It’s hard to describe the pressure you feel as a parent when you are choosing a movie for date night with your spouse. Moments minus the kids are few and far between so a lot is riding on your decision. Pick a cinematic masterpiece then all is right with the world.
On the other hand, if you’re the one who suggests seeing a flick that turns out to be a real stinker than you lose a lot more than the two hours of your life which you can never get back. Let me try to put the cost of a wrong call into perspective: nice dinner ($30), movie tickets ($16), concessions at theater ($12) and the kicker, childcare ($40). While painfully writing out the check to the babysitter, you reason flushing over 100 bucks and watching it swirl down the toilet would be more entertaining then the turd of a film you just watched.
Sadly, my track record recently has been less than stellar. It has reached the point where my movie choosing privileges have been revoked. Power has been peacefully handed over to Jenn, which means I’ll be watching romantic comedies for the rest of my life.
Are you curious as to what finally did me in? It was none other than the film that showed George Lucas might want to consider retirement: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Yes, I’ll concede it was mindless fun that was semi-entertaining, but what was with the final ten minutes? Seriously, aliens, are you kidding me? That is the best you could come up with? The uneventful ending threw us both off. Jenn and I walked out of the theater disoriented as to what just occurred.
Recently, I’ve been feeling that same disorientation. Everything has been a blur and I am trying to get my bearings back. Let’s just say that April ended in a way I wasn’t expecting. For the past thirty days, I have attempted to hone my domesticated skills by sautéing, scrubbing, sorting and swiffering.
My goal was to finish the month on a high note by preparing an elegant meal from scratch for Jenn. I laid the groundwork early by going into ultra stealth mode in an attempt to find out some of her favorite cuisines. After studying a few cookbooks and sifting through the recipes family and friends sent my way, I created a shopping list and was about to head to the grocery store when Jenn began complaining about severe pain in her side. She tried sleeping it off.
Yet, the pain never went away and a day or so later we found out she had gallstones and a seven millimeter kidney stone. Just typing those words make me cringe. Surgery to remove her gallbladder was scheduled for April 30th, the final opportunity to prove I had morphed into a domesticated dude. Looks like the candlelight dinner would be put on hold.
Instead the last supper consisted of vanilla wafers, saltines and Lipton’s Cup of Soup. For an extra special touch, I garnished her plate with a few slices of strawberries and pineapples from the Edible Arrangements boutique we received from friends. The meal was topped off with a tall glass of grape Gatorade to quench Jenn’s thirst. A feast completely and utterly uneventful compared to what I wanted to prepare. She ate a few bites, but that was about it.
I had little time to wonder if her lack of interest in eating was due to her nausea or a statement on my cooking ability. Other things were demanding my attention: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, mopping, scrubbing and actually paying attention to the kids. When I went into check on our recovering mommy, Jenn chuckled and then grimaced in pain because laughing doesn’t feel too well due to the stitches. I asked her what exactly was so funny. She said that I had finally achieved the ‘look.’ You know, the one of complete and utter exhaustion. I glance over at a mirror and realize my look is identical to the one Jenn has on her face on occasion when I come home from work.
Thanks to seeing that reflection in the mirror I feel like I finally truly understand all that is asked of Jenn as a stay at home mom. Managing a house while taking care of two wild and crazy girls is extremely difficult especially if you are trying to stay sane as well. A woman performing domesticated duties often goes without notice. Yet, when a man steps up to the plate by actually washing it, a parade is thrown in his honor. He is viewed as a hero while doing the same tasks that are expected from a female. Does anyone else find this mindset odd and a little warped?
Knowing how to sort laundry, iron a shirt, cook a meal or sew on a button is one thing. Being willing to help around the house and make a contribution out of love for your wife is where you are being a man. Maybe the uneventful ending to the month had a greater purpose because as the credits for April are rolling I am realizing that Mr. Mom should be the rule, not the exception.