Wednesday, March 07, 2007

His & Hers

**This post was renamed. The original was CRAP**

The majority of the blogs I read are written by women. Mostly it is because the few blogs I started reading were written by women, primarily read by women, and so when I followed links to other blogs ipso, facto they were written by women too. It is also by preference that I do so, I have always felt I had more emotionally in common with women than men. I have always had more female friends than men. In these blogs written by women, aside from the self-identified mommy bloggers who use their blogs primarily to discuss issues directly related to child rearing, my observation is that most content is gender specific. Or at least I read it that way. Relationships, parenting, observations and experiences in the world around us are common topics in these blogs. I don't think these experiences are gender specific, but they are commonly couched in terms that are. Exhortations to moms everywhere, sisters unite, etc. are things I see frequently. Jen recently wrote about coming to terms with being a mother recently. Why didn't she refer to herself as a parent? She didn't discuss pregnancy or birth - which is something only a mother can do - she talked about the conflict between how she sees herself and what she perceived as how she should perceive herself as a mom. I went through a huge change when our 1st child was born. Every parent does. While Jen didn't explicitly exclude fathers in her discussion about her feelings, there is an implicit exclusion through the use of mother/mom. Meno wrote recently about feeling lonely when her husband was out of town and went on to preface a question with this statement: "I am thinking about all of you woman who are alone through divorce." I immediately wondered if she assumed it was only the women in these dissolving marriages that were lonely. There are a whole chain of gender-based assumptions I could infer from that statement. Divorces are initiated by men who are moving on to new relationships, leaving women behind. Therefore women and not men are lonely during the break-up. That she isn't interested in whether men are lonely during divorce. Why wasn't her thoughts of a more general nature - i.e. "I am thinking of all of you out there who are alone through divorce." I know neither Jen nor Meno are specifically excluding half of the potential readers out here. I also know that by far the majority of their actual readers are female, so why not address the known audience? I ask, why not address everyone?

I think the answer to my questions are fairly obvious. People primarily identify themselves by their gender. Society does. But it is a catch-22 situation. Society always will if people continue to do so. Society identifies me first as a woman, so I identify myself to society as a woman, etc, etc, etc. For most of my life I have formed closer relationships with women than I do men. I have more relationships with women than I do men. I've been reading blogs for 3-4 years now and still 90%+ of the blogs I read regularly are written by women. So I can't, and don't, complain when the posts are about PMS, or pap smears, or giving birth. I made a choice to read these blogs and I learn a lot about how women deal with these things. I also learn a lot of how women are treated by society. I am by definition an outsider when it comes to these things and I accept that I cannot be anything else. But what really troubles me is that there are a lot of topics discussed as female that really apply to both genders. I am a parent. I don't see the role of dad as being separate and distinct from the role of mother - after the pregnancy and birth phase, anyway. I don't see the role of husband as being separate and distinct from the role of wife. Period. It bothers me that I feel I am excluded from conversations about parenting and marriage because the blogs I read express the experience in gender specific terms of mom and wife. I do not live in a bubble, I do know that our society DOES assign roles in terms of gender in these relationships. But as I said above, society always will if we continue to take on these gender-based roles.

I also realize that I live in a male dominated society, one where for the past 320 years every law has been written by and for men. I am white, male, and heterosexual. I am in every societal sense of the phrase "the man". So for me to complain about feeling excluded could easily be written off as being a whiner in these forums where women dominate. However - I think that we will always have gender inequalities if we continue to primarily identify ourselves by gender. I am not a dad, I am a parent. I am not a husband, I am a spouse.

I know that neither of these two lovely people whom I have picked on here are specifically excluding me. Jen has explicitly said that she is not doing so - at least twice that I remember. I hope that neither of them are offended at what I have said here, I am merely using them as examples to explain a greater problem that I see around me. We can only begin to resolve our differences if we choose to cease to have them.

27 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

Anonymous said...

Bob, I love this post and when I have some more time I will hopefully come back and say something pertinent.

Some time ago you left a strong comment on gender on Meno's blog, which is what brought me over here, to thank you.

NotSoSage said...

Bob, first of all, great post.

I try (though I know I'm not always successful) to use gender-neutral terms when I talk about parenting, unless it's something specifically woman- or mother-related. I do this because a) I have a partner who shares everything 50/50 (in fact, there are times when I worry that I come out on the lighter end of the ratio) and b) I want to be sensitive to parents who are in same sex relationships.

