Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Raft-UP: Pink Jobs and Blue Jobs

A lot has changed on land in the last 100 years. Women don't necessarily do "women's" jobs and men don't necessarily do "men's" jobs. I grew up in a house with my mom, my sis, my bro, and me. I'm the one that typically mowed the lawn, if something broke my mom and I fixed it. My aunt wanted a sprinkler system - her and I put it in. I changed lightbulbs, unclogged sinks, changed out light fixtures and everyone did dishes, vacuumed, and did laundry.

When we first moved on the boat the division of labor really did bother me. Mark really did take the "blue" boy jobs and I ended up with the "pink" dishes, vacuuming, cooking... I hated it. A college educated woman with an advanced degree whose sole purpose in life was to now cook and clean. Over time I've taken on some of the blue jobs, mostly servicing winchs and polishing metal. Things I can't really break. But the fact is that on a boat the 1950s ideas of what a man and woman "should" do sorta works best. I could probably do engine repairs and get stuff working when it brakes but honestly if something is going to happen to the engine because of a bad repair I really don't want it to be my fault. Much better for Mark to be mad at himself.

Boat repairs aren't like land repairs. If you are having a problem on land it's usually pretty easy to get a repair guy to come take a look and if you want to do it yourself grab a book or search the internet and you'll find hundreds of suggestions that fit most houses. But every boat is different and finding a solution to a problem can be a much bigger task. I do a lot of research when we need to get something fixed and many times I just pull out the manual and start reading it to Mark. But the actual hands on stuff - that's all him.

I do enjoy some "pink" things. Even though I hate to cook I don't really mind provisioning. I think it's mostly because I get to use the database I created in Bento. I like that when holidays role around I have a can of pumpkin to make a pie and the stuff for Christmas cookies that I may otherwise would not be able to get (planning ahead is so important with provisioning). I love to organize and a boat is always in need of reorganization. It really feels good to go through things. Plus I get to use my labeler. I do wish there were a few more decorating options on a boat. I have a love/hate relationship with our interior. I think the woodwork in our boat is beautiful I just don't like how dark it is and wish the inside was a little brighter. When I was a kid I used to rearrange my bedroom weekly. No go on a boat.

It's funny because since MM was born last year I actually don't hate the division of labor as much. Maybe it's because I've taken on so much of the baby work that Mark has picked up a little more of the pink work and the baby stuff is so gratifying. I really appreciate when I find the dishes done! Things have also been a little different with Mark doing so much sailing without me. I really want the boat to be well prepped for him so he isn't worrying about what there is to eat, will stuff be clanging around in the cabinets, and does he have clean undies while at sea. I try to take care of it all before he goes and when the boat is a mess when he gets in I don't mind cleaning up because I know he just did the hard part of sailing the hardest ocean on the globe.

The division of labor on a boat is and will never be "fair." Something always needs to be done and the to-do list is always a mile long. At some point you just have to suck it up and do whatever it is that you can do. Even if it is polishing all the walls with pledge (and yes I do it better because I actually open the cabinet doors and do the insides too!) or going up the mast for a repair.


  1. As long as you know how to do repairs and you're confident that you can do them, then do it. Repairs know no gender at all. Glad to hear that you're such a talented woman! Continue what you're doing and be safe at all times.

  2. If you really wanna say something good to your family family quote you can get some good ideas from the mentioned website.


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