I read an amazing article over the weekend on mom.me, titled, “Don’t Tell Me How Lucky I Am To Have A Good Husband.”
A-FREAKING-MEN. This was one of the most relatable articles I’ve read in a while.
Let me rewind, because I’m sure that sounds like a bitch thing to say.
I’ll start by saying how incredibly appreciative I am for my husband. He is one of the most doting and caring men I’ve ever met. He literally does everything in his power to make sure his family is happy. He is an outstanding dad, and our daughter is absolutely obsessed with him.
Before we had Mickey, we made a decision together that I would step back from the shop to raise kids. And, he would continue to work full time (which, when you own your business is a heavy amount of hours per week). For as long as I can remember, I’ve worked multiple jobs at a time. So, adjusting from working at our business full time, to spending 98% of my time as a stay-at-home mother, wasn't an easy transition. Even though I felt guilty about not working, I knew in my heart that’s what was best for our family.
Michael was incredibly supportive of how long it took me to accept the fact that my identity had changed overnight. He was patient and understanding. He listened to me when I cried about feeling like I had lost myself in being a mother. He encouraged me to write and to do whatever necessary to feel like myself again.
To say I married a good man, is an understatement. Mind you, we fight like psychopaths sometimes and our relationship is far from perfect. But our love and support for each other, far surpasses any disagreement or nasty things that are said in the heat of the moment. (And trust me, there are some NASTY things said.)
Michael and I opened a business together only six weeks after we got married in 2013. So, one can imagine how stressful that first year of marriage was. It really tested our relationship and forced us to take a long hard look at ourselves. Through individual therapy, the two of us learned how to communicate our expectations and be better partners to each other. We are both still a work in progress, but we try. And, that’s what’s important to us.
When we opened our barber shop, I quickly became extremely familiar with a huge double standard that is set between men and women in the work place. I’ve lost count of the amount of times people have said “Oh your husband owns a shop?” or “Where do you work? I never see you here."
Well sir, you would “never see me here” because I’m in the back doing inventory, accounting, paying bills, cleaning, and bartending at night so we could afford to keep our doors open. How is it that my husband got all of the credit and I got none?
This is when Michael made a really, really, really dumb joke. But, lucky for him, this joke proved to be an incredible analogy that applies to the double standard between men and women.
My husband innocently joked that he “ was the star of the play and I was the stage crew.”
Stage crew. I had been reduced to the fucking stage crew.
I took a deep breath and made it perfectly clear that I was not JUST the stage crew. I was the writer, producer, stage crew, hair and makeup, and even catering company of this “play” in which my husband was the lead. Without me there was no fucking production to be starring in.
This dumb joke, turned analogy, applies not only to business, but to marriage and parenthood as well. It rings so true when it comes to the credit men get for being good husbands and hands-on dads. (Now, I’m fully aware that this doesn’t apply to every situation, but there are definitely a lot of us who experience this.)
Here’s an example of the double standard:
The wife gets her two children ready to go to the grocery store. This means she has successfully wrangled them, got them dressed, fed them, brushed their teeth, changed a diaper or outfit in the midst of getting ready, broke up a fight between them, calmed down a tantrum, put away their dishes, put on their coats, packed a diaper bag, found their favorite stuffed animal, put on their shoes, cleaned up the juice one of them threw on the floor after screaming that he wanted it, put the dog in the crate, shut off lights, and got the kids in the car, only to realize she’s left her wallet inside. Oh, and somewhere in there, she MAY have had time to brush her own teeth, run a comb through her hair, and if she’s lucky, put on a bra.
This disheveled mom runs errands with her children, putting out fires left and right. She drives through two different fast food places, that are in the opposite direction of one another, because the two of them are screaming that they want different things. When she finally makes it the grocery store, one of her kids tells her that she just pooped. And it’s not just poop, she has shit through her pants. After picking up her kid, who is covered in shit, that is now all over her clothes as well, she carries her kids into the rank grocery store bathroom. She changes the diaper, while keeping an eye on the second kid who is pulling toilet paper across the floor.
I think you get the picture. The point is, this woman is EXPECTED to be able to be do all of this, and with grace. She’s receiving no pat on the back while wheeling two screaming children around the grocery store. If anything, she’s probably sweating because she’s receiving looks of judgement for ignoring the public tantrums that are occurring right in front of her.
Let’s flip the script. A man is juggling two children in the grocery store. He probably has the diaper bag, that his wife had already packed for him, draped over his shoulder. He is simply pushing his kids through the grocery store, the exact same way his wife had earlier that week. But this does not go unnoticed. No, this is praised.
Strangers smile at him and tell him he’s doing a great job. Women approach him and say things like, “Wow. What a lucky wife you have. That is so nice you’re giving her some ‘me time’.”
He is getting a fucking standing ovation for doing the exact same thing you do every single day. Why is this happening? Do we really think that being a dad is an option? Is it something a man can choose whether or not to participate in? The last time I checked, it takes TWO people to make a baby. (Or in my and my other infertile friends’ cases, a whole team of people.)
Your husband or partner CHOSE to become a father, just like you CHOSE to become a mother. And while yes, I am insanely grateful for how hands-on my husband is, I also EXPECT him to be; just as he expects me to be a hands-on mom.
Why are we putting the spotlight on how amazing men are for being fathers and allowing the mothers to be reduced to the measly stage crew?
Imagine a group of guys sitting around, sipping coffee and saying things like “You’re so lucky your wife changes diapers. My wife is totally freaked out and refuses to do it.”
Men; when you put your “D” in her “V”, and you decide to make a baby, you are equally as responsible for that human as she is. Yes, you and your partner may have decided that the majority of the parenting work would be hers, and the majority of the work to bring home the income would be yours, but that doesn’t mean parenting is an option for you.
And, Men and Women; maybe the next time we see a mother juggling her children in public, we tell her what a great job she’s doing. Because, we know the amount of work that goes into this daily production, and it most certainly deserves a round of applause.