Husband Wife Man Woman

50skitchenJust back from running errands, I kicked my shoes into the basket by the door, and dropped my keys on the piano. Hollering a greeting to David, I ran upstairs to my bathroom, grabbed some clean folded clothes from the basket on the bed, and turned on the hot water. After my scalding shower, the kids came to greet me and we played before a phone call pulled me away.

Heading downstairs, I kissed my husband on the cheek and asked how his day was going- standing at the kitchen sink with suds on his muscular forearms, he frowned, “Abby’s pooped three times. Did you notice the bathroom?”

The phone rang again- holding up my finger and whispering that I loved him, I nodded and took the call. I was late for a meeting with a cabinet maker I’m doing some freelance murals for, and I hated to shower and run, but I was going to be late. I grabbed my purse, blew kisses, headed towards the garage and hit the opener “What time will you be back? Don’t forget family night tonight…” I waved through the windshield, shouting over the engine that I would be back on time- and that my phone was on if he needed me. Wiping his hands on the dishtowel, he stood in the doorway, watching me back out of the driveway…

This is not a thought experiment. This is an actual accounting of an incredible experiment we are living in our own home. Since David was laid-off 18 months ago, we’ve tried a lot of things. We’ve had our ups and a whole lot of downs. As hard as this year and a half has been, there have been some very good dividends for our family.

In the last few months, on his own, David decided he would serve our family more fully in the way he currently could- he took up a lot of new chores around the house- chores that had historically been mine. He’s always been an involved parent with our kids, but I was the stay-at-home parent, and thus much of the domestic work fell on me. It was OK; I didn’t bridle under that yoke- I chose it.

But…

It has been interesting to see the changes since he picked up my mantle- and I, for a small time, have picked up his.

David now cleans the kitchen, does the dishes and mops all the floors. Cooking diner is still my job, but I am free from any clean up task. David does the laundry. We share folding. David does all vacuuming and general pick-up- a constant in a house with three little kids home for the summer. He cleans the bathroom, and takes the lion’s share of tending the kids. I still do baths. He changes diapers. He does the garbage and the lawn. I do the grocery shopping. He does scripture study with the boys each night before he gets to the kitchen, and once the kids are in bed, I’m free. To read- to paint- to hang out with him while he cleans- whatever I want.

I’ve also been free to take on some jobs. Getting paid for my art is tremendously validating- it’s been seven years since I had a paying job, and while what I’m doing is commission work, not steady, it IS income, and I feel great. I see the kids, I don’t have to be the bad guy all the time, and I get to leave the house fairly often with neither a diaper bag nor a kid on my hip.

A few interesting observations:

My guilt has quickly evaporated. At first I felt terrible about how much he was doing- but he maintained he wanted it. When someone else is making the way smooth, it’s easy not to notice the work they put in- housework really is invisible work- Even for someone who’s done it for 8 years. You quickly forget, and just enjoy the clean towels, the clean bathroom, the folded clothes- and not the work it takes. I like my kids better when I don’t have to deal with every squabble, every diaper, every mess. I like my husband. Sometimes I wish he would give me the chance to complete some of the things on my honey-do list before he complains.

David asks me if I’ve noticed he’s lost some weight, if I liked the new laundry detergent on the clean towels, if I approved of his new shaving cream, if I noticed he scrubbed the grout on the kitchen floor. The he smacks himself in the forehead, shrugs his shoulders and mumbles something about turning into a woman. We both laugh.

He is still looking for full-time work. We are still planning and trying everything we can to find gainful employment- but in the meantime, we have learned some priceless lessons. I know how easy it is not to notice the little things; he knows how important it is to notice. I know how nice it is to have a clean orderly home; he knows how much work a clean and orderly home takes. I know the self-esteem and boost to pride of getting paid for work; he knows the frustration and humility of doing “house work”. I know the joy of coming home to my kids and a husband I love; he knows the relief and happiness when I walk in that it’s no longer all him.

For the future, it remains open how this will all play out. The only thing I can say for certain is neither of us will likely ever be the same. That, and I sure do like having a wife.

