Gender Roles and Relationships at Home: Challenging the Norms (Episode 326)
In this episode of the Mama Says Namaste podcast, Nathan and I dive deep into a thought-provoking discussion about gender roles and relationships within our homes. We explore how these roles can evolve and shift over time, challenging societal norms, and embracing a more intentional approach to creating a harmonious family dynamic.
Redefining Roles In Our Relationships
When Nathan and I got married, we had a vision of more traditional roles, with me as a stay-at-home mom and him as the breadwinner in a typical nine-to-five job. However, life had different plans for us. As we embarked on our journey together, we discovered that our roles didn't fit neatly into the boxes we had envisioned.
We realized that each relationship is unique and requires a customized approach. We started questioning and adapting our roles to better align with our personal strengths and passions. And believe me, that was hard for me to do, as I dreamed of being a Suzy Homemaker (all while having some mad skills in the professional world I didn't want to let go of).
Working from home isn't all it's cracked up to be. Trying to do multiple roles in the home is challenging enough - think housecleaner, cook, managing running a household, running errands, and that tiny thing called raising children. Throw your work into the home front as well and it can be absolutely overwhelming, and hard for one person to do alone.
Nathan and I had to work on a lot of open communication, mutual understanding, and a willingness to challenge societal expectations to really find what worked for our home...and for the season.
The Ebb and Flow of Seasons
Our experiences taught us that relationships go through seasons. Parenthood, career changes, and new adventures can shift the dynamics within our families. We live in a world of constant change and flux, and, as we all grow, we experience transitions. From having an infant to a toddler to a grade-school kiddo to a teenager. Kids hitting different milestones. Your work changing. A new home, Empty nest. Someone passing away. There are so many times in our lives that call for a different season as we face change and how we can adapt and grow with it.
Embracing these seasons and being adaptable can lead to a more fulfilling and balanced partnership. I'm grateful for the empathy and awareness Nathan and I both have on what it takes to raise a family, largely due to the fact that we have both experienced every role and responsibility in working together as a team to help our family thrive. We learned to embrace the ebb and flow of these seasons and saw them as opportunities for growth and connection.
From Traditional To Unconventional: Our Personal Journey
Our journey took an unexpected turn when we decided to leave the traditional nine-to-five lifestyle behind and embrace RV living. This transition flipped our roles upside down once again. At this point, we'd gone from me trying to juggle work and kids to bringing in a nanny and hustling to build up our nest egg. Then, Nathan stepped away from his income in real estate to focus on navigating our travels and being the primary home provider, while I became the primary breadwinner.
Through these experiences, we discovered that trust, fierce conversations, and a shared vision for our family were key ingredients in navigating these shifts in roles. We learned that it's not about conforming to specific gender roles but about finding ways to blend responsibilities and support each other's growth.
Check in regularly. Don't just assume one person is always going to do the laundry. Don't just fall into a rut of expectation that one person will continue to fulfill the same role. We all change, and so do our needs and circumstances.
As you reflect on your own relationships and the roles within your family, I challenge you to embrace intentionality.
Check in with these steps:
1. Start with open and honest communication: Have open conversations about your desires, strengths, and passions. Explore ways to support each other's goals and dreams.
2. Embrace flexibility and adaptability: Recognize that roles may shift and change over time. Be willing to adapt and find a balance that works for both partners.
3. Focus on collaboration, not conformity: Move away from rigid gender roles and focus on creating a collaborative environment where both partners can thrive and contribute.
4. Build trust and mutual understanding: Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship. Foster trust by actively listening to each other, empathizing, and supporting one another's growth.
By challenging societal norms and embracing intentional roles within our families, we can create a more harmonious and fulfilling home.
Now, it's your turn to reflect and discuss:
What are your current roles within your family?
Are these roles aligned with your personal passions and strengths?
What steps can you take to cultivate a more intentional approach to roles and responsibilities at home?
Remember, I'm here to support you on your journey from chaos to clarity. Together, let's challenge the norms, foster deeper connections, and create a nurturing environment for our families.