Featured Journal

Splitting Duties

Written by Chaaron

Written By:  Chaaron @ Sense and (Non) Sensibility

When my husband and I were newlyweds, he was in law school and I was working full time and teaching dance in the evenings. I loved assuming the role of breadwinner and having dinner waiting for me when I got home from dance every night. He did a majority of the laundry and the cleaning. We chose to get a puppy because he could be home most of the day to train him. I worked my tail off at work and he took care of the work at home. This helped us bridge the gap in our lifestyles as I was very jealous of his student lifestyle and often felt like an outsider in our friend group because I was the only non-law student and could rarely attend weekday happy hours or enjoy Fridays with nothing on the calendar.

When he graduated law school, we had to have a serious conversation about job duties around the house now that we were both full time employees. I was shocked at how reliant I was on him to complete chores. And when I was supposed to step up and assume some of those chores, I was really uninterested. So uninterested.

We’ve had some bumps along the way, but we split household chores pretty 50/50. I do trash on Monday and he does Thursday. I walked the dog before and after work, he bought the groceries. He sweeps; I vacuum. He takes care of the online bill paying; I make sure checks get written. We both grumbled about whose turn it was to unload the dishwasher. He did most of the cooking, but I worked really hard to get more comfortable in the kitchen to ease that burden on him.

But then we had our baby. Since I am breastfeeding, I felt like so much of baby care fell directly on my shoulders. For quite a while, I felt like I was permanently attached to my baby. I loved it, but I also resented my husband just lounging on the couch reading his second book of the week. I bristled every time he would get home from work and ask if the dog had been walked (I usually beat him home) when I had gotten the baby from daycare, got him in the house, changed his diaper and promptly settled in to feed him. I was always feeding him.

What I wasn’t doing, was admitting that I was being a martyr. Instead of asking for help, I’d seethe and stomp around and do things myself. I was so consumed by how much I was doing, that I failed to see how much my husband was doing to help keep the house running so that I could devote my time and energy to our son. I wasn’t being fair.

Yes, I do pick up and drop off from daycare, but he takes care of dog walking and feeding in the morning and continues to do a majority of the grocery shopping. Yes, I do baby baths, but he washes all baby dishes including pump parts every night. Yes, I breastfeed, but he makes us dinner almost every night. We were still doing our 50/50 split and I had to adjust my attitude to make sure that I saw that.

Please don’t take this to mean that I’m always 100% thankful or understanding – I’ve got a long way to go until I get there. When he tells me how many books he’s already read this year (he’s read over 15 so far), I still roll my eyes. But, I’m remembering to be thankful that we don’t have to share the same chores to make an equal contribution to our household. And, I’d much rather give a cute kiddo a bath than do the dishes any day!

How do you split the work at your home?

About the author

Chaaron

Chaaron is a Nebraska native who lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, RP, her son, Dash and her daughter, Pippa. By day, she’s a program manager with a public charity in DC and by night, she is happily occupied with living room dance parties and dodging errant duplo pieces. She’s terrible at updating her blog, but you can find her little slice of the internet at senseandnonsenseblog.com.

9 Comments

  • Chaaron,

    I for sure felt that way with both of our babies. I felt like my husband was NEVER helping. But I’m also guilty of being a martyr. That’s one of the biggest things I personally need to get over. Thanks for sharing and reminding me!!

    • Oh Jen – we can unite in mutual martyr-dom! I think I will always struggle to get over that as well. It’s so much easier to have a pity party than to admit that you can’t do it alone. Or even worse, to admit that you’re not doing alone – even if it feels as if you are!

  • I am often reminded to be so thankful to have a husband that DOES help around the house. Seriously – apparently they are few and far between even in 2013. 🙂 Kyle and I have to split it all – or it won’t get done. And on the weekends when we are both working? Yeah, it just doesn’t get done. He takes kids in to daycare, I pick up. If he makes supper – I do bath or vice versa. It’s the only way it works in our house – otherwise, I would be yelling.. 😉 he he (I probably already do that). By the time Gracie came around, it was awesome that I had to get up with her to feed her – because that meant he had to take care of Ella and she got up more than the baby! 😉 Great post.

  • I needed this yesterday as I was stomping around because I had to pay bills, put away toddler clothes, cut coupons, etc. But you are right – in this “modern” day, we are lucky, like RP, NG cooks most nights, cleans the cat litter, takes out the trash and is a big help with laundry. I’m pretty sure my father wasn’t as helpful! Oh and we agreed to make room in the budget for a cleaning lady! 🙂

    • I can’t tell you how I long for a cleaning lady when my drool-covered baby rubs his face on the floor and comes up looking like an extra from CATS. It’s good to take some time to be grateful, but you’ll be able to hear my eyes roll when RP tells me that he’s finished ANOTHER book. Just hope I don’t throw it across the room.

  • Great post! Brian does a lot around the house, too. But I completely know what you mean about breastfeeding and feeling bitter when your husband is lounging. This helped me to remember not to play the martyr. I agree that giving the little man a bath is MUCH better than doing dishes or laundry!

    • I know that while we’re breastfeeding we’re technically sitting down, but it looks so much more relaxing to be reading a book while sprawled out on the couch. But, I’ll gladly leave those dishes in the sink to do the bath time routine!