For women of a certain age, this is a seismic shift. As girls, it was our job to clean the toilets while our brothers mowed the lawns. We ironed shirts while they – well, we ironed shirts. Then those Boomer men grew up. Now they’re at or near retirement age, and there’s a change afoot. Have you noticed?
Boomer men are turning domestic.
They cook! Many have their own specialties, and you don’t want to get in the way when they’re in the kitchen. Bill makes spaghetti just like his mom used to. Or salmon with honey-mustard marinade. Or pulled pork, simmered in beer all day in the crock pot. This new breed of husband goes to the grocery store. My friend who is still working says she hasn’t been for a year, ever since her husband retired.
They clean! My sister-in-law is learning to relax and let my brother, who just retired, clean the house. He feels that it’s his job now. He also shops, cooks and runs errands. Both of them are loving it. (Maybe they’ve discovered what some of my friends tell me: a houseworking hubby stirs our libido. Even without an apron.)
They negotiate chores! In my retirement community, the division of labor between couples seems logical for the generation that came of age with Women’s Lib, Gloria Steinem, and the Equal Rights Amendment. My friends say they tend to divvy up chores based on who’s good at what, and who hates a job less.
We joke about it, us girls. The men have their own way of doing things. Like in my case, when Bill mops the kitchen floor, the corners remain kind of cruddy, but do you think I’m complaining? Helllll no. I tell him over and over again how much I appreciate him. That comes with being an old broad. You don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Besides, I can always sneak over with a wet rag and fix things. He’ll never know. His eyesight isn’t that good.
Kids these days, those impressive young men of Gen X and Y, share more of the housework and child-rearing than did their fathers, but I want to give the old dudes credit. I think our generation, the Baby Boomers, broke ground on this. We turned our backs on tradition. So now when I see Bill mopping the floor, I feel love and gratitude but also a sense of history being made. We have come a long way, baby.