Of course, if I'm firing off a post and speaking primarily about my own experience I sometimes couch it as a "mommy" thing, as opposed to a "parent" thing. I'm glad of the reminder to be more careful about that.

Thailand Gal said...

It's an interesting topic and I don't claim to have much knowledge of the family dynamic. Therefore I am also an outsider on many of the blogs I read.

For one, I would be very interested in reading a blog by a man who talks about what it is like for him to be a man in this culture. Atavist is the closest I've found so far...

I do believe men and women are different. We process information and experience differently. That isn't to say it is as shallow as it is often presented. I have some very unconventional ideas ... ideas that are certainly not common in females but that doesn't mean the difference doesn't exist. While it may be a continuum, one exists.

We can neutralize language all we want but it won't negate those differences.

Maybe the best way is to dialogue honestly with those differences in mind.



patches said...

Very insightful post. While I'm fully aware of gender inequities, I was too obtuse to consider that posts made from a female perspective might be too exclusive of masculine roles. It might be that some women are hesitant to assign their feelings to the opposite sex because of societal stereotypes. Underneath it all, men and women are people, parents, providers, gregarious, lonely, and loving and neither sex has a monopoly on any of the previously mentioned markets.

MaLady said...

I followed the link from your comments at Mir's blog - what a treat! This post is great. I'm new to the blogging world but I do love to think about these sorts of subjects...

In addition to the aforementioned factors, I propose that a sizable chunk of the reason for such exclusion is entirely personal experience. If a "lovely lady" fails to find men who enjoy bonding over discussing such topics, then the conversationalist will naturally pitch to those who do - and generally we ladies love socializing on this level. Blogs really are very conversational, so it seems to be an accurate reflection. Maybe it can be blamed on the right brain / left brain connectivity difference (I understand that testosterone works against communication between the hemispheres) or maybe men are generally (I stress that) conditioned to be less verbal about emotionally charged subjects...

I, for one, would not view a thoughtful man as an outsider on a "female" conversation, not even pregnancy and birth. I love the other perspective and the odd question. Men do relate to the reality we live in. (If he has to run out for pickle ice cream at 3 am he has every right to say "we are pregnant" because he's definetly sharing the burden as well as the responsibility.) I think every individual in the same boat has a different and valuable vantage point...

I'm with thailand girl, I'd love to read a blog from the perspective of what it is like to be a man in our culture. I'll be checking out Atavist.

Best to you, and thanks for the brain candy!

Mother of Invention said...

You have a valid point and I can see why you'd think the way you do. You are right that it shouldn't be any different for a man, yet I don't think things will change. It's just the way we are different, we're (majority)wired differently in mind and emotion. We are physically different. Put these together and the result is a new perspective that is just instinctive.
Realistically, it would be a huge thing to change this. So much is based on experience. I haven't had kids but I guess I do have the maternal instinct that allows me to feel almost the same feelings.

You are very rare and special in your outlook and emotional components. You seem to have much more empathy for the female perspective than most men! YAH!Laura and your kids are quite lucky!

Bob said...

De - I'll be waiting with bated breath.

NotSoSage - Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. My goal here was to make people think about gender-associated roles. I think that you got it!

Chani - I agree that there are differences between men and women, but I question what those differences really are, or at least I question what our society/culture tell us the differences are, and therefore what roles are appropriate to either gender. For example, the roles of husband and wife have culturally different definitions. Why? Surely today we are evolved enough to not assume that there are "duties" that only a husband or wife could or should perform. If I use the gender-neutral label of spouse, then there is no gender expectations of that person. Husbands are free to be the stay-at-home-parent with no negative consequences. Wives are free to be the primary (or only) bread-winner, or mow the lawn or tune-up the car.

Patches - By George, I think you've got it! All I am after is a level playing field where no one is excluded because of some perceived deficiency due to their gender.

Malady - welcome, I'm glad you stopped by and commented. As I acknowledged to Chani above, I agree that there are differences between men and women. I just don't agree that those differences always justify the roles society assigns us.

MoI - you flatter me. I hope Laura agrees with you!

I could easily be wrong here, but why can't men be equally capable nurturers? Or interior designers. Or nurses. Why can't women be equally capable leaders? Or longshoremen. Or sports heros. I am just questioning our gender biases. Maybe there are gender differences that make each gender innately better at some things. But should that be used to arbitrarily limit what society allows you to be?

NotSoSage said...

