I have long been convinced that women are the tougher sex. Sure, men have their brute strength — but I woke up EVERY hour with an infant who had chronic ear infections EVERY night for a YEAR. How many men do THAT? I care for 4 children when I’m sicker than a dog and all I want to do is sleep for 5 days straight. If my husband gets sick, he sleeps like the dead until he feels better. (I saw a similar phenomenon with my tough-as-nails father when I was growing up.) Men are the biggest babies EVER when they are sick or injured. If men and women had to alternate having babies there would never be more than 3 children in any family. No man would go through pregnancy and childbirth twice!
I guess it depends on what you’re using to measure, because women certainly can’t squat 400 pounds (at least I know I can’t), but when it comes to patience, empathy, and stamina in really tiring situations… women are pretty tough.
I had things I needed to do today. Instead, I cleaned up throw up. Four times. My husband discovered the 4th instance of puke at 8:30pm (our toddler had thrown up in her bed for the 2nd time) and he managed to carry her to the bathtub before yelling down the stairs for me to help. Never mind that I was feeding and putting our 6 month old to bed. And I had already been on clean up duty 3 times.
I got our 6 month old to sleep and headed upstairs to assess the damage in our toddler’s bed. She only has to sleep with 27 stuffed animals, so it’s not just a matter of changing a sheet… as I dumped a sheet, a blanket, and multiple stuffed animals — I guess she also had two Barbies in the there that I need to wash — my husband carried our freshly bathed toddler back into her room. He stuffed her nightgown into my garbage bag and grabbed a clean Disney Princess nightgown for her.
“What I really want to know,” I pondered, “is why I can clean puke up 3 times all by myself while you’re at work, but when you’re home, I have to put the baby to bed and then come up here and clean up the 4th throw up mess, too?”
“I know you think I’m incompetent, but actually I don’t know where things are. You put everything away so… it’s kind of hard for me to put a sheet on her bed or find her blankets.”
I grabbed a clean, folded blanket off the top of the dresser as my husband said this. “I see.” I threw him the blanket.
“Really,” my husband said. “I can’t take care of things around here because I don’t know where anything is or how you want me to do it.” The ceiling fan was on high to dry the mattress I had just washed and he reached up to turn it off. Except he kept pulling the string too many times and turning it back on again.
Nope. Not incompetent 😉
Our 7 year-old, Wesley, was waiting for me to say prayers with him, so I carried my garbage bag full of dirty laundry out of our toddlers room, set it at the top of the stairs, and headed to Wesley’s room. Wesley finished his prayers and told me the worst part of his day and his favorite part of the day. Then I kissed him good night and walked back out into the upstairs hallway… the garbage bag was still sitting at the top of the stairs, though my husband was nowhere to be found. I grabbed the garbage bag again and carried it down to the first floor. My husband was in the kitchen. “You missed this.” I waved the garbage bag at him. He grinned. He knew he left it there on purpose. He knew I wouldn’t let stinky throw up laundry sit at the top of the stairs.
I carried the garbage bag to the basement and dumped the contents in the washing machine. Then back up to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of juice. My husband came up behind me and hugged me. I couldn’t see him, but I just knew he was grinning and so amused with himself. Then he said, “I could help out more around the house… but I wouldn’t want you to run out of things to do. You might get bored.” This was really funny to him and he couldn’t stop laughing. My husband knows I have PLENTY to do — probably enough to do to last me three lifetimes — and he does help out around the house, but he likes to tease me. Most of the time he just wants to see what I’ll say back. I always have something to say back…
“I was thinking the same thing about sex,” I replied. “I wouldn’t want you to have too much of it. You might get bored.”
This reply made him laugh even more. “Touche, touche.”
I really don’t mind that he’s so amused… so long as he knows that I’m waaaaay tougher than he is when it comes to cleaning up puke. And always will be.
UPDATE: My husband stayed home the next day to take care of his sick toddler princess. He definitely gets some tough points for being the kind of daddy who does that. Awwwwww…