Our daughter is a big fan of Peppa Pig, the eternal 4 year old and her little brother who have a happy time jumping in puddles, and going on adventures, often with their mum and dad in tow, and usually involving something going wrong and then being rescued. Daddy Pig is often the butt of the joke as he gets them lost or leaves something behind or is generally not up to the job. Mainly Mummy Pig is the brains and has the whole operation down pat.
In our house, I am often Daddy Pig. My husband runs a tight and smooth ship whilst I swan off to work, when I try to help, chaos often reigns and the kids definitely prefer Daddy’s cooking! I try and make up for my lack of domestic prowess by arranging lots of adventures for us as a family, and generally trying to be around to help. I am often more the entertainment than the grown-up and organise things for us to do.
I am beginning to see that the hapless breadwinner, who is not in charge at home, is what you get when you are out at work alot. Basically its quite hard to be superwoman, and I couldn’t do half of what I’ve achieved without my husband’s support. I am quite happy with this, but now have empathy with many of my male colleagues at work for the first time. Some of them claim to get up in the night, do a full day’s work and do the school-run or look after the cooking and shopping. The main thing I’ve found that helps, is to show enthusiasm and excitement in all things domestic that the rest of the family have been up to and anticipate the number of jobs that are looking like they need doing round the house. I am definitely not great at that though.
My husband does however face discrimination in the work place. Our kids have started asking “why doesn’t daddy go to work!” They are happy, healthy, calm and confident and well looked after, but that doesn’t stop me feeling bad when someone asks if my husband is going to get a proper job, so I can work part-time. His face lit up the other day when our daughter said “no not you mummy, daddy help me” for the first time. Colleagues who were stay at home dads describe the isolation and loneliness as the hardest thing to cope with, and the way that everything is set up for women, even applying for jobs that fit in around the school run cam be tricky if you are competing with women for a “caring job”. Being the token bloke in a room full of women is not an experience many guys particularly enjoy. One friend described the head of the PTA’s utter horror when he offered to help stuff envelopes with her, as it meant him going to her house alone during the day!
Anyway, what does the bible say about all of this? Peter 3v1:
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives”
Submission is not a word I find particularly helpful but it keeps cropping up when I pray about my life! I know that if I try and put my husband first ahead of my concerns, and don’t just put all my energy into my work or the kids, our whole world works better. I also think about this quote from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin:
“Just bring in the wood before she asks for it, and bring her a flower every time you come back from the field. If it’s cold put a shawl around her shoulders, and if it’s hot, bring her a glass of water. It’s simple. Women only nag when they feel unappreciated. Think of her as your mother who has fallen ill, and treat her accordingly.”