I had just gotten off the phone with my daughter’s dermatologist and was rushing down the street with three bags of groceries while chasing after one kid on a bike and another one on a scooter in order to get home in time to make dinner and do a load of laundry before putting both kids to bed and writing an article.
That’s when it hit me: I do so much more than my husband.
I don’t think of myself as a supermum with the have-it-all lifestyle, but it comes down to the fact that I put in about 90 percent of the effort, while my husband slides in with the last 10. And I’m not just talking about parenting. Yes, I am the one who cooks and cleans for the kids, doles out medicine, and plays Play Doh with them… but there’s so much more.
I used to know a mum who was on a first name basis with her beautician. She literally exchanged Christmas cards with a woman who ripped hair from her flesh. Sure, she was beautiful and she preferred to stay kempt, but let’s be honest: She did it for her husband, too. I mean, don’t we all? Maybe I’m no wax-a-holic, but you’ve seen me at spin class and pilates and taking a barre class, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be working on my post-pregnancy tummy for the rest of my life. I wear makeup and uncomfortable heels and those earrings that give my neck swan-like grace — all in addition to the cooking and cleaning and planning. It’s a lot, and it’s exhausting. And I don’t do it because my husband expects it of me… but it’s not like he minds. Sometimes I wonder: At what point would he tell me I’m not holding up my end of the marital bargain? Would I punch him in the nuts if he did?
Let’s not pretend that sex isn’t a big factor in the marital contract department. Sex is amazing, but who has the time and energy for it? For most of us, once we have kids there’s a major sex recall, but we’re still duty-bound to want it (and initiate it occasionally — or at least a blow job). I’m not trying to say my husband’s some crazy nympho, but half the time we do get around to sex, I’m a teensy bit doing it to keep him from looking elsewhere. Sometimes I literally have to think back to our last time and then decide if I’m due to flip-on my libido switch. Because I do still have one — a libido — it’s just that I left it in my other bag.
What I want to know is, what is he doing to keep up his end? My husband is an A+ guy in many departments. Yours probably is, too. Like many men, he is blessed with a quick metabolism so he doesn’t need to go to the gym like I do, but men in general just aren’t held to the same standards. They aren’t expected to have nice nails or a good muffin recipe, and why is that? Dudes just buzz-cut (or man-bun, in my neighbourhood), then maybe slap on some aftershave and call it a day. Meanwhile I’m still on The Iconic looking for the perfect top that is both sexy and will hide yoghurt stains.
Is it just me, or does the system feel a little bit rigged? We both have jobs and hobbies and friends, yet he’s the one hitting up happy hour with friends and colleagues; or avoiding the washer/dryer like the plague; or getting to lock the bathroom door so children don’t watch him pee, all the while I am managing the playdates, doctors’ appointments, child a*s-wiping, and holiday camp registrations.
When did I become the designated team-lead for our household?
And before you wag your finger and tell me, “Hey, you knew what you were marrying,” yes. I knew I was marrying my gorgeous best friend. But we weren’t homeowners with full time jobs and sick children. The day to day* didn’t exist.
I’ve spoken to a lot of mums about this. We hate the constant expectations put upon us. It’s exhausting to be career oriented and still be fully responsible for the family, day after day. But here’s the thing: Whether we like it or not, we get sh*t done. Somehow we manage to schedule swim lessons while we change nappies and shop online for three birthday parties as we sew parrot costumes for the school play and apply a mud mask during “Game of Thrones”.
Maybe I am trying a lot harder than my husband, but it could be a lot worse. He wired our entire house for everything electronic, he’s awesome at the playground, and he gives a mean neck massage (which, as I’m sure he knows, usually leads to sex). Just don’t ask me whose face I’m envisioning when you see me kicking a*s at cardio kickboxing next week. We both already know the answer.
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