I am married and living a traditional married life in many ways. Although I work outside the home, I also do most of the cooking and cleaning. My Mom did the same and it never looked that hard for her when I was a kid. Now, in the role, not only is it hard, I am not that interested. I am stuck in the role of “wife” and don’t know how to break out? Help!
Sincerely, Sick and Tired of Cooking & Cleaning
How easy it is to not only pick up on roles that society expects of us when we take on the role of wife, but also act on them without any thought whether or not you want the role. If you saw your Mother play this role in your family, it may be even more difficult to break out of something that just doesn’t suit you.
However, you are looking to break out and so you are recognizing that there is a choice other than being stuck in a prescribed role. There are two parts to making the change.
First, getting honest with yourself. What do you want your role of wife to look like in your marriage? Are there any chores you don’t mind doing? Or circumstances under which you don’t mind doing them? What are the things you absolutely never want to touch again? Becoming honest with what you do and do not want to take on as far as these responsibilities is the important first step.
Second step is to have a heart-to-heart with your partner. Perhaps he is just assuming that you don’t mind. Perhaps he saw his own Mother take care of all of this like you and thinks that’s the way it is supposed to be. Perhaps he has space to participate alongside you? This may not be the easiest conversation, but it may be one that leads you to a new role in your marriage.
Things won’t change overnight. You may give up the dishes to him and he may get it done in two days not in the next two hours. As your roles shift, stress points will arise. Being able to keep a sense of humor as well as a commitment to the new way of being and doing within your marriage are the keys to making change.
By all means, break out! We are told in a million ways each day from the start of life what we are expected to do, be, have in our relationships. Unwinding those ideas and finding the way forward that works for you is the key.