A few days ago, Jon took Mario to his eye doctor appointment at 8:30 am and then took Maria to her dentist appointment at 3:20 in the afternoon because I got caught up in work. When we both had a chance to sit on the bed and talk for two minutes (while the kids showered), he chuckled “I was Mr. Mom today.” I immediately hurled that comment back at him. “Really? Mr. Mom? I do this all the time when you are gone!”
It was a knee-jerk reaction. Something I’m used to laughing/lamenting about with my girlfriends (“he does the dishes and its a big deal”; “he gives the kids a bath and he’s a savior”). After all, who hasn’t read studies in ten different articles on how much more housework and kid-work women typically do over men?
And Jon would completely agree that our situation confirms those studies.
But we make it work. I love running around outdoors with the kids, and would much prefer that over taking the cars in for oil changes, which Jon gladly does. I love mowing the grass and washing the floors over paying the bills on-line and heading to the bank, which Jon would much prefer. Are there times I am annoyed at him for not folding laundry? Yep. But are there times he has no desire to drive to the library to return the videos? Yep. We know each others’ strengths and preferred activities and have an unwritten rule as to who typically does what.
Jon’s reaction that night was not so much one of anger and defensiveness as it was hurt. He simply wanted me to acknowledge what he had done – moved meetings all around in order to take Mario to the doctor for an hour and a half, drive him to school for an always less-than-pleasant drop off, drive to work, drive to Ri’s school and take her to the dentist, and head back to work. Not so much to ask. I’d be looking for the same acknowledgment if I was him.
And, he would have given it to me. He’s the first one to tell me and anyone else in the room that I’m a rock star and that I’m the best mom and wife ever. He tells it to me all the time. So put away the studies and the stereotypes for a minute and stick with the basic human need to feel appreciated. That goes a long way in a marriage… and friendship.
Yesterday morning, I had to be at a 7:30 am meeting so Jon had to take the kids to school. He did not complain about it even though I know he was stressed with work and other issues.
So tonight, when we finally get a chance to sit down together and talk about our day, I will definitely make sure to address him as “Mr. Mom.”