The question “Who’s the man?” comes up a lot for me. As a mother who has opted to have a baby using a sperm donor, and as a woman in a relationship with another woman, many people have asked, “Who is the man?”Latley I have wondered about this myself.
In the first instance, it’s not important; and in the second instance, the answer is more complex. As far as my sex life, again, not important; but, regarding the division of labor in our household, it is an issue for me.
My partner Kira and I do not follow traditional sex roles, and it has not been easy to iron out who is responsible for what, such as taking out the garbage, yard work, housecleaning, laundry, cooking or grocery shopping.
In some cases we have naturally taken on household chores based on our interests and aptitudes. For instance, I am the more mechanically inclined, and I’m handy with power tools, so I am the one who fixes things, installs stuff, assembles and changes the batteries in the toys; and since I also have a knack for computers, I am the resident IT girl. By default, because I am deft with a spread sheet, I also handle the household finances.
Kira has the green thumb in our family, so she does the planting and nurturing of our perennials. She also is the more experienced cook and has mastered some favorite signature dishes, such as her goat-cheese and sun-dried tomato pasta, chicken Marsala or shrimp risotto, so when we have company she is queen of the kitchen.
Then there’s the things that neither of us really like to do, but somebody’s got to do them. We solved part of this problem by hiring a cleaning lady who does the mopping, dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, changes beds, etc., but it’s the responsibility of the everyday chores that have frustrated me.
In many ways, I feel like the man, because I do the heavy lifting and dirty work; but then I also do all the straightening up and all the little things around the house, like picking up toys, changing the toilet paper, throwing out the spoiled food and wiping up the hair in the bathroom. The reality is that if I don’t do these things, they won’t get done, because my partner, like the man, doesn’t think they are that important. So I nag at my partner, and then I feel like a 50s housewife, complaining about my husband who doesn’t take out the trash.
So while most of the time I feel thankful that I am not tied to a traditional sex role and expected to do the things that women of past generations did purely because they were born a woman, sometimes I wish it were that simple, and that it was clear, who is the man.