Housework and child care are two common areas of resentment and irritation for women. Many wives think it should be a team effort to care for the home and kids, and are upset when they feel that they are doing much more than half the work. While there are certainly things that husbands can and should do to contribute, I would like to encourage women to embrace the role of homemaker and remove the negative feelings which are so common.
There were many years in which I felt like things were unfair on the home front. My responsibilities seemed to be in the hundreds while my darling husband had his two or three. He would go to work (without kids!) and later come home to “unwind.” He then got to crash on the couch, or take an uninterrupted shower, or watch the news. Dinner was served and dishes were washed. He just ate, enjoyed, and relaxed.
But what were my days like? Just like they are now! I breastfed, changed diapers, fixed meals, cleaned, washed dishes, did laundry, and took care of all those other household jobs that must be done. I also did the shopping and ran errands. As our children got older, we added homeschooling to the day. As much as I loved certain aspects of it, my work seemed like so much in comparison to my husband’s job. He did take care of paying the bills and fixing the cars, but that didn’t seem like much at the time. I still felt resentful.
It was confusing because I liked cooking and I didn’t mind the housework, and of course I loved being with our kids…but I was resentful.
Because that’s what we’re taught in this society. All things should be “equal” in the raising of children and with the upkeep of the home. Men should take over when they get home, and even get up in the middle of the night with the baby. I believed this for a long time and it only put a strain on our relationship.
While it’s true that both the husband and wife must share the work if the wife works outside the home, (obviously the woman won’t be able to take care of everything herself), in the case of the stay at home mom, most jobs will be her responsibility.
The thing is, my husband did (and does) help with things as much as he is able. That’s what makes this even more absurd! He would wash the dishes or take the kids to the park so I could have some time alone, but it would irritate me to no end when he would act so pleased with himself – like he’d done some really hard thing! Did he really not know what I did every day?!
Of course he did. He even thanked me frequently for a job well done. He appreciated me.
And how did I thank him? By being bothered that he wasn’t doing more!
After reading The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, and making many changes to my attitude and behavior (read more about that here), I realized that the reason he was pleased with himself after helping me was because they really are MY jobs. It would be equivalent to me showing up at his constructions site and pouring a load of concrete. It’s something that would help him, but shouldn’t be expected of me.
But, does that mean that a husband won’t and shouldn’t do things to help? And how much IS too much for the wife to do on her own?
That all depends on the couple’s unique lifestyle but here are some tips on how to go about getting some help, if you need it:
- Re-evaluate how you are spending your time. Are you doing too much of something that isn’t a top priority? Focus on things that are important to you, and let other stuff go for now.
- Are there things that you need your husband to help you with, like repairing a broken toy or installing a new window treatment? Make a list for him to do as he is able. And when he completes something on the list, praise and thank him for his help! He will be MUCH more likely to help in the future!
- Talk to him about things you’d like his help with daily/weekly, like giving the little one a bath or filling up the car with gas, but don’t demand anything. How likely would you be to want to help someone if they come at you with irritation and a demanding attitude?
I now embrace my role as the homemaker and it no longer bothers me that I do a good 90-95% of the housework, childcare, and teaching. It is a lot to do, but children grow up fast and it won’t always be so much. My husband works very hard to support us and make it possible for me to stay home to do all the things I used to get bothered about.
Next, I will be sharing a strange secret I’ve discovered that instantly causes me to feel appreciation and adoration for my husband. Stay tuned!