August Non-Fiction Book Club:

(94 Posts)
StewieGriffinsMom Mon 08-Aug-11 18:28:39

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StewieGriffinsMom Mon 08-Aug-11 18:33:19

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PettyCoat Thu 18-Aug-11 16:45:50

It was v expensive on Amazon so I have bought a copy on ebay, hope it arrives soon!

StewieGriffinsMom Mon 29-Aug-11 16:28:22

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StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 19:39:06

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PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:04:03

Hello, this is my first book club! Managed to finish the book yesterday. I liked her points about both genders 'getting something' out of monogamy early in the book (chapter 3, I think)

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:06:11

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PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:08:15

I think that there is such a strong social message of 'women like monogamy, men don't' that it was good to have a counter argument of it being best for both genders in terms of furthering the gene pool.

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:08:51

I mean their individual gene pools (genome?)

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:09:08

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bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:09:28

Hi everyone!

I loved that chapter too. I'm a biologist so theorising like that appeals to me smile it didn't shock me so much though - perhaps a consequence of studyig evolution etc. Brilliant though, I thought

bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:10:15

My first club too

Yes her discussion of the pill really did blow me away

SybilBeddows Wed 31-Aug-11 21:10:25

Hello, I read it about 10 years ago when my friends started getting married, haven't reread since.
But it is very good.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:10:53

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bucaneve Wed 31-Aug-11 21:11:04

Hello! This is my first book club too. Haven't actually read the book blush (but have read reviews/interviews online) so I'll mainly just lurk

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:14:45

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StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:15:51

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bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:17:17

I struggle with wifework. For example, we forgot a birthday of one of DH's sisters the other month and I felt guilty. He didn't think it was my job to remember, but deep down I evidently did! Absurd, isn't it

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:17:52

Yes, I think I saw MillyR's posts. Interesting!

I didn't know how strong the bias was to divorce proceedings being started by women. I thought that was interesting, especially as I guess a lot of countries used to mandate divorce proceedings being started by men only (can't find the page now so not sure which country or countries she was referencing!)

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:19:58

Hi bigkidsdidit, largely because of other posts on here referencing Wifework, I told DH a few months ago that I wasn't sending any birthday cards or gifts to his side of the family. He doesn't do it. I assume he never did it before we got married, and no ILs have mentioned it!

bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:20:11

Yes Pettycoat that was fascinating wasn't it! And the remarriage rates after divorce being so high for men

bucaneve Wed 31-Aug-11 21:21:12

The review that struck me the most was saying that she seemed a bit resigned to the fact that even if they got men to 'help' more, women should just have to accept a sort of base level of unhappiness in their marriages because marriage is statistically better for the children.

I've heard that about homosexuality too, something along the lines of if everyone had kids they wouldn't all survive so it'd be better for one sibling to be gay so that they could help rear their siblings/villages kids without actually having any themselves. I think this happens in the animal kingdom as well.

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:21:15

It was hard not to buy a present for new DN though! I have reminded him to get one before he visits - so I haven't entirely quit the 'planning' part of that wifework!

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:24:53

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StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:26:46

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bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:26:54

Don't you think though, that for some things - like sending cards, or acceptig the children's party invitations - one person generally has to be on top of the planning? So things aren't done twice?

I suppose some sort of in and out tray system would work well too though

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:27:59

Yes, bucaneve, that was unusual to see in print. But I took it more to mean she thought that both H & W should be a bit fed-up rather than H getting most of the fun and W being unhappy.

She was very honest about her own bad experiences in marriage early on. It's interesting that things changed for her when she got married more than when she started co-habiting, and that that seemed to be a more general result as well. I wasn't really sure why that was, did anyone pick up on why?

SGM, do you mean the guys who declared they did the laundry but didn't know what kind of washing machine they had?!

bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:28:23

Yy SGM meals struck a chord

Without DH I stand in front of the fridge and just bite bits off random items

bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:29:18

Yes her marriage - I didn't really understand why she came home and IMMEDIATELY cooked that big meal

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:30:17

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Cleverything Wed 31-Aug-11 21:30:19

The bit about the % more housework that widowed men have to do was the bit that I felt the need to bookmark.
And I really share her experience that it got an awful lot easier to run the house without my husband in it any more.

Kitsilano Wed 31-Aug-11 21:31:32

I loved the laundry section too - I think it was the number of Australian men claiming to do laundry using an appliance that wasn't actually in the house!

