Growing up in a traditional Puerto Rican family, I observed from a very young age the gender roles my parents and family members took on when going about their daily lives. Although both my parents worked and had mutual respect for each other’s careers, when it came to certain things, tradition took over.
This was evident particularly at meal time. My mother always served my father his meal before serving anyone else. If they were at a function with a buffet style dining, she got up, went through the line, made up a plate for him first and then went back for her own plate.
As my sister and I grew older and paid more attention to this phenomenon, we made it abundantly clear how much we disagreed with this tradition and that it would not be repeated with our future husbands. No way.
Our two loving brothers couldn’t resist celebrating this tradition and would ask my sister and I to serve them first. We of course, didn’t. I accepted serving my father first because he was my father but laughed at my brothers’ attempts to guilt us into it. As it was, my sister and I were already miffed about having to always wash dishes while my brothers could go off and play. Grrrr.
Well, it is 2015. My husband and I have been married for 26 years (wow that sounds like a lot) and as promised, I did not take on the serving him first tradition. If anything, due to my physical limitations, it was he who had to serve me first and do a lot more of his share of the household chores.
He did it all with an abundance of love.
As my husband and I face a change in his career which requires a tremendous amount of stress, long hours, night meetings, responsibility, devotion, commitment and leadership, there is nothing I want more than to take care of him. Within my health limitations, I want to to help him in every way.
I want him to be healthy. I want to make sure he sleeps well, eats well and manages stress in a reasonable way. If this means being a “traditional” 50’s wife whose day is spent making her husband’s life easier, then so be it.
Bring on the cute short aprons and the recipes!
Bring on the drives to the dry cleaners (I’m not ironing) to pick up his shirts!
Bring on the slippers to warm his feet once he gets home!
Bring on having to take the recycling and trash out myself!
Bring on getting a lawn mower service (I’m not mowing the lawn!)
Bring on listening to every single boring detail of his day with a smile!
Bring on having to give him massages (maybe)!
And most of all, bring on serving him his meals first!
And I will do it all, with an abundance of love.