“Chore Wars” – Are You Kidding Me?

Cleaning DisputeHere I go again with a Working Mother Magazine inspired post. Part of me thinks I should just “unfollow” them, but then again, it’s giving me some good blog fodder… This time, it’s the “Chore Wars”, an article about a study they did, the link seems to be showing up in my news feed every 20th post because it’s “sponsored” (and because they’ve posted at least 4 different posts about the same article). Just the title makes me squirm, but the study, the couple they interviewed, and the comments that have followed… those tick me off.

Check the study out for yourself, but the short version is they interviewed couples about the division of household labor, and found that we’re apparently still living in the 1950’s. Then they’re asking their readers to play into this by posting pictures of themselves doing the chores and using the hashtag “#chorewars”. In other words, they are encouraging women to complain, and they are perpetuating the idea that this should be a “war”.

I’ve talked to countless women over the years, women who are my friends, former colleagues, acquaintances in online “mom groups”, who are frustrated because they feel that their partners don’t pitch in, that they take on the majority of the household and childcare responsibilities. I will say the same thing here that I say to them – we can’t just sit back and blame the men. If there’s an imbalance in your household, you own half of that simply by allowing it to exist. If you don’t like it, do something about it.

Now, my household isn’t perfect – I’m not perfect and my husband isn’t perfect. We have our own issues for certain, and we don’t have a perfect 50/50 balance of responsibilities. But I own that. If there is something I need or want Mr Imperfect to do, and I don’t communicate that, I can’t resent him for not doing it. There are also some things that I simply won’t let him do because I have a couple of anal retentive tendencies (understatement) and I want things done a certain way. To me, that means that I cannot resent having the responsibility of that chore. I can’t be pissed that I’m always the one cleaning the bathrooms, or vacuuming the house, or washing the floors if I would just be dissatisfied by the way he did it.

When it comes to the childcare, yes, I’m the “primary parent”, as in, I’m the one who’s pretty much always here. But we share the responsibilities when we are both here. He does his share (maybe more than) of getting up in the night with our girls, and has done so since EC was a newborn. EC didn’t nurse, so he as capable of taking care of her needs as I was from almost day one. YC did nurse, but he still got up some of the time and brought her to me in bed to nurse so that I didn’t have to get up. Even when I stopped working full time, he understood that it didn’t mean I was entering a life of leisure, and he continued to do his share. He also encourages me to go out and do things on my own while he watches the kids, and occasionally takes them away for entire days or overnights so I can have time to myself in my own home!! (Oh, and a minor pet peeve: When Daddy takes care of the kids – that’s not “babysitting”, it’s parenting.) Am I spoiled? Not in the least, because I not only need that time, I deserve that time.

I like to believe that there are two major reasons that we work in tandem this way. One is that I wouldn’t put up with anything less. The other is that it’s who Mr Imperfect is as a person… which kind of goes back to the first reason, because I probably wouldn’t have married him if he wasn’t that way – an equal partner. So some might say that I got lucky (which I won’t deny), but I also take credit for myself in the fact that I have no problem expecting my partner to do his fair share and letting him know that.

So the long and short of it? Ladies, if you feel like you’re pulling all the weight around the house, and it makes you unhappy, DO SOMETHING about it! If you aren’t making clear what it is you need, you don’t get to complain about not having it.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

Shaming Moms? Nope, Shame on You!

http://www.coastalplasticsurgerymaine.org/
I’m sorry… what exactly does a mom look like??

I know a lot of moms. I have a mom, she has a mom, my dad has a mom, my husband has a mom, and his dad has a mom… my friends have moms, many of my friends ARE moms, and oh wait… I’m a mom! The one thing I can tell you about all of these moms is that no two look alike (I don’t happen to personally know any twins that are moms). The implied assumption of this ad that looking “like a mom” is something that needs to be improved by surgery is beyond insulting.

It’s sad that this might be viewed as a good advertising strategy. It’s sad that there are people out there who have low enough self-esteem that they will be influenced by this type of ad, and have their confidence lowered even more by the belief that they need to be “fixed”.

It’s sad that the people who work on advertising for this business aren’t more creative, that they couldn’t find a more positive way to promote these procedures. What about a jump-start on the every Spring push to get in “bathing suit shape”? Or if they wanted to target mothers, fine, what about suggesting doing “something for yourself” for Mothers’ Day? There are definitely approaches that aren’t insulting

But the saddest part, and amazes me the most about this ad, which was published today in a small local newspaper, is that I can only imagine how many desks it crossed before it went to print. It’s a pretty professional-looking ad, so it seems to me that they employed an advertising agency (or at least a consultant of some nature). And seriously, did no one, at any point in the process, look at this and say “You know, this might be a little offensive”. Not ONE person??

There has already been a backlash locally, with outrage streaming through local mom groups and pouring in from the community at large, and rumor has it that the ad is being pulled. But I think it’s safe to say the damage has been done – I don’t plan to have plastic surgery, but if anyone I know decides they want to, I won’t be recommending this office. Would you?

3 Reasons the Dove “Choose Beautiful” Campaign Pisses Me Off

Dove-Real-Beauty-Campaign

Much of the time, I think that Dove’s commercials and “real beauty” campaigns are wonderful and spot on – from the above ad, to the Real Beauty Sketches, to the recent dad-focused “#RealStrength” ad during the 2015 Superbowl.

The most recent video I’ve seen circulating however, “Choose Beautiful”, really misses the mark. In case you haven’t seen it (and choose not to click to view below), here’s the short version: They labeled two side by side doors as “Beautiful” and “Average”, and then recorded women’s decisions about which door to go through (interviewing them after the fact). I think the message is supposed to be that we should choose to view ourselves as beautiful – a lovely sentiment for sure, but it’s not what I get from this video.

Thanks for spreading the message that “beauty” = “confidence”. Why not have doors that say “Brilliant”, or “Talented”, or “Strong”? There are lots of ways for a woman to find confidence in herself besides beauty.

What ever happened to “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? “Beautiful” should be a subjective term, but has somehow turned into a societal norm that we should all be working hard to achieve. And yet, vanity is frowned upon, isn’t it? It’s expected that we (want to) be beautiful, but if we believe we are beautiful and show that confidence publicly, we are then labeled as conceited. This experiment asks women to choose in a very public setting not only what they believe, but what they want people watching to think they believe. It’s a rare person that has the innate confidence to just be themselves all the time. We want to be liked so that we can be successful. It may be unfortunate, but sometimes, as women, showing too much confidence can be counterproductive in this arena. One woman is so put off by the choices that she turns around and walks away! I think she’s got it right – this is a no-win scenario.

All of that aside, here is my biggest issue with this video. “Beautiful” and “Average” are NOT opposites! When did average become a negative thing? No matter what the standard, won’t there (and shouldn’t there) always be an “average”? My feet are above average in size, my hair is above average in thickness, and I like to believe I am of above average intelligence. But those qualifications would mean nothing without the existence of “average”. If everyone identifies themselves as “beautiful”, doesn’t “beautiful”, by default, become “average”?

I’ve given this quite a bit of thought, and I’ve decided I would proudly walk through the “Average” door. While I know that I am one-of-a-kind and all that jazz, I also don’t think there is anything specifically or exceptionally “Beautiful” about me that qualifies me over the majority to walk through the other door. And that’s not a lack of confidence; it’s just an appreciation for “Average”. I am not better, you are not better, she is not better… we are just different, and I admire that.