Even in the supposedly enlightened 21st Century, my husband and I face criticism for the lifestyle we’ve chosen. It’s not all that out of the ordinary; it’s simply that I am the primary breadwinner who works full-time (albeit from my home) and Dave is a part-time substitute teacher, grad student, and the household manager. He cooks, does laundry, and grocery shops. Thank Goodness!! I’m quite sure my in-laws feel that I’m not the best wife because their poor son is burdened with all the cooking and most of the cleaning; my parents worry over my husband’s ability to provide for his family because he doesn’t work full time.
Here’s the thing, though: these roles work perfectly for us. I’m not sure I realized how perfectly it was working until Dave had to step back to recover from surgery. I tried, I really did. I would start a load of laundry, then realize six hours later it was still in the washer and I’d have to start over. I would spend hours longer in the grocery store because I had no idea what brand we buy or where everything was in the store. And I would dread dinner time.
I hate cooking, always have. It’s not fun for me at all. Dave, however, loves to cook, and sees it as a creative outlet. And if you’ll ask my kids, who have had to put up with my meals for the last month while my husband has recuperated, it’s a good thing daddy normally does the cooking, or they’d starve to death. I do the dishes and love it.
Dave, on the other hand, detests the traditional “man” stuff like putting things together, making repairs to the car or house, or building stuff. I, however, love to do things like install new toilets, build shelves, replace the car battery, or mix up some cement and patch the foundation (which is a requirement in a 200 year old house).
Up until I was 26, I never planned on having kids. Then I met Dave, fell in love, and inherited three. We added two more to the happy family and I’ve never looked back. I don’t think it was kids I was trying to avoid, though, but some of the “traditional” mom stuff that I grew up seeing my mom do. I wanted no part of it. Apparently, I still don’t.
For us, our partnership works. No, it’s not like the way most people do it. But I think it’s pretty cool that my kids are growing up without gender-stereotyped roles affecting them.
Dave still kills the spiders though!