He said it wasn’t in his job description.
And it irked me.
My teenage daughter needed a ride to a friend’s birthday party. On the way, she wanted to stop by the drugstore to buy some makeup remover (a birthday party essential).
I’d had an especially long day and a trip across town with a tumultuous teen was not what the doctor ordered.
Me: Come on, will you take her?
Husband: We haven’t met the mom, so somebody’s going have to go in and talk to her. And makeup remover? Sounds like a “mom job” to me.
If someone issued strict parental job descriptions when we became parents, I must have missed the memo.
I’ve found myself doing a few “dad jobs” over the years, including plunging toilets, laying mulch, supervising contractors and various other “manly” jobs. Had I known, I could have just cruised through the carpool lane of mom life – feather duster in hand – without all those distractions!
I recently asked a friend whose opinion I respect about this “mom” vs. “dad” job issue.
Here was her take on it:
My husband is the same way. But I think it’s all in the way you look at it. I think what they’re really saying -- at least a lot of the time -- is this: “You’re better at this. Or, I’m not comfortable doing this.”
At my house, we don't necessarily always divide household responsibilities -- and certain aspects of parenting -- strictly by “mom” or “dad” jobs, but according to each of our strengths. It also depends sometimes on who's available (physically and/or emotionally) to do a certain task at the time it's needed.
I thought about what she said for a long time. And it made a lot of sense to me.
Certainly, God designed the family unit to work in a certain way and when the roles get too blurred, the family suffers.
But that doesn’t mean that Dad can’t take his daughter to ballet practice or that Mom can’t run a 5K with her son (did it a few summers ago).
I don’t want us to be so rigid that we can’t pitch in as needed outside of our traditional roles, as well as recognize and utilize each other’s strengths -- even if it means our house doesn’t look exactly like June and Ward Cleaver’s.
Sometimes there are aspects of family life that both parents are not strong at, but you just have to do it because it needs to be done. Doing what needs to be done – with God’s help -- to the best of our ability. That’s what parenting is all about.
I discussed my friend’s viewpoint with Mike and I think it helped both of us view the debate in a little different light. I then asked him if I could blog about it.
Yes, he said, as long as you don’t make me sound like a jerk.
So let me be clear. My husband is not a jerk. Far, far from it. And he has gladly performed more than a few “mom jobs” over the years. This is in no way meant to disrespect him. Neither of us are perfect. It's just one of those issues that has continued to crop up from time to time without satisfactory resolution.
But I think we’re getting closer.
Now I’m off to get a load of laundry for Mike to fold. I think he’s better at it.
How about you? Do you and your spouse ever struggle with this issue? I’d love to hear how you work it out in your family!