Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Setting back the women's movement

I think I have a 1950's housewife trapped inside me.  I'm down with women's lib and am thankful for those who have fought to shatter the glass ceilings (or at least make one hell of a crack).  I'm thankful that expectations of women in the workplace or their capabilities for success are high(er).  As a kid, I had to grow up pretty fast as the result of my parents divorce and being an only child, I observed a lot.  From watching my mom go from a 2 story home in the country in a comfortable two income household to having to move with her 8 year old daughter to an apartment in a less than ideal neighborhood on a salary that was considered a notch above livable at the time with sporadic (and low) child support payments.  I remember one of my great aunts saying "I seriously don't know how you two survive on what you make even with child support."  I don't know either but somehow we did.  There's something to be said about having that kind of strength in a role model growing up...going from thinking a man was needed to live to showing it's not required even if it is hard.  It evolved to big dreams for me that I would end up moving to a big city and doing fabulous things.

Enter the Mr when I was 17.

It's not that I changed my whole life for a man but as things got more serious, my dreams of living in a rat infested apartment (which would likely be all I could afford...if that), hanging out with people who might've been cast as extras in Desperately Seeking Susan and becoming a savvy New Yorker or Hollywood rock band manager seemed less important.  When you're fat (though I'd kill to be that "fat" now) you feel thankful someone can see past that and see you for YOU.  It changes your priorities a bit.  As we've settled into our life and you learn more about each other through talks, experiences, fights and everything in between and you learn what each others strengths and weaknesses are and how they compliment each other.   For instance, just as I can't work with the public because I have no fuse anymore, I know he can.  Therefore car buying experiences are left to him.  He has a very strict budget and terms we set up before hand and he knows to stick with it because he has to live with me.  ;-)  I have been virtually patted on the head by salesmen, been talked down to or like I don't know what the hell I'm saying/doing by men who get off on having power over a woman coming into a dealership and I just know that I need to step away from that.  I will punch one of those effers in the throat if I hear condescension.  But the Mr, they never see him coming.  They see a gullible "nice guy" with an easy going demeanor and think "sucker."  Then he whips out all of his research and a fair offer they would be stupid to refuse and the deal is done.  It's one of those things that I know some people just thrive on.  I don't.  It's top three worse ways to spend my time so I just know I need to step back.

The Mr asked me one day what makes me happy and honestly, my answer sounded like a time warp.  "I love cooking for you and making you happy."  I know he wants me to do things that fulfill me but honestly, for me, there is nothing better than seeing his face when I make his favorite dish or make something new that he loves or my new favorite is making ice cream better than the ice cream shop we buy it from.  It may sound stupid or simple or like I'm setting back the woman's movement but I can't help it.  I get my creative outlet here and through working on projects so I'm basically happy with my life.  I know there are things I can improve on like keeping the house cleaner since I'm home working all day but I need to have goals, right?

I have no idea why I was inclined to share this with you guys.  I guess I was hoping maybe there's just one other person like me out there.  I never really thought of myself as a "people pleaser" and I would say in general, I'm not when it comes to needing others approval to a degree but I guess even if I'm still a stubborn old mule with my own very outspoken opinion, I still just need the approval of the only person in my life who knows everything about me and still loves me anyway.  Even when we had a rather heated disagreement the other day and we took some time apart...I missed him.  I wanted to grab things in the antique mall and say "look at this."  When he was alone, he confessed he missed me too and hated I didn't take the phone (which I never use anyway) so that he could call me.  Even when we're pissed at each other, the love still brims pretty close to the rim.  I don't know if it's an age thing or what.  Maybe it's part of being married to your best friend in a relationship where just the two of you make up your family or maybe I'm just a serious traditionalist and a shame to vaginas everywhere.  *shrug*

Are you a people pleaser or could give two poo's what people think or are you somewhere in between where you please only the people that have "earned" your effort?

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25 comments:

  1. I appreciate everything you do for me and while you may think you're setting back the women's movement, you're actually helping it by being the strong willed and passionate woman that you are, in my opinion.

    I love what you said about car dealers not seeing me coming. I like to think that I come in under the radar and then really stick it to them in the end when I tell them the deal and they come back and I head for the door. Not a single one has failed to come running after me yet! But even my skill in that department can be attributed in part to you because your 85% rule has worked every time and I even learned the walking away part from you, so you are the real secret to my success baby!

