>"Unnatural": A Sure-Fire Way for a Husband to End Up in the Doghouse


I am not a domestic diva. I never have been, and never want to be. I can find my way around a kitchen well enough that my family does not starve. Well, that and my husband can cook and used to even aspire to be a chef. But this evening, after a dinner of mainly convenience-food crap, I decided that Evan and I would do a little baking. Nothing major: chocolate cupcakes and some brownies. Okay, I wanted the brownies, but Kiddo decided he wanted cupcakes instead, so we made both.
We made the batter and got everything ready. I put both pans in the oven. Of course the 20 or so minutes it took for them to bake was just too much for Evan, so he ran off to play. The timer dinged. I got my potholders and pulled them out to carry them to the cooling racks I had already set out. The he said it…
“You are not a homemaker! What are you doing????” Ahhhh. My husband. Of course to get the full scope of the irony here, I should tell you that while they were baking, I was trying to get a little further in my rereading of Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. Ha! But regardless, what in the hell did he mean? Just because I do not normally choose to do something does not mean that I am not capable. So I asked him to elaborate. And he explained that while he could find no fault with what I was doing, it just didn’t look right to him. He called it unnatural.
Unnatural. Me. The woman who has been breastfeeding a baby every hour, on the hour, because he is going through a growth spurt. The woman who has nursed his son’s boo-boo’s for years. The woman who used to do his laundry.
So what constitutes “natural”? To not work? To not have any goals? To want nothing out of life for myself? Because I have a tendency to purchase cupcakes at a bakery when a school function calls for it, instead of slaving in the kitchen, I am less of a woman? Hmmmmmf! So now I am just, well, pissed off.
I have always been proud of the idea that I can support my family well on just my income. That I can perform so well in the academic world, in fields notorious for under-representation from women. That in the professional world, I can be more ballsy than a man and more cut-throat. And I can do it all without missing a parent-teacher conference and while smelling like my Donna Karan perfume. A hearty “Screw You” to whomever thinks differently! But now? It’s not that I care whether I am the Queen of Icing, but that my own husband thinks there are any limitations on me at all. That to have a career, I have to make The Choice. That’s my whole thing: I can do whatever the hell I want, and not a damned bit of it is unnatural.
I think that, just for fun, tomorrow I am going to dress up like a ’50’s housewife while changing the oil in the car. I’ll show him “unnatural!”

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