Do you feel guilty about unfolded laundry?
Not the, “aw man, should have probably gotten to that” kind of guilt. I’m talking about the real kind. Does it drain you? Do you tie your work life balance grade to it? Is it some weird metaphor about how you putting your career before it makes you a bad dad? Is it a constant reassurance that you are good at many things, but being a husband isn’t one of them?
No? Oh. That’s weird.
Our home is a loving one. Our kids have two parents who love them more than anything. Most of our fights are about school districts, money, and laundry — which from all the articles I’ve read, and all of the people I’ve talked to, seems pretty typical. We like to call our home a 50/50 one, but I think we both know, that’s kind of bullshit.
Not that you wouldn’t do anything I asked you to, but you only think to do it once I tell you. And this scenario and outplayed complaint isn’t new.
Our income is about the same. I have more room for advancement just given the nature of my industry and still I am the one that has to compromise my schedule. You’ve taken our crazy love balls to a few doctor appointments, but only after I’ve scheduled and confirmed them. You are always armored with questions for the doctor that have been meticulously and anxiously fabricated through equations I have made up in my mind; the variables are usually: Reality +Expectations+ Mom articles. It is a terrible and ineffective concoction where my anxiety and mom guilt all form an association. I guess at least it makes for an interactive milestones appointment?
Anyway, sorry I am getting off topic — I do that a lot, because, well you know, I have to think of everything involving all four members of our household.
I just want to be absolutely clear, I am not mad at you. But my God, for this particular part of life, I fucking resent you.
We’ve gotten past most of the gender roles bullshit, and you have welcomed my income with open arms. But somehow, when laundry sits, or routines struggle to become habit, I end the day with a list to improve my failures. And you proceed, unaffected. I know you think this is silly and that comparing myself to others is something that has been imbedded in us because of social media, and I think you are right. Partially.
I don’t think making mothering impossible is a social media problem; I think it’s a societal one.
On any given day, you can read an article about how women are discriminated against for breastfeeding in public, or scrutinized for utilizing formula to quickly. We carry babies inside of our bodies, only to be told the way we delivered wasn’t “the natural” way. Or what the fuck ever.
We go to work; we are cold-hearted and our priorities are misaligned. If we stay home, we are encouraged to “find a passion outside of being a mother.” Or what the fuck ever.
My point is, we are not the same. We do not play by the same rules. And although most of us have cheered on women trailblazing the work force, we have not held our male counter chaos controllers to the same grading scale. Which has made us more bonkers than we’ve ever been.
And to be clear, the “grading scale” is fucking terrible. If my kids know their ABCs, have clean clothes and say “thank you” when someone hands them something, I don’t want to hear any opinion about how and where my household operates. I’d like to say “I don’t care” what they have to say, but I do, and maybe that’s the problem.
Anyway, dear husband: when you see a 3-day old pile of unfolded laundry and you don’t have it in you to sort tiny tee-shirts, do your best to remind me that you don’t care that I don’t have it in me either. Remind me that on our grading scale, I am still at a 4.0. Your reassurance that I am killing it is sometimes all I need.
All my love (and rage),