Thursday, February 07, 2008

Let's Hear it for the Boy

I just hurried off the phone with my Mom, feeling a little guilty because this was the first night all week when Hubby and I would have a chance for some together time. Pumpkin went down relatively easily, we don't have any pressing chores, and neither of us had anything on the calendar. I came into the office to find Hubby engrossed in some online game site (it looks like a cross between mazes and pattern-matching puzzles). He answered my questions with monosyllabic grunts and clearly doesn't want any together time right now. Fair enough. He had two nights in a row of difficult baby duty earlier this week (she wasn't so easy to get down) and has been a champ on the nightweaning front- Pumpkin didn't nurse until 5:40 this morning! He was up with her at 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30, though. If he wants to play pointless online games, who am I to complain? I've got a blog to write, after all.

I've been thinking about how the things that we've evolved to find attractive in a mate (big muscles, etc.) are absolutely crap predictors of what actually makes a good mate. Really, it is all down to chance whether the husband you end up with is truly what you'd want in this modern world of two-career families. Who cares if your husband can lift heavy things? What you really want is a husband who pulls his fair share of the work around the house, thereby making it possible for you to be a decent mother, work, and not spend every waking hour not spent at work or with the baby on household chores. It turns out that, computer games notwithstanding, I got pretty lucky in this department.

Hubby has always been refreshingly egalitarian on the home front. Even pre-baby, he cooked at least half of the meals, did the dishes on the nights he didn't cook (I did the dishes on the night he did cook), and cleaned our apartment with far more enthusiasm than I could ever muster. Now, the cook may do the dishes, but only if the other parent is busy giving Pumpkin a bath and getting her down for the night. We didn't negotiate this. It just happened. It is not that we split every chore equally, but I do feel that we split the work equally. In fact, I may come out ahead. I tend to get the chores that require an organizational system (so I'm in charge of the bills and of trying to keep the family calendar organized), but he takes care of the trash, does more than his fair share of laundry (to be honest, I don't remember the last time I washed the sheets), and does the yard work (due to my allergies).

Hubby is also a very involved father. He has always changed his share of diapers, although he once confessed to an issue with poop so I tend to do more of the poopy ones. As soon as we introduced a bottle, he started taking one of the nighttime feedings most nights. He loves to play with Pumpkin, too, and will often take her for long walks (or runs, now that she is old enough to ride safely in the jogging stroller while he runs) on the weekends, giving me time to nap or read or just wander around the house without a baby following after me. Again, the organizational chores fall to me- I track her doctor's appointments and have the system for storing the clothes she has outgrown. But I figure the fact that he is solely in charge of the yard makes up for that, so I don't mind.

Of course, I didn't have any idea that he would be like this when we first moved in together. I was attracted to the usual things- big blue eyes, a laid back approach to life, the easy athleticism and love of the outdoors that pushed me to do things I never thought I could do, like kayak across Auckland Harbor or hike to the top of Mt. San Jacinto. The domestic bliss is a bonus. I often wonder if his egalitarian approach to home life is a quality unique to him or a typically Kiwi male trait, along with a love of rugby and difficulty expressing emotions (hey, I didn't say Hubby was perfect). If it is the latter, I think I should set up a New Zealand-American dating service. If it is the former, I think I should send my parents-in-law a thank you note.

1 comment:

  1. You've got a great man! Go thank your inlaws!

    I have been similarly blessed, and it makes such a difference in life. Of course, when dating I was not interesting in men who had certain ideas, like that I would be the only one cooking and cleaning. You can tell men who thing that, and I was not attracked to those men.

    And it helps that he is so tall and can reach things my 5'2" self cannot. :-)


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