It’s 9:45 p.m. and my husband hasn’t even walked through the door yet. By some fluke, we saw him tonight — briefly — for dinner at one of his speaking engagements. He pulled that off on about 3½ hours sleep and a 20 minute nap this afternoon. He does that loopy work-all-day-never-get-to-sleep schedule all the time.
There are times I think if I hear “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” one more time I’ll grab that cast iron pot he is so fond of, bean him in the head and then wait until he has a good night’s rest before I apologize.
I’m not complaining about him never being home. I’m in some small way trying to tell him how grateful I am. You see, he gets up at 4:30 a.m. and, if he’s lucky, goes to bed at 11 p.m. so he can support his family. He works hard so I don’t have to. Not that I don’t work hard.
Some days I’d kill for a tough day at the office. Most days I’m delighted to wake up at 1, 2 , 4, 5:30 a.m. … whenever my kids need me. I’m happy to be there with no external pressure separating me from their needs other than preparing dinner. And I can do that because of him.
Men get a bad rap in this country, I think. Before I was married, and yes even after, I was one of those women who sat around with other women doing what comes so naturally to women: Whining about men. You know, how illogical they are. How they do strange things. Why can’t they put the seat up? Why do they not call back? Why do they not want to talk about how they feel? Do they not grasp the concept of multi-tasking? You know, the normal stuff.
But then I got married. And I had one of those creatures step up to support me. And then I gave birth to a perfect little creature who could not possibly grow up to be one of those illogical men. Jack being another little man in my life made me rethink my position on men and, more specifically, how I speak about them.
Our life isn’t the lap of luxury, but it’s a heck of a lot more than most people have. Bob isn’t perfect. He is unflinchingly male and yes, it is maddening for someone who is very female. He once set the table so slowly it felt like he was taking each piece of silverware individually from the kitchen to the table. It took all my energy not to scream that if he had just taken all the silverware out at once, he wouldn’t have to go back and forth. But he was setting the table.
And sometimes, women just need to sit back and realize that although men may do something differently, at least they’re doing it. And they wake up and go to work so that the lucky among us can shepherd our children through life.
The argument that most men couldn’t handle a day changing diapers and dealing with the tantrums of a 2-year-old isn’t pertinent. God made us to be partners, whether the feminists out there agree or not. That means we both sacrifice in our own ways.
Bob will probably insist that despite his late-night speaking engagement and though he will stumble through the door with eyes red from exhaustion, that he should write his own column. That’s what people expect, he’ll say. Never complain about having a job, he’ll add. I really can’t use anything I didn’t write, baby. I’ll sleep when I’m dead, he will proclaim… again.
Well, I’m lobbying for this one. Not because it is brilliant. Not because it clearly lays out my position on everything from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Hillary Clinton.
But it’s done. It will fill a news hole. And I won’t have to go get the cast iron pot.
Wife of commentator and talk show host Bob Lonsberry. See boblonsberry.com