Sunday, March 18, 2012

Splitting the Housework - Advice to Newlyweds

I wish I could remember when it happened, that infamous day when we sat down and divided the household duties between the two of us.  I do know this, it was only in the last few years!  I wish we had sat down earlier in our marriage and set the ground rules before I reached the boiling point and exploded.

OK, I didn't really explode, but I was mad and I don't get mad very easily.  I felt like all the time he was spending coaching the kids, working, fulfilling his calling at church, etc. was really putting a damper on his ability to get things done around the house. Nothing specific, just stuff.  And Sunday, my precious day of rest was also turning into his day to nap, but not mine.

I have the responsibility of making sure that the entire house stays clean, including our bedroom.  I felt like he needed to be in charge of the bathroom and once it got dirty enough he would start cleaning it.  I acted like a child and refused to shower if the tub was too dirty so eventually he would clean it.

I am ashamed to admit that out of anger and spite, I let other things go too, like the garage.  There were days when there wasn't a path from the door to the laundry room and it just irked him.  Another bad idea.

The problem was that he didn't know how much it was bothering me until I finally exploded and while crying I told him.   I let him know how tired I was of doing everything around the house and then I expressed my desire to have one day where I could rest from all the things I HAD to do during the week because he was doing what he WANTED to do.  I felt "stuck" caring for the kids, cleaning the house and spending a lot of time alone and it was starting to get to me. (This was before I went back to school or had started writing much.)

So, we sat down one day and decided which thing around the house would be his responsibility. We decided that he would be in charge of cooking on Sunday, especially breakfast, but also dinner.  I cooked the rest of the week and struggled with getting the kids to clean up, so I wanted there to be one day I didn't have to do it.  He likes to cook anyway and I don't eat breakfast so it was going to be his by default whether he liked it or not.

I told him I needed him to be in charge of our bathroom.  I would keep my makeup and the kid's hair stuff put away and collect the laundry, but the deep cleaning was going to be his responsibility.

We usually take care of the yard as a family, but the garage just makes him crazy.  I know he is busy, so I do my best to keep it  picked up and organized.  Most of the stuff in there is holiday related or kid related so it is really just an extension of our house.  I'm happy to straighten it up every once in a while.

So, except for those things, I pretty much take care of everything else around here that pertains to children or house and he coaches and works and takes me on a date once a week. I like our system of knowing what is expected of each other and taking care of those responsibilities.

I'm curious how others swap "chores."  I know a lot of moms who work outside the home and so I assume there is more equal division of labor, but is that really true? I just assume that is how it is because that is how it would be at my house if I had to go back to work.  For you stay at home moms, are there certain things your husband knows he is in charge of?  How do you divide your jobs and are they assumed or assigned?

Post Script:  We have church at 9am now and Ben starts his meetings at 6am on Sunday so we are back to eating cold cereal or yogurt and toast.  Sometimes he doesn't get home in time for dinner so I'm back to cooking.  But, I'm ok with it...as long as my bathroom stays clean.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I love being a mom, but where is the balance I'm searching for?

I feel like I got home from my writer's conference and was so on fire for my writing and then what did I do with all my new energy?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

Well, unless you call helping my friends do some editing/critiquing on their work and beta reading for another friend's novel.  I have done tons of laundry, caught up on my house cleaning and then fell into spring break with a thud.  I've gotten almost all the kids to the dentist for checkups and one for a filling.  I shopped for and purchased all the fabric and patterns for Easter dresses and I've spent some quality time at the chiropractor and working on my church callings.   The garden is finally in and the weeds in the front yard are fairly under control. I've done a ton, but I still have some trouble balancing work time and family time.  I don't really ever want to work, but I want to cross this book off my list and get it out there.

I feel like once I get caught up, there is just that much more to do.  I have two articles for the paper due by the end of the month and I'm happily spending time with a new friend and supporting her in some huge life decisions she is making.  I really am struggling with the job of treasurer for the booster club and need to get that up to date.  My office is a never ending pile of things that need to be put away and will I ever decorate my family room or work on my personal progress goals?

I love being busy, but I'm overwhelmed sometimes and feel like if I could just have a day or two at home without my kids and without having to clean up around here, maybe I could get some writing done.  Maybe.  Then again, I'd probably make a run to the QT and then spend the day napping or hanging with my friends on Facebook, right?  I love being a stay home mom, I love being a stay home mom, I love being a stay home mom...