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Dear Amy,

I was wondering if it's possible for a woman to live with a man as an equal. So far my experience has suggetsed otherwise, I have ended up doing everything, including moterhing my partner. Is it that men find it difficult to know what their role should be? Or are they just simply lazy and selfish?

I feel as if I will end up living alone for life, as this choice seems better for me. Not that there is anything wrong in living alone, but I have always thought two parents are better than one (I have two kids). Children need a variety of influences, so surely having a mother and a father is the best way?

I don't seem to be able to reach any level of understanding with my partner. He thinks I am obsessed with cleaning, but I simply want to be organised enough so that I can do all the things I do (i.e. study, work, look after children etc).

Is there a way of showing him how well things could work if we made it a joint effort? I have tried talking to him. I thought he could understand. He keeps saying 'I am better than the average man'! I don't give a shit about the average man, I give a shit about my life and how I live. I am not willing to put up with this, just because I am a woman, why should I have sole responsibility of the work.

Help! I don't know what else to do! I feel like an unpaid and unappreciated cleaner/laundry person/cook/babaysitter.

Are there any books you can recommend I try giving him for his birthday? I.e. feminism for men (disguised as something else).

Thanks,

Abigail

 

   

Dear Abigail,

I certainly think it is possible to have an equal relationship with a man -- sharing a household and child rearing experiences with a man or a woman is hard work and it does require us to challenge certain instincts in all of us and sometimes we do take on certain roles, like cleaning, which feel regressive, but in reality, we have to look at all of the responsibilies that keep a house going and how they are divided.

It's not a matter of clearning 50/50, but a matter of everything that needs to get done, getting done in an equitable manner. There is a great book called The Mommy Trap by Julie Shields, which talks about how to divide this -- and not fall into patterns.

Good luck,

—Amy

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