I would say that a lot of people conflate sex and gender. There are certainly differences between the sexes (males typically have greater muscle mass than women and higher testosterone levels, women are able to bear and nurse children and tend to develop language abilities sooner than males) but gender is largely cultural. Gender is certainly informed by sex (that's why in most cultures there are distinct roles for men and women) but the way it plays out is not consistent across humanity.

I think the points you make are interesting and we have to work to distinguish between sex differences -- which are on a continuum, but can't really be changed -- and gender differences, which are also on a continuum, but should/will always be challenged.

Fascinating discussion!

meno said...

I'm too offended to comment.

Just kidding. I thought about this for a while. I do not actually know of a single blog written by a divorced man. I am sure there are some. I read several blogs by women who are struggling with divorce.

I am a woman, so i think from that perspective. However, that is no excuse, just a reason for my carelessness.

I appreciate the reminder as i truly value your addition to any discussion. You must know that you are an unusual man. I wish that you weren't.

How much of your unusualness is due to the lens of "male" through which you are viewed, and how much is due to your thoughtfulness i cannot say. But the part that is from the lens is the part that i apologize for.

Peace? Until i screw up again and you have to kick my butt again?

Lee said...

I think I am a dude. I left my marriage, and even when I'm not in a relationship, I've never been lonely....just thankful I'm alone and not wishing I was.

You know what I mean?

Bob said...

NotSoSage - As our society grows more complex and as technology progresses I think that the limitations due to sex are slowly being removed. For example, as we moved from an agricultural economy where work was physical and required a strong back to a manufacturing economy where machines do most of the heavy lifting the traditional limitations preventing women from being able to work and be a provider were lifted. But the societal limitations persisted. The gender-based role of provider still hasn't changed to accord women equal status. Cultures change slowly. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it can be prohibitive.

Meno - Pax!

Via the lens, maybe I'm being overly sensitive. Real men don't cry. Unless someone totals their newly restored '63 'vet Sting Ray.

Lee - I get 'ya. Some people are temperamentally suited to their own company. I think it indicates how strong your sense of self is.

jen said...

Hold on, I am busy tattooing my women's symbol on my chest...

Bob. My friend Bob. It's true, what you write. and the thing is, that is your voice. See, I write in mine, you write in yours, and we teach each other things and open our eyes and lift each other up, and yes, challenge each other.

If I neutralized too much, I won't be speaking from my heart. My post was indeed about me. But not meant to be at the exclusion of you. That is the nuance I need to keep working on, and you bringing it up helps me to that.

I am all ears, Bob.

Thailand Gal said...

Bob, I suspect the practical application is up to the individuals involved. It really doesn't matter who performs any given task.

The overall thing is that men and women process things differently ~ at least generally. Even most of my gay male friends still have the same basic approach to processing information.

The culture I've chosen has more traditional male/female roles ~ but I don't think they're ironclad anywhere. As my ex-husband used to say (and he's right), there are as many configurations as there are relationships.

That's on an individual level.

On a community level, I'd say any social contract is designed to provide predictability and comfort, to know what is expected of us. It's easier to get along that way. Everyone knows what he or she is supposed to do and it removes some of the instability. Without any customs or predictable social behavior, we'd end up in a state of anomie.

I'm afraid I don't believe gender-neutral language is going to change the culture. At least it hasn't in the past 30 years or so.

My consciousness is raised on a lot of that. I use gender-neutral language. The mail person. The waitperson. I refer to people as "Ms" and "Mr", rather than the more oppressive "Mrs" (as though an unmarried woman has less value than a married one ~ or reverse). It's a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's respectful but it can also water down difference, turning us all into a big homogeneous blob.

We're not.. and the differences between us are good and positive, not something to be diminished.

Peace, :)


The Atavist said...

Jen, sent me over here, Bob. I do what she tells me to do.

I enjoyed your post and it got me thinking. I'm a troglodyte, I guess, when it comes to these things, because I like as many descriptors as possible, specific ones, when they are pertinent in some way, and I think they almost always are. I don't mind being termed a male German-Canadian businessman, because that is what I am. The descriptors provide context. A female Irish-American bureaucrat would have, I think, quite different perceptions than I, for the most part, and quite different baggage as well. We all have baggage. Also, as Jen says, we all speak with our own voice because blogging is, after all a highly personal medium.

I like the way you write and the way you challenge us. On my blogroll you go. BTW, I read mostly blogs by women too.

