These 5 words carry weight. So much more than society wants to admit.
During an outing with other moms, a few of us were talking about how much women are expected to do inside and outside of the home. Even if you have a helpful husband, it is still the woman who usually handles all the stereotypical responsibilities such as grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. But more than that – women handle 90 percent of what I call “life chores.” For example, it’s moms who sew the baseball pants and coordinate the play dates. Moms who pack for family vacations and send out the birthday cards. Moms who shop for the birthday gifts and find the babysitters. Moms who call the doctor and line up the electrician.
Shall I go on? I could, but I think you get the point.
Yes, do our husbands would hard all day? Absolutely. But so do we.
Think about this. Your husband has a work trip and informs you he will be out of town for 3 days. Or he lets you know next weekend he will be gone to watch a football game with his buddies. He simply tells you the relevant dates and moves about his day.
There are no real questions. NO REAL WORRIES. They assume … AND KNOW … we will handle everything that needs to be done on the home front. Even if we have a demanding career as well. We will cancel that long overdo hair appointment if we need to. We will take pictures of the school play he is going to miss. We will survive on less sleep that week or weekend he is gone.
Now flip this scenario around.
When a woman has to go on a work trip or plans a girls getaway, we don’t just commit, tell our husband and pack our bag. End of story.
Nope, we spend days reworking our family schedule so everyone relaxes as much as possible while we are gone. We do extra grocery shopping so no one starves to death while we are away. We reschedule appointments because dad doesn’t even know where the pediatric dental office is, and there is no way he can squeeze that appointment in during his lunch break. We call our favorite 12 sitters before we can find the top 3 who can rotate between childcare and errands. We line up play dates so the kids have something fun to do while we are gone. And ask other moms to help us by providing rides to and from sports practice. We leave detailed lists and names with important numbers. We swing by the bank just to make sure there is cash on the table for the school book fair. Then we wake up an hour early to wash a shirt for the school dance. After all that, we pack our own bag. Fall into bed exhausted and drink an extra large coffee just to stay awake on whatever trip we are taking.
So during our conversation, I look over at the mom next to me and say, “Why can’t we just be like men. Plan something fun to do without a care in the world. Take off on a Saturday at 9 a.m. and come home at 9 p.m., without spending a week, planning in advance?”
My friend looked me straight in the eye and said, “Nicole, because we don’t have a wife!”
I laughed out loud for a solid 5 minutes. The humor in this. That was the answer. And it was true. Because we don’t have a wife.
We are married to men. And no matter how helpful your man is, there are still a million things women are in charge of. A million things women take upon themselves to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Much of the burden we volunteer for because we feel like it’s a “mom’s responsibility.”
So the next time you feel like you are failing at mom-hood, read this article again. Share it with another mama. You are not failing. Most days you feel like that only because you are doing too much. Moms carry so much weight. But be careful not to let that weight break you.
My advice – ask and ask again for help at home. You have to do it. For example, I do cook dinner every night, but my boys clear the table and my husband loads the dishwasher. They do this so I can get our little girl ready for bed. We share responsibility, when it is possible.
Here are a few ways you can establish some expectations in your own home:
- Sit down and talk about your workload verse your spouses workload.
- Decide what tasks can be delegated out to the children, sitter, or local family.
- If you don’t have a large support network, each of you write down 3 things you will handle. For example since I do all the cooking, my husband handles the kitchen clean up.
- Don’t feel guilty for scheduling in “you time.” Right now for example, I am writing this article while my husband is sitting in the school gym watching basketball practice. Just like you schedule a pediatrician visit, schedule 15-30 minutes a day to decompress.
- If you do have to go on a work trip or desperately need a girls weekend, talk to your spouse in advance and make it clear you will need some help preparing.
- The biggest thing, do NOT avoid fun because you think it will be too much of a burden for your spouse to handle things when you are gone. After all, you handle it all when he is gone.
- Give yourself some credit. Instead of doing EVERYTHING before you take off, leave him a list of things that need to be done while you are gone. You might be surprised. The house probably won’t be sparkling clean when you pull in, but there is a good chance he made it to Target to get the bread.
And last but not least, have a good laugh with your girlfriends. You can’t mad at your man.
After all, it’s not your husband’s fault … you don’t have a wife. 🙂