Sunday, February 05, 2006

Coming Clean About Maternity Wear

Now then, let's talk about maternity wear. Specifically, let's talk about washing maternity wear. Let's start by talking about who washes maternity wear: dads. More specifically, me.

And, why is that? Because moms are asleep, that's why (as Mama is just now). Just kidding--sort of--but also, when Mama isn't sleeping, she's at least as busy at I am. She's actually got less time at home because she's got more after hours work activity and a longer commute. I'm sure that we're not the only ones in this situation.

In addition, I don't know if clothing designers and manufacturers have noticed that not only have the first and second waves of feminism washed over us--as well as all those that have followed...although I've lost count of them--but that men have been surfing these waves for some time now. We're not doing it just to keep from drowning in the undertow, we're doing it because we enjoy the ride. We love watching the women in our lives achieve their dreams, and enjoy freedom and its rewards--including the freedom to relax, even sleep, while their husband does the laundry.

I'm not just talking about during pregnancy, either. As we've learned how to live together, we've learned that there are certain things that each of us doesn't do. Sometimes it's things that we don't want to do--one of mine is taking out the trash, sometimes it's things that we forget--you mean we haven't vacuumed for a month? Who knew? Sometimes it's a bit of both; the things that we don't want to do slip more easily from our minds. I don't know about other couples, but we mesh pretty well, covering for what each other doesn't, or doesn't like to, do.

So it is that I'm the washerman. For most of our relationship it's been this way, although it's not as straightforward as that. I have a nasty tendency to get everything washed and dried, but not folded and put away. Nonetheless, it's me, Papa, in the laundry room most of the time, whether we're expecting or not.

Now that I've taken apart a few gender role stereotypes, let me lay one down: guys are simple, and we like simple things--like simple clothes. Especially when we're expecting a baby. Even though I'm not the one in this couple with the after hours work schedule and the long commute, both of us are busy when we're not expecting, and now that we are expecting, with doctor's appointments, extra home projects, shopping, and studying for what we need to know, do, and buy--we're busier.

This means that the odds of us getting clothes to the dry cleaner approach zero. Hand washing? Not so much. Line dry? I don't think so. (By the way, are clothing manufacturers aware of how many of us live in managed communities that don't allow line drying these days? Seems that there's a lot that they're missing.) But today's pet peeve: dry flat.

Look, do you think that we all live in 12,000 square foot houses, with an entire floor dedicated to drying clothes flat? Line drying is somewhat possible, although with all the items that require line drying now, we need to get another laundry rack. Drying flat, however, takes up space--lots of space. And, not to be indelicate, but drying maternity clothes flat takes up more space.

Another safety tip for clothing manufacturers: papas shop with their mamas, and we read tags.

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