Bob said...

Jen - I can see the tattoo from here.....(I laughed out loud when I read that!)

I really wasn't being critical of you or what you were trying to say. I was merely making an observation about how much we identify who we are with our gender. This has it's positive as well as it's negative consequences.

I absolutely value you and what you have to say. I know you had no intentions of excluding me or any other man from what you were communicating. From what you said above I see that you highly value the female specific role of mother and have less a regard for the neutral role of parent. All I'm really trying to ask is - why doesn't parent mean as much as mother?

Chani - The division of labor, or what roles we take on in a relationship are absolutely up to those involved. But what about our preconceived notions about what those roles are based on our gender? Do men still expect women to take on the role of housecleaner? Do women still expect men to take on the role of household maintenance? How much easier would our relationships be if we didn't begin them with the expectations of each other based on our gender?

I can't refute your assertion that men and women work differently - process information differently - as I have no empherical evidence to the contrary. This is a nature vs. nurture arguement. I don't know which is dominant, I tend to think that nurture dominates, but I don't really know.

I agree that gender neutral language isn't going to change anything. People have to change. We have to teach our children the these roles aren't dependant on our gender. Labels don't mean anything other than what we ascribe to them. We have to believe and live the new roles. How else can we expect our daughters to really believe that they can be President of the United States. How else can we expect our sons to grow up being able to express all of their emotions without ridicule.

I am not trying to tear down our social contract, just make it easier for people to take on any role that suits them, not be limited to the roles society imposes on them due to their gender. In my opinion, that would make a society that is easy for everyone to live in, not just those socialized into accepting the roles proscribed for them. That doesn't make us all the same, it makes us true individuals.

Mr. Atavist - welcome to you, I am glad that despite being forced to visit you are willing to return on your own volition. (I totally understand obeying Jen - I would do the same).

I agree - descriptors provide context. They also provide for preconceived notions of who people are. Intellegent people treat them for what they are, mere indications of who someone is based on their background - but leave these descriptors behind when getting to know the person. Unfortunately, there are a lot of lazy people out there who never get beyond the descriptors, and worse yet, judge based on these labels.

Are you really a cold, calculating american wanna-be who cares for nothing but the next quarter's earnings and would sacrifice people for the sake of lower overhead? Some would make those assumptions of someone who describes themself as a German-Canadian businessman. Myself, I lived in Germany for 4 years during my formative years and remember the people I lived and played with as a family oriented people who openned their homes and hearts to me. I have studied something of the history of Canada and know there's a rich history of French and English colonization, people who have over 1000 years of culture. While I do not think the end-all and be-all of our society is to provide an environment for businesses to thrive, they do contribute to our high standard of living and the spread of technology that makes our lives so much easier. So I would temper my first expectations of our meeting with my unique understanding or your descriptors.

Why should I be limited in what I can do because of the descriptor male?

I too celebrate our individuality. That is why I question our culturally specifed gender based roles and the preconceived notions that go with those roles. I am ALL about the individual!

jen said...

oh, i KNEW i was right in sending Atavist over....woohoo.

The Atavist said...

Bob: Well said. But knowing I was a German-Canadian businessman might also tell you how I might have developed a thick skin because of the names I was called as a child (like Nazi) that I have always abhored structure and blindly following orders (perhaps as a form of disassociating myself from the goose-stepping SS troops) and my strong adherence to a philosophy of liberty, having heard from my parents how unfree Germans were during the Third Reich years.

And that's just a start. I have never been ashamed of who I am. I know that it is popular these days to be 'inclusive,' and non-discriminatory and to make everyone, male and female, as much alike as possible. I like Chani's term "homogeneous blob" as a definition of what we don't want to become as a human race. I have used the term "homogeneous and featureless soup" on occasion to desribe that state of humanity. Individual characteristics disappear and we are simply one of a whole. I don't like that. I am uniquely me, warts (so to speak) and all.

That is not to say I don't support and understand what you are saying. I think we all need to act and think and do whatever makes us happy individually. My argumnet is really with the social engineering that infests our western psyche these days and that seems to want to reduce each of us to our lowest common denominator sho that we can all be 'equal.'

Bob said...

Atavist - I don't think that everyone is equal. I am not advocating that everyone should be alike, I don't advocate the homogination of our culture. I am arguing against prejudice. I am suggesting that the labels used to identify groups of people enable prejudice. From what you've said, you have encountered more than your share of it. I don't know if exchanging one label for another will fix anything. Both you and Chani have said you don't. But what if the label is wrong? What if the role the label is attached to has changed and is no longer adequately described by the label?

