Women, men, mashed potato puffs, tired

There is no getting around it, peeps, I am wiped out. The migraine finally bid me adieu late last night, and I have spent today trying to maintain my zen in the face of exuberant (read: excited and loud as get-out) boys and packing. Oliver has added another superhero alter-ego to Boobie Badwoman, the male bad guy he made up several weeks back. How his little mind conjured Boobie Badwoman is beyond me, but BB is a man and a villain, and that's really all I know (I do like the ring in the name, to be honest; it's fetching). Poopie Stringy joined the ranks yesterday, and I am already tired of hearing the associated theme song which is, in essence, "poopie stringy" on a rather out-of-tune loop. Naturally Jack thinks it's a terrific moniker and eggs Ol on at all times. We are leaving at 6am tomorrow morning for an 8am flight from Baltimore to Houston. Then, for some reason unbeknownst to me, we have a sizable layover before boarding the craptastic prop plane to Lake Charles. Y'all send me loving vibes of good will and godspeed, and I will remain hopeful that my generally-excellent-traveler children remain thus.

I am quite thrilled to have just found my Cheesy Mashed Potato Puffs up for community pick consideration on Food52. Exciting! Awesome!

So I was just at the market getting not a few provisions for my dear hubby who will be on his own until Tuesday night. In a (probably vain) attempt to encourage him to eat well rather than continuously grazing on crap and take-out, I bought all sorts of lovely (and extremely easy) stuff: roast turkey, ham, bread, fruit, cheese, and so forth. While checking out, wondering if I'd come home to find it all uneaten, unmoved from where I'd left it, wondering why I (and so many -most!- other women I know) provide such levels of support for everyone in their family in an almost subconscious fashion, I happened to glance to my right. There was a family of three, the child not a baby but still young enough to be worn in a front carrier. The dad was standing in line reading something on his phone, while the woman -the child strapped to her chest!- was unloading their very full shopping cart, a seemingly Herculean task that required deep knee-bends, lunges and other assorted weight-bearing moves, and talking to her child the whole time.

Seriously y'all, I almost said something to Mr. Lazy along the lines of, "hey, buddy, you wanna help out? the woman who gave birth to your child, who is now wearing your child and talking a blue streak to him/her just as every parenting guide suggests, is also unloading everything while you sit there like a lump looking at something probably completely inconsequential on the techno gadget that appears fused to your hand."

Now, perhaps he'd been the primary parent all.day.long. and was finally taking a load off. Maybe the mom is an attachment-type and never puts the kid down. I could definitely be totally off-base in my read of the situation, but even if I'm wrong here, in the majority of similar instances, I'm pretty sure I'm spot-on or nearly so. And though I could also be wrong in feeling that most (heterosexual) men are MUCH LESS proactive towards parenting and their relationships than women, I don't actually think I am.

The reasons behind gender-disparate reactions and responses have been parsed endlessly: do men take the easy way out when they can? do women enable male laziness or inaction by doing things like grocery shopping for them? is there a male assumption (excuse?) that women are just so darn maternal that they want to do more on behalf of their children? as relationships progress, does harmony or order come about as each individual takes on different responsibilities, purposefully or by default? and on and on. Yes and no and everything in between.

As I watched that couple, I wondered how each of them felt. Did she feel burdened, or was everything cool? Was he always a space cadet or just taking a rare moment off? I feel really lucky in my own relationship. Sure, I harp on T about things, and our issues always seem to be exactly the same; they just present in different ways for variety's sake but at the most basic level are same song, different verse. I definitely wish he were more proactive sometimes, wish he'd actually make some plans (though he's always a willing and enthusiastic participant), wish I didn't have to ask the same damn things over and over. But we've established a happy stasis that is rarely rocked into dissatisfaction and we have become great communicators, both of which help make and maintain a truly strong partnership. I attribute that to my lack of fear about asserting my needs and his willingness to hear me and act. And vice versa. I hope the same for the couple I just saw.

And just a note: I don't mind shopping for T at all!