Every Friday, my husband takes the kids to school. They’re his kids so it shouldn’t be a big deal for a father to take his own children to school. Yet last Friday, a friend saw him at drop-off and immediately texted me saying, “You are so lucky. I couldn’t get my husband to drop off unless I was in the hospital. And even then…”
This is not the first time I’ve been told I’m lucky to have a good husband. It’s a lovely compliment, in theory, usually coming from a fellow wife and mom possibly lamenting the deficiencies of her own man. I’ve been told I’m lucky that my husband seems to dote on me and that he seems to (if Facebook is a truth teller) love to do interesting things with the kids that don’t require my help. I’ve been told I’m lucky that my husband is supportive of my career, and that he changes his work schedule when I have a meeting or work travel.
Basically, I’ve been told I’m lucky for him being and doing exactly what a husband or wife is supposed to do for their spouse.
Don’t get me wrong, I think my guy is great. He wants to be as involved a parent as his time and energy allow. He believes in me more than I believe in myself and often uses his own hard earned connections and contacts to further my career and support my goals. He goes out of his way to make sure I get time to squeeze in things like exercise and time with my friends on evenings or weekends. And he does his best to schedule around events at our children’s school so he can participate and be there to support them as well.
But he’s not that way because of luck. And I didn’t somehow win the husband lottery because I got a good one. I’ve worked hard for a good relationship. And anyone who has a good partner will tell you the same.
But it all starts with whom you choose in the first place. Me, I was willing to be single and waited until I found the right guy. And when I did meet the right guy, he wasn’t exactly the guy he is now. He was, just like I was, a work in progress. We’ve learned from one another. We’ve learned to be supportive, to share the parenting workload and to give each time for the things that matter to us.
But he’s also a good man because I wouldn’t have married someone who wasn’t.
And he’s become a better man because we’ve worked hard on our relationship. It hasn’t always been easy or fun.
So am I thankful to have him? Yup. Lucky? No.
No one ever tells a man how lucky he is to have married a woman who is a good wife and mother. It’s assumed marriage and motherhood come naturally to women and that men can opt in or out as if marriage and fatherhood are extracurricular activities one can do when he’s not at work. It’s assumed that it’s luck that made a man a good father and husband which is an insult to both the man and his wife.
And with no intention of throwing my husband under the bus, for every school drop-off or day with the kids at the museum, there are a lot of forgotten lunch boxes, months where he never got up in the morning with the kids, or weeks where I did bedtime solo because his work kept him out after our kids went to sleep. But if a mom forgets to bring her kid’s lunch or can’t remember what time pick-up is, she’s a hot mess mom who can’t keep her shit together. A dad who does the same is deemed doing the best he can because “you’re lucky he’ll do any of it at all.”
No man is a good one because of luck. He’s a good husband or father because he wants to be and because his partner requires that of him—that’s how it’s supposed to be. Raising children isn’t women’s work. And it’s not a burden or job. It’s what we signed on to do, together, as a couple.
There’s no luck involved in that.
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