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Comments

  1. AWESOME, Tracy!

  2. woohoo, go stay-at-home-dads! :)

    My wife is a principal here in New York and I lost my job in September of last year, so the two of us made a decision that I would stay home with our daughter while she works. She’s got a great thing going, and so we’re not going to mess with that. I get to go around to the various playgrounds of Manhattan and rename them by the color they employ. The one closest to our home is the Green Playground. One in Tribeca is the Red Playground—literally all of it is red. The new one in Central Park near Columbus Circle is the Pyramid Playground, and so on.

  3. Very cool Daniel — I didn’t know that.

  4. (I didn’t mean that’s cool about you losing your job — I am sorry to hear about that. But it’s cool that you’re putting in the effort to stay at home with your child.)

  5. Coffinberry says:

    We’re in this role-reversal situation, too. Our kids are much older: 21, 18 (mission papers go in tonight), 15, and 11. We’ve been doing it for a couple of years, after nearly two decades of me being a SAHM. We both have learned to appreciate what the other does to make our family run, and gotten a better perspective on being partners and helpmeets to each other.

  6. This is PRICELESS! I wish every working husband and SAHM could read this. My husband has NO appreciation for the stay-at-home position. He always says he would LOVE it, if he could. Yeah, right!! He couldn’t handle the kids for one afternoon when they were young.

    When I was in my 20’s, I always said I wanted to grow up to be a dad. They have it so good. Interact with adults and apply their intelligence at work, then come home to loving family with wife who has done all the thankless, mundane housework and managed the kids all day. SUPER!

    I lived my dream for a few years, but now I’m a laid off SAHM. I’ve been on both sides. Most important qualities for staying home: PATIENCE, ORGANIZATION, and COPING w/ISOLATION. I stink at these.

  7. Great post, really well-written.

    We have been in this role reversal for so long that our roles have actually evolved. I travel and work from home while my husband is in school but there were a few years in which he was not enrolled in school but I was still working.

    One challenge I am finding is that it is hard to find a network out there of families out there with moms who both work, not just to support their families but towards an actual professional career that they are passionate about AND who have large families (four children feels like a large family anyway). Perhaps these women are around but are just hard to get ahold of due to some crazy schedule but I have yet to meet even a single one. Are there so few in our church that there will never be another one in my ward?

    I would also like to know how your division of labor came about–I still feel a tremendous level of guilt over some household chores that do not get done. When I ask my friends about the workload in their homes I get a similar response to what Andrea has said above–men either cannot or do not do nearly the work that a woman does, even one who works. I am not saying I agree but it seems to be the case the large majority of the time. How did you work out who would do what chore? Or was it organic?

  8. Tracy M, I really like the way that you are maintaining a positive attitude regarding your husband’s work situation and adapting to make things work. I try to remind myself all the time that it is not so much the problems we face but how we deal with them that matters. So, you seem to be dealing with your challenges the right way, which is great.

  9. Good post. I have many times been in the role reversal and housework does suck: the whole goal is to make things disappear (vanish from sight). When the working spouse get home, you only have ‘nothing’ for your evidence of how you spent the day!

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    Sheer awesomeness, Tracy.

  11. Norbert says:

    Great post, although the last line makes me cringe. I’m guessing it’s tongue in cheek. I’m doing a stint as a SAHP during my summer holidays while Vaimoni keeps her career chops sharp. Hard work but good fun.

    David’s desire to have you notice stuff made me laugh. When V comes home from working, I too give a detailed accounting of my day, expecting praise.

    Andrea, that does sound pretty great. It’s almost as much of a fantasy as your husband’s concept of being a SAHP.

  12. Researcher says:

    Thanks for describing your experience. Although my husband and I have a rather “traditional” arrangement right now (he works for pay, I’m at home), there seems to be a lot more give and take and negotiation of responsibilities than there was in our parents’ generation.

  13. First of all, yay for income and work and clean kitchens.

    When I was pregnant with #4, I went on a vacation all by myself and left the kids with my husband for five days. It was the first time I’d ever been away from the kids overnight when I wasn’t having another baby in the hospital. For the first time in seven years I went a whole day without changing a single diaper. It was awesome. But back to my story. On my fourth day away, I talked to my husband and asked how it was going. He said everything was fine, but that he was “starting to realize how much work it takes to maintain a home.” I said, “Oh.” I swear, I said nothing else. I just thought it was a shame I couldn’t be gone another five days, because then I could probably have a maid by the time I got home.

    I’m glad you are both learning some valuable things from your role reversal.

