Let's take a moment to have a little discussion, shall we? I know you're out there and that you visit The Edge on a regular basis. This is a GROUP discussion that I'd like as many that can participate. This is not to call you out, but to really get some feedback...insight....understanding.
We're going to talking about serving others.
Of course, I'll go first. I want to explain where I'm coming from and kind of where I'm going.
I grew up in a wonderful home. The parental roles were very cut and dried. Daddy worked hard day in and day out to provide for us. My Mama worked long days, came home and fixed the evening meal, and took care of everything else that needed tending to. Many many times I've watched her wait on my Dad. She'd fix his plate and tea. Why, he wouldn't have to lift a finger. As I got older, it was expected of me to do the same for him. Sure, I did it, but it grated my nerves to do so. I finally got to the point where I would stand in front of him after delivering a drink and he would literally look around me to see the television. He and I came to an understanding and he would say "Thank You". Then, I would move. Oh, how I swore I would never wait on a man like that.
That's how they were raised. That's what women of that generation do/ did. My Mama seems/ed happy to serve him. She seems/ed okay with getting up at 5:00 a.m. to start his coffee and fix him a hot breakfast and cook him a meal to take for lunch (she still does this as best she can after having the stroke). Daddy gets up at around 5:30 a.m. to get dressed, eat his meal, and head off for his work day. He arrives home at approximately 6:22 p.m. (I kid you not....within a minute or two each way for over 20 something years) and for the most part? His supper is waiting on him when he walks in.
The tables have been turned somewhat with Mama's stroke. Now, Daddy has to sweep and mop and do many more things he didn't have to before. They have a good system working and I admire them for it. You can see that they love each other and have for going on 40 years.
I don't roll that way. I guess growing up made me more determined NOT to be some man's maid/servant.(My Mama hasn't looked at it this way...this is purely me observing) I know there are those of you out there who are Baptist like me and will be quick to remind me that I am to be a submissive wife. I'm a strong personality, okay? I had a weak first husband and if I didn't run the boat? We would have sunk. Habits are hard to break. The Man does a fabulous job of "heading" our household, but Miss Hope has her moments of input often and loudly. If he's set on a decision? We go with it. BUT.....he's not adverse to listening to my side and if I'm right? We go with it. Never have we worked together so beautifully than in the past few months concerning our son and his issues.
Every single morning my husband gets up and makes coffee. Very rarely do I have to make a pot of coffee. Before he leaves out to take children to school, he puts a hot fresh cup beside my chair. If it's not there when I go to get it, I look around in confusion wondering what's wrong. Do I believe he's "serving" me? No, not at all. I believe it's a small but significant way of showing me he loves me and that he realizes I am NOT a morning person. He also goes for milk when we are out or any small errand that needs to be done. (I LOVE shore duty because I don't miss doing that at all!)
By the same token, when I prepare our supper and put it on the table, I usually end up fixing everyone's plate while sitting at the table. Some times, I fix The Man's plate because he's busy cutting The Boy's meat and getting him settled. Do I look at this as serving him? Nope. I look at it as us working together as a team to get everyone fed. I am glad to grab him a drink if I'm up and he's in need. If I am thirsty and don't feel like getting up? I am famous for looking at him and saying, "Hey, Man. I'll give you a dollar to get me a diet coke." He laughs and gets one. (This is if there are no kids available to get it for me.)
I told Paige the other night that it upsets me when I tell her to bring me her dirty clothes so I can wash them and she "forgets". The way I explained it to her was that I look at doing laundry as a service to my family. They are gone all day doing school and work and while I'm not home every day, I am in the home more than they are and they do need clean clothes to wear. I don't feel like the maid in that particular area because I know if I do the laundry, it'll get done right and I won't be spazzing over something being put in the dryer that shouldn't have been. See? It all works out. Paige knows how to do laundry because I've taught her. She is capable and does help out in the evenings if I'm not done. She takes care of her uniform all on her own and I will not worry when she leaves my home when it comes to doing her laundry. I hope to be able to say this about all three of my children.
I think some of this post borders from past experiences. I've seen and participated in days where before a big family dinner or even a get together it always seemed one sided. The women are responsible for planning the menu. They are responsible for purchasing the ingredients for the meals. They then spend the time in the kitchen preparing the food for everyone involved. Everyone sits and enjoys the meal. The men then get up and head to the couch and chairs to lean back and feel the goodness of a full meal coursing through their veins. The women THEN have to clean up the table and wash dishes and clean the kitchen where all this was done. It BURNS me up. I'm sorry, I just can't help it. I don't think it's fair that the men get to just....enjoy....while our work truly never ends. I believe that if the women do all that? Then the men can surely clean up some dishes and let US sit down a while. Some women will be quick to say they don't want a man handling their dishes or in their kitchen. Shoot. Soap and a dishrag can work no matter who's hands are holding them. Every time I mention this, I get looks of horror because it's such a taboo subject. Argh. Way I see it? If I can gestate for 9 months? Then give birth to something that has no business having a head THAT big come through a small space? Then, by golly, you can wash a dish. If I can plan meals day in and day out and make sure the stuff is here to prepare them, then cook them up? Well, let's just say I feel strongly about this. Oh, and I also get the "Well, he works hard and blah blah blah." I made milk that sustained my children. Beat that.
Paige does our dishes here at night. That is her job so that she can maintain cell phone service. She knows this and may not like it at times, but for now, it's her job. Our children have chores they must do because that's how a family works. I can promise my boy will do the same things when he is old enough. Even at age four, he is responsible for sorting recyclables and putting them in the proper place. The Man was shocked when I gave him a bag of trash and told him to take it out to the trash cans under the carport. By golly, he did it, too. Normally, I ask Makenna to do that but the kid was standing in front of me and it had to be done. The Boy has to pick up his room and put things where they go. He has to help me sort laundry and even bring me the baskets full of them. I'm not partial. No gender specific jobs here at The Edge. You do what needs to be done. Paige has to clean the truck from time to time. Being a girl doesn't exempt you from that.
This has made me wonder how it is for those of you out there.
1. If you are married, do you women wait on your man? Men, are you waited on by your woman? I do things for my husband because I WANT to. I don't *feel* like it's my job to wait on him. I love him and I do little things because I want to make him happy.
2. How was it in your home growing up? Did the women wait on the men? See above for how things rolled for Miss Hope growing up.
3. How do you think times changing have affected our younger generation and how their relationships will suffer or flourish? I believe I show my children by example how to treat your spouse. I don't do things for him grudgingly and both The Man and I are always quick to say "Thank You" to the other when something is done to show our appreciation. I believe this shows my girls that it's okay to fix a plate occasionally or bring a drink, but that I don't HAVE to do it. It's not expected of me. It's appreciated when it happens. There's no resentment filtering through on either side because acts of service are performed against someone's will. In that, I believe it's showing them how to make their own future relationships flourish.
What a way to deviate from the usual Edge happenings, huh? I am truly interested in what you have to say, Internets. I don't believe anyone is wrong...or right. It's all in how you feel.