Tuesday, May 14, 2002

House Husband: A Female's Fantasy

I have several problems with this article. One being the fact that CNN thought it was newsworthy to write a bit about a man who does housework. That's insulting. It's insulting to the men who do participate in family life and think nothing of washing a floor when it's dirty. And it's insulting to women of every generation past who have been washing floors thanklessly, whom CNN would never think to call "God's gift to men: a house wife."

I also think it's kind of sad that this man is scrubbing the kitchen floor on his hands and knees every night, as if he's looking so hard for a sense of achievement that he thinks he might find some gummed into the corners of the grotty kitchen tile. And that he's hanging with the lawyer's wives at cocktail parties because the successful men snub him.

On the other hand, playground moms do have that kind of "what are you doing here" attitude toward playground dads, which husband has been seeing a lot of these days. They are the ones who want to keep that pecking order in place, those don't-need-to-work wives of high-powered men.

I think these are the same women who might spend an evening on their knees scrubbing the floor and never get a word of thanks for it. Maybe she abandoned whatever it was she wanted to be when she grew up. As she's grinding away at a particularly stubborn spot, she mentally congratulates herself for being this dedicated and talented at what she does, building herself up with the idea that her husband, successful lawyer/doctor/whatever that he may be, certainly couldn't get a floor this clean. A man certainly would find some way to botch the job. A man could never clean so well, shop so well, dress the children so well, clip coupons so well.

Maybe the sight of a man at the store with a happy, well-dressed child at his side, competently rifling through a stack of coupons, threatens to poke holes in her carefully constructed delusion. If this man can do my job, maybe my husband could too. Maybe I am worthless.

Even more sad than the cold glares of playground moms is the little girl's attitude in the article: "I like having a Dad at home; it's almost like having another Mom."

Another mom? Is that the best a dad can aspire to be?

No comments: