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 there was 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 a dystopia. It felt like a parallel universe. It didn't feel right. It was real.
The full day of brainstorming with my beloved publisher felt like a vacation...
Now I am back home in California, and it's such a relief. I love you Californians 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 from the kitchen. I do more chores than my husband, but I work part time and it's ok with me. 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!