day and evening routines, do most of the cleaning and laundry, etc.
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  6. #16
    Being it, y'all! Lizzie Beth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarsparilla View Post
    We were discussing this same thing on a thread on Jamie or Eric's wall and Eric was talking about how he just doesn't see a messy house in the same way Jamie does. I know M is like that. At least I think I know that. What if M and Eric are just socialized to be figuratively blind to dog hair on the couch because they know someone else will clean it eventually? Or because they know they will get a social pass on having a gross house because they are male?
    We're the opposite of most couples.. I'm like Eric and M, and Alex is more the type of "how can you not see that and do something with it?!?!?" and he's on the hypermasculine side in many other respects. But I have an atypical mama who in raising me was actively rebelling against an overly fastidious housekeeping (and miserable) mother of her own. Dishes and clothing must be washed, all others subject to more interesting reading or activities. Even now she has a lot of clutter, stacks of books/paper and a generous amount of dust.

    So I may have never really been socialized in that typical way, to feel inherent guilt existing in a mess. But I do get the social guilt over when another mother comes over. Other fathers don't give a crap, so it doesn't bother me if they see.

    I do perversely love cleaning when it's really dirty and I've felt a major difference has been made. But maintenance cleaning just feels like wasted time to me. What's the point of straightening up Emma's toys every single day when she is going to come home in three hours and pull the exact same ones out again?

  7. #17
    Moderator Shaena's Avatar
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    I think my marriage is unusual in this respect. Being the wife of an over he road driver, all the day to day crap falls on me to do and decide. Basically I am sometimes very much a single parent when it comes to the more to the hands on in the moment stuff. I have never been one for housework, the day to day stuff, if I could spend the day reading books or baking, or playing around. Cleanings boring! So what usually happens is I just do a mass quick clean before he comes home because he actually likes to do housework, so I try not to make too much of it for him, so we can do other things. When he is home I love it, because I imagine it is what it's like to have a traditional wife! I come home to a clean house, dinner, he takes over for the kiddos day to day stuff. Our strengths work together to balance the things we don't see eye to eye on. Pretty grateful for that.

  8. #18
    Nihongo dame desu villanelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarsparilla View Post
    I was interested in how much of the commentary was a mix of emotional labor and real actual physical labor. It's all blended in for so many of us. For instance, I think we should keep the house reasonably clean because it's gross if we don't. M doesn't feel/see that gross thing at the same level I do, so there are things he does simply because I want them done. (there are also things he still doesn't do after 17 years, but I'm not perfect either!) We were discussing this same thing on a thread on Jamie or Eric's wall and Eric was talking about how he just doesn't see a messy house in the same way Jamie does. I know M is like that. At least I think I know that. What if M and Eric are just socialized to be figuratively blind to dog hair on the couch because they know someone else will clean it eventually? Or because they know they will get a social pass on having a gross house because they are male?

    The sad part about me being hands off on the emotional labor of his family is that he is not as close to them as he used to be, especially his brother. There are all kinds of complicated reasons, but I know if I pushed him to call his brother every month or so, he would. And they would both benefit. But that is not my relationship to manage. Even though I would do a better job than they do!
    I don't see dirt either. Many times, I find myself thinking how much I fall on the stereotypically male side of these conversations. Thankfully, DH and I are more or less on the same page about this. Except I know no one would judge him on it. I'm very sensitive about guests. I've probably been perceived as rude on more than one occasion when a neighbor stops by and I step outside to chat. I mostly don't even answer the door. And I'm very upfront with the spouses in our group about how I hate unannounced visitors, and will likely either not answer, or just crack the door and speak through the tiny crack (that one's an exaggeration, but not by much). But it does bother me that I know people would never say, "wow! *His* house is so messy." It would always be, "*Her* house is messy" or "*She's* a lousy housekeeper." Or, for that matter, "*She* brought store bought cookies to the potluck," or "*She* forgot to give their RSVP to the party,". I've been getting on DH a bit lately about the clothes he wears outside the house. He doesn't get it, but I know that in his position, people are judging, and as weird as it is, I think they probably judge me more than him if they seem him at the base Big Box store wearing a stained, faded Broncos sweatshirt.

    Anyway, my tolerance of mess is certainly not because I was socialized to accept mess. My parents' house is always quite clean. More so than average. My poor mom tried everything, and it was source of much frustration that I'd think something was clean when it really wasn't, and that I get overwhelmed almost to the point of panic when trying to put things away. So it's entirely possible that in some people, it's just a thing not to be bothered by mess.

  9. #19
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    [QUOTE]ETA- LB my ds accuses me of just giving up when I got to him./QUOTE]
    I am also guilty of this. To be fair, it is true, lol. With my older 2 children, I handmade every birthday card, invitations, cakes, did all the decorating for the parties, volunteered in their classrooms, schools, and so on. With my youngest, (who is 8 years younger than his sister, and 11 years younger than his brother), I phone it in more often than not, lol. In my defense, I am working full time now, and I wasn't with my older 2 children. Also, I am in a position where I can more easily purchase those things than I could when my older children were young. When they were in high school band, I was the vice president of the band parents association. I ran the concession stand for Friday night football games, , and did anything and everything food related, for 4 years. My youngest will be in high school year after next, and the band director has said how glad she is I will be back... I am not thinking I will have the energy for Friday nights in the concession stand! Let the younger parents do it.

  10. #20
    I flunked typing coachgrrl's Avatar
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    And to be clear it isn't just the fun stuff, it's the worrying about if they're getting sick, making sure you get what they need for school/winter, etc. When my ds wanted to play tackle football I didn't say no because he was diabetic, instead dh or I attended every practice/game, and I stayed up usually until after midnight checking his sugar while he slept until I knew he was stable when he had practice every evening....then went to work the next day at 5:30a. And you know what? I've never said a word to my kids about any of that. That is my job as a parent. But I'm also not taking any grief about phoning it in.

    I also am not a cleaning lady, I suck at cleaning. Luckily so does dh...and we hired someone to clean 2X a month now that we're settled. Complete luxury. I do feel a twinge of guilt over that sometimes..but it passes when I come home to a clean house.

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