When I was a teenager my late godfather told me that I was a shrew in need of taming. 

Of late I have been thinking about the roles that we play.  I have made a decision to step away from my role as career woman and focus on my would-be role of writer and as part of this process I will, inevitably, as the one at home all day, be taking on the role of housewife.  This creates a very mixed series of emotions in me.

I have always believed that women are capable of everything that men are and vice-versa even if the performance of gender can impose certain perceived limitations.  I have never taken my femininity as  a barrier and I have never felt that it is my place to perform certain functions.  It has been my understanding rather that household chores are performed by those that have time to perform them,  in reflection of an equal contribution to the household.  If one works longer hours and brings home more bacon, the other should perform more housework in a sliding scale of labour. I equally believe that we are all free to follow are own path and to succeed within the parameters that we define for ourselves, whether, for a woman this means being a career woman and childless or a dedicated mother.  We all seek our fulfillment in our own unique ways.

The thought of being a housewife however rankles me.  It wounds my pride somehow.  I find myself stuck between perceptions of myself and confused by own self-definition.  It got me thinking about being called a shrew.

Am I a shrew?

I would never consider myself a shrew.  I may have been back than, I may have been more bold and brash but time and tide have softened those edges.  I don’t like to fight about things,  I would rather make other’s happy if I can do.  I don’t like to judge people,  we all have our problems.  I am emotional and that covers the whole spectrum, good and bad.  I feel like I wear my heart on my sleeve but I acknowledge that I often feel weary of people.  I know I either talk too much or too little.  I can be intense.  I am often contrary and carry each change with bewildering conviction. I can and will stand my ground when I think I’m right.  I’m not scared of a debate.  I think too much.  But does that make me a shrew?  What defines a ballbreaker?

Is a ball-breaker someone who gets their own way?  I would have thought that my mother was a ball-breaker, she was definitely a career woman and is far more likely to shout at my Dad and than I ever am at my husband but Dad does exactly what he wants either way and has become, if anything, more stubbornly head of the household with age.  Through rational discussion I have managed to far more mellow the savage beast in my man.  I suspect high maintenance women who practice in manipulation probably get their own way even more often than that without the poor chap involved even knowing it.

Is a ball-breaker someone who is career minded?  In this day and age it’s very rare that any women has the chance to be housewife or stay at home mother, the economy just doesn’t allow it.  To have at least part of your mind on your career is essential for the stability of your household.  Working hard for your home and family could not possibly be called ball breaking.

Is a ball-breaker someone who is sexually confident?  Well that definitely isn’t me.  Okay, yes, I write racy articles under a pen name but they are an expression not a reflection.  I was often assumed to be ‘experienced’ as a youngster, somehow having large breasts makes people think that but I was always a terrible romantic when it came to the opposite sex.  I was 23 before I did the deed and with the exception of one (necessary for psychological liberation) one night stand have never done the  deed without anyone who I didn’t make a commitment to.

Is a ball-breaker someone a woman who does not support her partners needs?  I don’t know about other women but I find getting a man to talk about his needs is like trying to get blood from a stone.  I find men try to deal with whole hosts of problems on theirr own that you would more than happy to help them with.  Asking too many questions and trying to push to help is considered aggressive but often if you don’t get told.  I put active effort into making sure I ask how his day was, pointing out when he looks tired and generally trying to be approachable.  I regularly ask when he wants from his future, he regularly tells me he doesn’t know.  It’s hard to support someone’s needs when you don’t know what they are.

I still don’t know if I’m a shrew.   I still don’t know what a shrew is.  I still don’t entirely know what taming involves.

But I am myself.  I hope that works for you.

 

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