A Woman’s Job
Reading the comment section of the latest episode of “This is Us” two things became very apparent. One, many people are in unhealthy relationships and two there are two very distinct schools of thoughts when it comes to relationships. At first glance it seemed to follow the color line, according to my girl Ashley, from Sex with Ashley. Though the comment section is indeed filled with plenty of White Women who can’t even fathom the thought, that Beth, would have the nerve to do anything other than stop, drop and roll all of her dreams into a ball and throw them in the closet with her voice and opinions. Upon further investigation I realized this isn’t a Black Woman/White Woman issue. It’s a 20th vs 21st Century relationship dilemma that I call the Housewife Relationship Model (HWR Model) versus the Powerhouse Relationship Model (PHR Model) .
For a little background on the marriage dynamics in ‘This is Us'. Like many great couples Randall has dreams, goals and aspirations that he believes are his right to fulfill. He goes after his pursuits unapologetically with the full assumption that his lovely wife, Beth, should be supportive. Nevermind, the fact that he left his job, said he would drop out of his race for councilman, he didn’t and surprise, he won. Previously, he wanted to adopt a child and his wife again went along and even helped to care for his Dad. Beth, who by all accounts is a great MOM, lost her job and has decided to rekindle her passions of teaching dance, at nights. Well cue the conflict, add in 3 children with full-time schedules, adult passions that don’t pay the same as previous pursuits and the relationship sparks begin to fly. So Randall being the great guy that he is, after seeing the problem, wants to fix it, so he offers the standard “Housewife Relationship Model” solution - his wife should delay her dance dreams so that she can be there for the family. #ProblemSolved. For every couple who has adopted the 20th century “HWR Model” this is a no-brainer. As one of the women in the FB comments said, Beth is a WIFE and MOTHER FIRST. So the fact that she REFUSED to give up her dance dreams is proof that she is SELFISH and frankly Randall deserves a better wife. #Ouch
Yet, Beth didn’t agree and she wanted to have her dreams and goals valued as well. So she did what anyone who is as committed to her family would, she refused to deny herself the joy of doing something she loves. She dances, and they together have to figure out how to take care of all of the other really important things in the house. In the 21st Century the Powerhouse Relationship Model, will continue to be a new standard. There are plenty of growing pains ahead of us which is why it seems like we can’t get enough of #relationshipgoals and examples or blogs like this one. We are truly charting new relationship territory and it’s a very good thing for our sanity and the soul of our nation. I say it often, stable relations result in stable nations. Gone are the days where women are expected to be seen and not heard, to not have any goals of her own except to raise her children and cater to her man, expecting to be last and to have her self-care sacrificed. Because contrary to popular belief a woman is not a Wife and Mother 1st, she is a WOMAN first. Wife and Mother are very important roles that she has taken on but it’s not all she is. The “Powerhouse Relationship Model” only works if it’s built on a foundation of EQUALITY. Not equality as in women and men are the same. Equality that sees a woman’s desires, dream and pursuits etc. as EQUALLY valuable and as important as the man’s. Which by the way, Randall’s voicemail to Beth, when he thought she wasn’t coming, is a perfect illustration of a lack of value that is common in the HWR Model.
Black Women or any woman for that matter who values her professional pursuits, desires to have her husband cheer her on and champion her dreams with the same excitement she does for him IS NOT SELFISH. Understand whether you are #TeamRandall or #TeamBeth, what is really being debated is who is more important, valuable and deserving in relationships. In the Housewife Relationship Model this was not a discussion. It was understood that the Woman’s role as a Homemaker was inside of the house and she was the Chief Dream Supporter for the entire family. Her dreams and ambitions were rarely if ever explored because the understanding was clear, the man would work outside of the home, make money, provide for the family’s PHYSICAL well-being and in return she would provide a home that was peaceful (aka quiet and not bothersome to him), nourish his body, take care of HIS children, bear the emotional responsibility and provide sex upon his demand. Seeing this played out with varying levels of satisfaction , and often with visible, if not spoken exhaustion. A many women realize there is more to life than simply being someone’s wife. Though marriage is still desirable, beautiful and honorable, being placed second to last if not completely last is no longer the aspiration of Women and frankly being only valued for the money that he can provide, with no help is also not the desire of men. In the 21st Century relationships are places you go to give and grow. It’s not a matter of right or wrong and there is nothing selfish about it.
What do you think? How do you decide who gets to go for their dreams?