Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The male of the species

Living, as I do, in a house full of men in the making, I think I can count myself as somewhat of an expert on the male of the species and of late my field of study seems to be popping up with surprising regularity.

First there was a bantering thread on a forum I use all about how useless one of the regulars' other half was. She was bemoaning his inability to do any task without high level input from her, right down to asking if the washing up liquid had 'gone off' when he was doing the dishes. This prompted much merriment on the generally pathetic nature of men when it comes to domestic tasks, with tales of men given colour-coded rotas to help them keep on top of their chores, to those who sound as if they would have difficulty breathing for themselves if they didn't have a woman to tell them how to do it.

I chimed into this frothing feminine tirade to say how different my own husband is from this stereotypical man. He is a wonder around the house. Admittedly neither of us cleans as we pay someone else to do that for us, but as to the rest of the hard work that goes into running a house and a brood of boys, well he does more than his fair share. He did the lion's share of night feeds when they were babies, has changed countless nappies, he cooks, tidies and entertains children without any prompting. We really are a team and he more than pulls his weight on the domestic front.

The next time this matter arose was during a discussion on LBC 97.3 about the lack of women in the Cameron Clegg cabinet. So far the leopard skin shoe wearing Theresa May is the token girly in a sea of grey suited men. This didn't really perturb me, after all I think the best person for the job should get it, rather than parachuting in women to even things up. However, when the commentator from the Fawcett Society asked how we would feel if the situation were reversed and the country was being run by women, it did give me pause for thought. I suspect that we would be up in arms if the ladies were left in charge, so why are we so complacent when it's the other way round?

Then my fellow blogger and friend Nappy Valley Girl posted a homage to her own husband, who is at least as much of an asset to the household as my own man, being handy with both a screwdriver and a model train track - essential skills in a house full of boys.

I suppose this makes me wonder what it will be like for my own boys when they are grown up. Will they pull their weight like their father? Or will they find a woman to wait on them? I doubt it somehow, but I wonder if the world will have changed to such a point that an all female cabinet wouldn't cause the raise of an eyebrow?


  1. The best person for the job should get it, but the fact is that it is very hard for women to get selected (especially in the Tory party). So it's not really a fair contest. Let's hope politics opens up so we can get the equivalents of both a Hilary Clinton and an Obama in future years.

  2. Such an interesting post. Your hubby certainly sounds a 'keeper'.

    Does he have any brothers, by chance?

    I also worry about how my two boys will turn out - I am not sure what example is going to be set by their dad and I know that I have a huge responsibility in making sure they're aware that we are a team and have to work together in running the house...and that it isn't all down to yours truly. You see, I know this in principle...but in truth, I tend to do most things myself because it's quicker, easier and then things are done how I like them. Typical control freak. I need to change my actions to match my principles because I couldn't stand it if they ended up being men who expect to be waited on hand and foot and didn't pull their own weight. (Wow, that's a lot of waits/weights...)

  3. A very interesting post - thanks. My husband isn't great around the house but like you we pay someone to clean so that's fair enough. He loves small babies and was great in the tiny baby phase and is very hands on with them now - he'll move mountains to do the school run. Oddly my older son, during our recent election fever was fascinated by the notion of Margaret Thatcher being Prime Minister - he didn't say it as such but I think it just dawned on him that you could have a female Prime Minister.....I personally think Samantha Cameron wears the trousers....! xx