Some couples are ‘generalists” viz. either member does anything and there are no fixed roles. Other couples are ‘specialists” viz. a task is done by one member only. My parents are specialists. My brothers and I joke if Mother died Father would starve to death as he doesn’t know how to shop for groceries or cook, work the stove, or even how to use the washer machine. If Father goes first, Mother would wither away as she doesn’t know where the money is.
We vow not to become like our parents, only to fail time and time again. For Someone and I are specialists. Without consciously deciding to do so, we have taken over certain tasks the other generally doesn’t do. We do those things we are better at doing, or want to do – or feel the other doesn’t do as well as I can.
Here are some examples:
Decorate at Hallowe’en
Walk the dog in the morning
Handle directions while driving
Initiate activities (as it were)
Decorate at Christmas
Walk the dog in the evening
Arrange travel plans
Run the dishwasher
Do the laundry
Like Father I am growing less involved in running the household. Someone actually does most if not all the housekeeping, given his stay at home status as a doctor’s wife. I am the breadwinner and don’t do much more else. I guess that makes me my father. (If Someone is my mother than this is too Oedipal). It is embarrassing to admit our new dishwasher is over a month old and I have yet to operate it.
A quick survey of couples I know reveal we are not the norm, to wit, most seem to share the tasks. Being nosy, I am quite wildly curious if the sex life of generalists and specialists parrellels their roles in housekeeping, but I have too much tact to inquire into such.
I vow to become more generalized. I will ask Someone to refresh my memory about the joint chequeing account, and where the heck does he shop for groceries.
I may even ask him to show me how to operate the dishwasher – just in case I some day have to do the dishes.