During the summer, my husband likes to grill. In fact, he’s pretty passionate about his grilling. He experiments with new recipes and buys fancy tools. He has even, on occasion, been known to pull an all-nighter making smoked pulled pork so that it’s ready for a party the next day.
Since I’m a vegetarian, most of his grilling prowess is lost on me, except for one big thing — he does the cooking and grocery shopping. That aspect is certainly not lost on me.
Because he gets so into grilling, he has specific food preferences and grocery store requests, so instead of boring me to tears about the difference between flatiron steak and skirt steak, or explaining once again why we need a special kind of charcoal, he takes over the grocery shopping duties.
And you know what? He does a kick-ass job at it.
Most weekends, especially in the summer, he arms himself with mile-long list of everything we need for the week and returns home with more than a dozen bags filled to brim with everything on the list, and even a few things that weren’t on the list. He forgets to bring the reusable grocery bags, and sometimes buys the wrong kind of cereal (my kids and I like the sugary kind; he likes the semi-nutritious cardboard kind). And he has a propensity for spending a shit ton of money on exotic fruits.
But let me be very clear: I love when my husband grocery shops, even if that ginormous jackfruit he brought home one time (what the hell is a jackfruit?!) cost as much as a bottle of decent wine. Not only does it mean fun new culinary adventures, it also means I’m spared the hell that is grocery shopping with two hungry boys at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon. It means he gets the food he wants, and our sons can also see that men can (and should) take part in household chores. Win-win-win.
You know what else he does a kick-ass job at?
Being a dad. He runs errands, feeds our children, and shuttles them to and from baseball practice. Since I’m the at-home parent and he works long hours, most of the time, these activities fall to me, but when’s able to do these things, he does them. And he’s amazing at them.
He takes our older son to piano lessons, and then somehow gets him to actually practice at home — a skill that has escaped me unless bribery and yelling is involved. He navigates Target with two children on the weekend and manages to remain chill. He takes our two heathen children to restaurants alone and gets them to sit in their chairs while they talk about things like sports and Star Wars and whose farts are the stinkiest. Yes, he does these things differently than I do — very differently — but he does them well. Really well.
And while he might not be a Mr. Fix-It (sorry, babe), he can hold his own with other household chores too. Sure, he folds the towels in a different way than I do (i.e., the wrong way) and can’t seem to get his socks into the hamper, but he remembers to flat-dry sweaters and doesn’t shrink T-shirts — something I fail at miserably.
All too often, I hear women complain about how their husbands don’t do anything around the house or how they fuck things up when they do. Or I hear about dads who play dumb about things like grocery shopping and laundry in the hopes that if they do a half-ass job, they get a reprieve. Well, fuck that shit.
Fellas, stop pretending like you don’t know how to do this shit. You aren’t idiots. You are grown-ass men with jobs and families and responsibilities. Buck up, and get your ass to the grocery store every once in a while. You can do this. You know you can do this, and your partner needs your support, so go forth and conquer the supermarket, or the laundry hamper, or both.
And ladies, we need to stop micromanaging the men in our lives. They are perfectly capable. Moms and dads might do things differently, but if that gives you a better work-life balance and overall sense of well-being, who cares?
Except when it comes to folding towels. Because there is definitely a right way to fold towels.