Friday, June 6, 2014

Something I wish I’d written, part eleventy-majillion

I’ll just let this little quote from this awesome article sum up my thoughts on the situation completely:

There is a booming industry of authors and pundits — mostly successful women — assessing other women’s abilities to balance work and everything else: “Lean In.” “The Confidence Gap.” “Knowing Your Value.” “The Tiger Mom.” “Thrive.” Sometimes the theme is subtle, sometimes it’s explicit: American women, you’re doing it wrong! Read my book to learn how to do it right!I am speaking broadly, and generalizing when I make this next statement: Men do worry about this sort of thing, but they don’t talk about it. They’re generally less likely to obsess about it, and/or publicly beat themselves up about it. There are not nearly as many bestsellers about the struggles of working fathers, magazine covers asking “Can Men Have It All?”, daddy blogs with passionate arguments and comments sections aflame, etc. For the most part, for better or worse, men get up and go to work and just deal with it. Any choice they make is going to have trade-offs. They will probably never be the workers they want to be and the spouse they want to be and the father they want to be, and the friend they want to be and all of the other roles simultaneously. That last word is important.Working moms, trust me. Most of you are doing just fine. You’re doing better than you think. Stop letting immensely wealthy women make you feel like you’re not living your life correctly!
That’ll about do it. 

You see this a lot in the early feminist movement – women looking at what men were doing and envying it.  They saw a man leaving the home and earning a living as having something that they could never achieve as a stay at home mother and wife.  Maybe that’s true, but the fact is, that feeling they were getting that had them asking “is this all there is?”….

…Yeah, we men felt that, too.  We feel it all the time.  I feel it a couple times a month when I get out of bed and stare down both barrels of another goddamned day in the office fighting with subcontractors and the typical problems that a day in commercial construction management can offer.  I consider the fact that I’m going to spend another ten hours away from my daughter, who I would much rather spend the day with playing in the yard than arguing with an obstinate supplier.  I wish that I had more time.  I wish I could be a better father.  I wish all these things, but I recognize that it is literally impossible to “have it all” as these books try to convince women. You have to make choices, and tradeoffs, and the world is NOT unfair as a result.  That’s just the way it is.  You have to set priorities, and let some things suffer in order to get other things done.  I see women complaining about this all the time – how to balance work, home, play, etc. as if this is something special to the female condition, but it isn’t.  I make tradeoffs every day, just like all men do, and all human beings do, it’s just the men complain about it less.  We prioritize, and recognize that some things will suffer in exchange for other things blossoming.   My job isn’t “wage slavery” and I enjoy it, but I don’t search for happiness through it.  If I got fired tomorrow, it wouldn’t change my happiness one bit.

True “wage slavery” can be just as unfulfilling as home making.  Even less so in a lot of ways, because at least at home you’re laboring for those you love.  But women saw it as liberating and empowering, without understanding that being forced to work at a job you hate to make money for your family isn’t either of those things. They traded working for THEIR man, for working for THE man, and many realized early on that they weren’t happy, and though “Well, fuck, I must be doing it wrong, because these men doing this seem happy!”  They forget that most people can’t, or won’t, find happiness through their job.  If you’re trying to find happiness THROUGH anything at all, you’ll most likely be disappointed.  Those men they saw?  Those men were having the same doubts as they were; the same concerns that they had that they weren’t doing it right; weren’t spending enough time with their families, weren’t working hard enough to get that raise, weren’t promoting fast enough… 

…We men worry about those same things, but we just aren’t as vocal about it as many women are, and so women voicing those concerns drown out the discussion. 

Mostly, what I’ve found is that people who seek happiness through their career, both men and women alike, are fucking miserable people.  I had a friend that fell into this habit, and he became a complete miserable cocksucker to be around.  I stopped hanging out with him, and lost all contact with him as a result, because the only thing he cared about was that next promotion, that next big score, that next raise. 

His family dissolved around him, and he finally realized that he was miserable.  His career wasn’t giving him happiness.  His family was, but he was ignoring them – the only true source of happiness he had. 

He quit his job, cut back on expenses, and is living a much happier life now. 

As for wage inequality, it’s been shown time and again that women are choosing to have lower paying jobs than men on purpose, for various reasons related to their personal preferences.  This isn’t an unfairness issue, it’s just a matter of personal preference.  Women are choosing to get paid less in exchange for other things, such as lower stress levels, less physical labor demands, decreased levels of critical responsibility, and more time off.  That may offend you, but it is the god’s honest, proven truth.  The “wage gap” doesn’t exist in real terms, when you compare like jobs.  The “wage gap” exists because women are choosing, for their own reasons, to get paid less. 

And that is okay!  There is nothing wrong with that! 

The final point in the article is the point I really want to focus on, and it’s this:  you’re doing just fine!  Relax a little and enjoy yourself! 

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