On Deadbeat Dads, Marital Bliss and Housework

3.17.10: Leo's 22nd Month


We’re both working full-time. Leo is in preschool full-time. This week, I’d like to deliver a state of our family address. By which I mean, this week, I wanted to throttle my husband and call in sick.

“You have been away, our childcare fell apart, I had a weeklong-stomach bug, Leo developed the habit of trying to piss me off and you were anxious and distracted whenever you were around,” I’ll point out pleasantly.

“You said I could go, and it’s not like I was sleeping in and partying, I was working, and traveling, it was really hard,” Aaron will reply.

“I’m not your mom, it’s not like you have to ask permission to go and then it’s my fault if I needed you,” I’ll counter, while thinking ‘maybe I should spare Leo the pain of a deadbeat dad and remarry now.’

“Is there any housework you need help with?” Aaron will inquire.


“I will take care of our vacuuming, how’s that?” Aaron will say, running for cover.

“Do you realize your son needs you? Do you realize he’s being fed factory-farmed burgers? ” I’ll shout at Aaron’s back while the son in question attempts to insert foreign objects into the DVD player.

“How about I watch Leo while you make lunch?” Aaron will ask.

“Fine! Don’t vacuum! We can all eat cat hair for lunch!”

And that, friendly readers, is how I made Squash and Escarole Ragout with Beans while Aaron strapped our gangly nearly-two-year-old onto his back and vacuumed up the snowdrifts of hair that our cat seems to spontaneously release whenever things get stressful. Not that anyone’s stressed around here.

After lunch, Leo sleeping off an enormous plate of penne, I’ll notice that we’ve eaten a healthy meal, the house is clean and our child is taking a nap.

“You know,” I’ll point out, “you don’t have to clean the floor to make me feel better. You could just be around, and let me know you want to be here.”

“Oh,” Aaron will say, “that would be easier?”

Recipe: Squash and Escarole Ragout with Beans

Zoe Singer is a freelance food writer and cookbook editor and co-author of The Flexitarian Table. Food Editor and blogger for The Faster Times, she tries not to eat for two now that her son is a toddler.