In France, I was quite surprised to discover I was expected to be at my husband's beck and call. There, the term "feminist" is almost an insult now. My goodness. I even witnessed female friends and family actually doing my husband's chores when I refuse to do it. When he does his share at home. When I was screaming he does. When I was begging to let him DO. I didn't feel like fighting so I ended doing a lot more chores than I do at home, including his laundry. The laundry machines are a third of the size of ours here in California, which means 3 times the job, laundering every day! And no drier. No dishwasher. Victorian times looked less romantic, suddenly.
On the back of this watercolor sketch I found a note I wrote: "Go do your laundry yourself, I'm working". I was exasperated. Nobody would understand (except for my wonderful mother-I love you Maman) that I have a job, and that I was actually trying to find , between tending for my son and now my husband, time to do it. I was told there is no vacation time for women. I was told it was a shame I didn't do more housekeeping . I was astounded and angry. I passed the exam to one of the best art school in Paris, got two masters, I taught in university, I even got a (shared) Oscar, and here I was making coffee and washing dishes, doing laundry and running outside to hang it, while no male hands were touching the sink or the soap, ever. It felt like another (bad) reality.
The full day of brainstorming with my beloved publisher felt more like vacation...
Now I am back home in California, and it's such a relief. I love you California for making the difference between "work from home" and "housekeeper". And I love my friends here for finding perfectly natural that housekeeping chores should be shared. I love them for enjoying my husband cooking, and finding perfectly normal to help, but not even trying to expel him form the kitchen. I do more chores than my husband, but I work part time and it's ok with me. But: I would rather cut my hand than doing it all, with my husband sitting in the middle, waiting to be tended like a baby. He is not a baby. I find this degrading for me, and debilitating for him.
On a lighter voice, I do miss the horse chestnuts, which are one of my favorite trees in France and are pretty rare in California.
J'hésite à traduire ce post...Disons qu'ici les machines à laver font 3 fois la taille des machines Françaises, et que ça ne viendrait à l'idée à personne de me faire remarquer que je suis une mauvaise femme parce que mon mari fait sa lessive et son repassage.
C'est normal, il a des mains et moi j'ai un boulot!