These strategies admittedly take a lot of energy, but not as much as performing all the functions necessary to maintain home and family by yourself. When my husband has lingered too long over the sports section and I'm feeling overwhelmed by the number of errands that must be run, I hand him a list.
"This is what I need you to do today," I say in a tone of voice that brooks no equivocation. He may moan and groan, but the jobs get done. And while I still have to mastermind the operation—somehow he is never the one who remembers that our son needs new mosquito netting, baseball cleats, and basketball shoes for sleepaway camp—I'm not the only one schlepping around town checking items off the To Do list.
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What I don't understand is why my insistence on some approximation of equality is unusual. I live in Manhattan, which is full of smart, educated, successful women who are juggling the responsibilities of family and career with extraordinary competence. And yet most of them will readily admit that their husbands don't do half of anything remotely domestic.
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Go to any school event for parents and you will find it crowded with working women who have taken time out of their busy professional schedules to meet with teachers or sit in on classes or attend the fourth-grade play. My children's school sponsors a regular forum where parents gather to discuss such pressing issues as curfews, homework, and the social mores of hormone-addled teen-agers. At every single one, the room is full of women—doctors, lawyers, and CEOs, as well as stay-at-home moms. The only man who ever attends is a widower who admits his son never tells him anything, so he comes to the discussion groups in hopes of learning what his kid is up to from his classmates' moms. Career And Family: Can We Really Have Both?