"...and to make everyone, male and female, as much alike as possible. I like Chani's term "homogeneous blob" as a definition of what we don't want to become as a human race. I have used the term "homogeneous and featureless soup" on occasion to desribe that state of humanity. Individual characteristics disappear and we are simply one of a whole. I don't like that. I am uniquely me, warts (so to speak) and all."

Obviously men are not female and women are not male and they won't ever be. However, our respective roles in the family have changed and are no longer divided along gender lines. Men are more than capable of cooking, cleaning, taking care of children. Women are more than capable of earning a living, performing mechanical tasks, balancing a checkbook. Do the labels of husband and wife still adequately describe the roles men and women play in a marriage today?

Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses. I think that everyone deserves an equal chance to succeed.

"I know that it is popular these days to be 'inclusive,' and non-discriminatory..." why shouldn't we as a society be all inclusive and non-descriminatory? I don't think of this as a fad. I am not advocating political correctness. When I am hiring a programmer should I reject the female applicants because I happen to think that women belong barefoot and pregnant? I don't and I wouldn't, but some people still do. I have worked for such people.

Rejecting change in the name of preserving diversity is to deny our ability to grow and adapt to new roles, new environments.

I don't want to make everyone the same. I want everyone to have the same opportunities, to not have them taken away because of some label suggests they aren't capable. This preserves diversity, even ebraces it, by acknowledging that anyone is capable of anything.

The Atavist said...

I can't argue with what I think are your basic positions: Fairness, equalty under the law for everyone, etc. I just get my shorts in a knot when things morph from voluntary action and interaction to thou shalt do this or that under penalty of law, no matter how silly it is.

In one of my companies, for two decades, three out of four senior management positions have been held by females. Sheer co-incidence. If I had found the same qualities I sought better represented in the males who applied, I would have chosen them instead. I am truly neutral in the male/female 'thing' in nearly every context. I just don't to be told that I have to hire a certain ratio of men/women or anything else.

Way back in the 1970's, I had a hugely disproportionate ratio (compared to society at large) of gays/straights in that same company. With attrition, it reverted to the norm over a decade or so, but I and my managers had made decisions based entirely on merit. I discriminate all the time. To discriminate really means to make reasoned choices, not to be exclusionary (or worse) based on prejudices. I discriminate in favour of the competent, the loyal, the industrious. I don't care what their sexual orientation is, their skin colour, their nationality or their religion. What I don't want is to be charged with discrimation against a particular individual, someone who is less competent, less motivated, and less ethical than other applicants, because of accusations that my choices were based on anything other than the quailities I seek.

I know I have strayed from the main thrust of your topic, but I think all these things are intertwined. All I want is to treat everyone as a person, nothing more, nothing less. But, I still maintain that describing someone with a few adjectives does no harm. A 'white car' is less descriptive than 'a white, 1942 Oldsmobile with red upholstery and torn seat-covers,' but it is still true and ultimately quite helpful when we are trying to find it.


Bob said...

I totally agree that affirmative action or hiring quotas or any such government-mandated actions do not help. I think I said that earlier, or at least alluded to it.

But I don't think that you and I will agree on labels for people. And that is okay. I respect your views and I believe I understand them.

I feel that as long as labels are misused to categorize people and even judge them, labels are wrong. If our society were advanced enough to see beyond the label to the person it is attached to I would be okay with them. Unfortunately, that isn't the case today. I long for the day when it is, and you and I, and everyone can agree to what a white, male, German/Canadian businessman is.

IMHO, too!

I do hope that you, or anyone who reads my blog or my comments, understands that I am expressing my opinion. I may argue my position over yours, but it doesn't mean that I am right and that you are wrong. I read, consider, and appreciate everything that is written here.

Maggie said...

Bob, I really loved how this made me think in many directions. I believe like many women here, I too genderize due to the place I speak from. I would have to bet that men do it too. But in no way would I ever want to exclude anyone from discussions, otherwise how would we get a broader perspective? And I always enjoy your perspective left at my blog.

I have found myself like you, better able to make friends with men most of my life. When I came to this forum (the blog world in general) looking for communication and friendship for my sanity, I was surprised at how many women I connected with.

I will think on this topic further and I know it will give me pause when writing posts...

