Driving Home the Point
Long ago - far before this website existed - I was talking with one of my best friends about who drives the car on family trips. His wife was present and was soon sucked into the conversation. We soon realized that the topic struck a chord for all of us. Despite the best intentions of both Amy and I, and my friend and his wife, the driver's seat was a guy thing! I remembered this conversation last week when I stumbled on Eric Morriss' NYT blog Freakonomics, on which he took up the same topic. It is one we've blogged about here before, too.
Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a couple deciding to allocate all of one task (any task) to a single parent. However, there are some inherent risks with this approach. The more this strategy is implemented, the less likely it is that you will both reap the benefits of walking in each other's shoes on a daily basis. Using "divide and conquer" for large swathes of the household tasks can also restrict the freedom of each parent, making it more difficult for your partner to pinch-hit for you when the opportunity arises.
And finally, if all the "manly" tasks are assigned to Dad, and the home and childcare tasks are assigned to Mom (even if they like this arrangement), aren't we teaching our kids that chores are gendered? I'm not sure, but I do recall T asking why I was in "Mommy's" seat when I jumped in the passenger side of the car and Amy took the wheel one day. Ouch.
Regardless of who drives - always, today, this week - being conscious of our actions is the first step toward owning our lives. Driver's seat patterns may seem like small potatoes compared to figuring out how to share in raising our children, but they reflect what we stand for nonetheless.
Here's to driving with our eyes wide open!