Love makes a family

This post was going to be a quick one – just to let you know that there is a new Ragu video I’m in where I talk to Kim Tracy Prince (of diaper driving fame) and Renee Ross about how dinner is different “when Dad is in the kitchen.” But now I feel like I’ve got to address a bigger issue, which is the whether or not Dad being in the kitchen is a big deal, or a special occasion worth commenting on.

Who cooks in this household?

Since the video was posted, some dads have expressed their frustration online with being portrayed as less than helpful around the house, unlikely cooks, or unequal parents. I am sure that if my gender was ever presumed to be less capable in any field, I would be pissed, too.

(That’s a joke, folks.)

I get why they are sensitive to the notion that men are not part of the conversation about family dinners, but on camera, I was speaking only to my own experience. In my house, the gender roles are a bit typical because I have chosen a more flexible and less fast-paced career in order to be around the kids as much as possible while they are little. My husband works in a traditional office environment and gets home just in time for dinner. Hence, I usually plan dinner. Except when I ask him to deal with it.

My husband mans some traditional domains like taking responsibility for trash day, keeping all the audio/video equipment in the house up to date, and fixing broken stuff. He also does some jobs that makes our lives run more smoothly, that fall in the stereotypical “Mom” category, like keeping a secret shelf in the garage stocked with presents for birthday parties we attend, buying clothes for our children online during his lunch hour, and doing the tuck-in and singing most nights. When we have guests, he makes lasagna. I presume every household divides up their duties a little differently based on the strengths, weaknesses, and interests of the adult partners. And I do not know how to make lasagna.

I didn’t co-opt the slogan used on bumper stickers supporting gay parents as the title of this post for no reason. I did it because I am surrounded in my everyday life with diverse families. Single parents, same-sex parents, and married heterosexual parents. Some dads do more cooking, some do more gardening, and some are soccer coaches. Some families have no dads, while some have two. In Julian’s first grade class, a male parent is the “Room Mom.” I’m kidding; we don’t call him that. To his face.

The only way we can all make it work is by sharing chores, dividing and conquering, outsourcing, and using teamwork. We do it because we love each other. Love makes a family, whoever is cooking. I don’t believe that being “in the kitchen” or out of the kitchen is an indicator of how committed a parent one is. (Hold on, I’m ordering pizza.)

So here’s the video, not designed to insult dads, but simply to ask how it works in YOUR family.

The video is part of a sponsored conversation series called Mom’s The Word on Dinner. I am compensated for my involvement with it through which I get to hop on the phone with other bloggers from time to time to help produce these videos.