To My Husband, Who Could’ve Expected Me to Act More Like His Stay-at-Home Mom

You could kick off your shoes and plop down on the couch after a long day at work and expect me to figure out what to make for dinner for our family of three.

You could expect that I cook it, serve it, feed our son, somehow feed myself too and then clean it all up.

You could expect me to undress our son, bathe him, give him his vitamin, brush his teeth, pick out his pajamas, dress him and read him a bedtime story.

You could expect me to prepare lunch for him to bring to school the next day. Hell, you could expect me to make your lunch too. You could even expect me to pick out your clothes and pack your backpack.

You could expect that I make all the beds in the morning and make all our house’s dust and dirt disappear before you wake up.

Your stay-at-home mom lovingly did all that and more for your family. She changed almost every diaper. She prepared every meal (and still does). She planned every birthday party. She did this happily without much help from your dad, who just as happily went to work five, sometimes six, days a week to provide for your family of five, without much extra earnings from your mom. Your parents’ roles never blurred. There was never a question of who did what, no intentional divvying up duties. And they did a fine job of raising you, the man I love.

But I’m not a stay-at-home mom. I work as long and hard as you do. I’m away from our son as long as you are. I’m probably more tired than you are.

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Some nights, if you have a late meeting or softball game or post-work event or are just seeing friends, I do all those things by myself when every cell in my body just wants a break. But you return the favor when I have to stay late to finish work, attend a post-work event or I’m just seeing friends.

And many nights, you’re in the kitchen prepping dinner with me, a place into which your own father didn’t purposefully venture at suppertime.

Most nights, you’re drenched from our son splashing you during bathtime.

Most nights, you pick out his pajamas and make his lunch for school.

And you pick out your own damn clothes (except for formal events, but you’re getting better) and pack your own backpack for work.

You work as hard as your dad did, and you could’ve expected that I do everything your mom did, all by myself. But you don’t. You know that setup wouldn’t work for us because I’m​ not a stay-at-home mom—and I’m also a lousy cook and housecleaner. So you do your share of childcare and household chores (and we jointly and willfully neglect our home’s clutter) while bringing in nearly as much money as I do.

Your contributions aren’t always enough, but it’s so much more than our own fathers did. And you never question why I’m not doing as much as your own mother did on the home front. We just figure it out, this two-working-parent family of ours, and we make it work.

The generation before us marvels at how much you do for our son. I wonder if they marvel at how hard I work at the office. But I don’t need marveling, and neither do you. We just need each other in a different way than our parents did.