  14. Good for you Tracy. Your husband seems to have a great attitude about your situation.

    I think that my husband could manage our home sufficiently but in my experience a lot of guys think that tidy equals clean. If my husband took care of the housework the floors might be swept but never mopped. The bathrooms would be picked up but never “clean.” I blame his mother. FYI, she blames herself too; none of her boys are much help around house. My FIL rarely cleans a thing in their home.

  15. Great post, Tracy. But where’s the part where he falls apart because you haven’t told him he’s handsome?

  16. Wonderful post Tracy (but it made me feel guilty I was not a stay-at-home husband.)

  17. John Hamer says:

    Great post! I’m also excited that you’re getting commissions for your artwork. Hopefully you’ll share some more of it with us here.

  18. No need, Margaret. The fact that she mentions “suds on his muscular arms” makes it clear that she stood, transfixed at his awesomeness, for several seconds.

  19. Norbert- firmly tongue-in-cheek. It makes me cringe too, but it’s also true; having someone smooth the way for you and do the invisible work is sure nice. It’s not fair, it’s not going to be reality in our home- but it sure is nice.

    Margaret- Oh, trust me, that’s happened!

    Madhousewife- once, a few years ago, when I complained I had never been away from our kids, David mentioned I had spent the night away- when I was in the hospital having another one…. I think I then broke some dishes in his general direction.

    Lee- Our labor division was organic- both pre-lay off and post. At first, I continued to do most of the chores- and gradually he took on more- until one day he professed aloud he was going to serve our family more. At first, he didn’t notice the floor gunk either- then, and the weeks went on, suddenly he cared when someone blopped things and didn’t wipe them up. Suddenly, when the kids spilled and walked through it without noticing, he really NOTICED. It was very, very organic.

    Thanks everyone, for your kudos. We’re trying to make lemonade, and some days, we even succeed.

  20. In a family where both spouses have worked most of the time, the idea of there being “wife work” and “husband work” seems ridiculous. We all do our own laundry, even the kids, since the time they were about 9-10. If they don’t do it, it doesn’t get done and they have no clean clothes. We have to remind them to do laundry and dishes, but they are getting better. Cleaning bathrooms is the biggest problem. No one wants to do it so we always try to take turns. My son and I do most of the outside work and my wife still does most of the cooking and mopping, but mostly its just whoever has time. We both spend a substantial part of our days off cleaning and grocery shopping. We need to all get over the idea that there is anything sacred about how we split up the work of making a house run. There isn’t.

  21. Oh, and Tracy, this is a great post, thanks. I too cringed at the last line. We need to make sure that we aren’t making a man feel less of a man when he’s vacuuming or doing dishes, and that woman is somehow less of a woman or a “part-time mom” when she goes out and earns a paycheck. Neither is true.

  22. Liberal Mormon says:

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen on this blog. Because of this situation, both of you can understand what the other does between work and taking care of the house and kids. This will be a great example to your kids and teach them the positive aspects of diversity and responsibility. Thanks for making my day!

  23. MCQ- you’re right- there is no such thing as “Wife” or “Husband” work- yet when a marriage falls into traditional roles, if the wife is at home, as I have always been, the bulk of the house work fell on me. There is nothing, whatsoever, sacred about this. David now is as good (if not better, honestly) at all those tasks that used to be mine.

    I keep thinking of something I heard Cher say in an interview- “I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor. They’re both fine. But rich is better.”

    That’s how I feel. I’ve been both- and now, thankfully, so has my husband. Being the housewife is fine- but getting paid and validated and having someone else smooth the way is better.

    By “Better”, I mean easier. Nicer. More enjoyable. Life is sure pleasant. Which is why we most likely won’t ever return to completely traditional roles. He knows it sucks to take care of everything- I know it too. I also know it feels good on the other side of the fence- and he knows it too.

    We both have more compassion for the other, and won’t forget walking in the others’ shoes.

  24. Great post, Tracy. I particularly liked this line: “When someone else is making the way smooth, it’s easy not to notice the work they put in- housework really is invisible work”. My wife is a SAHM, and does the majority of the child care and housework. The more of it I do, the more I realize how difficult and frustrating and mind-numbing it can be. The less of it I do, though, as you note, the less I appreciate that she’s doing it.

