Forget squeezing yourself into too-tight lingerie after a hard day’s work.
Forget vacuuming the carpets in a clichéd French maid’s get-up.
Forget bedtime games of doctors and nurses or cowboys and indians when even the kids have downed their weapons for the day.
Yesterday, I discovered the ultimate form of role play – guaranteed to put the top spin back into your relationship, no matter how stale things have got in your love life.
Enter the stay-at-home dad.
Brilliant pay-back for depleted mothers.
Delectable just-desserts for dads who have absolutely no idea what it actually means to look after tiny, out-of-control small people all day, every day, with no respite, ro remuneration and absolutely no appreciation.
Let me explain. I had a law conference in the city and needed to be there early and for the entire day so the game plan was that darling husband would play me for a day and complete my usual before and after work tasks in my absence:
- gather the boys into the car, strap them in, drive to pre-school and deliver them safely at pre-school by 09h00
- collect said boys from pre-school by 2.30pm (collecting all odds and ends, both lunch boxes, blankets, artworks and various other essentials including doudou bears and snuggly comforter blankets per child
- drive said boys to simultaneous swimming lessons, dress them in their swim suits, goggles and caps and deliver them to side of the swim school pool by 3pm
- collect the boys after swimming lesson, shower , dry and dress boys and re-load them into the car
- drive the boys home and cook and feed them dinner
- clear the dinner and clean out the lunch boxes and school bags
- bath both boys, read them 3 stories and put them to bed by 8pm
For the first time ever, my husband and I swapped roles, albeit just for a day. I think from husband darling’s perspective he was beyond petrified. But for me, I felt liberated, inspired, refreshed and I have to admit, just a little turned on.
Husband darling had really done a good job. He had tried hard, he had built rapport with his kids and he had even done a load of laundry. Despite the fact that when I came home past 9pm and the kids were still up, I was glad it had not been me all day for a change.
I skipped home from the bus stop happier than Snow White’s Happy Dwarf on the way home from work. I pranced into the house and watched the familiar scene unfold before me.
I forced myself to disregarded the half-eaten kids’ slightly burnt burger patties and the half-drunk bottle of beer on the kitchen counter and lovingly stopped to admire my husband’s furrowed brow and the pandemonium that was run-of-the mill pre-bedtime for me and sheer torment for husband darling.
When the kids were finally in bed – half-sleeping, half-giggling, and all the while singing the full renditions of Fireman Sam and Bob the Builder at full throttle, I gave my husband a grateful hug and a knowing smile.
He had outperformed himself and I was so proud of him – my husband of 8 years, a hard-working businessman and now, to his credit, a hard-working domestic labourer – for a day.
I have to say it was one of the best days in our married life, post-kids.
The role play added a completely new dimension to our perception of each other and to our marriage as a whole. The role play was also so empowering and sexy – not only because I felt personally validated after walking after a hard day’s work with my briefcase and power suit all still in tact, but also because husband darling go to see what really goes on from my perspective when I work for three-quarters of the day and then deal with the gruelling demands of the kids and the household chores until bedtime all on my own, every day. But the best part of this type of role play, for me, was that I got to see my husband (formerly perceived as incapable and incompetent über male) in full swing, thrown in the deep-end of a motherhood crash course.
Alas, few mothers are fortunate enough to put this role play into action due to financial preclusions. But even if some mothers could initiate the role play, they’re not smart enough or brave enough to talk their better halves into playing along, even just for a day. What’s worse, is that in today’s society, it’s not yet broadly accepted for fathers to be the primary carer, so there are very few dads comfortable with swapping roles with their wives because of what society may think.
My wish for the future is that society’s view will change gradually, and that soon, not only will it be more common to see stay-at-home dads easing into the role of the primary care giver, but it will also ignite new passion into stale marriages and spice up the relationship between fed-up spouses!
So, the next time you cross paths with the local stay-at-home dad mid-morning, on the sidewalk, in the playground, at mothers group or picking up the newspaper and bread and stopping for a latte at the corner shop, don’t cuss him for being a bludger.
No. Rather – shower him with praise and respect for pausing his own important career and making the enormous decision to go against the grain and be an integral part of the cycle of life. Not to mention the fact that he can wrangle a double pram of screaming twin toddlers, wearing a baby carrier containing a squealing newborn, and all the while, managing to maintain perfect control of his piping hot takeaway coffee without even breaking a sweat. Now that’s sexy, ain’t it?
For me, I’m content to go back to my own traditional role for now. But rest assured, I’ll be jumping at the opportunity to introduce more role play in our marriage very soon!