“I wouldn’t consider myself the type of person to overreact. I tend to take things pretty lightly. Even when semi-insulting things are said to me, I always try and think of it from the other person’s perspective and understand where they’re coming from. Having a mother who always did just that, that’s just how I was raised. But something stopped me in my tracks the other day. A comment that was made to me by my friend’s new boyfriend. And, well, I have a few thoughts and feelings about it.
I had invited the two of them over to do a fun wine and painting night. We had done one just the week before and enjoyed it so much that we wanted to do another one. I guess we hadn’t had enough of our pink Moscato and sloppy island depictions just yet so a round two was soon in the works.
The week prior, my husband had joined us too. However, he wouldn’t be able to make it this afternoon for the second go around as he had prior obligations to visit his grandmother an hour drive away. He would be taking our son Wyatt with him.
The first wine night, my house had been slightly messy, especially because we had spontaneously decided on picking my house to host the get together. By messy I mean that it was essentially clean, but definitely just needed some more tidying up. There were some miscellaneous items and toys here and there (thanks to my two-year-old) and some couch cushions out of place. But nothing too serious. I scrambled to tidy up a little bit once we all arrived after dinner.
The second time around, since the get together was planned, my husband and I had time to clean the house. Together, we gave it a good scrubbing, spraying, sweeping, vacuuming. You name it. The house was spic and span. It’s something we’ve always done together and actually find to be a bit therapeutic.
When my friend and her boyfriend arrived, I noticed his jaw drop. ‘Whoa!’ he said. ‘This place looks nice. So much better than last week!’ Embarrassed, I thanked him and said something like, ‘Yeah, me and my husband had time to clean this time around.’
A second jaw drop. ‘Your HUSBAND cleans? What? You’re so lucky.’ This comment immediately rubbed me the wrong way but I just brushed it off. Then, he proceeded to ask questions.
‘Where’s your son? Is your son asleep?’ I told him no, he was gone and under my husband’s supervision for the night, to which he responded with, ‘WHAT? He is gonna watch the baby? Why aren’t you watching him?’
That’s when I started to feel a little defensive. I could feel my blood boiling a little. I let out a cool, ‘Because he’s a father. That’s why.’
Looking utterly aghast, he replied, ‘Oh. Well, you know. I just thought that was gonna be more of your thing. Anyway, where’s this wine you talked of?!’ He then walked himself to my kitchen and opened my pantry. Mind you, I had hung out with this man only twice before. He seemed way too comfortable waltzing into my house.
‘It’s not in there. I’ll get it,’ I said. ‘And what do you mean, my thing?’ I couldn’t help but prod at it. What he said next now had my jaw dropping.
‘Oh, I don’t know. It’s just that women aren’t as efficient in the workplace most of the time. But, don’t get me wrong, they’re REALLY great mothers. It’s just their calling. Like hunting and gathering. Men do the hunting and women do all that other junk.’
Now, not to brag, but I am the bread winner in the house, and a full-time mom. I am happy to have my husband’s financial help and support with the baby. I understand that not everyone has that. But for someone to tell me that I was lucky my husband even helped with the cleaning of my house and the raising of our own child, now that certainly rubbed me the wrong way. I was LIVID.
I won’t get into the details of the argument, but let’s just say I gave him a piece of my mind. Angered by my apparent ‘feminist nazi’ opinions (yes, because saying that fathers should be just as much a parent as mothers totally puts me on a level playing field with Hitler), he abruptly left. My friend stayed with me.
That new boyfriend of hers? No longer a boyfriend. Needless to say, we had a nice bottle of wine to ourselves that night.
What I do want to say to you other mommas out there is this:
The cooking, the cleaning…it’s NOT your inherent job. And motherhood is NOT your only calling. And the workplace, sure as heck, IS your place if you so choose it.
While you should always feel grateful for the help you receive, as with anything in life, you should never feel like you are lucky to have your husband, the father of your child, be a dad. I think that’s just what my husband signed up for when he decided to be… well, a dad. Apparently that’s not a given to some.”
Read more stories like this:
‘My daughter wore a pair of jeans to school. They had a hole in the knee. In the middle of a quiz, a male administrator told her she needed to consider guys and their hormones, yanked her out of class and threw her into In-School Suspension.’
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