  25. Yup. That’s been eye-opening for me, as well.

  26. StillConfused says:

    I am with MCQ on #20. I have been a professional in one capacity or another since I was 21 and I am the woman. I have never been able to understand the contention on the housekeeping roles. For six months before law school and after my breast cancer, I was between professions. At that time, I home schooled the kids, sewed everyone’s clothes, cooked three solid meals each day etc. I have always been the time to put in a solid day’s work at whatever I do. The more time that I have, the more that I get done.

  27. Time again to direct those suffering or in transition to FLYLADY.NET.

  28. Still Confused- awesome for you.

    Bob, the Flylady and I are not friends.

  29. Bob, if the content of that site is even close to as painful as the color scheme, then I nominate you for bannination immediately.

  30. Chad Too says:

    Awwww… you all knew I’d love another SAHD thread. God bless the Tracy M family.

    And in case there are any other Mormon dads out there who need a reminder… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-528682/Men-housework-sex-wives.html

  31. #29: I believe Flylady still holds the unpopular lead over Sister Beck on housework for the Mormon Mom(?)

  32. I would like to bear my testimony that I know the link in #30 is true. My heart is just so full [choke, sob]…

  33. merrybits says:

    Yay Tracy! Let’s all hope for a future with more flexible work/housekeeping roles!

  34. This is all kinds of wonderful.

  35. “We both have more compassion for the other, and won’t forget walking in the others’ shoes.”

    Perfectly put, Tracy. Sounds like a successful experiment, to me. Best wishes for the future.

  36. Bro. Jones says:

    #15 Zzzzzzing! :)

    Having just learned that we are pregnant, and that my plans to be a SAHD have been moved up by about 2-3 years, I find this post intriguing. I will be interested to see how the division of labor works out (if there is one at all), since I’ve done 90% of the housework since getting married.

  37. Congratulations, Bro. Jones!

  38. klangfarben says:

    I am currently a SAHD as well and loving it. what an opportunity for me to bond with my six-month son. My wife and I have equally shared the yoke of house-hold maintenance throughout our almost 7 year marriage, but I seem to be taking on more than usual and find some great joy in it. It is amazing however, how many times I have to explain to strangers and family that it is not “my day out with the baby.” Rather, I am always with the baby. Do any of you other SAHDs have similar conversations and misunderstandings?

  39. charlene says:

    Thanks, Tracy, for treating this topic in such a gentle and profound way. I remember bobbing in these roiling seas during the recession of the 1980s. We didn’t have a SAHP, just trading off times for alternate work schedules. Two strong memories include:

    The “it must be nice to have a wife” comment from the women teachers at one lunch table with their tuna sandwiches or cheese and crackers, while the men at the other table opened 4-course spreads from their black lunch boxes. None of the men packed his own lunch.

    The “organic evolution” of shared duties when my husband took over responsibility for Friday night dinner. The food budget suddenly stretched to include pizza delivery every Friday.

    Bottom line, both roles are hard. Getting paid for your work doesn’t necessarily mean you’re appreciated and sometimes the only thing that makes it worthwhile is going home to whatever is there. Love and appreciate both for whatever each can contribute and don’t sweat (and nag over) the small stuff.

  40. StillConfused says:

    I looked at the flylady site and frankly can’t understand what it is supposed to be.

  41. I’m the wife of Dan (#2), and I thank you for writing this post in such an eloquent way. It’s been such a blessing to have the situation where I can work in a job I love, and that job pays the bills so my husband can raise our daughter in a healthy, nurturing way.

    Yet, it’s been hard often fitting into a ward family that doesn’t understand nor embrace our alternative family roles. I hope that posts like this help others to see that there isn’t any one “right” way to run a family. Sometimes necessity and situation requires something non-traditional.

  42. StillConfused (#40)– Flylady is a website that proscribes a housecleaning plan. It works if you need something organized and outlined. Personally, it didn’t work for me.

  43. Awesome to see adaptive reactions to this kind of challenge. Rock on.

    I do notice that the post kind of gives the impression that the traditional “wife’s work” is easily unappreciated (as both parties have learned), but it also leaves alone the challenges that come with traditional men’s roles. In this case, Tracy’s work doesn’t seem to (yet) involve all the crappy politics and stress, or mind-numbing boredom and monotony. Having your mind pulled in a thousand ways and then coming home to a partner who has had their fill of kids and needs you to start your second job whilst simultaneously supporting their (sometimes) indiscernible emotional needs.

