There was a great thread on MetaFilter about Emotional labor. Olivia Kilma took the ‘greatest hits’ and condensed them all into one wonderful document.
I’ve been reading it off and on all day, and I find myself nodding. Even being happy in my marriage, even with someone who compliments me all the time and will give me anything I ask, I still find myself caught in these traps.
A recent example: We get our clothes laundered by a wash and fold place. They come and pick it up twice a week, and twice a week, they drop off the clothes. This past Monday, he was supposed to collect the clothes and put them out. He forgot.
His first reaction? “You didn’t remind me.” I asked him why I should have to remind him. “Well, I’m busy, you should just remind me. How hard is that?”
I took a deep breath and reminded him that it’s my job to schedule the pick-ups, deal with the drop-offs by sorting them, remind the kids to put away their clothes, remind HIM to put away HIS clothes, put away my clothes, call the cleaners if anything is amiss (which happens once or twice a quarter)... and now, I have to remember, at 6am on a Monday, to remind him to put out the damn bag.
So, once again, my work is invisible, and his work is partially off-loaded on me. He felt bad once he realized what he’d asked for, but I feel like he hasn’t fully internalized it because this morning, he once again asked me to ‘remind him’ of something over the weekend.
Anyway, the collection is long, but well worth a read because it puts into words some of the vague feelings that many women have about emotional labor.