The other day, my wife said to me, “Hey, today is “National Men Make Dinner Day” (yes, it’s a thing — look it up) and we both laughed.
We laughed because in our home, we equally share the responsibility of meals, laundry, carpools and every other element of parenting.
Sadly, that’s not the case in every home.
Growing up, my parents had what many would call traditional roles.
Dad worked. Mom cooked, cleaned and tended to us kids. And Dad worked some more.
When I married, I assumed we’d have the same roles in our home.
But when I fell in love with and married a strong, independent woman who wanted a career of her own, I had to adapt to a new reality.
I could do everything my mom did, and my wife could do everything my dad did. In some cases, we were better at the other person’s “role.”
I realize this isn’t rocket science. Nor is our family unique. But I do think our equal partnership has helped us both be better parents and instill independence and self-sufficiency in our children.
Not to say I haven’t burned a dinner or turned a white sweater red because I washed it with the wrong colors, but the opportunity to demonstrate to our kids that both Mom and Dad are interchangeable for some daily tasks has led to more capable offspring who’ve become more independent and truly value their abilities to contribute to the home.
In this age of technology, there’s really no reason men, women and even children can’t help out.
Last week, our oldest son — who started college this year — came home for the weekend. Shockingly, he didn’t bring his laundry.
When I asked why, he said, “I did it at school. YouTube taught me how.”
According to the National Men Make Dinner website, the No. 1 reason men should handle the evening meal is that “participating in ‘National Men Make Dinner Day’ gives you optimum points with your wife.”
Here’s my question: Why do men need points? Why is the general sentiment that men should be in search of points with their spouse?
It’s clearly in jest, but the problem is the assumption that this is reality, that many men will only make dinner or do other household chores for points.
But the fact is, doing things around the house — regardless of task — pays dividends in more ways than points.
Like (as noted above): It teaches your kids how to do things for themselves.
In the last year, I’ve surprised even myself on the quality of meals I’ve cooked using simple recipes I’ve found on Facebook.
And you know what? Only a small percentage of those meals have been Crock Pot dinners.
(I have found though, the key is remembering to take the meat out of the freezer.)
In a 2014 opinion piece titled “For a great marriage, men must cook,” author Arshiah Parween writes, “If men can use food to build diplomatic ties to solve issues of local and global importance — why then mustn’t they use food to build strong, enduring bonds with their wives for peaceful and mutually fulfilling marriages?”
So can we eliminate silliness like “National Men Make Dinner Day” and agree that a man’s place is also in the kitchen, the car-pool lane or wherever his wife needs to be?
Food for thought.