Monday, January 13, 2014

A Man Who Can Make His Own Lunch

Last week, I had lunch with a couple of female co-workers. One of my co-workers was driving me home and she said:

"Heather, what will you do now? Will you go home now and prepare lunch for your husband?"

Somewhat surprised, "Jeremy?! No. He can make his own lunch. In fact, he's probably already eaten something."

"Really? What will he eat?" she asked.

"I don't know, probably leftovers," I told her. "Maybe cereal."

She looked intensely out the window as we waited at a red light: "Wow."


She answered, "I just can't imagine what it's like to have a husband who can make his own lunch."

"Really?" approaching carefully. "Do you prepare all of the meals for your husband?"

"Of course, I do."

"Oh. Do you enjoy cooking?"

"No. I hate it," she said with a smile.

"I'm sorry. Does your husband help you in other ways?" I asked.

"No, he really doesn't do anything. He thinks that if he makes money, he does enough. But I make money. I work everyday, just as many hours as he does, and I still have to do the cooking, cleaning, shopping, and taking care of the kids."

I asked her if this is a common frustration with some of her friends and she said it is a common complaint of Korean women. I kind of knew this already as I've sat and listened to several women here talk about their husbands.

I told her that while I do most of the cooking, Jeremy cleans the house, and we both tackle the laundry. But these are in no way "rules" that we have to follow. If we need help, we ask. I told her that Jeremy and I both grew up in homes where it was common for our fathers to help out around the house. When I told her that my Dad did most of the cleaning and housework when he worked from home, and my mom worked out of the house, this nearly blew her mind.

"Yes!" she exclaimed punching her fist into the steering wheel as the horn let out a surprised squeak. "It is justice!"

I got home to Jeremy who had indeed found something for lunch and was folding laundry. And felt, again, as if I have somehow hit the "husband jackpot."

I found a funny online

This is not a judgement on my coworker's husband.
This is not a judgement on any particular culture. 
This is not a judgement on any couples who prefer a more traditional structure. 

But things like this work for me. 
I'm completely in love with my husband who is willing to challenge the norm. 
I like knowing that my gender does not automatically define my roles in our relationship.
I like knowing that I don't have to measure up with what society often dictates for me as a woman.

That's not to say that Jeremy and I need to swap roles completely in order to prove some kind of point about gender roles. We have our strengths and our interests. And more often than not we fall into conventionally defined roles. However, while I'm capable of changing the oil in the car and Jeremy is capable of cooking, we both have areas where we've agreed that we fit best (key words: we've agreed).

This would be my hope for every couple, that they can find what works for them. 

At this point, one year and eight months into marriage
these are the things I'm treasuring lately:
Feeling heard.
Feeling seen.
Feeling like we can both live our best lives.
Helping each other along the way.


Jason Warren said...

That lady's husband's world is about to turn upside down.