There appears to be something about bringing up a child that concretes you into a ‘place’ and a ‘role’. Whereas we used to share the chores, and I was pretty good at making sure I only did my share, I seem to now do everything around the house.
This morning, my partner left me, with my baby, with a sore throat, and a mountain of washing up, a mountain of dirty clothes, a mountain of clean clothes, debris, plastic bags, letters, cans of coke, glasses, socks left all over the place.
What was I doing at 8am this morning? I was washing up, as I couldn’t have a cup of tea unless I did it. Whilst washing this cup, I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing?”
Why is it always me that has to sort this stuff out? Why, just because we are mothers, we are on maternity leave, because we are stay at home mums or dads, why are we suddenly thrust into a world of domestic service?
I am no clean freak. I do what I need to do, and every so often do a massive blast of spring cleaning. I am not someone who sort of likes doing all this stuff. If you do, then I guess it’s not so bad. I’d rather be out making the most of life than polishing my TV.
My house is tidy, and clean, most of the time. There are good days, and bad days. There are days when people come to see me, and leave me with every cup needing washing up, stuff all over the place.
Why can’t I change this? Why am I doing this? I never used to before. Although I did do a larger amount of the chores than he did. Why am I suddenly put into this position, where I feel I have to do it all, without discussion, or allocation of jobs. And it seems that everyone else seems to think this is right too. Family members comment about the state of the house, and it seems that it’s my job to sort it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a hovel. But suddenly ensuring there is the right amount of ventilation in order to sort out the condensation on the windows, is my job.
Don’t get me wrong, I know he works hard. I know he does. But so do I. But that doesn’t seem to matter. He makes stupid comments without thinking. One time he told me to make the most of my time and wash up at 3am. He has a day off and says he is sooo tired he can’t get out of bed.
Where’s my day off? When I collapse with exhaustion?
Sleep when the baby sleeps they say, if I am so tired. But first I have to wash up, put washing on, put clean clothes away, Hoover, take rubbish out, wipe down kitchen, sterilise bottles, make a cold cup of tea. Then the baby wakes up. If I don’t do it one day, it’s just worse for me the next.
What is it about bringing up a baby, that people don’t acknowledge it as a role, as a task, as a job, and find it acceptable to add a heap of other tasks onto it, too? Why do they not think we need a break, a bit of help?
I have had help, and when I ask, people do help me. But generally, day to day, there is this assumption that this Is what I do. I wonder if I would do the same if I was in his shoes? Would I act the same? I don’t think I would. Primarily because when he has looked after the baby all day, it looked like world war three in here.
He knows that in the end, I will do it, because it needs to be done.
He doesn’t do it in a malicious way. He just seriously doesn’t think about it. He doesn’t think, “oh, I need to do the washing up/wash my clothes/Hoover”. It doesn’t enter his mind. Oh, to live in that world!
Sometimes I feel like a walkover, but in the end I want to live in a clean house! I am at home, and I guess that means if you’re at home, you do the housework. I can see that some aspects of the household chores could be allocated to me, but not all of them. I don’t know what he answer is here. And I suspect some lucky people may have a lovely arrangement, and not suffer this at all.
Dividing household chores is something we did so well before. I find it interesting that having a baby has shifted the emphasis solely onto me. I am due to go back to work in a few weeks, what will be the expectation then? Will we revert to previous? Or will I be expected to work a 30 hour week plus do all the housework?
What is it like for you? Are you the main person in the house that does the household chores?