I remember the first time I made the mistake of mentioning to a particular friend that I prepped my husband’s work lunches. The comment just slipped out of my mouth and would have gone unnoticed if her eyes hadn’t instantly widened dramatically.
“Wait,” she said, holding up her hand for silence. “You make your husband’s work lunches?”
“Hmmm, yeah,” I replied cautiously.
She laughed. “I would never do that. Oh my gosh. Do you wear your apron like a good little wife too?”
To be completely honest, I had never imagined that someone might find this odd and even belittling for a wife to do. My mom had always made my dad’s lunches. I made my husband’s lunches. And like my mom, I didn’t perform this ‘chore’ out of a sense of duty, requirement, or subservience.
Nate’s lunches were put together with care because I love him. Because a man cannot live on deli sandwiches alone. And because I knew that the carefully prepared meal I packed would be heartier, tastier, and healthier than anything my husband would grab in the spur of a moment.
(I can still see my husband grabbing a bag of microwave popcorn, pudding snacks, and a cheese stick for lunch one particular Saturday I decided to sleep in and let him fend for himself).
I’m just good at meal planning. I enjoy it. And I enjoy taking care of him.
The same comes true with the chores my husband handles around the house. I’m perfectly capable of bringing my car for an oil change, changing light-bulbs, painting decks, and mowing lawns. But handy-man chores just come naturally to my husband. And they’re his way of saying, “I love you and want you to be cared for.”
That’s not to say that we reverse the typical roles from time to time. Nate goes grocery shopping for me on a regular basis, and — I kid you not — I have not washed the kitchen floor once since we got married. (I don’t even know where our mop-bucket is). I, on the other hand, take out the trash every Monday, occasionally mow the lawn, and keep up with the shingles that stubbornly keep blowing off our roof. (By calling the roofer, not by climbing up on the roof. Just thought I should clarify that. Ha!)
It’s not about roles that are specific to a specific gender.
But at the same time, why shouldn’t I embrace roles that are considered womanly… if I love doing them as a woman?
Nate wasn’t home until late tonight, and I found myself actually enjoying the house-cleaning. I whisked away the dust, tidied magazines and remote controls, lit candles, turned on some dim lighting, and then sat down on the couch with a warm cup of tea to wait for my husband’s arrival. I was the epitome of a dutiful housewife.
And I actually found it soothing. I was eager for my husband to come home and find a cozy, clean home that smelled of cinnamon and nutmeg waiting for him.
I’m a woman. I’m proud of that. And I don’t feel that I should be more like a man in order to find my value. I’ve heard girls say silly things like, “Oh, I don’t wear pink. It’s too girly.” And that kind of confuses me, because I can’t help but want to say, “But you ARE a girl. Since when is that a label of shame?”
Women are strong. There are many woman who are doing jobs that most men would refuse to do, because of the exhaustion and the danger. But even when we’re cleaning our homes for our husbands, baking dinner for our families, stepping into the work-force for extra money, or even just being the tender hug at the end of a long day, we’re strong. We don’t have to be like men to prove just how tough, confident, and powerful we are.
And just because God may have created us different than men…. it doesn’t mean we have to become more like men in order to prove our worth.
So excuse me…
The hubby just came home, and I have some stuffed green peppers that need to come out of the oven for dinner. 🙂