I grew up with very traditional parents. My dad was the sole bread winner in the family with the exception of my mom owning her own beauty salon for a few years.
Both my parents were born in Italy but came to Canada at young ages with their families to start a new life in a new country. Back in their time, husbands went to work and the women cared for the children and the home. That was how it was for me growing up.
Now, as an adult, I am a career mom to three beautiful girls. Both the hubby and I work outside of the home. Together, we do our best to raise our girls with an abundance of love and opportunity.
As a married woman, one of the most common topics of conversation among my girlie friends is the distribution of labour within a marriage. Who does what when it comes to taking care of the kids, the home, the yard and the vehicles? The conversations are always interesting.
Some of my friends split the responsibilities equally with their spouses. They create a list of her jobs and his jobs and they follow the list religiously.
Some of my friends happily take on the rearing of the children, the cooking and the cleaning and leave the car and yard maintenance to the spouse.
Other friends struggle with the division of duties and it becomes a constant battle of ” I do more than you” and “you don’t do enough” which eventually becomes a bone of contention in their relationship.
All men complain that their wives nag them.
All women, at some point or another, complain that their husbands don’t do enough.
At least this is the case in my little circle of friends.
And if living with someone isn’t hard enough, once babies and children enter the picture, life becomes that more challenging.
Parenthood is not easy.
I’m always curious to hear how couples work out the division of responsibilities within their relationships.
Just the other day, I heard a discussion on the radio about a married couple who were facing the possibility of breaking up because of their issues with the division of jobs within their household. After beginning counseling, the couple sat down together and made a list of all the responsibilities that were deemed important to the both of them. The jobs were than colour coded. Each partner chose a colour and the list was divided between each of their colours. They got to pick, within reason and agreement, which jobs they would like to be responsible for. The list was posted where both partners could see. If a partner were to remind the other of a job needing attention, he/she had to simply say the name of the job and attach the colour to it. For example, taking out the garbage became … ” Garbage take out , blue”. In doing this, neither partner’s name was used in requests and this avoided the nagging behaviour. For this one couple, the strategy worked and it saved their marriage.
Lucky for them.
Hubby and I have been married for just a little over seven years and no lists or jobs were ever discussed or assigned in our house. Over time, we have simply fallen into our own.
I began doing most of the cooking when we were first married but for the last year or so hubby has become quite passionate about learning and loves being in the kitchen. Who am I to stop him? So when he cooks, I clean up the kitchen afterwards.
When the babies began to arrive, I quickly took on way too much. At one point, I had to step back and let my hubby take over. After all, he is just as much our children’s father as I am their mother. I needed to let go of control of things and just let things be. If hubby was willing to help and do, who was I to stop him? There are more than one way to do things and hubby’s way was just as good as mine. This is a lesson that took me a while to learn.
Now that the kids are a bit older, we’ve fallen into new jobs.
Daddy makes lunches while I prep the kids for bed and get their clothes ready for the next day.
I do bath time.
Daddy cooks a lot. I clean up a lot.
It’s all evens out.
The other thing I’ve learned, is to simply ask for help. When I’m overwhelmed with laundry or cleaning, hubby jumps in and helps out because he sees me
hyperventilating stressing out. Most of the time, I just ask him for help.
The one thing I have not done in 7 years is cut, rake or weed wack the grass. That has solely been his thing. If he asked me to do it at some point, I would gladly jump in.
I think that as women we just expect that men think like us.
They’re wired very differently than us and even though we know this we still expect them to be able to read our minds.
An honestly, they don’t.
So the key here is to just ask. Nicely.
For the most part, they’re very willing.
And … if you offer them a reward for helping, they’re extra eager to do so <wink>.
Just saying …
How do you and your spouse divide the household chores?