Don’t worry, I haven’t suddenly been transported to the era of Jane Austen (although how I would be blogging there I don’t quite know… perhaps there was wifi and they just didn’t realise?) – I’m not talking about finding a prince to whisk you off your feet and transport you into a happily ever after where you never need worry about having enough money to get by
I’ve been struck by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating office of Facebook, and her recent comment that “the most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry”
This comment was picked up by Helene Fraser, chief executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, who added that “what too many women face nowadays isn’t a ‘glass ceiling’ because of their sex, but a ‘nappy wall’ if they choose to have a child as well as a career? That if you want children and a career, a partner who shares the load at home really matters? Or a partner who cares as much about you succeeding in your career as they do about their own – and is a cheerleader for you through your triumphs and setbacks?”
Forgive me but surely this is the crux of equality?
Surely we cannot hope to achieve happiness in family and in career without a partner that is absolutely supportive of that as an ideal and of the impact on him of doing that?
Mr Muddling is my greatest supporter when it comes to working and having a career and he is fully aware that when it comes to his career, he has a different set up than most of his colleagues – at home Mr Muddling isn’t the sole breadwinner with the family organised around his work and its pressures. He doesn’t have someone at home picking up his dry cleaning, sorting out the laundry and dealing with all the chores – he has to pick these things up and do his share. And yes he has had comments from colleagues in the past that surely I would be able to make those calls – I might but I’m at work myself doing roughly the same job as him and I don’t have the time anymore than he does – we share out chores between equals because, get this, we are equals and in this together
And why on earth shouldn’t we marry someone who is a cheerleader for us and our achievements? I’m not saying that I am an applause junkie but in the workplace there is usually a lack of positive feedback and yes, getting someone at the dinner table to share in your triumphs means an awful lot. I managed to achieve something this week I didn’t think I could get agreed – of course I called Mr M to tell him and share my pleasure, I even called him before calling my boss because I knew he would understand and be pleased for me. That sort of thing counts for a lot
What is more worrying is that this has to be said – does that mean that there are many marriages where the couples aren’t each other’s cheerleader and supporter? Does this mean that suggesting to our children that they find a life partner that wants the best for them is a radical new idea? Does marriage normally mean the coming together of equal partners and friends?
And more importantly should I worry that I look to my husband for positive feedback on a good job done at work rather than my boss?