The other point that really resonates with me was the self-delusion that is required for both husband and wife to convince themselves they are in an equal or fair relationship because that's what they believe in when actually they clearly aren't. I think that applies to my relationship sometimes and many of my friends.

TimeWasting Wed 31-Aug-11 21:32:29

Hello! Only about half-way through the book, but am soooo glad I finally got round to buying it!
I've been involved in many threads on housework/wifework/cognitive dissonance etc. and reading the book is crystallising it all for me.

I've been doing wifework since DH first moved in with me, years before we married. In fact, I was doing it for my horrible housemates before I met DH.
I'm really embarrassed, but it really is a powerful subconscious drive I guess.

I want to buy lots of copies for everyone I know.

Cleverything Wed 31-Aug-11 21:32:58

Yep, the meals too. Some days I just eat a random assortment of protein, carbs and veg. When XH was in the house I would have fretted much more about providing a meal.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:33:24

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bucaneve Wed 31-Aug-11 21:33:31

Yes that would be better PettyCoat both partners being a bit fed up rather than one happy and one reeeaally fed up.

I think maybe when you are living together it can still seem young and cool and bohemian in your head and then suddenly you are a 'grown up' and A Wife and you sort of subconsciously think - right I must now act like a grown up wife (like our mums?)

bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:33:52

Do you think this delusion is part of the process to actually having more equal relationships? One of the stages - first we say it, then we believe it, then we do it?

Kitsilano Wed 31-Aug-11 21:33:58

Timewasting - i agree - I really want to give copies to a couple of friends of mine but fear they might not take it too well...

Kitsilano Wed 31-Aug-11 21:35:11

Interesting bigkids - I hadn't thought of it like that.

Cleverything Wed 31-Aug-11 21:37:32

I'm DESPERATE to give one to my sister, but she already thinks I'm odd. She is very happy with her bunting-cupcakery-cath-kidston-husband-pandering ways.

TimeWasting Wed 31-Aug-11 21:38:42

Food is a major one for me. I had been vegan for a year when DH moved in, a year later I wasn't anymore.
Because cooking two separate meals is a pain in the ass.

I've gone vegan again this week, finally, and am trying to encourage DH to take responsibility for his own food intake.
By buying lots of frozen pizza and chips in for him.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:42:22

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PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:42:27

bigkidsdidit yes, I think how you say it is important for how you see it/believe it. Both H & W need to know who is 'in charge' of what area but also what tasks that involves and how those tasks are split.

For example, I do the online food shop but DH must still write finished things on the list or they won't get bought: I don't own all parts of the task and have to go round checking up on his bit. I try not to say 'thank you for helping me' , just 'have you got your list, great, thanks' - being polite but not implying that it 'should' be 100% my task and he's 'helped' me... I guess the analogy is I would say at work, 'can you write this report, great, thanks' if it was part of a colleague's job description but 'can you help me with my report as I'm really short of time this week' if it was actually my job but I was pressed for time or something.

Does that make sense?!

madwomanintheattic Wed 31-Aug-11 21:42:57

i couldn't get hold of a copy straight away. sad
lurking though - have ordered one, but it didn't come.

dh used to do all the present/ cards stuff here, and then he had an accident which resulted in some memory issues. it was horrifying to realise that i had pretty much no idea whose birthday was when. i think you're right though, one person doing it has to be saner... i'm still rubbish at it now. it does make you feel guilty even if you know it's not your Job...

bucaneve Wed 31-Aug-11 21:44:26

YY I think food will be a major one if/when I ever move in with my boyfriend. We like completely different things and he only really knows how to bung stuff in the oven as opposed to cooking from scratch. I worry I will end up doing all of the cooking rather than having to eat the processed rubbish he eats. Luckily he seems quite receptive to my attempts to teach him how to cook

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:45:26

SGM I completely agree on the eating, I definitely would have put on less weight if living alone. DH is a lot taller than me, any meal that satisfies him will probably be too big for me, but I still eat it! blush

bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:46:23

Petty absolutely! I tie myself up on knots being polite and thankful to lovely DH without implying he's helping me do something I ought to be doing

Eg CM off this week - DH has taken the time off because I'm busy at work. I wanted to convey how pleased I was he'd done it and grateful - after reading all those horrors of threads in relationships - without thanking him just for beig a father!

