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Can your spouse do your job?

January 1st, 2011 at 10:25 pm

You know those shows where some TV host comes into a house where the wife is so "underappreciated" and sends her off to a spa weekend and the husband has to handle the house, kids and her job?

Those are complete crap.

First of all, my husband could not do my job. I doubt many of you could either Smile Of course, this is after 6 years of college including a master's degree in theoretical algebra and 10 years of experience in the field. My boss can't do my job, no one else in my company can, and they would be hard pressed to find anyone who would move in to this small town part of Kansas that could.

However, and this is where the tv shows are always lacking: I COULDN'T DO HIS JOB EITHER! I wouldn't be able to fix a tractor. Or pickup. Or swather. Or be able to weld. Or know when to pull a cow into the barn to help it have its calf, and when to leave it alone. I couldn't stay out in all weathers and fight through the heat and the cold and the wind. I can't. I've tried.

What does that prove? If someone with a camera followed my husband to my job and expected him to do it, he would pretty much look like an idiot. If someone with a camera followed me out to our farm and expected me to do it, I would look like Paris Hilton or that other anorexic girl I can't remember the name of. All it proves is that each of us are good at our respective jobs and each of us are using our skills to support our household.

These shows always show how the dad can't handle the kids, either. Or house chores. And they make the man look like a douche and incompetent. I take exception to these, because wanting someone to come in and take over a responsibility they haven't been doing will naturally cause some upheaval. Expecting someone who hasn't been doing a chore to do it flawlessly the first time actually means that that chore has such low skill level that any idiot could do it. I don't know about you, but I think someone who can manage a household and children (and work outside the home, if that is applicable) has a great skill set that needed to be polished before it got to be the well oiled machine it is, and throwing someone into that position with no support isn't really fair. (Remember, the wife is off for three days of pampering).

When I was on bedrest for 10 days, the house did get a little dirty. Ok, it got pretty dirty. But, we didn't starve, we had clean clothes to wear and when he was home, whenever I needed food or water or help up so I could go to the bathroom, he lept right to it. Just because he did things differently than I did them didn't mean he did them wrong.

Thoughts?

5 Responses to “Can your spouse do your job?”

  1. mamasita Says:

    Exactly! I think it is only fair in these situations to look at the big picture: did anyone die? did anyone starve? With a little more time on the job, ok, expectations can be raised a bit.

  2. Single Guy Says:

    Perhaps this indicates we shouldn't watch these shows? Seriously, depending on the work and chores, some men would be perfectly fine doing women's for a few days, and for some women the opposite would hold true as well. What you are seeing here is that reality shows are just that - shows. They are not documentaries. If they get someone that is competent, and it shows during filming, trust me - it won't get put on the air. If you want to see the worst of this phenominon, watch Wife Swap. The producers never pick even somewhat normal people. If your family was selected for that show, my first advice would be to get psychiatric help, because obviously you need it.

    Along the same vein, game shows don't pick random people, or the first people to sign up, or the best people (though Jeopardy is an exception to this), instead they pick people based on demographics. Also depending on the show, they will pick based on a person's "bubbly" personality or good looks (prime time shows usually).

    In both cases the idea is to get eyeballs watching the show. Reality, randomness, and/or luck has nothing to do with any of these shows.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    Oh boy - you've hit on a pet peeve of mine.

    #1 - You (meaning people in these shows!) can sit around and whine all day how your husband does nothing to help you - but if these were the expectations you set up early in the relationship and/or you can't communicate that you need more help, well, you have bigger issues. My friends delight in telling me their husband is their other child. Sorry, I don't want another child!!! If that is the relationship I ended up in, I think I'd be better off single.

    #2 - Most people I know in this situation are control freaks and delight on some level in thinking that no one else could possibly do their job. Thus, even if their husband mate/did do more or help with the kids, it would be all wrong, and then they would just complain more about it. That whole attitude just drives me insane. I've seen some relationships where I Wasn't quite sure the husband was really that non-helpful - just that their wives were insane control freaks who wouldn't let them do anything to help.

    I think a lot of it does come from with trying to feel important as a stay-at-home-mom. Sure, it's a tough job (I wouldn't want to do it, personally). But, it tends to come with this type emotional baggage. Then again, my spouse stays home and instead of fighting about who works harder, we work together to make each other's lives as easy as possible. What a novel idea! For us, it is simple respecting that we both work hard, and appreciating that the other one does the stuff that we don't really want to do. Being a team means we can focus on our own strengths and be better together than we would be alone.

    As a working mom with a house hubby, I think I come across this a lot because have just had a lot of conversations with women in awe that I would leave my child "with a man" or that he would actually cook or do housework. As such, people say a LOT of stupid things to me! IT is also clear that 99% of the women I know expect that I do all of the housework and that my husband doesn't really do anything. Just a warm body that makes sure the kids are okay? That's just the way it is. Men are "useless." What a pity that I don't at least make mine work and earn money!

    I agree with your post. I wouldn't want to do his job, and he wouldn't want to do mine. That is for sure! We'd both look like idiots - of course.

  4. HouseHopeful Says:

    I agree as well. There are plenty of jobs that I couldn't just 'jump into'.

  5. Jerry Says:

    My wife is a professional, classically-trained soprano... no way I can fill her shoes. I am a medical student... she can't do what I'm being trained to do. We both clean and cook and parent our daughters. Sometimes she does more (depending largely on exams), sometimes I do more (depending on rehearsals and concerts), and by golly, sometimes it leads us to need a little outside help. But I'll tell you what... neither one of us is lazy, we both try hard to support each other, and we are a team. I bleeping hate these TV shows that make all guys out to be misogynistic dorks. I'd rather have some insurance of teamwork than be with someone who acts like a service worker of some sort, anyway.
    Jerry

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