I'm joining the No Housework Party, hosted by Non-Domestic Mama and Coolest Family on the Block! I am celebrating this day by abstaining from housework as best I can. Unfortunately, I'll spend most of this glorious day on the couch, suffering from the side-effects provided by the Shingles medication I am taking. Don't feel sorry for me, though. I would feel really guilty about not doing housework today, but now I have a reason!
As I thought about what I was going to write about today, I was reminded of a post I wrote back when I was student teaching. It was called Motivation and Roles. In that post, I talk about how Daniel has really stepped up to the plate to help with the housework and homework duties. I was, at the time, student teaching full-time and trying to get a grasp on life as an out-of-the-home worker. For the first time in our lives as parents, both Daniel and I were working full-time, and it was a tough adjustment!
Daniel grew up in a very traditional household, with his mother doing all of the "inside" work and his father taking care of the business, cars, and outside chores. Because of this, I always assumed that the house and children would be my responsibility and tried to fulfill that obligation the best I could. Truth be told, I hated every minute of "domestic life." I don't like to cook, I really get no satisfaction out of cleaning our home, and I would rather have spent every day at the library with the girls reading stacks and stacks of books. Some days the bare minimum would get done, and Daniel would come home to the girls and I eating popcorn on the couch, still in our pajamas, enjoying a "movie day."
As my daughters got a little older, I fully expected this lack of domestic inclination to be a problem. It was not. My husband is extremely understanding and "gets" the fact that being a stay-at-home mom was not completely satisfying for me. I would fill my days with volunteer opportunities in order to feel that I was still a productive part of society. The girls learned some valuable skills, like how to fill giveaway baskets for dog events, how to tell people about the rescue organization that we represented, and how to feed and care for foster dogs, but they weren't picking up too many skills such as sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor or how to make a home-made cherry pie. I figure those are crafts they can learn by taking a home-economics class in school or pick up along life's journey.
When our youngest daughter, Amber, entered Kindergarten, I went back to school. I was going to get my teaching certificate in elementary education. We quickly realized that SOMEONE was going to have to do the laundry and wash the dishes. My hero, otherwise known as my husband Daniel, quickly volunteered to help in these areas. Before I knew it, I would be off doing my homework while he and the kids got the house looking like a million bucks, AND they would have dinner started. I threw myself back into the project I was working on. The next time I looked up, a full meal would be served on the dinning room table. I was in HEAVEN! Not only did I get out of doing the cooking, but Daniel is a much better chef than I am. I had my meals prepared, and they were delicious!
When I was done student teaching, I went to work part-time as a substitute teacher. Preparing to take back the dreaded chores, I let Daniel know that he was off the hook. To my surprise he suggested that he continue to do the cooking and some of the cleaning. Ok, I'm not going to argue here! Of course, I did have to wonder what he was saying about my ability in the kitchen!
We have fallen into a wonderful routine, with the agreement that the MOST important chores are the laundry and dishes. If I happen to be at home for the day, I will try to get those done so Daniel doesn't have to work on the house after he gets home from a hard day in the landscaping field. I do feel extremely guilty about not getting much done on the days I get side-tracked by writing and don't get much done. If I have worked, however, I stay out of "his kitchen" and let him do the chores the way he sees fit.
I know I'm a very spoiled wife. I thank goodness every day that I get to live the life I always imagined for myself. I get to indulge in my passion for teaching, putting all of my effort into the work that makes me feel whole. It took awhile to get used to the fact that I wasn't "doing my part," but I've come to realize that each family needs to define their roles in their own way.