In the traditional concept of the nuclear family—certainly in the 1950s sitcom version—the husband goes off to his job in a suit and tie, and the wife stays at home (usually with the kids), keeping the house clean and the meals cooked. Traditions of the 2000s and 2010s have evolved quite a bit from that picture, but no matter who brings home the bacon, it’s generally still true that the woman in a relationship cooks and cleans while the man mows the lawn and watches sports.
Sure, I do all the shopping and most of the cleaning (since I apparently have a lower tolerance for dust and dirt). And my husband does the yardwork and takes out the trash. But that’s about where our traditional roles fall apart.
I’m the one who goes off to a day job and comes home cranky, needing to be soothed, ready for a cool drink and a quiet space. My husband is more of a nester—home all day, doing more of the cooking, tidying, and maintenance. He’s the one who’s waiting, eager for someone to talk to when I return from the day at work or emerge from my office after an evening or weekend of writing fiction.
Mind you, my husband isn’t sitting around watching soap operas (do they even exist anymore?). He does part-time consulting work in two different careers, with a little real estate sales on the side. He has periods of being very busy and working late into the night—as well as periods of not much activity, which means more free time for fun stuff, like playing music, taking a language class, or keeping up with friends (I haven’t done that in months).
But the biggest difference between us is when it comes to sports. You see, in our relationship, I’m the one in front of the television on a weekend day, watching a car race. He’s the one spending the day working in the yard. He’s the one asking me, with a fair amount of disgust in his voice, “Are you really going to sit there all day?” I’m the one nodding, making shooing motions with my hands.
He doesn’t like sports at all, and I write car racing mysteries. I don’t just like watching racing, I have to watch (some of) it. It’s research (wink, wink). He usually rolls his eyes at that point and leaves the room.
So it’s clear that neither of us fits traditional or stereotypical roles of “husband” or “wife.” Frankly, we’re both more “husband.” I think that means we need a wife.
What about the rest of you, are you living traditional roles or turning them on their head like my husband and I are? Any other couples out there who also need a wife? Anyone I can hire?