My husband is the perfect partner – both as my companion in marriage and my teammate in parenting. He is my other half. My knight in shining armor. The man of my dreams.
He’s my favorite.
What some imagine when they hear me say this is that he regularly loads the dishwasher or consistently folds mounds of laundry. Some might think he regularly bathes our children or packs up the diaper bag when we get ready to leave the house.
But, those people would be sorely mistaken.
In fact, my husband almost never carries his own plate into the kitchen or sets foot in the laundry room. I don’t remember the last time he gave our children a bath, but I do remember the last time he helped them brush their teeth because he yelled down the stairs and asked me whose toothbrush was whose. When it comes to domestic tasks, we tend to follow stereotypical gender roles and the “light” housework type duties end up on my to-do list, not his.
Here’s a classic example: when we watch Netflix together on the couch, I’m basically his waitress. I bring him ice water (from the fridge, not the faucet), or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (with enough jelly, but not too much) or whatever else it is he’s craving. He has this persistent habit where he’ll wait for me to get up – to use the restroom or whatnot – and then “since I’m up” he will ask me to bring him something upon my return. He will wait as long as it takes in order to remain firmly planted on the sofa.
And even though I’m a strong-willed feminist, I happily oblige. Because some things are more important. Like:
He is tender and loving. He is the master of cuddles and kisses and rubbing backs. He tells us, “I love you” and “I’m proud of you” and he says it like he means it. He paints his daughter’s fingers and toes, he dances with them in the kitchen, and he sips fake tea out of tiny china cups when they ask him to. He gently positions their hands around a baseball bat to show them how to hit the ball from the tee. He shows them how to properly pass a soccer ball with their insteps. He wipes away all of our tears with his thumbs and he kisses them away with his lips. He’s learned that he can’t solve all of our problems, but listening to them can provide the greatest of comforts. He loves his daughters, and he loves me, and we all know it. He makes sure of that.
He is proud of his family. This includes not only us, but his grandparents, parents and sisters, his aunts and uncles, his cousins and nieces and nephews. He values our company and he boasts about our strengths – even though we all possess different ones, and even when they aren’t the same as his own. He applauds his relatives when they achieve their goals – mastering a new riff on the guitar, scoring a goal, reading a challenging text, participating in a performance, getting a new job, running a race, or earning a degree. He smiles when he watches his daughters doing something they love and he says, “She’s awesome” on a daily basis. He boasts about their strength, their determination, their newly acquired skills, their stubbornness, and their goofy antics.
He takes care of all the things. He turns off lights, and vacuums out cars, and always puts things back where they belong. He researches for months to find the best deals on cars, lawn mowers and furnaces. He is the leader in our household when it comes to budgeting and saving, home renovating, and investment planning. He takes the time to figure out the best plan of action and he spends even more time executing his strategy. He’s always working on a project that involves rewiring, patching, painting, wrenching, tearing apart, or putting back together. He’s the one who handles the hours-long phone conversations with the cable company. That alone should earn him an award.
He doesn’t do the dishes or the laundry, and he has no idea where we keep the children’s shampoo.
And that’s fine.