“You hit the husband JACKPOT!”
“WHAT!? He does LAUNDRY?!”
“Your husband knows how to cook?!”
“Is he babysitting the little one while you’re out?”
“You’re so lucky to have a husband like that!”
These are all things that have been said to me since I’ve been married to my partner and husband, Justin.
Yes, my husband does the laundry, knows how to cook, cares for our child and I do think I hit a jackpot with him. He is funny, he makes me feel loved, and most of all- he makes me laugh. If that’s what you mean by “the jackpot,” then yes, I hit the jackpot.
However, I also think that he hit the jackpot with me.
We are a team.
Ya hear that? A TEAM.
Every Sunday, like clockwork, my husband does the laundry. Mostly, because he needs laundry for the following work week. Sometimes (many times), my laundry and our daughter’s laundry is included in his Sunday Laundry Session. Am I “lucky” that he does my laundry? Meh, sure. Lucky like when someone holds the door open for me at the gas station “lucky.” Honestly, I don’t look at it as “lucky.” I don’t pat his head and say “Good Job, Husband!”
Our life does not resemble the late 1950’s. I am not Betty Draper where my sole responsibility is planning parties, managing children, and figuring out what to do with my day. The only similarity Betty Draper and I have is my psychiatrist says about the same number of words as Betty’s did. As some of you have maybe figured out, we now live in a period where many households have two working parents. Many people live in a household with two working parents because their lives depend on it. In my family, our lives depend on it.
My husband may fold laundry and make excellent meals, but you know what? I do some of the mundane too.
Does my spouse know what reports we need to send to our accountant each month? Does my husband know the name of our daughter’s nephrologist? Or have the slightest idea how our HMO insurance plan works?
No. But you know what? That is irrelevant.
Again, we are a team.
In a traditional “team,” people work together, and individually, to accomplish a common goal. In this instance, our goal is a life that keeps a roof over our head, food in our stomachs, the IRS off our back, and most importantly, raising a little human that grows to be a kind, loving and open-minded individual.
His money is my money and my money is his money. We share duties, we parent together, and neither one of us is further up the totem pole than the other. I don’t ask him if “it’s okay” if I do something, nor does he ask me. He does not “babysit” our child, he is a father to our child.
When I was a stay-at-home-mom when our daughter was little, I knew that my most important responsibility was taking care of our child while my husband ran our business. I also knew that it was nice if he to came home to a meal, or maybe a mopped floor. But even then, that was not expected. As any parent who has stayed home with a newborn, toddler, or ANY aged child, we all know that “housework” can fall to the bottom of the list – QUICKLY. In fact, some days were so chaotic when my child was little that it wasn’t uncommon for him to come home to a house that appeared as though a nuke detonated; a home that was far messier than it was when he left 8 hours earlier. And that was okay, too. Because TEAM. Because COMMON GOAL. Because OMG little kids are hard and quite possibly more exhausting than any 40 hour job I’ve ever worked in my entire life.
I don’t think it is solely my responsibility to keep our home clean and make sure we are loaded up on laundry detergent. Nor do I think it’s his job to pick up the dog crap in the backyard and “clean out the garage.” My muscles may not be as big as his, but my brain is and I am capable of everything my husband is. (Well, maybe not those things that you can only do with man parts.) I don’t NEED him, we have mutually chosen to be a couple and create a family. Our marriage has the typical ups and downs as any other. I may not be as responsible at managing money as my husband, but I consider that one of his strengths, just as he considers many of my talents as strengths. We, individually, and collectively bring things to our marriage that aid us in operating as a functioning and fair duo.
In a family, we all contribute in the ways that we are able. Some of us may complete taks that come more naturally to them, or ones they don’t mind doing. Personally, I HATE the laundry, however, I don’t mind emptying out cabinets, the fridge, dressers and reorganizing. I don’t think my husband has washed our linens since we’ve been married, and I haven’t done math homework with my daughter since first grade. (Okay, that one might be in part to my inability to complete second grade math, but you catch my drift…)
Justin likes to choose what he eats for dinner where I could give a rats ass. He has admittedly said that he prefers to cook dinner because that means he is in control of what he eats.
HEY- FINE BY ME! Chicken, steak, fish— I have zero problem with that. (Except for that one time he cooked this weird, small bird that wasn’t a chicken but was kind of a chicken…)I think that we are demonstrating to our child that teamwork is pivotal to not just a marriage, but any relationship. I think we are showing her that it’s not a man’s duty to fill the car up with gas, and golf on Sunday’s while the woman cleans the house and has a fancy dinner garnished with parsley when he arrives home after his day.
In our home, both mom and dad work. In other homes, mom stays home and dad works, and vice versa. In ALL of these instances, MOM AND DAD ARE A TEAM.
I didn’t get lucky with the type of husband I have, and my husband didn’t get lucky with the greatest wife on the planet (well, kind of, but shh)- we got lucky WITH EACH OTHER. Together, we both bring different things to the table; individually we excel at certain things the other may not, but together we make a great, unique pair– as any marriage should.
(This post originally appeared on SmashleyAshley)