Over on this liveaboard/cruiser blogroll The Monkey's Fist they've been posting links to various bloggers' posts on "pink and blue jobs," i.e. the division of labor aboard. Having such a division of labor is a luxury I don't have since I am the only one aboard with thumbs. (My crew are one goofy Labrador and two high-and-mighty cats). So, there are jobs I know how to do (pink jobs), jobs I do anyway (yep, pink again), and jobs I have to learn to do (pink again!). It's a good thing my favorite color is purple--a perfect blend of pink and blue!
Back when I was married, I left certain things to my now-ex: killing beast over fire (a/k/a grilling), lifting heavy stuff, and reaching tall stuff. Then I realized buying a hand truck for heavy stuff and a step ladder for tall jobs was a lot less expensive (financially and emotionally) than being married. I tell dads to arm their daughters early with these simple tools so they don't have to depend on some guy to do stuff for them. Guys just break everything anyway because they have a tendency to try to force things to fit where they won't (and, yes, I do mean both when assembling IKEA furniture and in the bedroom).
The lack of blue jobs started even before I moved aboard. The realization hit me the morning Hunter proudly left a dead mouse on the kitchen floor two years ago and there was no guy to remove the icky dead thing from my home for me. I had to suck it up and "man up" (an odd phrase since women really do have better pain tolerance and endurance) and do for myself. There are things I do have to get help with because nothing I do will ever give me the upper body strength of a guy and there are jobs where I just don't have the technical knowledge yet. For those jobs I enlist a guy to help who will show and teach me every step of the way so in the future I can minimize the need for helpers. But even the biggest, strongest guy needs someone to catch a line or help with the many two-person jobs on a boat, so I don't kick myself too much for being willing to both accept and offer a helping hand.
So, my pink jobs include the usual cleaning and galley duties, but also changing holding tank vent hoses, cleaning the bilge, filling water and fuel tanks, plugging hoses, tracking down leaks, and storm preparation. I'll be the one to change the oil, learn how to fix the diesel engine, and troubleshoot the various things that constantly break on a boat. And that's just fine. I kick myself every day for sitting back much of my life and letting guys do all the dirty, hard "guy" jobs. That complacency left me at a huge disadvantage being dependent on others for many things. Even if one has a guy to handle all the "blue" jobs, what if he has the big one or falls overboard at sea? I want to be able to at least passably handle whatever job may arise on the boat...my life, those of my pack, and my home depend on it.
I long believed that in a relationship it is important for each person to have their "territory" the other doesn't try to take over. That is why I left grilling to guys and they were only allowed in my kitchen as prep cooks and dishwashers. They get their turf and I get mine. I still think having such territory is important and healthy, but I think both parties should know how and be able to do every job in case of emergency, illness, death, or just relationship implosion.
On my boat, I guess all the jobs are purple (and, yeah, Go Ravens!).
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