Choosy Idiots Choose Jif

My husband got this in an email from a local chapter of a professional association for designers:

 “I make lunches, I car pool, I workout, I run errands, I volunteer, I’m in meetings, I pay bills, I manage, I organize, I design, I help with homework, I cook, I read bedtime stories. I’m a mom.”

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. This is really the message you want to me sending to all of your members? That you have to have a vagina to be capable of doing all of those things?

A few weeks ago as I was elbow deep in baking – one of my favorite things to do – I sent a quick post on facebook thanking Mark for taking M and running 2 blocks to the store to get me more yeast while I continued to make bread. The responses were ridiculous. It was as if he had cured a major malady, such was the outpouring of “what a wonderful man”, “you are so lucky” and “I hope to have a husband like that some day”.

Again, what the hell? Yes it was nice, but he ran a 10 minute errand for me 1) because he knows I enjoy baking and 2) because he’s going to be eating the damn delicious homemade bread.

Nothing gets him or I more riled up than this crazy assumption, one played upon by the media, that fathers are bumbling, no-help idiots. Guess what? In our house Mark is the one who makes M’s lunch – every single morning. He also does the laundry and, since MAD was born, is solely responsible for M’s bath and bedtime stories.

We are a partnership – equal partners and parents to the fullest extent. We both car pool, cook and run errands. We both work (and make very similar salaries), do housework, yard work, grocery shop and workout. We carve out time for each other but also make sure the other has time to pursue a social life and hobbies. I go workout with a trainer while he takes both kids to M’s ballet class. He spends 2-3 hours each Sunday on his marathon training long runs while I run errands with the kids. I enjoy a monthly(ish) girls night out and he goes for beers with friends or freezes his ass off watching the Browns lose.

We help each other out. He wants new running socks and I’ll take a lunch hour to go buy him some. I’m missing an ingredient and he’ll run to the store for me. To me this is normal; it’s how it “should be”. The work/marriage/life balance is crazy hard. Sometimes we both feel like we are getting the short end of the stick, but we put major effort into helping each other out. I might cringe at M’s hair when Mark does it and I know he cringse when I’m the one trying to get her to go to bed (he has much more paitence for that task). But we are married; we are partners in this life we have chosen together. He doesn’t need a mother to make his lunch and do his laundry; I don’t need a man to start the lawn mower or take out the trash.

And we sure as hell don’t need marketers or professional organizations trying to perpetuate those stereotypes.

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10 thoughts on “Choosy Idiots Choose Jif

  1. My husband is many days more of a “mom” than I am because his work schedule offers more flexibility than mine during the week. He helps her with homework, takes her to Girl Scouts, makes sure she gets to PSR at Church.

    But you know what that means? On the weekends when he’s hanging with friends or working with this tools, I’m taking my daughter to basketball or swim or running errands.

    Some days I make dinner. Others, he will.

    Marriage isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100. We’re all in. Sounds like you are too. Thank heaven I’m not the only one annoyed by stereotypes like some “choosy” ones…

  2. LOVE this post. You’re right– your situation IS how it “should be.” My fiance and I are still getting the hang of the balancing act, but I think we’re off to a good start. He always does the laundry from start to finish because he’s better at it. I clean the toilets because I’m picky. I usually cook dinner, and he handles the dishes.

    Interestingly we feel the pressure from the media AND our families of origin. My parents don’t understand why I’m always driving us around (it’s because the fiance has an hour commute each way and my drive to work is only 10 mins).

    Thank you for this post. It’s nice to know the balancing act is actually possible!

  3. John says:

    Well said! I have a flexible work schedule, my wife does not. Many times I’ll leave work early to pick my son up after practice, of take him somewhere, then work a couple more hours from home. The only thing my wife does not do is cut the grass, which I can live with. She was a stay at home mom for a couple of years, which we both wanted for our son, but we have always shared duties.

  4. I’m going to need you to speak with my mother in law.

    If I so much as blow my nose, she wonders why I had the nerve to ask my husband to watch the kids while I was selfishly attending to the needs of my own nose above my children for TWO WHOLE SECONDS.

    My husband isn’t that way…or he wouldn’t be my husband. But around her…holy god it’s a mess.

    I’m glad you guys have this partnership….more (read: all) marriages should.

  5. I’m always kind of surprised when I hear or read about the perpetuation of the “dad” stereotype, because I think that paradigm changed a long time ago. All of the dads in our circle are fully engaged in their family’s daily lives and child rearing responsibilities. It’s actually kind of weird to run into a family that *doesn’t* have this dynamic.

  6. I feel like I do more of the parenting duties because I am a SAHM while my husband works longer hours. However, as I am embarking into a new world of working full-time, I think our roles are going to have to change a bit. On the weekends, my husband still does a ton of work around the house, but during the week, the burden has mostly been put on my shoulders (and rightly so considering I am home all day). It is going to be strange having us sharing more duties since we are sharing the same work burden.

    I do feel as though media and society does push this idea that men are (a) idiots (b) not helpful around the house/with kids or (c) should not be helpful around the house because that is women’s work. I kind of want to puke in my mouth when people suggest that I should be doing more because I am the mom- like I am the only one capable of bathing my kids or fixing their lunch.

    I am hopeful that if Mark would have posted on Twitter about you doing something nice that he would have gotten the same response, an outpouring of how wonderful you are.

  7. Hi. This is my first time here. I found you through your comment on Angella’s site.
    I couldn’t agree more. This is certainly the way things should be. But it is tricky especially for women who are SAHMs or who work part time. Many men, especially if they were raised in a home where men didn’t participate in childcare or housework and who haven’t had those experiences themselves, really don’t perceive what their wife does all day as ‘work.’
    In my marriage my husband is doing more to contribute every year and I’m proud of him because of stereotypes he has had to overcome to get here. It has been like pulling teeth though. And I’m so thankful we had daughters instead of sons because he loves his girls and having them have opened his eyes to inequality that still exists.
    Society is a work in progress. I think we’re getting better. Some couples are more ahead of the game than others. And I think you’re right. We have to be so careful to not buy into stereotypes about men especially if we don’t want to be seen through stereotypical lenses ourselves.
    Thanks for this post. it’s nice to meet you!

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