I want to believe we’ve shattered a lot of gender norms. I’d love to say that today, there are no expectations or even trends surrounding which gender takes on which tasks in a household. But there’s no use in being delusional, as studies find that women still spend more time than men in caregiving capacities and carrying out personal care tasks for others in their household. Studies also find women report more stress related to caring for others. And, even though women are not proven to be any more compassionate than men are, research has found that they’re better at expressing sympathy than men. We’re just conditioned to be more comfortable with it. Who does anyone want to turn to when they’re not feeling well? Someone who appears the most sympathetic. That could be why the burden of being a caregiver falls on women over and over again.
If you are a mom, perhaps you’ve just come to terms with the fact that, when your kids are sick, you’ll be shouldering most of that weight. But what about when you’re the one who is sick? Who is going to take care of you? If you have ever had your boyfriend or husband responsible for your health when you’ve come down with something, you may have come to the hilarious realization that men are a bit out of their element when they have to play nurse. I had the funny experience of having my husband care for me when I had COVID-19 recently. He loves me. He definitely worked hard. But I could tell he was far more stressed out by the role of a caregiver than I am when he’s the one who is sick. Here are some ways men and women behave differently when it’s time to provide TLC to a sick partner.
You buy all the supplements
As a woman, if your partner (or anyone in your household) becomes sick, you probably build an arsenal of immunity-boosting supplements. You’re getting vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, Echinacea, elderberry – you name it. You are getting that ginger tea for stomach aches and peppermint tea for nausea. You’re grabbing vapor rub for congestion. You gather up all your CVS coupons and hit the actual pharmacy portion of the store to bring home everything that can strengthen the sick individual’s system. The shopping list is long and specific and you are on your partner’s case throughout the day to take his supplements.