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.