I was informed just now that I had a package sitting on my front step by my not-very-bright dog who barks like a mad man any time someone so much as walks by the house. Not expecting anything from anyone (since Michele just sent me a package and Caroline said she was mailing her package yesterday), I was rather curious. Guess what it was?? Free samples of Similac formula. Tee hee hee.
Why does that amuse me?? For one thing, I plan on nursing. I can see why a woman would choose to use formula if she is a working woman because pumping at work isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. Plus it is just easier to leave a can of formula with a caregiver to feed the baby. But I’m a stay-at-home wife (soon to be a stay-at-home mom, or SAHM — YAY!), so it just makes more sense for me to nurse since I have the time to do so. I asked my mother once why she didn’t nurse us, and she told me that she was discouraged from doing so from everyone she talked to (and I’m assuming she means even the doctors, since few of my generation were nursed) because she would be “tied down” with the baby. We all turned out just fine, but we know now that nursing is just better for a baby.
The other reason I am not going to use formula is I cannot stand the smell of the stuff. Blecch!! You can always tell a formula-fed baby because the smell just seems to seep out of their pores. When Caroline came to visit, it was so nice to cuddle with her baby and smell nothing but clean baby smell — until she dirtied her diaper, that is!! The only thing worse than the smell of formula is the smell of formula regurgitated when the baby spits it back up. Yuck! So I am thankful to be supported by my husband in my decision to nurse this baby, and also that I can stay home with the baby and not have to worry about diminishing my milk supply by having to pump. I am so very lucky.
And speaking of husbands….!! I get a ton of magazines in the mail for one reason or another, two of which are related to babies and parenting. One magazine this month featured an article on how to get more sleep once the baby is born, since we all know that parents lose a good chunk of their sleep once they add a newborn to their family. They had some good suggestions in the article, like having Dad take over a feeding at night if you are choosing to bottle-feed, and sneaking in naps during the day while the baby is napping as well.
But one suggestion just rubbed me the wrong way. The article suggests that Dad make dinner once in a while — but for Mom to reassure him that he doesn’t have to be Emeril, that bringing home rotisserie chicken or heating a frozen lasagne counts as cooking!! THAT is what got me so mad! I am so tired of the assumption that men cannot cook, and that we as women are supposed to encourage that idea by saying that all a man has to do in the kitchen is reheat last night’s leftovers. I realize that I am a very lucky woman in having a husband that really enjoys being in the kitchen and turning out gourmet meals (when he gets his measurements right — tee hee!!).
I think it is seriously time to quit enabling men to believe they cannot cook and expect them to pull some weight around the house. Just because they have some dangling equipment on their bodies that I don’t have doesn’t exclude them from the capability of doing housework! And cooking is no exception. If a man is smart enough to change the oil in his car, then he is more than intelligent enough to figure out how to put together a pound of meat, a couple cups of this, and some teaspoons of spices. Recipes nowadays are very simple to follow, and it’s a whole lot simpler than trying to work on one’s car.
Besides, tune into the Food Network one of these days. Are there any female Iron Chefs?? Who’s the top chef in the nation right now?? His name is Bobby Flay — and he certainly is NOT female. Most of the cooking shows hosted by women are women who have brought their ideas on cooking for their families to television, while most of the gourmet shows and the how-to-cook shows are hosted by men. So obviously, men CAN cook. And I don’t expect a novice male cook to turn out a gourmet meal on his first try. But don’t you think men can at least attempt sloppy joes or a grilled chicken recipe?
Now if your family has decided that the wife’s chores are such-and-so, and the husband’s chores are this other list (for example, I do all the laundry in the house with the exception of my husband’s uniforms — he washes those), and housework isn’t on the husband’s list, that’s fine too — as long as he’s doing something to pick up the slack, like doing yard work or watching the kids so that you can have a few moments to yourself. But make sure your husband at least knows how to use the vacuum and clean the house in case something happens to YOU and he has to fill in for you for a few days or weeks. You don’t want your husband to be completely lost if you have to be in the hospital or some such.
Just for the record, since I am currently not working, I do most of the cooking and most of the housework here in our home, now that my husband is working such long hours. But when we were first married, he had a really easy shift that only involved his going to work for less than 20 hours a week, and I was working 45+ hours a week. So Kurt pitched in and made a wonderful house husband, doing the majority of the housework and cooking most of the meals. We’ve decided that the person who is home most of the time does most of the housework, which only seems fair to us — but if that means that Kurt is home more, then he does more housework. And it removed a lot of my stress when I was working such long hours, that I knew I was coming home to a hot meal and a clean house. Now he has the same luxury.