    The SAHP role is definitely underappreciated, but I also think the workforce/breadwinner role is often over-glorified, both in importance and in ease. It makes such a huge difference for a partner to empathize, understand, and support each other’s roles.

  44. Researcher says:

    But a major difference, Clay, is that the working spouse gets to leave their job, and put aside their responsibilities, even if it is to go home and “start [the] second job.”

    The stay-at-home parent almost never, and in some cases, never, gets to “leave the job” for a change of pace, particularly when the children are young and the responsibilities constant. It is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week responsibility. You’re even on duty while you’re asleep! I know that I considered it a break recently to spend almost two weeks at the children’s hospital with my youngest for his heart surgery. It was a very intense, physically and emotionally demanding time, but at least it was a change from the normal responsibilities.

  45. Thanks, Tracy. We did a bit of this last fall, and your post is a great reminder to me of the things I learned in that time that I have forgotten since.

  46. aloysiusmiller says:

    44. Do you think so? Does any primary breadwinner come home and leave concerns about college savings, retirement savings, medical bills, braces, car repairs at the office?

  47. Clay, those are good points. Before David was laid off, the stress and pressure were incredibly high, and I know the emotional toll for that was hard on our family, too. I did not go there in this post- but your point is valid.

    Researcher, that is true, too. No matter which way you spin it, from all perspectives, raising a family is hard work.

    aloysiusmiller- Of course not- but I guarantee the SAHP is thinking about those things too.

    Thanks once again for all the input and comments.

  48. sassytalk says:

    My husband had been out of work for 8 years – had to re-invent himself and I became a preschool teacher…not such a big experiment to have a husband stay at home anymore (it is 2009 after all) – let’s face it – when you say “I do” it’s supposed to represent a 50-50 exchange – good on you that you guys managed to make it work too. Check out my own experiences at Sassytalk.wordpress.com

  49. Wow, I love this post! So inspiring! I’m a sometimes lurker, infrequent commenter at BCC, but this one just tickled me. Great story, wonderfully written. The conclusions you draw are very wise. I would love an update in a few months about how this all turns out.

    At the moment, I’m working, and my husband is looking until he starts school. Up to this point, we’ve both been students and part-time workers, so we basically always had a messy house and a dinner menu full of baked potatoes. Now that he has some time off with nothing to do, and I’m off at work all day, we’ll see how it goes. We’re just a few days in now, but already he’s been doing some cleaning and shopping, which is SO nice.

    Again, thanks for the great post.

  50. Natalie B. says:

    This is just delightful!

  51. chelseaw says:

    Now I want a wife too.

  52. esodhiambo says:

    While I am sure this is not the case for everyone, when I compare my work as a SAHM and my payed work, going to work literally feels like vacation. I am not proud to say that, but my employment is much much easier than the (obviously unpaid) work of home and family.

    I have felt very very often that I would like a wife, too. No tongues or cheeks involved. Wives rock.

  53. Hi,
    I’m new to your blog and quite accidentally stumbled upon it. You’re an awesome writer – for a sec I forgot that I was reading a blog!

    I’m not married and thanks to boarding school, I really do hate – nay, loathe – housework. I hope that if I ever get married I will end up with a man like yours, willing to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done and find some joy in it. To be fair, I hope that he ends up with a wife like you, willing to do the same.

    Congrats on getting paid for your art, and good luck with the job search!

    Mia

  54. Thanks for the kind words, and welcome to the blogernacle Mia.

  55. Best post I’ve read in a long time, TracyM!

    My wife and I are having our first kid any day now, and we have absolutely NO plan in place for what to do after the maternity/paternity leave. She might go back to the office, she might stay home, she might work from home, I might work from home…who knows? We’ll find a situation that works for both of us, and adjust it as needed. We have roughly 90 days to figure it out. :-)

    It’s a great time to be alive, in which technology and social norms allow for so many parenting/work options.

  56. Awesome!! Keep writing.

  57. Great post, but it made me kind of sad. I am creative, impatient, horrible at housework and thrive on validation and recognition for my hard work. I’m single now, but when (if) I get married I will very likely be the stay-at-home-mom… I was raised that way by my family and my religion. I do want a temple marriage and a family, but as a woman, it feels unreasonable to want that without implicitly agreeing to the stay-at-home part.

