You don't need a degree in psychology to notice that men and women are different. Even if physical differences between the sexes are the most obvious, unique personality traits, flaws and qualities, ways in which we see life and how we assume our social roles are even more important. There’s more than enough to fuel countless misunderstandings and feuds, unless you use these differences to get closer to each other instead of letting them drive you apart. It's not about perpetuating prejudices, but rather about understanding that you can both learn from each other's differences.
Do you know any man who asks for permission to play hockey every week and feels bad about it? Who cleans up the house before going to a match, fixes dinner and sets the table, gets the kid's clothes ready for the next day and writes you a note to remind you to put the leftovers in the refrigerator, start the dryer and water the plants? Then why do women feel obligated to do all of this before tiptoeing away, feeling sorry for taking some time for themselves and promising to be back as soon as possible?
Too often, moms deny themselves fun activities because doing so requires too much preparation and makes them feel guilty; they find it is a lot easier to just forget the whole thing. And what if you tried his way for once? Tell him you're going out a certain evening. Before leaving, kiss him goodbye, wish him a nice evening and leave! That's it! Not only will he survive, but he will appreciate your trust in him and in his ability to take care of the kids while you are gone. Don't forget to turn off your cell phone, or better yet, leave it at home. That way, you won’t be tempted to call four times to see if everything is ok.
Ask your man to be in charge of a dinner with friends and you will see how different his approach is right away. You would have made a list of everything you didn’t want to forget, washed your fancy tableware, bought matching wine glasses, ironed the tablecloth, cleaned the house from top to bottom and on the evening in question, you would have been so tired from thinking about what you might have forgotten that fun would have come in a distant second place.
Your man, however, wonders why you give yourself so much trouble when the goal of the evening is to have fun and relax with friends or family! Why do you bother cleaning up the basement when you will be staying in the dining room and living room? Does it really matter if the wine glasses don't match? Are you missing a fondue dip? Oh well, your guests will just have to eat more of the one you have!
The idea here is not to neglect your guests, but to enjoy life when you get the chance. All the worries going around in your head, things you still need to do, regrets about what could have been... Stop! Look at your man go and enjoy his easy-going way of life! Does he care? Do like he does!
Learn to say: "It doesn't matter!"
Do you get all worked up when dad oversees your kids dressing up and they come out of their room with mismatched socks, colours that don't go together and a messy ponytail? And most of all, you get mad when he answers: "So, who cares, we're just going to the park!"
And what if he was right? What if the important thing is the time spent together and not the way we dress? What if your kids also learn dad's "nonchalant" ways for details that, after all, are not really worth the trouble?
When you hang your clothes up to dry outside, do you sort them by colours, type or person? I do all three! First by person (my son, my daughter, me, etc.), then by type (short sleeves shirts, long sleeves shirts, pants, etc.) and finally by color (both grey shirts must be side be side, of course!). Oh, one more thing, none of the clothes can be inside out! My excuse is that it's easier to fold them and put them away afterwards since I make piles in logical order!
But if dad hangs the clothes faster because he couldn't care less about the "logical order", maybe he is on to something! After all, he will have more time to play with the kids or to relax outside!
General information and stereotypes
Of course, some men do not fit into the aforementioned category, and some women do not feel guilty and enjoy life to the fullest. That said, we can agree that most of us could benefit from using a "manlier" approach, just like some men could also learn a lot from women's ways of doing things. By accepting to see that there are some positive elements in what some consider a partner's default, it is possible to understand how much our differences are complementary and beneficial!
A book that must be read to lessen the confrontations with your lover, the John Gray classic Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. I must admit I found myself irritated at several occasions reading this book since its author caricatures women as weak and fragile beings, but I liked the explanation about why men act the way they do! So if you can get over the primitive descriptions of women, the explanations on stereotypical male behaviour allowed me to put into words what I already knew from instinct! We are different, we don't speak the same language, we don't deal with life in the same way, but with effort from both sides, we can develop a complicity based on mutual understanding and respect.