I've never considered myself a feminist, even though I have been accused of being one a time or two.
Granted, I have had a few un-girly jobs in male-dominated fields, but it was usually out of necessity more than trying to prove I could do anything a man could do.
Mama never gave me some big feminist speech either nor did she tell me there were only certain things I could or should do. She did tell me depending on what I wanted to do, I may have to work at it, and sometimes, I may have to work harder than someone else, regardless of gender.
None of the whole glass ceiling spiel; just some cold, hard truths.
My mother-in-law however is from the generation where there were clear lines of what men and women did. The women did the housework, the cleaning, the child rearing. The men worked and brought home the bacon.
She was shocked when she stayed with us for a weekend a few months ago to see Lamar washing the dishes.
"You sure are lucky that you have a husband that doesn't mind doing women's work," she commented.
I frowned in confusion.
"Yes. Washing the dishes. Most men don't do that."
"That man does," I said. "We have a deal. He likes to eat and I like to cook. I don't like to wash dishes, so we kinda trade those duties out."
"Still. It's women's work," she told me.
I don't look at cooking as women's work. I actually enjoy being in the kitchen and if I can spend an afternoon baking, I am in utter heaven. But my mother-in-law has often been amazed that Lamar will do the floors and laundry; he just refuses to put it away because I am too picky about how I like things folded.
"Most men wouldn't be caught dead mopping the floors," she said.
Given the urban legends in my husband's hometown of my housekeeping skills or lack thereof, I think any man married to me would want to do the chores.
"Mama, we don't look at it as that's what the man does, or what the woman does - if it needs to be done, whoever's there just does it," Lamar said.
Well, unless it was when Cole was a baby and needed a diaper change. Lamar did hand him off to me with a lightning-fast grace anytime that happened.
"So you both just share in all the duties?" she inquired.
We both nodded.
"There's no ‘his job,' ‘my job.' We both pitch in," I said.
Until a bug gets in the house as it did one morning.
This gigantic spider had decided to take up residence in the tub and when I pulled back the shower curtain at 5:30 a.m., the thing jumped.
"Lamar!" I screamed.
"Lamar!" I screamed again.
"What is it?" I heard his muffled response from beneath the covers.
"There's a spider in the tub!"
"Kill it." I heard the covers pull over his head.
"What time is it?" he groaned, pushing himself out of bed. "Why do I have to kill the bug?"
"Because," I said, drawing my man/woman duty line in the sand.
"You're the man. That's your job."
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.