My husband was gone for five days and I settled into a nice routine. After the kids were in bed I did all the dishes, ran the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen. I got the rest of the house to a level of neatness that wouldn’t stress me out in the morning and after a couple hours of down time I went to bed (way too late I might add).
In the morning I emptied the dishwasher so that I could be loading it throughout the day. I tried to pick things up as I wandered around the house. At the very least I piled the breakfast and lunch dishes into the sink after each meal and tried to rinse and load the plates and cups during my son’s nap time. In this way I kept the house neat enough that I never felt overwhelmed and stayed on top of the stuff that had to get done.
My husband is home now and while I’m grateful for his presence in the house and our lives, I’m not looking forward to handing over the kitchen duties to him to do when he finds the time. I know he’s going to skip doing the dishes some nights and the mess in the kitchen is going to cause me stress. I can’t decide if I want to take over his kitchen duties while I’m home; if I let him do them on his own schedule (which I think is only fair if he’s the one doing them) I’ll resent the kitchen being a mess some days and if I do them myself I’ll resent that I’m doing EVERYTHING around the house now that I’m not working during the summer.
When we both work we have a division of labor that works well for us. It’s not equal and it’s not perfect but we both feel good about it. Now that I’m home I feel more strongly about the state of the house. It’s hard to relinquish control of vital areas that I have to be in multiple times a day to someone who is not home for so much of it. It’s hard to renegotiate things for only two months. What if we can’t fall back into a routine that works for us once I’m back at work? What if I feel angry that he doesn’t have to do much while I carry a heavier and heavier load.
Gah. This marriage thing is hard. My weird “working full time except during summer when I’m essentially at SAHM” schedule is hard. Our particular dynamic is hard.
I suppose we need to have a “talk” about this but I’m not even sure what I want to say. And I’m pretty sure he is not going to want to listen. Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly bringing this kind of stuff up, like I’m constantly trying to make him have “a talk,”, like I’m a nag or a bore or an emotionally crazed wife. Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just let things slide like he does, just take it as it comes, just live and let live.
I guess it’s harder for me to be like him because I do so much more than he does for our family. If I could just leave everything up to someone else, and know it’d get done, I’d be pretty willing to just let things happen to.
But things happen because I make them happen. That is how our marriage works. And if I want us to make a deliberate decision about how we’re going to manage the household while I’m home I’m going to have to initiate “the conversation.”
Blerg. Sometimes it sucks to be the woman in a relationship.
Do you have a “division of labor” that works in your relationship? Did you sit down and hash it out deliberately, or did it happen more organically?