  58. Jamie, there are so many options available these days- don’t allow when some perceive as the “norm” to dictate the happiness of your life. I know plenty of families who figure out what works for them, and do it. Best to you.

  59. Well, I have another opinion. And I am not writing this to be beligerent.

    First, it is great that you were able to work things out. It gives hope to families in this difficult economy where there has been job loss.

    But I see just a little too much “celebrating” of role-reversals going on here.

    No thanks. Not for me. I am a ultra-conservative, old-fashioned guy, so I admit that.

    Also, you seem to enjoy your job. Not all men enjoy their jobs, so staying home would be a thrill for them. That is my position. I hate my job, and love it when my wife goes out of town to visit family or friends, and I get to be with the kids and the house. Not that it is easy, but neither is my full time job.

    I long for the 50’s when the roles were more defined and appreciated. And you know what, I think we as a society were happier then too. I celebrate that you were able to work out keeping income coming in, but not that the roles are reversed here. Not that it is wrong, but I just don’t need to celebrate it.

  60. Thanks Tracy! I get more depressed when I think about things like gender roles abstractly, and I know that reality is much different. (Thank goodness!)

  61. BC, you don’t want to celebrate it because in the 1950’s, you were the one having the way made smooth for you… It’s easy to want to keep that status quo. Glad you were happier- ask you mother how she felt.

    Jamie, happy to help. Hang in there!

  62. Tracy M, (61)

    Actually, I have spoken to my Mom and she is where my thoughts come from. Ironically my Mom and I were just discussing this very subject about three days ago. She firmly believes that there are a lot of unhappy women today, and it might have something to do with them moving away from their traditional roles. You certainly are not unhappy with it, and that is great. I realize the need for flexibility today. Really, I don’t have pleasure in criticizing your role-reversal, but to just point out that on a macro level this might not be a thing to celebrate. But obviously a lot of people disagree with me. So I am in the minority, I admit.

  63. BC, I know you are being kind in your observations, and your tone is most civil. I appreciate that.

    Here’s my argument: I don’t think I was _celebrating_ any sort of roll reversal. I am fascinated, rather, by how much we’ve both learned to appreciate the other, and how that will likely change our dynamic from here on out.

    I don’t fit the repressed housewife stereotype. I chose to be a SAHM, and for the most part, do not regret that decision. However…

    There is no way to pretty up what a repetitive, isolating and lonely job it can be. And almost always is. Having babies close together and being solely responsible for the order of the home is a tall, tall order.

    If I’m unhappy, it’s not because of the loss of traditional roles- my life of the last almost eight years has been about as traditional and provincial as a 1950’s Good Housekeeping ad. If I’m unhappy it’s because I’ve worked my butt off for nearly a decade and no one ever freaking noticed a thing I did.

    Now, that has changed. And that makes me very happy.

  64. Your post (63) is an excellent one. You might want to add it to the original article! It clears it up for me.

    I am a rather emotional man. I need hugs, loves, kisses, etc everyday, and I often feel unappreciated often. And, my job is tough and I don’t always enjoy it. My wife tells me often of her blissfully happy SAHM life – she loves it. She knows it is tough for me, and assures to me of her happiness. She dreads the day if she ever has to go back to work. She has a lot of freedom, has lots of friends, cleans the house when she wants, or sometimes lets the house go for two weeks without any attention. The kids are closer to her, confide in her more, and certainly appear to love her more than me – I work late often which makes it difficult for me to be closer to the kids. It does hurt when I feel distant at times from the kids and feel “second best”. Although, I fully believe in my role as father as what my Father in Heaven wants me to do. It just doesn’t feel as “divine” as a SAHM. It feels distant, routine, and unappreciated. I could go on, but I think you get the point: not all men are blissfully happy with their roles either. But I stick to it because that is what God expects from me.

  65. Thank you BC. Sounds like you and are more similar than we first thought.

  66. Tracy & BC,
    I am a SAHM, and I don’t enjoy it! Always knew I wouldn’t! My husband has a job currently… I can afford to put both my daughters (2-2 and under) in daycare for me to start looking for a job in this economy. When my husband and I dated, I was career oriented, career minded and he had no passion that drove him work wise. He longed to SAH!
    We discussed at length the prospect of him being at home and I working.
    Today we don’t have what either of us want currently, but we make what we can work. I would be greatly unhappy if the opportunity of possibly being the bread winner would be taken away from me. If there would be shame associated with my husband one day SAH.
    Being a SAHP is the most unrespected job in the WORLD! Whoever stays at home should be respected, loved and appreciated! Tracy good for you, as long as you are providing, someone is providing… anyone… you have to do what works for your family!
    BC… celebration in the fact that this can be done today, that Tracy’s husband can do it with ease and security in himself and that Tracy can be proud and a role model to her family that she can offer and provide.

