The Hand That Does the Grocery Rules the Home

By Salve Duplito

Deep in the fridge, there are three pints of ice cream in flavors that my three children love. But the secret weapon really is the cute little container of candy sprinklers that I know will earn plenty of hugs for me – the one sugary treat I bought for them during my latest grocery sortie!

As we ended dinner, my dulcet tones announced the surprise as I walked to the corner of the kitchen. “Who would like to have his favorite ice cream dessert?”

The chorus of “Yipee!” was heard all the way to the neighbors’ houses. The kids had crazy fun arranging delectable bowls of ice cream with candy, slices of banana and mangoes, fudge, and crushed nuts.

While the kids were giving me their warm and sticky hugs, I noticed my husband looking on and gasped. I made him his favorite vanilla ice cream with sliced mangoes on top, true, but what right did I have to tell the kids “Nanay” had planned and schemed to get this treat for them?

See, my husband brings home the much bigger bacon, and slaves at the office to provide clothing, shelter, and yes, grocery money. He made the painful switch from freelancer to a regular job so that I could stay at home with the kids and not be saddled with writing projects that I don’t like. As a result, I can write to my heart’s content right in my own home. But while the treats technically come from him, it just occurred to me that he hardly gets the brownie points for them.

I realize that in a manner of speaking, the hand that does the grocery more or less rules the world at home. No matter where the money comes from, it’s the parent who plans the grocery, who actually chooses and goes through the whole exercise that gets to claim he or she went the extra mile to find just the right treat for the kids. The parent who’s stuck with the “unseen” chores like paying the mortgage, utilities, and credit card bills hardly becomes the hero. No fair.

My husband hardly complains. In fact, I’m not even sure if he noticed. But something has got to give. I also realize that I’m probably lucky. In some households, this could lead to tension and misgivings and even more serious problems like financial dishonesty.

“Nak, your Papa bought you this cereal with such a cool toy. Do you like it?” I ask. “Go and give him a hug.” Give credit where credit is due. While it can be tempting to hog the limelight, a little transparency can go a long way.

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