Marriage, Gender, Equality, Labor

Hitched at the Gates of HellSo, we got married, y’all.

I considered writing a wedding redux post for a few weeks; but I’ve decided to wait.  Our kid is coming out this summer, and we’re getting married AGAIN with her present and I think it makes sense to talk more about how getting married felt then.

Meanwhile, that was like, a month and a half ago (weird).

Part of being a stable fusion (go watch Steven Universe, right now) means that equality and distribution of labor is really important to approach mindfully.  My pal Audra recently published a piece on She Does The City that dropped this little bomb:

A 2008 study from the University of Michigan showed that even for women who didn’t have children, getting married resulted in seven more hours a week in housework for them. It’s like, get a husband, lose an hour a day of your life to laundry and cleaning.

Combine that with the fact that I have… ahem… a tendency to take on, absorb, or otherwise swallow large tasks whole while breezily claiming that “I’ve got this,” or “No No, It’s Fine,” when in fact I’m straight up fixing to lose my tiny mind, and like.  We needed to talk about this; probably, regularly.

Since we’ve been married, Thomthulhu has enthusiastically taken on roles as our household project manager, grocery shopper, and meal planner.  I now cook, on average, three meals a week; sometimes four.  I volunteer for all of them.  I am forbidden to cook on nights I have therapy.  Donna, our beloved housemate and family member (see below), is learning to cook and despite a huge amount of personal tragedy in the last six months, makes me tea on hard work days, runs errands, and cleans like a woman possessed.  Thomthulhu also now makes the bed every morning, as a gift to me.  He maintains our Chore Wars account, adds new adventures and quests, and reminds people to claim XP.  Dirae‘s partner, a dear friend on her own account, has stepped forward to help me with our household budget (and act as a primary support in an area of life that, I admit, makes me feel far from my ideal self).  After three weeks of working with her, we had a $2500 surplus in the bank, when normally, we would have been eating rice and juggling overdraft fees.  Temple University is paid in full in the second month of the semester.  She assures me that saving up for Darla (Thom’s daughter and my star-child) to visit for a month this summer (barring Himself getting a scholarship to go to Rome) will not be a problem.

Overall, the amount of labor I do has gone down since our wedding, and I’m happy we’re bucking the trend.

I think some of that has to do with the fact that Thomthulhu and I have had a solid, honest, loving friendship for a decade as of next month (!!!).  Another big part of it is that Sarnath is a non-traditional household with non-traditional humans. Tom and I live with a human we love, but with whom neither of us shares a romantic or sexual connection.  (I suppose there is a case to be made that Donna and I share a Romantic Friendship, but that is not a term most people throw around a lot these days).  Having Donna with us has turned out to be one of the best choices the three of us could have ever made.  Look at this glorious creature, her infectious mischief, and how much I flipping love her.DSC07937  Another big piece of it is that we all three of us have the wisdom to see that Everything Is Labor.  Donna’s self care and healing is labor just as much as Thomthulhu’s school work, my commute, Donna’s job training and project management gigs, cleaning litterboxes, doing dishes, or chatting at dining room table when someone needs to talk.

Chore Wars helps a lot, because unpaid labor is a thing — and sometimes the only payment we can give each other is “I SAW YOU EMPTIED THE DISHWASHER TODAY YOU MUTHAFUCKIN’ BOSS GET DOWN WITH YOUR BAD BAD SELF also thank you I hate emptying the dishwasher.”
It also gives us a chance to check in with each other, express gratitude, or say things like, “hey you did a lot yesterday, why don’t you trade dinner nights with me.  I’ll cook tonight, you can do tomorrow.”

I’ve seen a lot of households that claim that community, equality, and feminism are core values — but I don’t know that many households that actually uhold those values in practice, day to day.  I especially know a LOT of men who talk a lot about partnership but fully expect the women in their lives to be their maids, mothers, counselors, comforters, secretaries, and project managers.  I am deeply grateful and proud that I am surrounded by human beings with lasting, meaningful commitments to equality, gratitude, and the spirit of giving.

So yeah, marriage!  10/10, five stars, pretty big fan.

Marriage, Gender, Equality, Labor

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