Arg

Cleverything Wed 31-Aug-11 21:47:28

I tried to implement a 'house diary' before DH and I separated, with birthdays, parties etc in. Didn't work - he never used it, so it was just like me having an extra diary.
Now he doesn't have me prompting, he misses out. Last Saturday he forgot to go to a wedding celebration BBQ / party that he had RSVP-ed yes to.

bigkidsdidit Wed 31-Aug-11 21:47:41

To clarify - grateful he'd done 100% of it, not grateful he'd done 50%

Cleverything Wed 31-Aug-11 21:49:05

bucaneve You can still play to your strengths. I didn't mind doing all the cooking, but it was annoying having to decide what to cook all the time. That's the most exhausting part for me and cannot be delegated.

bucaneve Wed 31-Aug-11 21:52:02

That's a good point actually, I quite enjoy cooking and it would mean he would have to do all the washing up which is my most hated of all household chores.

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 21:53:23

madwomanintheattic I still do most of the cards to mutual friends, friends of the DSes etc. I just figured that as DH probably never sent his family birthday cards before we got married, I was actually 'overdoing' it and applying my own standards to him. So I think that's a bit different somehow to saying 'this task needs to be done, which of us will do it?' - in his mind, there was no such task!

madwomanintheattic Wed 31-Aug-11 21:54:01

petty, same here with diet. i've been steadily putting on weight for 13 years, largely due to living with a man a foot taller than me with a huge appetite. he cooks a lot tbh, but sometimes it's just tooooo much. (can't win, really!) and yep, i eat it all up. nicely. like a good girl.

i don't thank him out of the ordinary for cooking though. it's the actual cleaning and stuff where i feel most guilty of that, i think. and he does do a lot. but i've become sort of normed to feel grateful. and a bit diminished myself for my 'failure' to do it without help...

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 21:56:42

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madwomanintheattic Wed 31-Aug-11 21:56:44

interesting about the different standards thing. that's always dragged up in 'defence' of men who do feck all in the house though. grin <not here, obv>

madwomanintheattic Wed 31-Aug-11 21:58:02

ds1 wouldn't take his bag if i didn't remind him. he's 9. were you grateful he'd taken her though, sgm?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 22:01:04

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bucaneve Wed 31-Aug-11 22:01:59

To be fair I'm sure all our DPs/DHs have higher standards then us in different things. For example I will just turn up at the train station and get a train ticket for £££. DP on the other hand will remember the week before hand to book it online and avoid zone 1 for much less £. (He is also nice and texts me reminding me which train I need and to remember to buy a plus bus ticket or whatever)

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 22:02:14

Cleverything I agree re the planning being work. DH now does a lot more of that, he's more likely than me to pop to the shop for some fish after picking up the DSes for example. At the end of the day, if there are beans in the cupboard and bread in the bread bin, I won't go to bed hungry!

bucaneve, if you can afford it between you, would always advise getting a dishwasher! <nothing to do with feminism, just SOO much nicer!>

madwomanintheattic, I always feel bad if I'm sitting down and DH is doing a chore. Never mind if he sat down the previous night whilst I did chores. And it's not him making me feel bad, it's me. Gah, why is that?! I am fighting it though by sitting (wo)manfully on smile

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 22:02:14

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StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 22:03:09

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PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 22:04:11

Yep, SGM, I wouldn't have felt any gratitude there either!

Cleverything Wed 31-Aug-11 22:07:28

It certainly was a contributing factor in my case!

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 22:09:57

SGM I think you are right about the little things. DH & I do try and split chores equally (we WOH/SAH equal hours and do tidying, laundry, cooking, about equally) but I always feel like my brain is 'fuller' than his with 'stuff' (pay school lunches, fill out milk form, label uniform, get DCs' feet measured...)

It's more 'motherwork' than 'wifework', maybe.

HereBeBolloX Wed 31-Aug-11 22:15:09

oh here you all are
forgot it had its separate topic
it's ages since i read it

But what I remember, is how important it is that men do the planning as well as the doing. The doing is the easy bit.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 22:18:53

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PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 22:26:53

SGM I've done that with packing too!

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 31-Aug-11 22:27:58

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PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 22:36:18

Goodnight SGM, I am tired too. Thank you for arranging the club.

Can we come back and post another time or is it like a webchat and we all stop after tonight?

HereBeBolloX Wed 31-Aug-11 22:38:20

No come back and post again!

