“I figured I better let momma decide where everything goes!” This is what the waitress said to me with a laugh. Then with a slightly more direct and bitter tone, “I’d get so mad at my husband when he tried to do anything. I would just have to come behind him and do it again! I’d just tell him to let me do it.”
It was one of the rare times we went out to eat. I was looking forward to not having to cook, or clean up. When our food came out, the waitress proceeded to put every plate in front of me. Straws, napkins, extra spoons. All handed to me. She must have seen the look of exasperation as I tried to keep up with her as the table space in front of me kept filling up.
After she explained herself, I simply handed every item directly to my husband. A little passive aggressive, but for some reason her comment just didn’t sit right with me. I couldn’t figure out why at the time. I realized she couldn’t reach across the length of the table and had to hand most of these things off, but why just me? Why would she assume that my husband could not place a plate of grilled cheese in front of our kids?
I tried to let it go. For our entire meal I still had an uneasiness about the whole thing. Why did it irk me so much?
When she brought the check, I assumed she would hand that to me too. But she didn’t. She laughed and made a comment. It kind of tipped me over the edge, so I can’t quote it exactly. Something about chivalry and the one thing husbands are good at.
So my husband, with two hands and a college education is incapable of figuring out which child needs a fork, but he has to, no is expected to, pick up the tab because that’s what he’s there for? On top of that, he’s a jerk if he doesn’t.
No. No. No.
My husband is more than a glorified door stop with a wallet. I was insulted she thought so little of him. That was it. Insulted.
In most families, including ours, the wife does manage the household. Being a mom and wife is a 24/7 gig. There are no days off, or sick time. There is always laundry, dishes, budgeting issues, scheduling issues, broken toy crisis, you name it. A lot of that falls to me to do. Sure I am completely capable of handling all these things on my own, with out any help from anyone.
Why on earth would I want to though?!
For the record, I don’t want to handle it all on my own. I’m fairly certain it would not be good for me, or my children. A husbands job is to support and lead his family. And that means a whole heck of a lot more than bringing home a pay check. In fact I would go so far as to say it has nothing to do with money at all. It is leadership, commitment, encouragement, accountability, the ability to look in to a situation and know what is needed. Sometimes what is needed is for me to let go and let some one else fold the towels. (Even if he doesn’t tri-fold them and they don’t fit in the closet just right!)
There are days, even weeks, where I just can’t. I’m so emotionally tired and burned out, that it’s about all I can do to get dinner on the table. My husband is right there, putting the dishes away or getting the kids through their bed time check lists. Do I have to go behind him and put things where they really go? Sometimes, sure. But I tell you those cups put in the wrong spot mean a whole lot more to me than if I had to do it all the right way, but alone.
Husbands are not our “other” children. However I think this waitress took that idea to heart. I don’t know that waitresses story. Perhaps she did have a husband who didn’t know his right from left, or how to tie his shoes. I’m more inclined to think she gave in to the idea that she had to do it all herself.
I know she meant no harm, it was coming from a place of bitterness in her own life. Though I imagine at one time she did not think that way. Sadly I imagine there are a lot of women just like her too.
My honest hope is that an occasional load of laundry being done out of order doesn’t get to me so much that I miss what’s really important. That I have a husband who loves me enough to offer to help.