Friday, February 26, 2016

On roles and responsibilities

Earlier this week, I had a flat tyre. I first noticed it when I was dropping Ellie and Jimmy at daycare. I was in a rush as I had a meeting to get to, so I didn't have time to fix it right then. My short term plan of attack was to drive it slowly to the nearest bus way, park so I could get to work and then let the problem belong to after-work Lisa. My longer plan solution was that I would call my roadside assist centre and have them help me change the tyre after work.

After leaving work, I decided that roadside assist would take far too long to arrive during peak hour, and so I called Mr Fork to come and help me change the tyre on the side of the road as I didn't feel safe driving to a service station to inflate it and getting it home to change it.
Anyway, while Mr Fork was changing the tyre by the side of the road, and I was entertaining the kids who were in the back seat of his car, a man walked by. I should preface this story by also mentioning that this man did not offer to help at all. Instead, he took in the situation, and then said, and I quote "you need to give him something nice to say thank you ". I looked at this man, walking his dog with nary an offer of assistance, and in my sweetest tones, I responded "what, more than the knowledge that his wife will arrive home safely?" That should have been it, but he clearly wanted to get his point across and waggled his eyebrows at me saying "yes, he deserves something nice  for helping you out". I was sweaty, hot, and rather short tempered from waiting on the roadside and having attempted to lift a spare tyre while wearing a pencil skirt and unsuitable blouse and heels. I glared at his back.

But it got me thinking. Is this a normal point of view in society?

I had a work conference recently where I had to be away from home for several nights. Mr Fork's mother had gladly offered to take both children on their non-childcare days, and happily cooked dinner for both them and Mr Fork while I was away. She even offered to have the kids overnight if he needed help. When he goes away for work, they just ask me how long he'll be away and mention they'll see us all when he gets back. I am just expected to cope. And I do. As did he while I was away (I'm also proud to report that he didn't take up the overnight babysitting offer).
He is a father, not a babysitter. Just as he is my husband, not a mechanic. He does things for our family, and for me, for the love of it, and because that is his role. Just as I do the same things. However, somehow when he does these things, it's seen as something extraordinary. When I do them, well, I'm just doing my job.

Does this happen to anyone else?

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