PettyCoat Wed 31-Aug-11 22:40:38

OK, HereBe, I will try and do that! 'Night, all!

bucaneve Wed 31-Aug-11 22:44:54

Everyone saying good night has made me sleepy (bit like when you see someone yawn)

Night all

Tentatively bumping because I think three (?) of us at least have just read this ... (hope that's ok).

Takver Thu 22-Sep-11 21:17:14

Happy to see the bump, LRD, as I'm half way through it so good to see what others think.

So far I've been wondering about her early chapters & assertion that there are no female dominated societies at all. I don't know enough to be sure whether this is correct or not, but from what I remember of the very tiny bit of women's studies I did many years ago, I wasn't sure if it was 100% the case.

I do think the biological explanation for the origin of wifework is interesting, but not sure that I find it 100% compelling.

Yes, I wondered about that. I need to read the matriarchies thread.

To be honest, I felt she went on a bit about the biology, but my impression now I've had time to think is she probably felt she had to do that not so much because it's hugely convincing, but because so many people will not hear any argument against the status quo because they believe the status quo is 'natural'.

I'm up to chapter 10. My neck's a bit sore from so much nodding grin

This quote from chapter 1 seems to me to sum up the problem: 'Just tell me what to do and I'll do it,' he protests. But, as far as she's concerned, this only underscores the frustration. Which is that the joint enterprise of marriage is really her problem. He's just a volunteer.

I'm not too sure about her assertion that there's a huge difference between marriage and cohabitation wrt wifework. I've been cohabiting for 13 years and the problem seems identical to when I was married. I'm also not sure about the lack of social respect I'm supposed to be feeling for being a cohabitee rather than a proper Wife. Perhaps Australia is more traditional in this respect (I'm assuming she's australian?) or perhaps I'm really thick-skinned and don't realise my married friends are looking down on me.

The other thing I'm a bit hmm about is her attitude to meals and how women on their own prefer to just have a sandwich or pick at their DC's leftovers. It doesn't sound like good self-care to me. I've always cooked myself proper dinners because I'm worth it wink and if I find myself just picking at stuff, it's usually a sign I'm getting depressed.

God, it's depressing though, isn't it? The level of denial required to prop up this whole shaky structure is exhausting in itself! I think it's affecting how I feel about paid work. I really should be looking harder for more hours at the moment but I get this dreadful sinking feeling because I know how stressed and resentful I'll feel about the lack of 'help'. When I last worked FT we fell out about it a lot.

Takver Fri 23-Sep-11 19:56:33

Yes, I was very unconvinced by that bit about meals. I can't speak from wider experience, but certainly in our relationship I'm the one that will always cook a proper meal regardless, whereas DH will eat bits and pieces if he's at home on his own.

I was also a bit wavery on the stuff about men doing stuff badly (putting the children to bed in tracky bottoms. Part of me agrees, but OTOH I know that I find it utterly infuriating when I'm doing a DIY job or whatever my way, and DH criticises the way I do it because he would do it differently. Yes, his way might be better (because he spends lots of time mending things) - but to some extent I need to learn from my own mistakes. Or my way might just be different, and good enough for what is needed.

So given that, part of me thinks - does it matter if kids sleep in their tracky bottoms, or if the laundry isn't pegged so it dries flat, or whatever.

Obviously there are degrees - cooking pasta and tomato ketchup as your only meal is definitely at the undoubtedly wrong end of the spectrum grin

Plenty - yes, I nodded at that quotation too. And I agree with you, I'm not convinced there's a huge marriage/cohabitation difference IME but I wonder how generational that is.

I did agree with her about the meals, actually. I am 5'4 and slight; a salad in the evening is plenty for me. I end up cooking what DH needs to eat and it is easy for me to overeat. How much is that just me having crappy self-control, though?

I wondered the same thing as you takver about doing things badly. But I think the problem I've noticed isn't so much DH doing stuff badly, it's him doing half a job and assuming I will do the rest. I can see that sounds really equal, but I do find it incredibly annoying - because it's incredibly petty crap that he doesn't do. I reckon if he puts a wash on and I put it on the line, or he puts clothes on the line and I get them in. that makes sense. But he'll leave things unfinished when he's done so little it's hardly worth bothering. And I'm realizing how much it annoys me.

Like, he'll put leftover food in a bowl and put clingfilm over it - but won't reach over and put it in the fridge. Or he'll make a sandwitch and clear up everything except the butter knife. Or he'll tell me that he didn't bother to wrap the bread up because he has 'checked' and it goes stale no matter whether it's in a bag/bin or not.

