The other day I was being a fancy lady and getting my nails done before vacation. The manicurist was several flavors of bonkers, which I usually love in a person, but she kind of lost me during a really long, drawn out story about her dog’s false pregnancy. Anyway. Robb came to pick up a kid from me and the manicurist said something about what an involved dad he is and how I’m so lucky he helps.
It took 3 days and all the acetone she had to get the gel nail polish off my forehead when my head hit her nail table over and over and over.
Stop telling me I should be falling all over myself for a husband who does half the work. That’s how it is supposed to fucking work. You have no idea how many people (mostly older women) have told me he’s a miracle for doing laundry, cooking, managing the kids.
Screw them all. He’s a good person, spouse and parent. I am fortunate to have him, but because he’s him, not because he does the work that needs to be done. And instead of doing this life with his family, he’s expected to be doing…what? Drinking with buddies, playing video games, sport balling, hunting, other recreational non-essential life things?
If me, the woman, the mom, didn’t automagically do housework and childcare work and management of our social calendar and budget and all the other things, I’d be seen as inadequate, and depending how uninvolved I was in it, possibly negligent or even mentally unbalanced.
It makes me rage-y.
So, we’re over a year into Robb starting his small business and working part time. I’m still working full-time in my same job. The kids go to school/daycare full-time. One of the countless painful things we’ve had to dissect our way through this year is how we distribute home/child/budget responsibilities. What are each of our priorities and when is it reasonable to expect tasks to be completed? What are our ingrained expectations of which partner does what and why are we living by them?
Ugh. Horrible. It’s so boring and unromantic, fighting about the dumb toilet. I mean, the toilet isn’t especially dumb, it’s a normal, mid-range model, I think. It does its duty well. (Duty). But the topic is a dumb one for a fight. I want to talk about juicy, big, interesting things with this person whose brain I chose above all the other brains, but here we are fighting about toilets and kitchen sponges.
I also don’t want to be the one to always clean the toilet, so we have to fight it out. Really, though, if a sitcom wanted to ever portray a real couple fighting about the real things couples fight about, it would be the dumb toilet and the dumb dishes in the dumb sink.
There’s been some looped ‘stop bossing me around/stop making me boss you around’ stuff, but it’s getting better. We divvy up responsibilities way more equitably than we ever did, and it feels less to both of us like I’m delegating to him and more like we both get it and are sharing the burdens, and are on the same side.
I like it. I had no idea how much I hated doing all the things that fell on my list until I stopped having to do them and had a partner I could trust to do them for us. Having a little extra time in one of our schedules has been beautiful, even though it means a lotta less money. And this transition have forced some much needed reflections and conversation.
So, when the crazy nail lady or the other old ladies I know crow about how helpful my husband is when he takes care of his own damn kids, like he’s a dog who learned a trick, I’m going to tell them, Don Draper is dead, sorry to be the one to tell you. (If you miss Jon Hamm, just watch “30 Rock” on repeat, like I do at all times).