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Is housework part of the SAHM job description??? - Page 4

post #61 of 102
I think it might depend on your definition of "cleaning the house." I made it sound like I don't do anything in my original post. I do the dishes during the day, I do laundry (diapers and otherwise) probably every other day), I clean up DS' toys so that he can have the joy of taking them all out again. I sometimes sweep the kitchen, but I find it exceptionally difficult to do more complex cleaning, like mopping and scrubbing the bathrooms or floors with a 9 month old DS who seems to be determined to get into the most dangerous things in the house!
post #62 of 102
I also think that it is not "my job" b/c I'm the sahp, but I just do most of it b/c I'm here. On days when my dh is home with the kids (when I substitute teach), I come home to a disaster, not becuase he thinks it my job and leaves it for me, but b/c it's just harder for him to care for the kids than it is me, also he tries to do freelance work while I'm gone. Sometimes I do come home and he's got everything cleaned up, and that does feel good after a long day away from the kids, to just come in and not have to pick up, just to play with them, so it gives me perspective.

Dh and I decided together that I should be at home with the kids, because I wanted it more, and frankly I'm the one with the breasts (small but there )
So, neither he nor I feel it is my "job" to do the housework. When he is home, if there is housework to do, he likes to do his share, but usually I tell him to play with the kids, b/c I like to see/hear them all together playing and I get to play with them all day. I just know from being out there a couple of days a week myself, it's nice to have that time with the kids, and sometimes it's nice for me to have a few minutes to do something without someone wiping their nose on my leg, even if it is laundry.
post #63 of 102
QuinsMami and everyone~

I just want to say, I actually agree with what everyone is saying! I really think this is individual and I understand fully all your points.

But there is just something I can't put into words here...:
If DH didn't go out and make money, I couldn't stay home.
So wouldn't it be unfair of me, if I just said "the kids are my only job" and quit doing laundary and cleaning and cooking when I am the one at home all day? And then when he comes home after a 40-50 hour week he (or we) have to then scrub the bathroom, fold clothes, etc?

I am not saying I *owe* him all the housework, but does he *owe* me getting up early every morning and working hard every day?

I feel he really has the short end of the stick as it is.
I am home all day with our beautiful kids, I can usually take "breaks," maybe even get a nap or lay around outside on a sunny day sometimes. Kwim? Then he even makes enough for me to buy things for myself that I never could on my own, so I just like to show him I *appreciate* him, and if he knows he can spend his off-work time with the kids or outside or whatever he *feels* appreciated.

I don't know.

T Off topic for most of you, but I am a Christian, and I like what the Bible says about it very much. Men are to provide and be the head of the house, woman are to be keepers at home and manage their house. They are both to love and take care of each other. Sorry, but I just think that is the nicest way to raise a family.
post #64 of 102
I also have to wonder what our definitions of "housework" are : I would bet that some of the moms who say they do housework during the day are doing the same things as some of the moms who say they don't

I am very much enjoying this thread! It's very interesting to see all the different perspectives.
post #65 of 102
Originally posted by PerfectLove
T Off topic for most of you, but I am a Christian, and I like what the Bible says about it very much. Men are to provide and be the head of the house, woman are to be keepers at home and manage their house. They are both to love and take care of each other. Sorry, but I just think that is the nicest way to raise a family.
Ok, I'm going to get further OT, but I'm not a Christian and didn't know the Bible actually said that!? Not meaning to discredit you or your faith, but that just strikes me as... well... unfair! What about all the loving Daddies who stay home (and I know we have some families like that here)? And I sure as heck am not comfortable considering my partner the 'head of the house' (in fact, our current outgoing voicemail instructs those calling for the head of the house to leave messages for Jackson!). I'm glad that you find some validation for your family's structure and division of labor in your religion, but I happen to think that a division of labor that respects how hard both of us work and doesn't lump all the housework in my court is a pretty nice way to raise a family, too!

I don't intend this in a defensive tone, honest. Just adding some perspective...
post #66 of 102
Well, if you were working and had your kids in child care or with a nanny, you wouldn't expect to get a clean house in the bargain. Seems like if you are staying home to do the childcare than you aren't expected to clean as well. Full-time nannying is a full time job same as any at any office.

Is it the proximatly of the hourse that makes us think cleaning is included in the (i.e. would someone who works from home be expected to clean 9-5 as well) or is it childcare specifically?
post #67 of 102
Excellent point mamawannabe!!! Did I spell that correctly? It seems like this thread is taking on a different direction and our opinions about housework are intricately linked with those of economics, gender equality, etc. I just read Naomi Wolf's book Misconceptions and it is wonderful, profound! I highly recommend it.
post #68 of 102
In a daycare situation, I would expect housework to be done. No, not *my* housework, but the house where the child is being cared for. What if the daycare provider said that her job was to play with the kids and nothing more and wouldn't clean? You'd have a daycare with messy bathrooms, a filthy kitchen, dusty rooms, dirty floors that babies would be crawling on, etc. It can be cleaned as they go, or all at once when the kids leave, but it HAS to be done! And if I had a nanny, I would expect her to clean up after the child instead of leaving a disaster for me. Sometimes that means the carpet vacuumed after cheerios were dumped, the floor swiffered after spills, the toys picked up numerous times a day, food cooked and cleaned up afterward. So yeah, I guess I do think housework is part of childcare.

