dividing work fairly in a marriage
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|Mon, 07-14-2003 - 3:26pm|
The amount of time both people spend working should be roughly even. So when the husband is away from home working for 50-60 hours, that is his official work time, and the wife is at home then and that is her official work time, taking care of house and kids. He gets to take lunch breaks, etc. and she should too -- get a babysitter in every once in a while to watch the kids so she can go workout or relax or whatever.
When the husband (or the wife, in the case of stay at home dads) gets home, then it is family/home time, and the things that have to get done at that time (make dinner, wash dishes, bathe kids and put them to bed, pay bills, etc.) should be shared evenly.
I can't figure out why a stay at home mom would think that it's fair for her to work 24-7, and for her husband to work 9-6 M-F only. If she's been working all day, just like he has, why is he watching TV while she runs around after the kids and cleaning up the kitchen? Why does he get to sit and relax over the meal (that he didn't even cook) while she runs around cleaning the house and has to try to fit in time to eat? Why is he golfing on the weekend while she drives the kids to lessons and playdates?
I work part time. While this arrangement continues, as it probably will until my younger one goes to kindergarten and I will return to fulltime work, it is fair for me to do more around the house that dh does. That goes without saying -- I'm home more than he is. Once he's home, however, we share our duties evenly.
I cook dinner during the time the boys get their half-hour daily of TV. Then dh gets home and we all sit down together for a family meal. After that, one of us plays with the boys while the other does some preliminary kitchen cleanup. Then we bathe the boys (sometimes I do it while dh reads his mail) and together get them in pj's, and then one of us reads to and tucks in one boy, while the other does the same with the othe boy.
After they're in bed, I do the rest of the kitchen cleanup while dh pays bills, or he cleans the kitchen while I do other things that need doing. If a child wakes in the middle of the night, he is as likely to go to that child as I am.
On weekends, one of us takes one boy to lessons (swimming or music or whatever) while the other one takes the other boy. In the afternoon we trade off kid time with relaxing or getting things done. (Here, you take the boys to the park while I go running, then I'll do art in the kitchen with them while you go to the grocery store.) On at least one Saturday night a month we have a babysitter so we can go out together for couple time. On Sundays, I take the boys to church (dh is not a church goer) and he enjoys that time to himself. I tell him to relax but he usually goes through the whole house and straightens up, which he actually enjoys. We also do fun outings all four of us -- to a park or a museum or zoo.
I married the man that I did deliberately. I chose someone who is profoundly loving and decent and fair and family-oriented. Before we had kids, when we both worked fulltime, we did all the housework evenly. If we argued about it, it was usually because I wasn't doing as much as he was. I didn't do laundry for 4 years....even after we had our first baby he was still laundry czar and groceries czar. I cook, we both do dishes. He mows the lawn and we both take out garbage. I am responsible for taking care of both cars. He puts stuff away and I run errands. Now I do more than he does, because that's my job and I'm at home to do laundry and grocery shopping and all that stuff. But once he's home, it's pretty even, and it works out wonderfully. I really like that feeling of partnership, and I know our children benefit tremendously from having such an involved father.
How do you do it? What do you think is fair? Anyone want to try to explain to me why they are responsible for all work around the house 7 days a week around the clock, while hubby gets to watch tv, golf, whatever?