Mother of Invention said...

Wow! neat thought-provoking debate going on here! Great post, sparking thoughts in many directions.

I think both genders can and are doing roles that have been reversed for many years. My sister's and my best friend's husbands are the stay-at-home people who cook, shop, clean and take care of kids, while the 2 wives are teaching.

They have paved the way for broader thinking in the next generation in their households at least, and many others who know them. It will be interesting how this all pans out for the next generation of parents.

I suspect there will be even more role reversals in the homes as well as the job world.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,
I finally made it back & I'm glad this post is still on the front page. (Makes me wonder what you're cooking up next.)

My husband is, like you, a male who prefers female company. That was a shocker for me when we first got together: a man who'd rather hang out in the kitchen talking than sitting in the living room watching sports?

As a result, I feel fortunate because I know my husband has a pretty good idea about what makes me tick. After 22 years together, we've identified the recurrent hazards, but they still trip us up: I get huffy when he takes an hour to clean the kitchen because I feel it implies I don't do a thorough job; he is offended by the mere mention of any home maintenance project because he thinks I want him to be Norm Abrams (although I've always preferred Tommy).

I agree that gender stereotypes are perpetuated by both sexes, and both sexes need to take some responsibility for neutralization. I'm certainly guilty of doing it for both males and females. Recently, I realized I didn't feel comfortable when I saw an attractive young woman on TV speaking as an expert on poker. No rational reason for it, just a knee-jerk reaction.

But if women are writing and speaking from their personal experience, and they are depicting the men a certain way or excluding them from the equation all together isn't that because that is their experience? Too often, the men in their lives choose to go out to happy hour with co-workers or golfing with their league instead of coming home. The men in their lives blanch in the presence of a diaper or a load of laundry or a sink full of dishes. Maybe these wives are diplomatic when they approach their husbands for help, and maybe they are banshees - most likely a combination of both!

There are a lot of planned, well-thought out blog entries, but the average blog entry is more of a diary or a rant, which does not demonstrate the full spectrum of the writer's beliefs or real-life responses.

urban-urchin said...

For a long time after my first was born I struggled for a long time to figure out who I was, and to finally embrace being a Mom- esp since I had identified myself so much by what I had done for a living- this was a huge change.

For me to write as a mother, doesn't mean I am trying to diminish the role of my husband as father or us as parents, merely it is my voice. One that I fought hard to find. It's good to question these things Bob- as usual you raise some interesting and thought provoking questions.

Lex said...

This is my first time over here. Great post.

I think you are right in asserting that we identify first as a gender. Not only do I assume I am writing to a primarily female audience, I find that I seek reflections of myself in other areas as well. The vast majority of my favorite music is by female solo artists. That has always puzzled me, but I'm still drawn.

Thanks for calling attention to this. I shall seek to be more mindful and inclusive in my writing (and music).

I'll definitely be back.

theflyingmum said...

Oh, Bob, if only you were the rule, rather than the exception. I have a hard time even getting my own husband to understand what you are saying here. He is a product of his parents midwestern conservative upbringing where the "mother" was (is) responsible for raising the kids. He is not wrong for this, it is what it is. I too am the product of a similarly conservative upbringing, but am trying to transcend it. Maybe if I choose more gender neutral language in our home lives, he'll pick it up. It's couldn't hurt, right?

Bob said...

Lex - The only way we (the collective, all inclusive we) can overcome prejudice of any kind is to change the way we identify ourselves. I think that this scares people, that their identity will be lost if they don't have a group, or groups to belong to.

thanks for coming over. I can only hope my future posts meet your expectations.

theflyingmum - it certainly couldn't hurt! They say hope springs eternal. I wish you luck with your husband, it certainly isn't an easy task you've set for yourself. Maybe you can start at the fringes, suggesting that he help you with some of these "wifely" tasks he leaves to you. My father-in-law (who is in his early 80's) was a prototypical father/husband. He worked outside the home, his wife worked inside the home and never the twain would meet. But when my mother-in-law was debilitized by a series of strokes that left her wheelchair bound in her 60's, he completely took over the household. He had the kitchen remodeled to suit him, he tries out new recipes and new appliances, he cleans the house (he bought a dyson vacuum cleaner), etc. My dad was raised similarly and now that he and my mom are retired they share household chores (she still cooks, but he helps clean the kitchen now!). So long story short - there's hope your husband could change. Good luck! And thanks for stopping by.