I will be the first to admit. My husband is really good man. He is a great husband and an amazing father. He is super involved with our kids. He plays with them, takes them to fun places, feeds them, changes diapers, bathes them and does basically everything a parent should do. I am constantly being told by other women how lucky I am that he does things like help with the kids, and doesn’t he think he’ll lose his manhood if he helps with dishes (gasp!). Here is the thing. I know I married a great man, I wouldn’t have married him otherwise, and I certainly wouldn’t have married a man who thought my place was in the kitchen and that I should be the sole caregiver of our kids. I don’t prescribe to these ideas of gender roles and I won’t raise my children to do so either.
First of all, up until recently we both worked full time while we had a family. During this time household chores were spilt 50/50. If someone felt they were pulling more weight, we had an adult conversation about it, fixed it and moved on. We completely shared chores, cooking, laundry, etc. A few months ago, we both decided it would be a good time for me to stay home with the kids and fortunately, we were in a place where we could make it work. Now I take care of most of the chores throughout the day and do most of the cooking, because I have “time” to do them (in between entertaining, teaching and cleaning up after my two toddlers). Sometimes I fall short and don’t get to folding all of the laundry, or we run in to a situation where we could use a quick clean up of the house. Guess what? My husband helps. It’s not like I didn’t finish the laundry because I spend the day watching television. I haven’t watched a single television show in my 5 months as a SAHM. I didn’t get to it because I was busy with the kids, or with other household chores/ projects.
When it comes to the kids, he is very involved. He gets home from work and plays with the kids while I finish up dinner. He always helps or at least offers to help do the dishes after dinner. Typically, one of us does the dishes while the other wipes down the stove and counters. He has no problem giving the kids a bath (he is bathing them and getting them ready for bed as I write). We always read stories and put the kids sleep together. Spending time, playing with and helping your kids with the things they need help with is called being a parent. We both signed up for this job.
Yes, my husband is a good man, but he doesn’t deserve a cookie. I don’t have outsiders giving me praise and cookies for taking care of my kids, feeding my family, doing the laundry, etc. Sorry folks, but he shouldn’t either (and he fully agrees). I’m sick of the standard that men can take a back seat to raising kids and all of the other crazy things the come along with having a family. It needs to stop. This whole idea of gender roles can go straight to hell. They are not going to exist in our house. My husband has no problem folding laundry and I have no problem picking up dog poop and mowing the lawn. It is one thing to say he is a good parent/spouse. He is and so I am. But please, stop telling me how lucky I am that he helps with the kids and other household chores. Not because I don’t think he deserves praise, we thank and praise each other all the time for all kinds of things, but because I do not want my girls to grow up thinking that a good man is a rarity. And because I don’t want my girls growing up thinking their place in in this world is defined by old fashioned gender roles. Their place is wherever they want it to be.