“Playing roles in any relationship is false and will inevitably lead to the relationship’s collapse. No one can be any one thing all the time”.- Portia de Rossi
For the last few weeks, something new has been revealed in my marriage. Gender roles. I always felt this sort of burden that I had to do everything in the household including taking care of the baby on my own. Two years into marriage and we finally live alone. It is a great feeling. We are finally learning each other on a whole different level. This pregnancy has been really rough on me, on us. My husband works until 430pm and I am home all day with the baby. Sometimes he will come home and want me to do certain things for him which is perfectly fine and I do but the majority of the time he is very understanding when I wasn’t able to get to something. What’s so different for me is that he doesn’t wait until I do it for it to be done. If I couldn’t get to the laundry or dinner or the dishes, he just does it and since he has come back from basic training, he has done about ninety-nine percent of the middle of the night wake-up calls. He has lifted everything that would be of stress to me, off of me regardless of how he feels. I thank him every day for everything that he does because I know it isn’t easy and while it feels good to kind of “switch roles” during this time, I also show him a great amount of respect and gratefulness. There is one thing that I sort of stopped thanking him for and that is anything that has to do with taking care of our son. Women are known to be the ones to do everything when it comes to the children. They do the majority of the feeding, changing, rocking, bathing, burping, disciplining, etc without expectation of recognition and it seems that when men do these tasks for their children they get praised because it is something so rare, to see a father take that responsibility. So from the time the baby was born until a few weeks ago, I would thank him for feeding him in the middle of the night, or for changing his diaper, when in reality, it is just as much as his responsibility as it is mine because WE are his parents. I would find it so weird to hear Ruben’s response be something of such maturity when I thanked him for doing these things. It is Ruben that helped me realize that gender roles do not exist in our marriage. He would tell me ” of course babe. You don’t have to thank me. I’m his father” and I would feel like an idiot to be thanking him for taking care of his son.
Having gender roles in a relationship work for some people, but I have realized that it wouldn’t work for us. Why? Well because I am not conformed to those roles. I grew up with a working mother who would kill you if you told her that her place was in the kitchen. Who would look at you like you’re meat ready to be butchered if you demanded her to be domestic. And it is no secret that I am very much like her. But like her, with loving hearts, I love to clean our home and cook for my husband and son. I enjoy doing the laundry and washing the dishes. Why do I love doing these things? Because I do them with LOVE. Knowing that their belly’s are full, their clothes smell good, and that they can walk barefoot at home without feeling dirt get stuck to their feet allows me to go to bed feeling like a woman who is taking care of her family. I’ve been blessed to have a husband who doesn’t take me for granted. Who knows that I don’t HAVE to do these things. Who knows that he is just as capable as I am to do household chores. I know that because he doesn’t EXPECT certain things to get done, he knows they will just because he doesn’t expect it. I hope you can understand what I just said there. Going back to when I said that gender roles work for some relationships but not mine, that is still true but I think that that is something that should definitely be discussed and agreed upon at some point during your marriage because putting certain roles on each other can lead to the end of a relationship regardless of how long the relationship has gone on for. And just for the record, the same way he doesn’t put these roles on me, I don’t put them on him either. I can take the garbage out, change a lightbulb, unclog a toilet, clean the car, mount a TV, and so on. In fact, I even enjoy doing those things as well.
So what’s the point of this blog? I don’t know. It is just something important to me that I feel strong about that I wanted to share. After all, my website is about me speaking my truth and hopefully, it will be helpful to a new relationship out there or even an old one that hasn’t figured everything out yet. But don’t not discuss something this important with your partner. Not discussing certain crucial things can only break the relationship.
Just a quick shout out to my husband for being so amazing and for not making me be someone I am not by putting gender roles on me. I love you!