My husband used to be Mr. Mom in our family before I dropped off the face of the working planet. Yes, he works too, but somehow over the years as I became more and more involved in my career, he took on more of the domestic responsibilities. No one had to ask — it was by osmosis. He’s like that.
He’s passed through the stages of liking to stir whatever I was cooking whether it needed stirring or not, to being my sous chef (dinner for 20 wouldn’t have come off the same without his unwavering patience in the kitchen), to being a full blown cook at this point. All I have to do is show him the recipes — which makes me the executive chef, of course — and he’s off and running. He’s done Thanksgiving dinner on his own for four years now. He’s also been responsible for less glamorous jobs around our humble abode like vacuuming and laundry. Why? Simple logic. They allowed him to continue watching television — whether it be baseball, football, the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, or March Madness. He folds a mean stack of tee shirts and BVDs.
Yard work? He’d rather not. Plumbing? I wouldn’t dream of asking him unless I wanted language that would make a truck driver blush or dented walls caused by flying wrenches. The biggest thing he took on, was being responsible for our son’s school related everything.
School in our house is a four-letter word, so Mr. Mom has intuitively made sure that I haven’t had to deal with much of it. Why? Because I have been an educator for the past 20 years until, officially, March 23rd of this year. And I haven’t been one of those cheerful “what will we all discover together boys and girls” types, either. It’s more about work to me — hard work — and that’s what I always impressed upon the students and colleagues with whom I worked. Plus, Mr. Mom is very good at understanding that my intensity about education can singe the hair on a person who unwittingly acts as if it is to be taken lightly. Ever. But I digress. So, Mr. Mom was the talker at teacher conferences, attended Open House (because mine often was scheduled on the same night), went over the homework (because I was reading journals or grading papers), and… joined the community carpool.
Now that I’m no longer working, Mr. Mom has retired from all of the above. That means I have inherited the responsibility of carpool duty three mornings a week. Is this a big deal? Not really, unless you realize that if I was actually getting up in the morning, putting on nice clothes, make-up, and doing something to my hair other than pulling it back into a clip, this wouldn’t be so bad. I have to get out of bed in time, be cheerful, and make my first stop for the 16-year-old princess who lives down the street. The princess whom we drove off without a couple of days ago.
Our resident teenager said, after I had pulled up outside the princess’ house, that we didn’t have to pick her up that morning. Okay, no problem, I thought, because we always get to our second stop sooner, the boy is always outside waiting — unlike the princess — and we get down the hill more quickly to the one-lane street in front of the school that effectively resembles a parking lot with cars all helter skelter three deep and counting. Unfortunately, after I returned home in record time that morning, my ex Mr. Mom said that the princess’ mom had called and asked about why we hadn’t picked up her darling. My husband told her we’d gone already and offered to take the princess to school because he’s one of those Prince Charming-like guys. Princess Mom declined, but when I saw her leaving for work upon returning from my morning walk I apologized for the mix up that morning. She proceeded to tell me that it was the worst possible morning for it to happen, and because the traffic light was out, the line of cars was so long that the Princess was late to school.
Mr. Mom would never have done this. I’m on the job not even a month, and I’m a carpool flunky. I’m already wondering if this is something I wish to improve upon.