Rightly or wrong, I have just stopped tidying things away and he was puzzled the first few times the food had to be thrown away because it wasn't in the fridge. The thing is, he claims and believes he does jobs when they need doing and I am just overly sensitive and do them too often. So the bit where she talks about the men who claimed to have - and be the main users of! - a model of washing machine they didn't even own rang true for me.

I think a salad is a perfectly proper meal LRD - it was the bit about just eating the kids' leftovers that appalled me I think. I did used to do that on occasion when I was a LP but that was because of money issues.

I've just finished the chapters on emotional work and sex and am feeling quite smug relieved - In these areas at least, I think we are getting it right.

What's annoying me most at the moment is the way DP seems to treat me like some sort of external memory device. I'm getting better at resisting this -

him (waving a pile of papers at me): These are very important
me: Oh, you'd better put them in a safe place then

him: don't let me forget to take the cash card tomorrow
me: don't let me forget to not let you forget to take the cash card tomorrow

him (standing next to the shopping list pinned to the wall): we are running out of ketchup
me (who doesn't like ketchup anyway): Oh
- we ran out of ketchup and nobody died smile

I've just realized I'm having the same conversations on three threads. blush

Is there something about autumn and housework?!

I think leftovers would be fine depending what you make your children - I was brought up eating the same meals as my parents from very early on, so leftovers sounds odd to me too. But if you just mean you give the children spag bol at 5pm then reheat if for you at 7, that'd seem ok to me personally.

Congratulations on the sex! wink grin

I think we're pretty good on the emotional work - one thing DH is great at is taking the time to talk through stuff about work with me. It is a huge help. And he doesn't do the 'don't let me forget' thing any oftener than I do it (that would drive me mad).

He's just finished reading delusions of gender and has agreed to read wifework but I suspect he will get bored (I sold him the other because 'it's like ben goldacre' - which it is).

I don't know if this makes sense, but I feel really petty complaining and simultaneously annoyed that I feel petty. He's really pretty good. And he'll read Wifework and think 'wow, I'm pretty good'. I know I am comparatively fortunate. It's just .... why should I settle for 'well, he's a shedload better than my dad ever was to my mum'? confused

Takver Mon 26-Sep-11 10:22:13

I've just finished Wifework last night - will come back and post but my immediate feeling is that I much preferred Delusions of Gender, because it was so well referenced and thorough (I will also confess to liking BG and being slightly geeky blush ). There were just a few too many places in Wifework where I thought 'hang on, I'm sure I remember studies that completely contradict what you are saying here'. I did also find it overly heavy on the biological determinism.

Having said that, reading it as a polemic rather than an academic study, I thought it was excellent and thought provoking.

Ooh, I'd be really interested to know where she can be contradicted - I'm not sciency so appreciated how Cordelia Fine actually tells you in her footnotes what she's on about. I found Wifework a lot less helpful in that respect.

Oh yeah, reheated spag bol is fine, I was thinking more of the one-and-a-half slightly licked fish fingers off their plates sort of leftovers.

re: the sex - while the quality is marvellous, we fail miserably in terms of quantity - I think we are averaging about once every 6 weeks at the moment. We have a tiny, thin-walled house and teens who keep very odd hours, so privacy is hard to come by.

I don't know if this makes sense, but I feel really petty complaining and simultaneously annoyed that I feel petty.

Well, it's only housework, it's not important, it's not really even proper work ... in fact, it's trivial and you are probably being a control-freak! wink

grin at slightly licked fish fingers. Yum!

I always wonder about the quantity of sex. People lie. I dunno how much they lie. DH and I have problems in this area and have had sex probably about 12 times since we got married which averages slightly less than once a month. But in previous relationships I have always wanted more sex than my male partner and yet when they talk in public I've had to repress a slight grin because they reckon they want 'slightly more sex than average'. I think most people like to believe that (me included I'm sure). I really doubt that the average amount of sex is anything like as high as people claim it is. Anyways ... can of worms ...

Btw, with housework I am not remotely a control freak at the moment, though I am repressing shudders whenever I walk on the kitchen floor and my feet stick to it. DH hasn't yet discovered it ain't self-cleaning, but we shall see how long it takes .... trivial as it is ...

millimurphy Wed 28-Sep-11 08:47:29

I would like to read this - it sounds very interesting. Just worried that I'll end up even more angry than i am now?

