My blogging/twitter/Vermont friend Crunchy Vermont Mommy wrote a post about the Division of Household Labor in her home. I started leaving her a comment on her post and felt like there was way too much to say so I thought I'd write about it here! Thanks V, for the inspiration!
So the question is, How do you divide up the work in your household? Every home is different, I'm sure, especially considering if you work or stay home. I'm a stay at home Mom. With the exception of some part time jobs here and there, I haven't really worked since my first son was born. It's been a real blessing and I'm very grateful that my husband has made so many sacrifices so that I could. Because of that, I do not expect him to do any of the household chores.
Matt works long, hard hours. I believe as a stay at home wife/mom that it is my job to take care of the household duties. When he comes home, I have dinner ready and the house cleaned up as often as possible. I'm all 1950's like that.
Now don't get me wrong, I put my kids to work. Big time. If they make a mess, I leave it for them to pick up. And the boys earn video game time and allowance by doing chores as well. (I'm working on a post about kids and chores too!) After dinner, we all help take care of the mess together. But the majority of things around here are done by me. And I don't...can't...complain. It's my job. And I take it very seriously!
The wonderful thing about my husband though is that because he knows that I don't expect his help with the everyday household stuff, he always willingly helps around the house. If things need to be picked up, he's right there jumping in. He's one of the most involved husbands/fathers I've ever seen. (Don't be jealous that I found him first) And I know that he doesn't expect to come home to dinner and a clean house, which makes me all the more willing to do it. It's my way of showing him that I'm grateful for how hard he works and he tells me all the time how he appreciates what I do. I think when you share that mutual appreciation for what the other contributes, it naturally drives you to try harder.
One thing I have never done alone though, is taking care of the kids.
They are not my kids, they are OUR kids.
Can I get an AMEN?!
We share the care of the kids in the evenings and on weekends. Homework, baths, bedtime...it's never assumed that I'll handle it all because I'm a stay at home Mom.
The kids are not my job, they are our children.
I pretty much made sure my husband knew that from the beginning. He has always more than willing to be involved with the care of the kids, but I never let him off the hook! Don't let that man off the hook, ladies! Make him change diapers and give baths...those are his kids too! During the day, sure, the stay at home Mom (or Dad) does all the childcare, but when you are all home together, it's all hands on deck!
OK, maybe I'm getting a little off subject, but I think you get my point. It always comes down to my mantra...
I'm the Mom NOT the maid.
Or childcare provider, for that matter.
Taking care of the majority of the household duties does not mean that I am the maid of the house. We have pretty clear cut standards set about what is expected of each of us when it comes to cleaning up after ourselves. I think that is very important, even when the kids are young, so you do not end up with a family that treats you like the maid.
Even if you are a stay at home mom, that does not mean that the kids don't have to do chores and your husband doesn't have to help with the kids. I believe if you are doing the majority of the cooking and cleaning and generally trying very hard to run your household well, (IE not sitting around eating bon-bons and watching soaps every day then telling the kids to vacuum when they get home and tell your husband to pick up take out) that everyone else should pitch in when they can.
I'm sure as the years progress and the boys get older and more involved in school and sports that they will not be able to do as many household chores and I'm ok with that. Right now I'm instilling the ideas that even if your woman stays home, you still help her and respect what she does. I think because my attitude is in the right place that this all works for me. I willingly take care of the majority of chores in exchange for the freedom of staying home. I am totally #winning.
Matt and I have had many conversations about it all as well. Which I highly recommend. You can't expect a household to run smoothly when you are not on the same page about who does what. Maybe your husband expects you to do all the dishes till the end of time because you "don't work". Sit him down and explain that you want to teach the kids that everyone helps and you are not the maid. Explain the whole "these are not just my kids" scenario and (nicely, calmly) discuss the roles in your household. Discuss expectations. Clearly say thank you to each other for what you contribute, show appreciation (men like that). I guarantee when you offer appreciation and show that you notice your partner's hard work, they will work harder as well and return the appreciation. And if they don't then slap them across the head and tell them to snap out of it. (I'm so good at advice!)
I'd love to hear how other families split up the household chores, tell me how you make it work! We can all use fresh ideas!