The Wife Drought

The Wife Drought

I’ve just sunk my teeth into a new book by Annabel Crabb – The Wife Drought:

‘I need a wife’
It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.
Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.
But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?
The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.
Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue.
I love her account of ‘wife work’ – utterly invisible to the national economy, but significant to the wellbeing of a family and goes onto describe what the position description may look like:
Opening exists for leader of small, spirited team in a vibrant but often chaotic environment.  Applicant must be mature and patient, as team members may at times be prone to sudden mood swings, unorthodox social techniques, strategic tunnel vision and outright insubordination.
Applicant will have responsibility for cleaning, laundering, tutoring, light maintenance, heavy maintenance, procurement, occupational health and safety, occupational therapy, nutrition, ethical guidance counselling, transport, skills training, intra-team human resource management, outsourcing, mentoring, mediation, education and sanitation.
Fine motor control and calm temperament a must.  Creative experience and demonstrated innovation strong advantages, esp. capacity to construct, for example, a plausible bat costume from basic household items in under ten minutes.
Some tasks may be repetitive.  Formal performance assessment very limited, through applicant may self-assess regularly in bleaker moments.
Salary nominal.
A recommended read so far!

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