It's having the opposite effect on me, millimurphy - it's helping me work out the hows and whys of the situation, like the incredible pressures on women and men to conform to outdated gender roles. It's helping me think more dispassionately and rationally about things and I'm not nearly so personally angry with DP about it all. I'm more hopeful than I've been for a long time that we can actually change things without either of us ending up feeling like shit. Of course all that might change if he reads the book and comes back with a load of defensive bollox but just at the moment, it feels like a solvable problem smile

Yes, I agree with plenty.

I think actually I didn't respond very strongly to reading the book because so many people on here have either worked out the same ideas on their own and articulated them, or quoted from the book, that I felt I already had confronted some of the real surprises.

However, nothing could compare to how utterly, inarticulately angry and depressed and self-blaming I felt when I lived with a guy who really took me for a ride on these issues. And it is so liberating to look back and think, 'oh, I wasn't being trivial, it was awful that I did those things!' grin

I think as well, the book is very good at showing how all sorts of areas of relationships are interconnected, so I felt there were always things where I could look at me and DH and think smugly that we did that bit fine. The author is very good too at saying where she messed up, so you're invited to judge her a bit too - all in all it was very constructive, IMO. Not in the 'get angry with your man and leave him' mould at all.

millimurphy Thu 29-Sep-11 06:34:39

It is now on my Amazon wishlist - just need to bite the bullet and click through to 'checkout', lol.

CatherineWheel Mon 14-Nov-11 14:17:46

<settling in and marking place. Off to make a start on the book now...>

SweetTheSting Mon 14-Nov-11 15:54:36

Hope you enjoy it, CatherineWheel!

Takver Mon 14-Nov-11 21:07:29

Will be back to see what you think smile

cookingfat Wed 16-Nov-11 12:01:19

Have raced through Ch1 'The job description' while DD naps.

Main point arising is how to apply what I learn to to my own life? Does a Wifework exercise book for couples exist? It should.

The most interesting points for me:
*the remarriages (or not for the women) and how more needy men seem to be in terms of being married. Had never thought about this difference before.
*the better the job/educational achievements, the less happy women seem to be in marriage. An obvious one perhaps, but why is this the case? (rhetorical Q)
*men use marriage to define their masculinity. Nod, nod, nod in agreement. An explanation of why men stay in unhappy marriages perhaps? They need the social validation.
*the Wifework list. God yes! Especially the 'extra child' analogy. On a personal level, at least I don't have to do anything for DH's family relationships. The others may have rung true though! As a new SAHM, some of these were to be expected -what will be interesting is how this changes when I return to work.
*the 'temporary' situation that arises with the arrival of children. Temporary? Am only a few months in, and am thinking 'yeah. right'.
*how childcare for husbands seems to be fun and games. Childcare for wives means entertaining them while you sort the house and do 1001 other things... leaving less time for just fun.

vezzie Fri 18-Nov-11 16:21:56

I have finally got around to reading this.
I found the writing style annoying - clicheed and tabloidy, with far too many cringey "more x than a y!" constructions.
I didn't find anything in it that surprising because I grew up with a mother who stomped about muttering a lot about things like "he likes growing carrots so I have to scrub the bloody things when I could buy a bag of clean ones for sixpence" - she did all this anyway though and ranted and raved at her daughters (not her son) about being taken for granted about housework (despite working very full time).
Reading Wifework is not a step forward for me because it has not empowered me to discuss any of this with my partner, or with anyone else. It has just reinforced the situation where I get all this, but sometimes it feels as if I am the only one on the planet who does. DP gets it a bit. But we're still 2 (relatively) sane people floating in a vacuum ;)

vezzie Fri 18-Nov-11 18:37:59

Sorry to be so dismissive. I suppose I have a jaundiced view because of the bit at the end where she insists that ended marriages are terrible for children; and I feel that only the genuine threat of ending individual arrangements is enough, on a societal scale, to make any difference to how these things work. I mean one of the strongest messages in the book is that these inequities are just not talked about. I don't see this book as a lever for change, and that is what matters to me. Understanding what is going on is not enough, actually, just painful.

I think that there are very powerful penalties for talking about workload inequality within the marriage, and very few rewards; if you are determined to stay in the marriage, you will find that you will have an easier life if you pretend it isn't happening. As we know, this is what nearly everyone does. And things don't change.

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