Throughout time, men have disdained to do the household drudgery and menial tasks that women do every day, with the dismissive declaration that it is "woman's work." This is to give the impression that they are too important to waste time doing work that is beneath them and that it is the role of a woman to ceaselessly do these jobs.

This is a common theme in many civilizations. Household work, food preparation, endless cleaning, sewing, care of children, and basic structure to the rhythms of life--these are the tasks of women. I think about this a lot and I have come to the conclusion that the reason it is woman's work is because men could never do it.  Day in and day out, over and over and over, we perform the tasks to keep our families moving along and our homes happy and healthy. Men rarely have the stamina, self-motivation, or selfless resolve to match a woman. Men could never keep the world running like we do.

That is why it's Woman's Work. Men have managed over the centuries to keep women in their place by giving the impression that a woman's job is less valuable, when in fact is it the most important job there is. We all know a woman's power can be threatening to a man, which is why we see so much misogyny in so many religions and cultures. What is a woman's power? The ability to do work. And truthfully, we can outwork most any man. 

Think about how much work you do. Then think about how much work women used to do in times past without modern technology to help them along. Imagine making ALL your family's clothes by hand. Imagine raising, harvesting and preserving ALL your family's food. And imagine doing this with a dozen children. I don't think I could do half as much as they did, but I would have to learn fast if my family depended on it. And really, there are many countries now where life is still like that and women work harder than we could ever do.

Yes there are men who do this work; stay at home dads who are better at keeping house than their wives. Those men are rare and admirable. But for the most part, Woman's Work is carried out by women and honestly without it being done that way... absolutely nothing would get accomplished.

We all know men aren't too bright sometimes. What would they do without us?

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 12:11 PM

They would be starving dirty little children :-)

I know my husband works a more physical job than me, it is harder in that sense, but he could never handle the multitasking, the care, the diapers, the cooking AND hold down a full time job like I can. No way Jose

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 12:15 PM

What cracks me up is when my husband scoffs about how much he would get done if he were home all day, then when he has the kids for two hours the only thing that gets done is that the kids stay alive.

You are way right on target with this journal.  Thanks for writing it.

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Great post, Joye.  It's true.  I think a lot of men are aware they couldn't last one day in our shoes so their next 'best' step is to put our work down.  Not all men, like you said, but way too many.

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 12:33 PM

I remember seeing a program a while back that tested a man's ability to multi-task.  With little to no exception, men very rarely have the ability to multi-task because of how their brains are wired.  However, when you give a man one or two very physical challenges, his methods of meeting those challenges quickly and efficiently beat out the women every time.

Like you said, there are exceptions where some men are really great at the daily millions of little things necessary to keeping a productive home and healthy children, and there are some women who can arm wrestle a man to his knees.  The killer is that so many mens' egos get in the way of a man being able to recognize and appreciate what a woman does.   

Coddling a man's ego is low on my list of priorities - right under scooping dog poop and cleaning the litter box.

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 12:41 PM

It's hilarious how hard ZM is working to grasp the entirety of what I do around here before I quit the Mommy Biz for School Biz.

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 12:48 PM

What cracks me up is when my husband scoffs about how much he would get done if he were home all day, then when he has the kids for two hours the only thing that gets done is that the kids stay alive.clairandamjones

Oooooh yeah.  Same here.  I even SUCK at this housekeeping gig, but I know I still get a lot more done that my husband would.


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Apr. 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM

 A couple of years ago I went to Cozumel for a week, leaving my boyfriend and my son behind to be in charge of the house and thier needs. When I got back my house looked like the city dump (I never did figure out what the smell was or where it was coming from), there was no food in the fridge, there was pizza boxes all over the house. My son was on the couch when I walked in. His beautiful face lit up and a big smile spread across his face. "Oh mom, thank God your home. I'm starving, can you make me a grilled cheese?" He was 16 at the time. When I asked my boyfriend what the hell happened here, he just looked confused and said "what do you mean?"

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 1:40 PM


My Dh had that opinion too, until he lost his job and had to stay home while I went to work.

He has since readily admitted that there is no way he could ever do that again!

To the OP GREAT post!

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 1:48 PM

if you want something done ask a man . if you want it done right ask a woman.

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Apr. 27, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Great post!

What cracks me up is when my husband scoffs about how much he would get done if he were home all day, then when he has the kids for two hours the only thing that gets done is that the kids stay alive.clairandamjones

Same thing happens here.

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