Friday, April 03, 2009

Making A Good Team

“There is nothing more admirable than two people who see eye-to-eye keeping house as man and wife, confounding their enemies, and delighting their friends.” Homer

When we wake up in the morning on a week day, I go downstairs to the kitchen while the 21st Century Husband is in shower. By the time he is dressed, there is a steaming hot cup of tea and some cereal or a muffin waiting for him. I plan the time I serve dinner in the evening around his schedule and yes, I do touch up my makeup before he comes in the door at night. Some people get very wound up when I tell them this, and ask me why on earth I would do these things. I’m supposed to be the 21st Century Housewife for goodness sake, not the 1950’s housewife! But I firmly believe that modern housewifery can in most cases benefit from the addition of just the right amount (not too much!) of the traditional.

You see, my husband and I work as a team to create the wonderful life we have. Without what my husband does, it would be very hard for me to be a housewife, something that I love. And he is the first one to say that without me it would be much harder for him to achieve the things he does. If that is not a modern attitude, I don’t know what is.

It works like this. If I didn’t bring him breakfast, he would not eat any. I rarely have to be out the door first thing, so it makes sense for me to help the part of the team that does to do so on a full stomach. I don’t see why I should get to laze around when he has to go rushing out the door just after seven in the morning. It also means we can get up just a little bit later (and when the alarm is set before 7 am, every minute counts!). It’s important to point out here that he has never once asked me to do these things, nor would he ever dream of commenting if for some reason one morning I did not.

The nights dinner is late, it is not because he wants to work late, but rather because he is conscientious and a hard worker. I benefit from his strong work ethic every day of my life. It’s not like he is out with the boys or down the pub. He always calls me on iChat or Skype and I can see he is in the office. He keeps in touch with me so we can work together to have a family evening (including a meal eaten together) nearly every night. As for touching up my makeup, I do that because I want him to think I look good when he walks through the door after a long day. It means a lot to me. I love him madly and he is a wonderful husband. I like making him smile.

If you read the blog entry below (written almost two years ago) you will get an idea of how much I have to be grateful for and just why I’m very happy to be a 21st Century Housewife with bit of a traditional twist.

3rd May 2007
It is so much easier being a 21st century housewife when you have a really wonderful husband or partner.  At the end of the day, running a home has to be a team effort or it just doesn’t work, even if you are the most amazing housewife on the planet.  I know I am incredibly lucky to have someone who so willingly shares the load, but sometimes I forget just how much easier he makes it for me to pursue the career of housewifery.  This morning was a perfect example.
I am not a morning person and no amount of caffeine will make me into one.  So the mornings when we have to be up before 7am are really not my cup of tea at all. Today was one of these as my son A needed to be at an early morning school activity by 7.30.  Of course, as things are wont to do on those wonderful early mornings, things began to go wrong almost from the start.  We all had to get up (perhaps the biggest challenge of all!), showered and dressed.  Our fabulous elderly cats (lovingly referred to as “the boys”) needed to be fed, watered and medicated.  Both our lovely old gentlemen are on tablets, Jake for his heart and Elwood for his thyroid.  If you are thinking these are odd names for cats, they are an homage to The Blues Brothers of the late 1980’s, Dan Ackroyd and the late John Belushi.  But I digress.
Having fed the cats and opened the door so they could have a wander in the garden, I rushed to shower and dress.  Finally in the kitchen with soaking wet hair and no makeup, I began to prepare my son A’s lunch.  A wandered in, slightly dazed and began to make his breakfast.  On his way to sit down at the kitchen table he stopped rather abruptly, turned and in a vaguely accusatory tone said, “Did you realise one of the boys has been sick in here?” Not waiting for a reply, he turned away and went to eat in the family room.  I looked up to see that not only had one of the boys been sick, they had thrown up their whole entire breakfast completely undigested.  This happens from time to time.  Jake has a habit of wolfing his food down and his poor little 17 year old tummy just can’t cope with the sudden onslaught of nourishment.  It is a horrible sight at the best of times, but particularly when one is attempting to make a tuna salad wrap at 7am. 
Deciding I could not cope with the sick at the moment I resolved not to look at it anymore but rather to carry on making A’s lunch and deal with it later.  At this point my husband G came downstairs about to leave for work.  “I’m in a rush,“ he announced as he gave me a kiss.  He then looked round, saw my wet hair and disheveled appearance, along with the rather amazing piles of cat sick on the floor.  “It’s okay,” I said in an attitude of false confidence, “I’ll deal with it after I’ve taken A to school”.  It was now 7.15, and although school is only 5 minutes away by car, things were not looking good for a 7.30am arrival – particularly if I was going to manage to go out looking like something that would not embarrass my son (or me for that matter!).  It is very hard to keep up any notion of street cred if your mother drops you off looking like something the cat dragged in – and with my soaking wet hair and face devoid of makeup, I was doing a pretty good impression of just that.  G was clearly in a hurry as well, and I know he had an early meeting. He got as far as the door before he turned round.  “Look,” he said, “don’t worry, I’ll take A to school.”  He then proceeded back into the kitchen and whilst I finished making A’s lunch, my incredible husband cleaned up the cat sick!!!  I cannot begin to describe my gratitude.
Five minutes later, he and A were on their way out the door and all three of us were smiling and laughing.  There is a pretty good chance that the extra ten minutes G waited to leave will have meant that he will have to sit in traffic for an extra half an hour and quite possibly be late for his meeting, but he never said a word about it.  If you are a 21st century housewife, I fervently hope that your husband or partner is as loving and supportive as mine is, and if he isn’t, my prayer for you is that he will become so! 


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