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    1. Aww thank hon! :D

      I have my strengths but when it comes to car dealers, keeping me out of jail means keeping me out of dealerships.

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  2. I think choice is the real point of the women's rights movement. I know that some diehard women's libbers out there will disagree with me and say that any woman staying home is giving in to the man, or some other inane thing like that. To me, the point is in having the choice to stay home or work outside the home, have children or not have children, live in the city or suburbs or country, and be a part of a relationship or not. Take away those choices for one gender and you have inequality and it pisses me off, but offer those choices and I don't care which one a person picks. I have the utmost respect for stay at home moms and people who work from home, but personally I just don't have it in me to do either. It doesn't mean either of us is wrong.

    Follow your bliss, whatever it is.

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    1. I like that! You're right, back in the day there was no choice and while I still do work it's just not in a conventional job. (It's taken about 5 years for my family to finally get that a work at home job is still a job!) We're happy "DINKs!" :)

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  3. In my opinion, that was what the women's movement was about. Choices. You choose to stay home and do what you do. That makes it just perfect. I would love to be able to make that choice also, but "we" chose to have the farm and it needs money to run so I work outside the home.

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    1. You're very right. I'm glad to have the choice. Big time hats off...farmers ROCK!

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  4. I loved reading this! I am somewhere in the middle of being a people pleaser and not caring. I used to always give in to what other people wanted, but not anymore.

    For me, since I've been a stay at home mom, I'm looked down on by other people. I never try to make them feel badly about their choices, but people find every opportunity to get in their little jabs. They assume because I don't work that I'm lazy and a mooch. Sometimes it really hurts my feelings. I have dedicated my life to my husband and kids, and it's like there is no respect for that anymore.

    I think if what people are doing makes them happy and isn't hurting anyone, then it's no one else's beeswax. If I do work at some point, it will have to be a job with minimal contact with people, because I am lot like you. I have no patience, and I also get anxious around a lot of people. I've thought of taking a part time job at nights doing stock somewhere, just so we'd have more spending money, but all these places don't give you a set schedule, and I'd need that having 2 kids and a husband that works out of town. So, at this point, I am still home with the kids. I do all the "traditional" things, and I am fine with that. Anyway, I just wanted to say I understand your feelings. :)

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    1. Are you kidding, SAHM is like THE hardest job in the world and to boot you don't get monetary pay for it! How is that fair? Obviously you get paid with the time and relationship building with your children but if someone has the means to stay home with their kids and they CHOOSE to do it, then they certainly shouldn't be judged for it!

      As long as people are doing what makes them happy, they're doing what they want and can financially afford it then I say more power to them! I think the judgment from others comes from a place of jealousy. I got a lot of that when I quit my job of 12 years and suddenly people thought I was available to sit at their house to wait for the cable man or to pick up UPS drops off. Um no, I quit to do a DIFFERENT job that just happens to be from home. People are weird sometimes.

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    2. What is with people and their entitlement? I have come across the same thing. People assume because I am home with MY kids that I'm free to watch their kids. I don't mind doing a favor, but some people have taken advantage of that. We have been able to afford for me to stay home, so that is what we both chose. We aren't rich or anything like that, and at times it's been hard, but we've done ok. I just didn't make a huge salary when I was working, and full time day care is crazy expensive, so we decided it would make more sense for me to stay home, which is what I'd always hoped to do, but I never thought it was possible. Of course, now that my kids are both in school, it's much easier to be SAHM than it was. I like to get all my chores and errands done while they are in school and then in the evenings it's homework and dinner and baths and all that stuff. People seem to think that I am on a vacation just because both are in school now (they go back in a couple weeks) but on school days I am still with my kids and taking care of them 7 hours a day.

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  5. I am a serious people pleaser, sometimes I wish I had more guts to stands up to others outside my family, but I'm always trying to get their approval too. Now I see that trait in my granddaughter and I feel badly that she will live her life that way too. But if pleasing people is what makes us happy.....it's not so bad....unless we end up doing something that makes us unhappy in order to please someone else. It doesn't usually come to that with me.
    My husband is the most important person in my life. I have three grown sons and two daughters-in-law and grandchildren, but my Du remains paramount in my universe. I work to please him more than anyone else, by cooking and the hundreds of other small ways in which I try to take care of him and make his life easier, from replacing his shampoo in the shower dispenser when it gets low, to putting the medicine he needs in the pomegranate juice he drinks 3 times a day, to buying every single item of clothing he owns (other than those the kids give him for birthdays and Christmas). He takes care of me too, in ways I'm sure I don't even realize. I really don't have any idea how I will exist in this world when he is not here beside me. The idea scares me to death. We are lucky women, to have found our soul mates when we were young...someone who loves us no matter how much they know about us, no matter how big we got, and I don't know about you, but even at my heaviest, I never had to doubt that love. REAL lucky!

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    1. The best gift you could give your granddaughter is to tell her NOT to live her life to please others completely. That was the greatest gift my dying FIL gave to the Mr in one of their final conversations. Knowing he was his father's son in most ways and especially people pleasing, he told him to live his life for HIM and what made HIM/US happy and not to worry about what others thought. He spent his whole life trying to do for others and while he was a happy man by nature, he also revealed that was one of his biggest regrets. It was the most freeing thing for the Mr and he's been so much happier because of it.

      We are very lucky to have found our men so young and have them love us through thick and thin (or in between as my case may be). That is true love when a man can watch a woman get close to 500 lbs and still tell me I'm beautiful, cute, etc.

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  6. When I read how you get so much pleasure from making sure the Mr. is happy I was so relieved because I always feel like such a dolt for feeling the same way! I recognize that I'm a very traditional "wife" and I'm okay with that. I work outside the home, but I love coming home to my man and knowing that I get to make him happy with a great dinner. I spend all day making sure the boss people are happy, so I always feel like I should spend time on HIM too.

    And you know what, I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all!!! Others may roll their eyes at us women folks that enjoy taking care of our men, but at the same time you get out what you put in and in a strong marriage that is multiplied exponentially! Right?

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    1. Yay!! So glad to know I'm not the only one! I used to feel like a dolt but then I have so many people tell me how they envy our relationship and I know we must be doing something right! You are absolutely right, you get out what you put in and seeing the lack of what some people are willing to put in and then griping about their bad marriages is like "uh...HELLO!?!!"

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  7. I agree with the comments about women's lib being about the freedom to choose. Done right, it's about freedom for us and whatever man we may choose to spend our life with. I'm happy playing what appears to be a traditional role but don't you DARE tell me I HAVE to behave that way. That's what bothers me about the stereotypical male salesperson/blue collar worker. They always want to talk to the husband, even if I'm the one that hired them in the first place.

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    1. Indeed and I'm so glad people have pointed that out. It's not considered "hip" to feel that way in this day and age but I say if you choose to take on and relish that role and it works for you then do it!

      Oh girl, the man who ignores me in those situations to talk to the Mr is in for a rude awakening. I remember one particular deal when I knew the Mr wasn't hearing what the guy was saying (he wanted money out of pocket and at that time we never paid money out of pocket) and I told the Mr we were leaving and the guy said "you gonna let her blow this deal?" I got in his face and said "he has to LIVE with me...not YOU!!" When we got out to the car and he expressed his discontent, I reiterated what the guy said...our trade PLUS $1600 cash. It was taking him out of that high pressure environment that allowed him to actually hear the deal. I'm sure the guys had a laugh at his expense but that brand of car went out of business 6 months later so the joke was on them. Pfft.

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  8. I think what happened with the women's movement was it went from wanting equality to the extreme of dismissing men! I have met many women who hate men, don't feel they are necessary or treat them as less than women. How equal is THAT?

    I am a woman married to my best friend as weel. We run 2 businesses, together. We travel, work, play...all together MOST OF THE TIME. That would not work for most people but it does for us. After our 37 years of knowing each other and our 20 something years of marriage, we too, know the strengths and weaknesses of each other. We are a team. I, too, love to make him happy and I. Return, he makes ME happy...that way we never have to selfishly worry about ourselves because the other one is already doing that. I loved your post. Good for you...

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    1. YAY!! I guess it comes from the Mr and I having worked two jobs together so we would carpool and we spent work days in close proximity and then would come home and hang out together. I can't count how many women have told me "I could NEVER work with my husband, I need to get away from him!" I think for us, we believe in acting professional at work, not like a married couple. At my longest job (where he worked behind me so we still carpooled), I had 4 married couples work there and most of them kept their business out of it but there were a few times I saw one couple bring their home issues to work...not good. Glad to know I'm not the only who loves spending so much time with their best friend!

