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?