So our supposedly esteemed leader (that no-one actually voted for) this week claimed there are ‘boy jobs and girl jobs’ at home earlier on this week. Yup, 2017 has reached peak table flipping madness with the prime minister coming out with this guff that belongs in the 1950’s. Excuse me while I call this out for the bullshit that it is.
It did get me thinking though, particularly after Mia Violet highlighted on Twitter in her usual fun and satirical way what would happen in a household where men aren’t present. At home there’s me and Rebecca, we’ve both come from a background where we’ve had to learn all sorts of life skills and interests that probably aren’t considered all that girly. Rebecca’s got extensive knowledge in DIY through work and has practical hobbies such as getting her 3D printer up and going, as she was doing so yesterday.
I too am no stranger to DIY, and know a bit about cars and bikes, enough to do things like change spark plugs and oil. admittedly it’s not stuff I really want to do but it’s simple enough to do and a money saver too. As for the domestic stuff? Well we both do all that too though opening jars is a task that’s becoming increasingly difficult for us both.
The thing is, this has also got me thinking back to my upbringing. I’ve come from a family where this idea of there being boy jobs and girl jobs never really existed. Mum and dad both worked from home and both fitted work around stuff like getting us to and from school, clubs and so on.
I remember moving into the old family home almost 30 years ago and helping mum and dad with chiselling room after room of fuck-awful woodchip wall paper off of the walls. Sure, dad was better at the decoration side of things, he was better than most professionals at that, but mum was no slouch. She can paint and pout things on walls. The other week she used a power drill and put up two hanging basket brackets and a garden hose reel.
Yes, mum did most of the cooking, but cooking is a passion of hers. As it turns out dad was a pretty good cook himself. He did a full Sunday roast the day mum came home with my youngest sister for instance, he’d cook when mum was ill and both mum and dad knew their way around a barbecue. Dad would help with serving up Sunday dinner and tidying up afterwards and he’d do his fair share of the cleaning around the house, especially as mum’s back got worse. He always could get more stuff to fit in the dishwasher than any of us.
I remember long car rides to various places we went on holiday. Mum would have the map out and navigating for dad in between plying us with sweets to prevent WWIII breaking out between me and my sisters so he could focus on driving. I earlier mentioned being somewhat handy with cars and bikes. Bet you’re wondering who taught me what I knew? Must be dad? You’d be wrong. Dad hated doing that kind of thing, which I found slightly odd given he was a practical and hands on person between his DIY skills and his work as a draughtsman. No, the car stuff was self taught at a time when I didn’t have the money to pay someone else to do it for me.
All in all, having this kind of upbringing has served me well as I ended up learning all sorts of life skills without this toxic thinking that a particular job was for men to do or for women. I’m also pleased my sister is imparting this upon her kids as they grow up. People really need to start thinking about what they say before they say it, especially those who are in a position that holds a lot of sway and influence.