One thing I’ve discovered on this new adventure as a single grandparent is a greater appreciation for the role of women in the home and family.
Since my wife has been gone, I have found out there are a large number of tasks and duties to managing a home and family that she did that I never participated in or even recognized were being done.
Apparently there are many details she must have taken care of without my knowledge or involvement because I know I NEVER DID THEM!
Yet, these things all somehow got done unbeknownst to me–details that were essential to keeping our home and family functioning properly.
Now, having had the opportunity to perform many of these tasks myself, let me attempt to list some of the things that women do for a home and family that men don’t even know about:
- Buy groceries and household items. It’s not just about the food. While it’s difficult enough to figure out what food to buy, there’s a slew of other household items to purchase for your household to function. For example (and listed in order of importance), toilet paper, paper towels, soap, toothpaste, detergent, cleansers, trash bags, etc. etc.–and what brand or quantity or size of each. I work up a sweat just thinking about going to the grocery store!
- Plan and prepare meals. It’s more difficult–at least for me–to decide what food to prepare for a meal than it is to prepare it. I have learned that you actually have to plan your meals so you know what to buy at the grocery store!
- Wash and dry clothes and sheets and towels and other miscellaneous items. And the stream of dirty clothes coming at you never ends! Do you ever get “caught up” on the washing?
- Sort and fold clean clothes and sheets and towels and other miscellaneous items and hang them up or put them away. It doesn’t end after you wash and dry the clothes. Then they have to be put away someplace where you can easily find them so they can be used again.
- Take kids to school. Pick up kids from school. And on time! This seems to require some planning and organizational skills that presume you can somehow get the kids out of bed and dressed in a reasonable amount of time.
- Pick out clothes and shoes for the children to wear daily and for special occasions. I bet some of you guys don’t even pick out what clothes you wear each day!
- Purchase children’s clothes and shoes. I bet some of you guys don’t even purchase your own clothes either!
- Potty train the children and teach the boys accuracy and the girls cleanliness, and then wipe the dirty bottoms of both until you can depend on them to do it right. And then clean the toilet and anything else adjacent to it when things don’t go exactly as has been taught!
- Clean and groom the children. In other words, give the children baths. For some reason, this is one of the most grueling tasks for me to do, but one my wife loved to do. I think one reason that bathing the toddlers is so disagreeable to me is because for some reason the toddlers resist all efforts to improve their personal hygiene!
- Brush children’s teeth or make sure they brush them. All they really want to do is eat the bubble-gum flavored toothpaste while all the time giving you the impression that they are actually brushing their teeth.
- Get the children haircuts and decide what hairstyle they will wear. I actually look at those fashion magazines in the salon waiting area now to see what the hairstyles are. And if the truth be known, I may occasionally glance at the women’s magazines while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.
- Fix little girls’ hair in tails and braids. I’m not going to even comment on this except to say that it requires some fine motor skills that guys do not have!
- Pick out jewelry for little girls to wear. You can’t take the little girls out of the house without proper wardrobe enhancements. No, you can’t do it! You’ve got to accessorize!
- Discipline the children without getting mad and yelling at them. Mommas are especially equipped with low soft voices that can be soothing and encouraging even while scolding. Guys are not! They get angry when the kids don’t act perfectly and then they yell at them for not being perfect.
- Attend all the children’s school parties and take refreshments and gifts as needed. Is it really necessary to have a party for every holiday on the calendar? Can we get by without having a school party for St. Patrick’s Day? I mean we just did Valentine’s Day and soon it will be Easter. And it wasn’t long before that when we had the Christmas party and program!
- Purchase birthday and Christmas gifts for children, family, and friends. I used to have responsibility for purchasing one gift at Christmas–my wife’s. And I usually purchased that one gift according to her specifications! As you can see from this list, I now have a lot of things on my mind that I didn’t before, so don’t expect me to put a lot of thought into your Christmas present. You’re getting cash!
And I haven’t even begun to mention many other mundane tasks such as house cleaning, ironing, and picking up after everyone.
And what about decorating the house? Have any of you guys ever purchased towels? Sheets? Comforters? How about window dressings? Have you ever had to purchase a piece of furniture on your own?
I could go on and on, ad nauseum! There is just no end to what women do and men don’t even know about!
And many women do all these things while working a full-time job! It’s amazing! No, it’s mind boggling! It exceeds the comprehension of us guys!
So if you are a guy, rejoice! And especially if you are married! Because there are just a lot less details in life for guys to have to think about!
Yes, I salute all you wives and moms of the world. I especially admire you single moms! I don’t know how you do it! I just don’t seem to have the mind and strength and disposition to keep track of, much less perform, all these domestic details. And do it orderly and right!
But there can be only one explanation why you do what you do without notice and recognition. So, I’m one guy that now knows how devoted you are to your home and family. I now see how much you must really love us to do all these things without us even knowing about it!