Tonight I got off work and did a bit of grocery shopping with the family. We came home and I proceeded to sit on the couch, eat bean dip and watch the Heat play while my husband made dinner. My husband isn't a big sports fan, but he's starting to develop an interest in basketball.
Is it a little bit of role reversal? Maybe. But the thing is, in our house and in our marriage, traditional gender roles—mom and dad, man and woman—mean almost nothing. My husband does a lot of the housework, he does most of the cooking and he takes care of our son when I'm at meetings or working late. And we are remarkably happy with this arrangement. According to this story over at Babble's blog Strollerderby, it seems there are a growing number of families that are just like us.
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It appears that when mothers work more outside the house, they are happier when they get home. One theory is that when moms take on more work, dads pick up the extra slack at home, taking some of the domestic pressures away from the women in their lives. Interestingly, when dads work more, satisfaction for couples declines. When both parents work, though, satisfaction for both increases, provided they like their jobs. (When there are no kids involved, it doesn't seem to hurt the relationship when a man works more.) Why Do Men Like Anthony Weiner Take Such Stupid Risks?
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I know that in my marriage, we function best when my husband is home for the family during the usual after-work hours. When he was working a job that involved a lot of later nights, well, we had issues. Part of the problem was that it wasn't a job he loved, part of it was that I was starting to feel overburdened. It wasn't good for us as a couple, and it wasn't good for the little one.
We were lucky enough to have the chance to change things up when my husband was able to find a job with regular day hours. (Granted, this was pre-recession, back when pickings were a little less slim. These days, this would be far more difficult to do.) Since then, I typically take the majority of the late-night and early-morning work-related tasks and he does stuff like get the boy's lunch packed and make sure there's a healthy dinner at night. It works out well for us.