These Things Happen

I know it seems like all I do is talk about Mormonism, but that wasn’t the point when I started this blog. I know nobody really cares about liberal Mormonism except for other liberal Mormons (and oh do we care) and, frankly, I made my peace with that part of my identity years and years ago. I hardly think I’m bending any rules, taking the stances I do (although surely lots of conservative believers disagree and think I’m taking my pro-choice feministy self straight to hell). Again, that’s not really the point.

Really, I started this blog because I was a newlywed and being a newlywed is weird and hard in ways you don’t think of before you get married. It’s even harder when you don’t see families that look like yours, modeling how to move from one point to the next. I’m talking a little bit about interfaith families here, but mostly I’m talking about heterosexual couples where the woman is the primary breadwinner. I know these families exist, but they’re hard to ferret out. There are a ton of successful women at my law firm, some with kids even, but when I get to know them, it is invariably the case that they are married to other lawyers or consultants or day traders. If there are women married to artists or writers or teachers or, god forbid, bartenders, they don’t talk about it. And if it’s odd that there are no women bringing home the bacon at my absurdly progressive law firm, it’s certainly not surprising that I don’t run into women like this in my Mormon circles. Online, in the world of the parenthood and lifestyle blogs, there are a few. That’s it. A few.

So I started this blog to write about my gender bendy marriage, and I don’t mean that in a weird sexual way. What I mean is, Robert cooks and cleans the floors and bathrooms but also fixes things when they break and I work long hours but also make crafty centerpieces for Thanksgiving and both of us would rather die than iron a shirt, and we get into full-on shouting matches about laundry (laundry is the worst). And it never occurred to me that this wasn’t normal until I got married and chimed in to conversations about marriage at and started reading married lady books and blogs and realized that the people who talk about marriage don’t do it the way we do. Being in this minority means I have no one to look to or talk to about the hard questions that come out of this arrangement, like “What do we do when we have kids?” and “What do I do when someone calls me a sugar mama?” and “What do I do when these questions start to weigh heavy on our marriage?”

I know there is value to normalizing families of all types. I know this because watching “Up All Night,” a newish sitcom that consciously promotes working moms and stay-at-home dads, makes me less anxious about the future. I know this because snide, judgmental comments about working moms and stay-at-home dads make my blood  boil. I know this, because I like my job, and I like being able to support my family, and, if I have a daughter, I want her to know that she can do the same damn thing, and I want her to be able to do it without getting snarky side eyes, or worse, from people who do things differently.

And so, just so you know these things happen, I will tell you that I came home from work at 7 p.m. to newly-hung art on the walls of our apartment, a hot dinner, and three buttons sewn back onto my favorite coat. That’s right. I asked Robert to drop the coat off at the tailor, since it’s officially too cold to walk around with it flapping open in the wind, and, since he didn’t have any assignments from work, and because he is not tied down to old, gendered notions about what men should do, and because he likes to fix things, even if it means with a needle and thread, the man freaking learned how to sew.

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3 Responses to These Things Happen

  1. ruth says:

    robert is freaking awesome. i love that show even though i am not working anymore because it typified how i felt when i was working and i loved that it pokes fun of the way people are so shocked about stay at home dads… which i am super passionate about because i had one for a year and he was freaking awesome. I’m glad you bring up issues like this. more people should.

  2. UK Yankee says:

    Please keep talking, and please keep doing! All the doing and the talking helps people to know they’re not alone – and I’m sure you’ve learned the value in that. It sounds like you have an amazing relationship, and you’re doing all the right things.

    (Also big kudos to Robert for learning how to sew, that’s one gender norm that most guys can’t get around!)

  3. Christy says:

    It’s not the situation now but it was for years when we first got married that I earned the majority of our income. It wasn’t awkward or strange to either of us to follow that path. But I think we never talked about it, or at least I didn’t, because I was proving to myself I didn’t have to. That it was normal to not talk about the things that are normal and not talked about, and therefore it was normal if I didn’t talk about it. Of course I know that’s crazy. But it sort of makes sense on some wierd level, right?

    And yes, I’m pretty much reading your whole blog.

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