  67. Stephanie says:

    This sounds like a bit of heaven. I am so utterly jealous.

  68. Your husband is NOT a wife! Anyone writing a line like that has a lot more to learn in life than she thinks, I’m afraid. At any rate why is it a good thing to have a “wife” when according to you in your response to BC, all “wives” are unhappy staying at home? If your “wife” is unhappy, how could you be happy? See if this whole “role reversal” thing you’re celebrating is really going to go all the way, then your husband has to fully embrace the traditional “housewife” role, not of the ’50s, but of the ’60s when the media began portraying all stay at home parents (“wives”) as depressed, lonely, frustrated, miserable, and badly in need of liberation. Your husband (is it still okay to refer to him as “husband” ?) would have to complain about how he has wasted his education, and explain how he would be a better parent if he were fulfilling himself outside the home, and that being at home has caused him to totally lose his independence, his identity, his self respect, and his mind, and the only solution is to get out of the house and into the job market. That has been the feminist portrayal of the stay at home mom, and if your, uhh, spouse, is by virtue of “role reversal” adopting that role, that he has to follow the same script, and do and say all the same things that women have been saying and doing since the ’60s, which is to complain that being at home is miserable, and go out and get a job. Is that not how women have been portrayed for the past 50 years?

    If you really want him to take on the woman’s role, wouldn’t that be a more accurate description of what women have been doing/saying recently?

    Angie, why are you unhappy being at home? Haven’t you been reading all the comments about how happy people are that Tracy’s wife lost his/her job and now gets to enjoy the wonderful opportunity of being at home all day? Surely we should all be just as happy that you are also at home and we are equally thrilled that your husband gets to have a “wife” also just like Tracy! Please don’t spoil it all by telling us that you are unhappy being at home because then we’d have to say that men who stay at home are just as unhappy as you. You see, we are no longer allowed to make any distinction on account of gender, so if women are unhappy at home, then men must be also unhappy, which would kind of put a damper on the whole celebration of men losing their jobs and staying at home thing going on here.

  69. LB, do me a favor and take a deep breath or two or three and try to communicate a bit more amicably. Thanks.

    PS: I also think you’re assuming a lot of opinions/arguments in others that aren’t there. Not sure where a lot of your shots are aimed.

  70. Jon Miranda says:

    David now cleans the kitchen, does the dishes and mops all the floors.

    When women stay at home, they always complain that the husband never helps around the house. But this lady is trumpeting the fact that she never has to clean the kitchen, do the dishes, or mop the floors.

    Why doesn’t she help around the house?

  71. “This lady” deserves a helluva lot more respect than you’re giving her, Jon Miranda. Find your rock and crawl back under it.

  72. Jon Miranda says:

    Ardis:
    If the husband is doing all the housework all the time, how is she respecting him?
    Ah, yes. Feminists don’t want equality, they want it all.

  73. Jon Miranda says:

    Ardis:
    No disrespect intended but I notice the following with feminists.
    A feminist insisted there was no way in hell she would take her husband’s name. But if he takes my name, that’s okay.
    A feminist was ranting about that fact that engineering have so many men and not more women and she thought a quota was in order. A man told her she was right and that all schools should be on a strict 50/50 male/female quota including nursing school and dental hygiene school. The feminist had nothing more to say.
    A lady called into a radio station who was the breadwinner and whose husband was at home. He was complaining because she did not help out around the house enough. The lady said that since she was the breadwinner that it was a fair exchange that he do the housework and take care of the kids. The DJ said that this is what men have been saying for years that it is indeed a fair exchange.

    Same with this issue. The poster goes on to say the following: At first I felt terrible about how much he was doing- but he maintained he wanted it.
    If this were reversed, women would tell the husband to help out anyway around the house even though the woman would insist that she wanted to do it all.

    Like I said, Ardis, feminists do not appear to want equality, they want it all.