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  9. I feel so lucky to be able to be a SAHM ... I did the college thing, graduated with a Bachelors, worked until the kids came, but home is where I want to be. Like you said, I like seeing the kids/hubby enjoy a meal or treat or something I've picked up for them.

    I do want to please others, but I do feel quite "selfish" ... I do put myself first. I know my limitations, maybe too well.

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    1. Good on ya! You chose where you wanted to focus your efforts and attention and you're happier for it. That's awesome and I'm sure your kids appreciate it too.

      I think it's okay to put yourself first. I tried early on in our relationship to please everyone for acceptance and when I realized I wasn't going to get it, I said "no more! I will be civil but I don't need these people's approval to live my life with you." It made a tremendous positive difference in my health. I'm all for people giving with limitations. ;)

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  10. I used to be a terrible people pleaser, family, friends, coworkers and strangers alike. I was your classic codependent who needed approval desperately...and yet, it was never quite enough. Over time, especially in the past 3 years, I've been able to look at my former self with objectivity and saw the error of my ways. I was always too busy trying to make others happy (or like me) that I was never happy myself. And unfortunately, other people's reactions to something I made, be it a meal or a crafty thing, could make me or break me for days. In my marriage, I got so caught up in what I "thought" was supposed to be "perfect" for so very long. I seriously believed that we needed to like the same food, movies, sports, tv shows, and other activities, and had to do every single thing together no matter what, regardless if either one of us actually wanted to do it or not. It was smothering for both of us. I've learned that it's perfectly ok that my husband is a picky eater and doesn't like a lot of things I like, and vice versa. I no longer ask him to go to things I know he will not enjoy. I encourage him to go out with his friends without my having to go too, and I enjoy the time alone in the house and with the dogs. And even more, I now am happy to go out with my own friends without this ridiculous feeling of guilt like I should be home. We've both grown quite a bit by realizing that we enjoy different things--and that it's not only ok, but healthy. He can play video games all day long, which I have zero interest in; and I can read a book from cover to cover, which he wouldn't do if you paid him. What's nice is we can do it together in the same room. My feelings don't get hurt anymore if he doesn't fawn over something I make for dinner (and believe me, fawning was what was required for me to feel validated). I've realized that if I'm happy with something, that's good enough--and he's happy when I'm happy with myself.

    I will say as far as the car-buying thing goes...that's all me. I'm like your hubs with doing the research and negotiating. When we had our car totaled in the car accident, I did that whole deal from start to finish. I went head to head with the dude and refused to budge and gave him my sound reasons as to why. It took them a full 5 days (and us driving the car for free that whole time) for them to agree and the total price was $63 less a month than what they were proposing. The hubs doesn't like the public at all, and nor do I. But I'm willing to do what has to be done since I handle all the bills. He is the first to say, "whatever you think is best, hon" and sit's back and watches. He says it's a hoot to see me that way because it's a totally different personality than my usual sweetness. *snort*!!

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  11. Nope, you're not alone--I love making my honey happy as well. We always say we hope we will NEVER quit being "students of each other". Always learning new ways to make each other smile, etc. My hubby always jumps in to help with housework, etc and I help him where I can. It's just the best being married to your best friend!

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  12. I think the women's movement is more about having the option to do what you want, rather than living your life in a certain way, you know what I mean? So I think you're fine. :) Do what makes you happy! Because not everyone is lucky enough to be able to do that, so if you are, embrace it!

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  13. I just stumbled upon your blog from Runs for Cookies, and YES! I feel this exact same way! I made a similar comment to a friend awhile back that I'm supposed to be all liberated or whatever, but I really like packing my husband's lunch or making him breakfast in the morning. I think as others have pointed out that it's because I'm able to choose to show my love that way and it's not a requirement. It's also nice that, like your husband, he will step in when I want or need him to.

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  14. I don't think this is so much about being a people pleaser, but being part of a great relationship. This is the very thing that too many married people DON"T get. They think that their spouse is there to make them happy. Not true. You're responsible for your own happiness.
    One of the best things about marriage is what you do for the other one - with no expectations. If more people, wives AND husbands, realized this, marriages would be SO much better. YAY FOR YOU!

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