“Ever notice how ‘What the hell’ is always the right answer?” – Marilyn Monroe
I’ve been watching Mad Men lately, and the more I watch it, the madder I get. It’s hard for me to believe how women were treated. Viewed as inferior, helpless, sex kittens.
My maddest moments come during the workplace scenes where a woman’s role is wife of the office. Secretaries were expected to take dictation and dicktation, if you know what I mean. The man did anything he wanted and the woman’s role was to empower her man.
I recently read about a Wharton School study that showed despite advancements in women’s opportunities for the last 35 years, women are “reportedly less happy than they used to be.” (The Atlantic)
How is this possible?! Should the modern woman embrace her retro inner housewife (where is my poodle skirt)? Does making your man feel empowered lead to a happier household?
Empowerment to me means to share power, make your partner feel good and accepted for who he is, exactly as he is. This goes for both partners. Your man ought to be empowering you the way you empower him. It is about building each other up, giving one another the support each of us needs.
Life is constantly evolving, and the idea that a woman should empower her man has evolved too. Here’s my take on it, a blend of tips old and new, tried and true (can be done with or without a poodle skirt):
Six Rules of Empowerment
1. Let him wine and dine you.
My husband loves cooking for me (which I gush over), and we go for date night. Men like to feel that they are taking care of you. Women, too, like to take care of men. We all need nurturing more often than we admit.
2. Let him think it’s his idea.
As Susan, my princess mother-in-law, says, “Always make the man feel like he’s made the decision, even though you have guided him to the decision you want.” Call it subterfuge if you like. I say, whatever works. Empowerment comes in many forms.
3. Ask him for help
“I’m having trouble with this, can you help?” Opening a jar, reaching for something, or building the cribs for the babies. I take the kids to school he picks them up. Most men want to contribute, but at times they just don’t know how they can help. Believe it or not, men secretly think women do everything better. This leads to an often unspoken lack of confidence in the male, especially around the house.
As for women, we find it hard to ask for what we want. The combination can result in what many call the Chore Wars. Asking for help when you are already upset always backfires. Everyone likes to feel needed and appreciated. Never underestimate the power of a good word at the right time.
4. Give him “me time”
Encourage his hobbies. (And here’s the great thing: it allows you time for you).
5. Tell him how proud you are of him
Take time to mention what he is doing right. Focus on the positives, not the negatives. Likewise, expect the same from your partner. Love is a two-way conversation.
6. Last but not least…
When he blows it, don’t say, “I told you so.”