I recently took my first solo, non-work-related trip in goodness knows how long. I went to Nashville to visit one of my closest friends for some much-needed time together. I haven’t traveled alone, purely for the fun of it, in ages. All travel over the past 10 years or so has been either with my family or for work. This was not. It was a completely novel experience not to think about anyone but myself. Even though it rained the entire trip and I had a 6-hour flight delay on the way home, it didn’t matter. I watched movies, ate snacks, read my book, people-watched and did not have to answer to anyone.
It. Was. AWESOME!
Let’s start by introducing my BFF, Keith. My Stanford Blatch, if you will (for those who get the SATC reference). He is amazing. We met in New York City on 9/11. It’s a long and not very fun story for another time but, suffice it to say, friendships forged in such trying circumstances are made to last. He is one of my favorite people on earth and we rarely get any one-on-one time. He recently had a big birthday and we decided to make the effort to have a visit. He is the absolute easiest person to be with – no pressure or drama and lots of laughter. I slept in, saw a non-animated movie in a theater, ate lots of yummy food and had a blast.
You may wonder, was I worried about what was going on at home? NO! Why? I am fortunate to have an amazing (and equal) partner. This is not happenstance. I chose him. Ladies, if and when you choose your spouse make sure they view you as an equal in all things. Many people, upon learning I’d be gone for a few days made the (unintentionally thoughtless) comment that my husband would be “Mr. Mom” while I was away. We both promptly shut that down. My husband is an equal parent and can handle the house and our daughter when I am gone. In fact, he welcomes the solo time with our feisty four-year-old and I would have it no other way.
It is 2019 and we are still struggling with the gender role stereotypes in relationships. (Yes, I realize that the stereotypes exist everywhere, but I am only addressing male/female and mommy/daddy traditional gender roles right now. I will attempt to solve the problems of the world in another column). Can we please stop doing this to each other?
If my husband told his friends that I was fixing the carburetor, would they tease him because that is not traditionally a “girl” job? Heck no. So why, in today’s culture, is it still acceptable to joke about men being inept when it comes to changing diapers or concocting a tasty organic baby puree? I have lived all over the world and I have met a lot of people from all walks of life. I can tell you from experience that I have seen both great and terrible parents and it has absolutely nothing to do with gender. My husband and I try to model equality in all things so that our daughter will grow up expecting this as her norm. We all play a role in eliminating the marginalization that our society has traditionally assigned men and women. Let’s start now.
I will step off my equality soap box and encourage all you mamas to go take that solo trip. Your mental health will thank you and your husband can handle it!