I had an interesting conversation with a good friend today about how as wives and mothers we feel compelled to ask permission to do – well, anything.
Even in this age of the enlightened husband/father, we still have our unhealthy doses of mother/wife guilt that somehow seep into everything we do.
And we do a lot. A helluva a lot.
There has never been so much pressure on women to do it all and be it all. With a smile. With time to spare. And yet we feel guilty when we have a night meeting. Or when we have a volunteer responsibility (often undertaken for the benefit of our children and their peers). Or when we go to a movie or for supper with a friend. Or when we don’t balance the books. Or when we get a shower.
Wait now – guilt over a shower?
We all need to shower, right? Isn’t the world a better place when you don’t stank up the joint like a rotting cowpatty?
So why do I feel the need to check that it’s “ok” for me to get a shower before I do it? I can’t remember the last time my husband asked me if it was ok for him to get in the shower.
Oh yah – that’s because it’s never frikkin’ happened.
It’s not really asking permission directly, as in “May I get a shower?” It’s more like “I’m going to hop in the shower, ok?” It’s the ok that I tack on the end. It seems like an afterthought but it is, essentially, asking permission.
And that makes me throw up a little on my twin set and poodle skirt.
Now, granted, we put a lot of this pressure on ourselves. Sure our worser halves can be jerks about stuff like this, but I believe that we (ok, I) can be paranoid about reprimands and reproachful glances that sometimes don’t exist. (Sometimes. Not all the time.)
How did we end up with this guilt and need to get sign-off before we do things? What would happen if we did as our husbands do most of the time and just said “I’m doing this right now.” The “Deal with it” would be implied. We deal with it. We may grumble, but that’s what we do. (That’s usually what they do too, but the grumbles are more whiny – at least at my house.)
But seriously – would the world fall apart without female guilt? Would shit just not get done without it?
Ugh – this topic makes me feel dirty. I’m getting a shower.
P.S. RIP Peter Falk... As you wish.