Gender Stereotypes Ruin Relationships

Gender equality doesn’t mean that everything is split equally, it just gives us the freedom to choose our own equilibrium. Granted we have biological differences but we also have different characters and personalities. If we want to be truly happy, we have to be truly honest with ourselves.

Me and my better half Ana are very different from each other. If you look at us as individuals, you’d be pressed to even pin us as friends, let alone a couple in a relationship. Yet here we are, alive and kicking. We’ve been inseparable for about 6 years now and while I do roll my eyes and facepalm on occasion (believe me, she does too, with all due right), she is the most impressive and wonderful person I have ever met and I wouldn’t do or commit to half the things I’ve done with her with anyone else.

The reason why it works is honesty, tolerance and a healthy disbelief in conventional thinking. We see what we are and how we best function as individuals and apply that as a couple. Had we followed traditional gender norms, I would be at work every day and she would be home raising Ean. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, unless you look at us as people.

I’m an artist, a hippie, a “lay in the grass and nibble on ruccola” type of person. She’s not. I’m at my best when I have the most freedom. Leave me alone and I’ll turn nothing into something and sell it to someone for a lot of money. She on the other hand, without a schedule and a clear plan, she collapses into chaos. Try to put me on a schedule or make plans and I will collapse into chaos. She went back to work after only 4 months of maternity leave and I took on the roll as full time parent in her absence.

Oh how noble, some said. Well, no. Putting aside my personal pride and ego as a person and my own desire to be there for every step of my child’s life, it wouldn’t have worked any other way. Not because she was making more money than I. No no, I was able to run my businesses from home while tending to our son but that’s not the point. The point is what I said in the above paragraph, I’m a hippie, she’s a planner. Because we know this to be true, we built our life around that fact but it didn’t really dawn on me how correct we were until recently.

You may know we relocated to Spain from Malta last fall and since then, she hasn’t been working. I thought it would be a great time for her to unwind, focus on motherhood and herself and just “lay in the grass and nibble on ruccola”. Don’t get me wrong, she was fine as long as there was unpacking, planning and stuff to sort out. But as soon as that settled, she didn’t. Instead of going my route and just go with the flow of the day she was climbing the walls and becoming less and less sharp.

The simple truth is, she doesn’t need to work for money, she needs it for her sanity. Not only that but oddly enough, she’s less productive now than she ever was while being a full time worker and breastfeeding mother. Strange right? I suffocate under schedules and plans, she suffocates under freedom. Strange RIGHT?!

I’m grateful for this realisation because we didn’t just break the stereotypical norm of what parenthood is, we made it better. If I had been the one who had to go to work I would have been miserable and if she was the one who’d stay at home… as amazing as she is, I’m the home maker in this family. I’m the one who loves everything about it. She keeps all our paperwork in order, doctors visits, vaccinations, bank accounts, bills… she’s on top of all of it like a hawk. So by switching the traditional roles we both became better parents and Ean has benefitted greatly from it.

I’m not gonna lie, being the less preferred parent sucks balls. Having a child who constantly wants his mothers attention blows hard. Now that we’re both at home, he still prefers her! So imagine if I was working all day and came home to a child who still just wanted mommy? Maaaan, that would be aweful!

So here we are, almost 3 years into this parenthood thing and I couldn’t be happier for the choice I made to be a stay at home dad. It has made Ana’s, mine and Ean’s life better and more balanced, in the truest sense of the word more equal. Now I just need to get Ana out of the house and into a job, so she can…. yes I know, oddly enough, become more productive and relax.

Gender equality doesn’t mean that everything is split equally, it just gives us the freedom to choose our own equilibrium. Granted we have biological differences but we also have different characters and personalities. If we want to be truly happy, we have to be truly honest with ourselves. Choose what truly makes us happy so we in turn can make each other truly happy. This is us doing just that, not because the government or society ordered it to be split a certain way, but because it’s the way we function the best as a whole. I’m happy with my freedom, she’s happy with her structure and Ean is happy because he has two happy parents.

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