Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sharing the Third Shift

This is us. My little family. And I reign as its kin work rebel. We've been bringing disappointment to our families since we started dating in 2001! Hoping to receive a birthday card from us? It'll be in your mailbox 14+ business days after you really wanted it. So late that you'll be embarrassed for us that we even sent it. We wanted to send it on time, but forgot. It's not you, family. It's us. Or, more accurately, it's me. It's been me.

This is how it usually works, people. A heterosexual couple gets married. Woman takes on the responsibility of organizing, negotiating, planning, and preparing all familyness. Man never has to think about it. Kids grow up observing traditional roles. Yada, yada, yada.

Not I, said the fly. Managing relationships is not only women's work. And I refuse to do it all myself. Therefore, I present you with our newest project: Sharing the Third Shift. We're going to try to do as much kin work as possible together.

Rules will be established.
Rules will be likely be broken.
Fights will probably be had.
But learning will ensue for all.

Why would a person suck at sending cards and stuff? Why is she not maternal enough to just do it, for crying out loud? "It's not that hard," you might be saying.

Things my seemingly anti-kin work attitude is NOT:

1. An expression of my hatred towards my family. Or people in general. Or holidays.

I actually love my family and my husband's family a whole lot! If you've met me you know I l o v e people. I just want my son growing up in an environment in which his mom AND dad can be seen as both reasonable and rational (traditionally paternal) as well as nurturing and family-oriented (traditionally maternal). And I want to live in a world where dads are equally as engaged in what's cooking (both literally and figuratively) for family gatherings. Before, during, and after they occur. I want men to understand how laborious this process is, and why it might contribute to women's subordination in our society.

Just to remind you, I LOVE holidays! Why else would I want to improve them? I just don't like the inequality they represent, particularly in the preparation.

2. Indicative of laziness

I'm not doing this because I'm lazy and want someone else to do it for me. (Forgetful? Yes. And that absolutely contributes to my struggles as a kin worker, btw.) From my point of view, the lazy thing to do would be to continue the cycle. It'd be much easier. I'd tell my husband who, what, where, when, how, and why, but then change would never occur. Yawn. That's lazy.

Also, in all honesty, multi-tasking has never been my cup of tea. Do you see the problem? Kin work=multi-tasking. And because I'm a woman, I'm supposed to be good at that. Ha.

We're determined to conduct kin work as a couple. And I'll be documenting some of it on this very blog.


  1. Love the blog!
    Im following ya from Baby Center!

  2. Thanks, Tiffanie! Glad you're enjoying it. Spread the word. I'm just getting started :)

  3. I'm the worst at sending cards out. I have a "Happy 2nd Birthday" card here for my nephew (on husband's side), who turned 2 in May. I mean well, I really do. It's the thought that counts, right?

  4. Why is it so hard?! I'm the same way!