While I like to fancy myself a liberated, equal partner in my marriage, spouting off such evidence as being a working mom or that I’m OK with my husband being a better cook than me, the fact of the matter is, when I really think about it…
I might be lying.
Not lying on purpose, of course, but lying nonetheless, because the truth is, my marriage is actually pretty traditional in two major ways.
#1: I never drive. Ever.
I mean, I’m not saying I don’t ever drive myself anywhere, because of course, when I’m alone I drive. I’ve driven all over the country, in fact. But when my husband and I are going anywhere together, whether that be just us two (ha! when does that happen?) or with the whole fam on board, for some reason, I never, ever climb into the driver’s seat.
When I try to uncover the reason behind my lack-of-driving ways, I come up pretty empty-handed. It’s not like we ever discussed the fact that somewhere along the way, I made the silent pledge to never cross the driver/passenger line divide for the duration of our relationship.
I don’t necessarily have an aversion to driving — except at night, when my horrible night blindness does, in fact, turn me into a 98-year-old grandma version of myself.
When I think about it, I’m kind of embarrassed by this one. Why on earth do I always expect my husband to drive? Maybe he hates driving me around all the time like a personal chauffeur. Maybe he’d like to be the one to close his eyes after a late night on the way home like I always do, even propping my feet up on the dashboard for good measure. (Side note: He loves when I do that.)
We even joke about it now and then. “Oh, honey, do you want me to drive?” I’ll ask innocently, as I’m buckling my seat belt and whipping out my phone to check my Instagram. And of course, he never says yes, whether it be from my complete lack of sincerity to the fact that like me, he too, assumes the role of “driver” in our marriage has been solely regaled to the role of husband.
#2: He fixes stuff.
Earlier this week, while my husband rounded up the kids to herd them all into the bath, I tackled the after-dinner mess that inevitably always looks like we are feeding a small army instead of the three young children we actually have. Humming a little to myself (because, of course, bed time was coming!) I flipped open the dishwasher to unload it — only to discover a small, but torrential flood in the bottom.
Calmly, I closed the dishwasher and walked to the edge of the stairs.
“Hooonneeey!” I called. “I need you to come look at something!”
I expect my husband to fix stuff. There, I said it.
I swear I don’t expect it in a pampered princess sort of way, but more in a way that I simply don’t have the skills he does. Perhaps it’s my trade-off for being the one to give birth? I don’t know, but I have felt some feminist backlash against this one, even going so far as to buy myself a “Handywoman 101″ book and resolving to start doing more around the house myself.
Can you guess how long my resolve for that one lasted?
I will never say that my husband and I aren’t equal partners, but I will begrudgingly admit that there is nothing wrong with assuming certain roles in our marriage. I am happy to be the one who does the laundry and stays home with the kids; he’s glad to mow the lawn and take out the garbage every Friday, with or without my helpful reminder.
I’m able to carry and birth our children and feed them for free for the first year of their lives; meanwhile, I guess in exchange I expect to be driven around town while he fixes everything that breaks in the house.
Tell me that’s a fair trade?
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