Even in the most democratic of marriages, where fathers change diapers and fix dinner and are in charge of bedtime, there are still things that mothers always do:
• Healthcare: Make pediatrician well-visit appointments. Know enough to schedule the well-visits in the correct increments- (3 month, 6 month, 1 year, etc.)
• Clothing: Buy seasonally appropriate clothing for the kids, thinking in advance about buying winter coats or bathing suits well before they are needed. This includes the ever-present chore of transferring outgrown clothes to storage bins and sorting through the hand-down-grow-into clothes. This also includes noticing that shoes may be outgrown and it might be time to get little feet measured.
• Food: Plan dinners, especially dinners including vegetable sides. Purchase more than what is on the list from the grocery store. Stocking up is not on a husband’s radar screen, unless it is stocking up on something totally random, like a 100 pack of Oreos from BJ’s.
• Personal Grooming: Bring the kids for haircuts. Trim their fingernails.
• Education/Childcare: Agonize about the Tuesday, Thursday or MWF schedule for preschool, which preschool to pick in the first place, whether the nanny and babysitter is the right person, whether or not a child is ready for Kindergarten. Visit, get on the waiting lists, interview, write checks.
If we are really talking stereotypes, let’s admit that as Mom, we like to do these things. We pride ourselves on taking care of our families and it makes us feel good. But when the stress starts to mount and adding the haircut errand to the long list of everything else, resentment builds. And fights ensue.
Would you rather get the credit or the help? Sometimes I think just the credit would be good enough.