You know when you start going on a few dates with someone, you’re kinda into them and you want to show them that you are 100% wife material...because that’s the end game right? ABSOLUTELY JOKING. But, we do often want to show up as the best version of ourselves when we are first dating someone.
You make them some delicious meals when they come over, your bedroom and house are spotless and you definitely don’t fart because that's just not what a real woman would do.
Well fast forward 5 years and I now get to live with my best friend, share and epic life with him and fart whenever I want because that is true love. Okay you didn’t come here for that story, but that’s an added bonus. You can thank me later.
I know that the way I show my love is through acts of service. I love doing things for others. This trait crossed with gendered expectations of what a good wife, woman or girlfriend should do led to multiple situations in my life where I questioned how the heck I got there.
Here’s an example from the memory bank of my acts of service love language crossed with gendered expectations.
So I was seeing this guy, we had met at the local gym (cuuutteee), gone on a few dates, he had come to hangout at my flat on a few occasions. One day before leaving, he mentioned that a button on his shirt had come loose.
“Brilliant!” I subconsciously thought, if I offer to darn his shirt for him he is bound to see that I’ve got all the skills and will be great girlfriend material. HA. So that’s exactly what I did...I offered to darn his shirt.
The man left his shirt at my house to be darned and I guess the idea was that I would give it back to him looking as good as new at some point in the future (looking back I am questioning whether he drove home topless that day. Odd).
So here I was sitting with a shirt and a loose button thinking why on earth did I offer to do this, am I his mum? No. Do I like sewing buttons on...errr nope! Could I have just given him a needle and thread to borrow to sew it himself? Absolutely. I have no doubt that there is a youtube video for that.
The world has told me what to do
The point is that as a society, I as a woman have been subtly and overtly told over the course of my life that I am there to help, support and take on tasks that ensure others around me are happy and content.
Sure, you could argue that maybe I was just being a kind person when I offered to darn the dam shirt, which potentially I was. But at what expense do I offer myself and my time to meet the needs of others? Household and emotional labour, when left on the shoulders of one person in a relationship (typically the female), can lead to frustration, overwhelm and resentment within a relationship.
I wish I could tell you I was still with the man whose shirt I darned, but unfortunately that love story wasn’t meant to be. If I had gone down the path of continuing to attempt to meet gendered expectations I ABSOLUTELY would not have the time and energy to work as a social worker, run The Awareness Project & do hobbies that I love.
So here is a current look at my love life now and how I manage ALL THE THINGS without falling into gendered stereotypes just because society has told me to.
Build a team mentality
I love what I do for work, but it can sometimes mean that I am busy (sometimes maybe a little too busy). When I am in a busy period, I know that it’s my partners turn. I come home to dinner cooked, washing done, kitchen cleaned, plans for the house we are building under control and doctors appointments or sports gear organised for the 10 year old.
But then the table flips. Logan is working late to meet a deadline, so then it’s my turn to step up. I pick up the 10 year old, do the washing, cook the dinner, organise the appointments and pay the bills.
To be honest, sometimes I still feel guilty that I shouldn’t work late or attend after work networking events. I feel like I should have been at home doing all those chores...but why? Because I am the woman? At these times, I challenge my guilt and know that Logan and I are a team and just because I am a woman, the responsibility for all the things to be done does not fall solely on me.
We are both working, running businesses, living in this house and parenting a child. We need to have each others backs so we can both pursue what we need to in order to feel fulfilled, creative and successful in our individual lives and as a couple.
Here are 3 ways to challenge your guilt about not being there to get all the things done:-
Your new mantra is “no one is going to die”. If your kids are home with a responsible adult, whether it’s your partner, family member or baby sitter, while you’re out networking till your heart's content, it’s going to be okay. They will be fed (even if it’s noodles or eggs on toast), put to bed and will see you in the morning.
The To Do list never ends, so don’t panic if it’s not done today. Let’s be real, as adults there is always stuff that needs to be done. Give yourself a break if you don’t get everything you had hoped done that day, it will still be there tomorrow.
You are not the end of the line. If you are in a relationship, the other person is equally responsible for getting things done. If you don’t get that shirt ironed for the meeting tomorrow or muffins made for his potluck lunch...is that really your issue? You don’t have to do everything.
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