I was soo proud of my mom because she had decided to go back to school. Her reasoning was she wanted to help support the family financially now that my dad wasn’t making as much money as he used too. Part of me believed her, but part of me wanted to believe her motives were so that she could be seen as an equal contributor to the family. That if she contributed monetarily my dad would grant her equal rights to make decisions about the families’ financial status.
I desperately wanted my mom to see how my dad was holding her back so I instigated a fight. I knew what could potentially set my dad off. When someone is prone to anger it’s an easy gamble.
I was visiting my parents for Christmas. I’m not sure if we were leaving or just arriving home but I remember my mom, my dad and I were all standing in the doorway and I said in a light hearted voice directed at my mom, “this time next year you might be working on Christmas Eve.” I was cheeky, but as I had predicted those words set my dad off. In a vengeful, irritated voice, he looked at my mom and said, “You won’t be getting a job in that case!” And then he walked away.
I’m not sure if my dad walked away because he feared he would get angrier or if he thought there was nothing left to be discussed about my mom working and was indicating his comment was the final decision? My dad had expectations for my mom’s job and if they weren’t met it was his decision if she should get a job or not. I remember just standing there, was my dad so manipulative that he could so easily dismiss the obvious archaic sexism.
If my mom had a job his power over her wouldn’t be as strong. It would be harder for him to complain that it was her responsibility to clean his mess up because he was the one making the money. It would be harder for him to tell her that she had no right to challenge him on all the money he was spending on DVD’s because she wasn’t the one earning the money. It’s financial manipulation when he tells her she can’t get a job but won’t allow her to complain about his spending habits when the bills aren’t being paid.
If my moms work for the home, for her family, was calculated my dad would not have had as much power, he would not have been able make her contributions seem worthless and meaningless.