Posted by: angelnorman | November 23, 2009


Every morning before school, our house is insane. Messes are made in a great effort to get out of the door by 8:45. Hunts for shoes, clothes, folders, and backpacks are afoot. Lunches are made in record time and the kid is ever-so-grumpy with a side of complaining about anything and everything. Mike is huffing and puffing and on the verge of a tantrum himself because he hates to rush, though it’s he who usually waits till that last minute to roll out of bed and get Nick awake and fed. And I sit, either in the bed still trying to sleep, or at my desk in the rare instance that I am actually up before 9 am, hiding out from responsibility… and from my husband, who I will most certainly get into a fight with if I go anywhere near him in the mornings.

This morning is no exception, by the way. It’s 8:48 and we just now located a pair of shoes that Nick could wear.

I should take Nick to school, I know, but I should also clean the house. I should also finish painting the kitchen, living room, cabinetry. I should make some coffee and wake up a little bit. I should get a job so I can finally have something of my own and earn us a little extra money in the process. I should get pregnant, have another baby to raise. I should be a better morning person. I should strive to be mom of the year and never rely on my husband to help with our kid. Maybe I should.

But I can’t do it all. So I let Mike help me, no matter how begrudgingly he does so. Really I guess you could say I make him help me at times. But I think it’s good for men to be actively involved in raising a child, don’t you? This is no longer a woman’s work, although we are better equipped for it naturally I suppose. Besides, if I do go back to work, Mike will have to do all this in the mornings by himself anyways. Practice makes perfect.

That’s what I try to tell myself anyways.

I think Mike hates me for it, though. Still, he knew when he married me that I would always expect his help. Marriage- and parenting- is a team effort. I have plenty of friends whose husbands have never done laundry, and it blows my mind. Yet they knew he wouldn’t help when they married him, so I don’t pity them. They knew what they were signing up for. I just know I could never live like that. Mike has always helped me with housework and things, if I ask him to long enough. He has never said, “Housework? If I do that, then what will you do?” He realizes he makes messes too and he tries to help do his part. And that’s why I don’t feel that bad for expecting his help with our son.

The home and the children might be the domain of women in most cases, but not in all.

So even though he may be angry at me right now, one day, he’ll be thankful that I made room for him in the running of this household. When our son grows up and becomes a man who can help a wife of his own, Mike will be glad that he led by example. Mike will thank me for not taking his crap, just like I’m thankful that he doesn’t always take mine. Just like I’m thankful that this morning and lots of mornings, he has helped me take care of what’s ours.

The Norman household: blurring the lines between tradtional gender roles one day at a time.


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