So, after I posted the Mom’s Self-Care Chore Chart, my husband wanted his own. Then I took it upon myself to edit his version. After I scribbled my own notes on his chart, I was torn between wife-guilt and getting angry that I feel guilt at all.
I want to mention that my husband is incredible, talented, creative, capable and never backs down from a challenge (and that includes parenthood). He IS pretty good at holding up his half of this adventure of raising children. However, even with all the middle of the night kid duty, diaper changes and daddy-daughter time he puts in, there is still something of an imbalance with our roles.
For me to get to the dentist or the doctor’s office my choices are finding a sitter or bringing them with me. Often the later being less than ideal. My husband on the other hand can easily get a haircut, teeth cleaned or doctor’s visit in without having to think about what to do with the kids. He is one of those humans who starts to go crazy when he doesn’t get a run or bike ride in. I can actually see him start to get all wound up inside and his patience wears thin. He needs it. I get it. He gets to go for his runs. Then he gets to shower in peace, without a child banging on the door or whining from the monitor. While I have never been someone who needs to work out in order to survive day-to-day life – every human, every mom – needs that similar type of time to collect herself. The difference is, we seem to take that time less often.
…his hour train ride to and from the city, seemed like a dream vacation
Up until a few months ago, my husband worked full-time in the city and I worked part-time from home. There were days when to me, his hour train ride to and from the city, seemed like a dream vacation. Having those two hours every day to himself is something I could only dream of having. At the same time, it was also a long commute after a long day at work, and it was understandable when he came home exhausted. But I was exhausted too from a day with the kids while trying to fit in as many hours of work as possible into an impossible schedule.
I think part of the problem is that typically one parent is seen as the primary care giver. Cleaning up the kid’s dinner, emptying the dishwasher and doing the kids laundry naturally falls on that primary care giver. Sometimes it comes down to the simple fact of the primary care giver is spending more time at home, and therefore has more access to complete household tasks. But you know what? The mess in the kitchen is from feeding OUR kids. The toys all over the family room are from OUR children enjoying themselves. The laundry that needs folding and putting away is OUR daughters’ clothes. Just because they ate the dinner or made the mess under my watch, doesn’t mean that both caregivers shouldn’t carry the responsibility of cleaning it up. We are both exhausted, but we should both be primary caregivers.
My Husband is Not A Babysitter
Something that drives me crazy (on the rare occasion) that I am out on my own, is when someone asks “Oh, is your husband babysitting the kids?” No. My husband is not babysitting our kids. My husband is being a dad. That’s his job. To parent. We are equal caregivers in this relationship.
Recently my husband’s new job has given him the ability to work full-time at home, while I still work part-time from home as well. Having him around more often has been wonderful. He has been able to help with the bedtime routine on the regular, which is huge for me. It has leveled the field a little bit as far as house-hold chores. But finding that balance between work, home and kids is a constant battle for both of us now.
I am learning that I need to speak out when it comes to me time, self-care and self-preservation. If I don’t say what I need, how does my husband know that I need it. Sure, I’d love him to think of it on his own, but I’ll start with saying it. Communication is key. Not giving him the option to be a secondary caregiver is important. There is no room for resentment. A marriage is hard work. Raising children is hard work. A marriage while raising children is hard. Every couple, parent and family’s experiences are different. Finding the balance that works is crucial. Sharing the mess, turmoil and stress is paramount.
Meet Sarah C.