Apr 1, 2010

Women get all the fun

Why do many of the women around me get to do so many personal retreats, while their husbands work and work? So much for gender justice!

I'm surrounded by beautifully evolved women who create ways to give to and nurture themselves. And the forms they often choose involve time away, personal indulgences. Dance and painting workshops, romance novels, river walks, a cup of hot chocolate by the fire, a bubble bath, a Renewal Retreat at Hollyhock.

Just to save my marriage and women-friendships, let me be clear that I deeply appreciate the hard hard work of motherhood, and fully support the idea of women giving to themselves in this way. I just started questioning why I don't see most of my male friends running off to a dance-yoga weekend or treating themselves to one of Patrick's magical Shiatsu massages (note that the Mankind Project seems to be a notable exception).

Now that I've grossly oversimplified the female experience, let me grossly overgeneralize about my own gender. The answer is simple - we don't want it. Yes, we want a break from the pressures we experience, but a day wandering alone in the mountains would just give more time to fret over the things we ought to be doing. A true break, a manly indulgence, is time to Do Stuff.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I gifted myself with a day off the computer, doing stuff I've been wanting muchly to have easy time to do. Outdoors. Stuff like:
- chopping wood
- rototilling the new garden patch
- sanding and staining a massive slab of fir (found in the workshop) for Sarah's new desktop
- hanging out with our new baby chicks (the boys and I got excited at the chicken swap last weekend and bought ten 5-day-old Buff Brahmas)

It was pure bliss to be out in the fresh air with no-one but me and Father Time and Brother Ax, just plugging away at tasks I've been wanting to get to. Getting a few of those too-many Things-To-Do off my list, off that list in my head that gets in the way of other creativity and relaxation.

I have yet to take Sarah up on her generous offer of a personal retreat. Truth is, I don't want to go away; I want her and the kids to go away and leave me with nothing but time to finish my workshop, fix the cow fence, chop wood and build storm windows. Getting those things Done would bring this man more satisfaction and Peace of mind than any bodywork indulgence.

We men are doers. A treat isn't time away from our projects; it's space and tools and easy time to Do them.


  1. psssst
    Rick--I have given you a "Beautiful Blogger" award!

    Pick it up here:

  2. In all honesty Rick, I'm with you. I don't want a weekend at a spa. I don't want a week in Tahoe with the girls. Oh sure, I don't mind a soak in the tub with milk & honey with a honey mask, candles scented with essential oils instead of chemical fragrances burning and a ripping good romance novel to read while I soak in too hot water. But more than that, I love Mondays. That's when everyone is gone for a couple of hours. The husband and kids are off and I have the house to myself. Without fail I always turn off the music/tv/computer...whatever electronic thing there is to distract me. I just listen to the birds, the windchimes, the breeze blowing through the trees...even the sound of silence is blissful. All the while I spend my time happily and serenely completing whatever tasks I've been wanting to work on. One day it might be building a box for my square foot garden. Another day I'm sewing reusable tea bags. A different Monday might see me on my hands and knees giving the floor a good scrubbing or reorganizing the pantry and cabinets in the kitchen. Whatever I might find to do that day, its just a real God/dess send that I can do it without the constant interruption of "Honey, can you help me with..." or "Mom, where is my...." Like you, its not that I mind those things. Its just that every once in awhile I just need a break from it. Because inevitably, I always put their needs first. I can do the bath anytime I want. But solitude to get my projects done...that's a precious commodity!