  74. Jon Miranda, as I said, find your rock and slither back under it. You’re a stranger here — not having made the slightest effort to familiarize yourself with Tracy’s history or personality through her multiple soul-baring posts, you have not the vaguest idea of how far off the mark your attacks on her are.

    If you want to post half-baked social and political commentary about issues you don’t understand and people you don’t know, there are plenty of places to do that where your weird misinterpretations of reality won’t slander a friend.

    And please don’t use my name so often, either. I feel dirty when I read my name in your trash.

  75. Jon Miranda, why exactly are you holding Tracy responsible for some alleged conversation between an unspecified radio host and caller? Good grief. Should I hold you personally responsible for every stupid and bad thing any anti-feminist has ever done? Trust me, there’s a LOT more baggage on that side of the fence than you want to be saddled with.

  76. LB & Jon Miranda,
    Cynthia and Ardis have already addressed this to some degree, so I know I am being at least partially repetitive, but please suffer me to add one more bit:

    Though many people on this blog very much disagree with your views, your opinions on this subject are in fact welcome here. We appreciate diverse opinions, backgrounds, and feelings even on oft-touchy subjects like gender roles. What we don’t appreciate is when people express their views by insulting or attacking the author or through the blunt use of blanket statements that serve no purpose but to ignite argument, insult, and hurt feelings.

    There are myriad ways you could have expressed the exact same opinions you expressed without getting personal and insulting the intelligence, motives, or character of people like Tracy. Please practice those ways if you continue here, and you’ll be welcome.

  77. Jon Miranda says:

    Scott B
    Ardis Parshall is not the nicest person on this board, either.

  78. Jon Miranda says:

    Scott B:
    This doesn’t ahve to be put on the blog but if you reprimand posters you should also reprimand perma bloggers when they get out of line. Is Ardis a perma blogger?

  79. Ardis, I heart you with all my mind and strength.

    If I thought Mr. Miranda was sincere, I’d say let him continue blathering like a know-nothing (I’ve always believed that usually the best punishment for an ignorant fiend is to simply let his own words stand as a public accusation against him). That said, I’m actually convinced that he is a feminist troll who spends his time writing comments that try to make non-feminists look like stupid, self-aggrandizing, self-righteous, judgmental, incompetent, blithering jackasses.

    That is all.

  80. Ardis is not a perma blogger. I am. And, yes, I am not the nicest person on this board. Especially to jerkwads who make the kind of rubbish insinuations toward Tracy of which you are guilty here.

  81. AspieMom says:

    Brad and Scott B, THANK YOU!!!!! I love reading opinions from every side of an issue, but I do not like personal attacks.
    And one more thing, anyone who read the entire post would have learned that Tracy and her husband share the house work. Marriage is not 50/50, its 80/80 at least. It takes both partners giving more than half.

  82. AspieMom says:

    Ardis, I don’t know you, but I really enjoy what you have to say!

  83. AspieMom, anything to keep Tracy’s life from being made more difficult than it needs to be!

    This post has been tickling a memory, and I finally realized what it was. Long ago, when I seemed to be the only woman in my ward who had to work, and definitely the only one who had to walk a long uphill mile to get home after spending what seemed like my entire 40s sitting in a hot bus on I-15, my visiting teachers were watching for me and pulled me into one of their homes, where they had soft music playing, and dinner waiting, and all their kids and husbands tucked away at somebody else’s house. It was one of the nicest surprises I’d ever had.

    I spoiled it, though, by saying as I left an hour later, knowing I didn’t have to touch the sinkful of dirty dishes, that “I needed to get me a wife.” I think they thought I was serious.

  84. Phil Johnson says:

    and I sure do like having a wife
    It just sounded so politically incorrect.
    Like saying I sure do like having a slave.
    ScottB
    Ardis P has not been the nicest person. Will she be cautioned as well?

  85. They “caution” in Great Britain, Phil. In America, we “mirandize.”

  86. And Jon is encouraged to exercise his right to remain silent.

  87. living in zion says:

    For my birthday gift every year, I ask my husband to bring me a wife. Not for him, but for me. Someone to do my laundry, make my dinner, pay my bills and deal with the kids. Someone who buys clothes I like ( in the right size!) and won’t complain if something she purchased needs to be returned.

    I would love to have my own wife. Alas, after 23 years of wedded bliss, my yearly request still ticks him off.

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