Dear Is This Normal,
My role in my household? Do everything. Manage the schedules, take the kids to and from, get them up, feed them, put them to bed, bathe them, play with them, dote over them, prepare their meals (and ours for that matter), attend the daycare check ins, stop to get groceries, chat with the grandparents, update the friends, oh and yes i work from home (not very effectively)….you get it. Seemingly the whole shebang.
My husbands role in this household? Come home from work and have the kids run to him. Show up for a meeting and get praised for being an attentive parent. Make coffee in the morning (for the first time in weeks) and text me to get some pat on the back for it.
Listen. I love my husband. He is a wonderful father. He is all the things. I don’t even necessarily think he is doing anything wrong. But the fact that I am breaking my back and it’s considered “what I’m supposed to do” is enraging. And it’s causing me to hate on my husband. I feel bad. He really is a great partner. So am I just not a good mother and wife because I feel pissed the fuck off that everything falls on me?
UGH. Just had to get this out.
You sound frustrated and at the end of your rope and honey, you have every right to be. Is this normal? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it’s been ingrained in us for EONS that kids and house are women’s work. Even if the women’s have other, actual paying jobs! Our workload doesn’t somehow magically get redistributed when we have kids. It just grows. And grows. And then grows some more. Super great how society thinks we can and should do it all, even though most of us are riding the struggle bus every single day. It’s intense, and it’s an immense amount of pressure, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a mom who doesn’t feel that pressure every single day of her life. Is it normal? Unfortunately yes. Is it OK? Nope.
This doesn’t have to be your normal. It can and should change, and we have to be that change starting in our very own homes. It sounds like you have your hands full, and are balancing parts of your life on your forearms like a waitress in a sports bar during a sports ball final of some kind. Your arms must be tired, mama, and you need some help. I get that your husband works outside of the home (he gets a cookie for that, big ups to dad). But you know what? You work, too. You work hard, you just don’t leave the house to do it. If we’re going to be tasked with doing ALL OF THE THINGS in the home, then we need to start looking at the role of stay-at-home mom and homemaker as an actual freaking job. And what would you do if your coworkers slacked on their duties and put everything on your plate at work? Well, you’d complain and get a manager to kick their asses into gear, is what! There’s no reason your partner can’t bathe your kids. Or pack lunches at night. There’s no reason he can’t pitch in with chores on weeknights and weekends, or do the grocery shopping on his way home. No reason at all beyond the antiquated idea that those are YOUR jobs, and not his. This isn’t 1950, babe. Keeping that house running and those kids alive and thriving falls on BOTH of you.
I have no doubt that you love your husband. And I’m not questioning his effectiveness as a dad and husband and provider at all! These gendered stereotypes go so far beyond your home or mine; you’re not mad at your husband necessarily, but at the general idea that this is what you’re SUPPOSED to do. That doesn’t make you a bad wife or mom or partner, not even a little bit. You’re fed up, and that’s perfectly normal and totally expected based on what you’ve said here. It’s time to have a sit down with your husband, and talk about how to equalize your lives. It’s not going to change unless you speak up and say, “Hey, this needs to change!”. Don’t get mad at him – there’s a good chance he also thinks things are this way because they’re supposed to be this way, and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Well, it’s broke. And it’s breaking you. And if he’s the good partner you say he is (and it sounds like he is), he’ll be 100% on board with fixing it.
Leveling the Playing Field,
Is This Normal