Again, I guess this depends on our definitions of housework! I consider cleaning up after my child (and myself and the pets) to be housework. I also do dh's laundry, make him lunches, etc, but the bulk of the mess in this house is generated by those of us who are home all day long.
post #69 of 102
I think that there is a misperception about those of us who say we believe housework should be shared. Does this mean that we play and do nothing else all day long? Of course not. I do all sorts of "housework" that is involved in babycare. I clean up the kitchen after us and keep the floors clean and we all put toys away. I try to keep up on laundry. However, I do not feel I owe it to have dinner prepared every night or the bathrooms spotless or the top of the bookshelf dusted.
I am back in school part time and when I get home from class in the evening I do not expect that my husband has washed my laundry or baked fresh scones for breakfast. I do expect that he has cleaned up after their dinner and bathed the girls and straightened up the toys. Just cleaning up after yourself, that's all.
post #70 of 102
I am very surprised how many SAHMs do not feel is it part of their job to do the housekeeping. I agree that everyone should do some housework and not expect to get waited on, but if one person is at home all day, I think that person should do the bulk of the housework. Perhaps I have a different perspective as a WOHM with a primarily SAHD. But I usually have less than two hours at home at night with my dd after dinner before we both go to bed, and I am too physically exhausted to do much housework. (DD is up much of the night and I typically only get 4 hours of sleep at night). So I spend most of my time Saturday and Sunday cleaning because dh doesn't do much of it during the week. It bothers me to no end that what little free time I have I often have to put dd in her playpen so I can pay bills, clean the bathroom, etc. I cherish every moment with dd and, although like any toddler she has her difficult moments, I would never call it work. I don't get "nap time" at my job, and my "breaks" are spent pumping milk, so I figure that my dh should be able to get at least some housework done during the day when dd is napping or playing with her toys.
post #71 of 102
Exactly what I was going to write smithdaisy. Childcare does invole picking up after yourself and the child, but not laundry or a scrubbed toilet etc.

If both you and your spouse were working full time for money, you'd share household chores.

It does seem to be about money? Since the stay at home parent isn't bringing in money (which we value so even if not consciously) then s/he needs to make up for that by doing more than half the household chores? What do y'all thinK?

Or is it just that we don't think "full-time childcare" is like full time office/factory/restaurant etc work in that we believe there should be lots of time energy leftover (physical and mental) to dust the bookshelves?
post #72 of 102
Originally posted by mamawanabe
It does seem to be about money? Since the stay at home parent isn't bringing in money (which we value so even if not consciously) then s/he needs to make up for that by doing more than half the household chores? What do y'all thinK?
I don't think I have to "make up" for not working. I work all day and night long. I don't get many breaks, if any. DS often will only nap on me, so even my breaks are spent "working". He also wakes up frequently at night, and usually wants to nurse, so I am working then as well. I think saying that SAHM/Ds aren't making a contribution just because there's no monetary compensation is a bit unfair.

I also don't think that the answer to this question is the same for everyone. Every couple splits the chores their own way. I do a lot while I'm home, I just can't do everything, and I need DH to pick up the slack, either by playing with DS while I do something or by doing housework while I get DS out of the way.

It bothers me that staying at home isn't considered valuable, just because we don't get paychecks.
post #73 of 102
yes abagail, that's what I was trying to get at - that by expecting the work at home partent to do housework we are really saying something about how we don't value the work s/he is doing in childcare. I was trying to get at the cultural reasons for this devaluation.

IMO chores shoudl be slipt 50-50 twix the woh parent and the sah parent, both who have full-time jobs . . .
post #74 of 102
I still think that splitting the housework 50/50 ignores the fact that the working parent loses time with the child in that arrangement.

I don't think that working means that person has to do no work around the house. Everybody should contribute something. But I know for a fact that I can get more housework done and still spend significant time with my baby than my dh can after work.

I also think that in a traditional work setting, daytime hours, that partner who works loses even more because of the timing. My baby is not at his best in the evening and night. Dh already misses the best, funnest part of the day. To expect him to come home and clean, even with the babe at hand, means even less "quality time" with our child.

If DH has to work for pay, clean half the house, and raise our children, how is that more fair than my job? I raise our children, a job he would love to do, and I clean half the house. The whole 9 hours a day he is gone working seem to have gotten written off the list. I certainly don't think that because he works, he doesn't have to father. Why should I think that because I mother, I shouldn't have to work?
post #75 of 102
I don't know if anyone has said this but could you really just play with the kids all day and not do housework? Sometimes I welcome doing chores as a break from playing. My dd loves to "help" so mostly it is just the basics that get done, but it would drive me crazy not to pick up, vacuum, do dishes etc. during the day.

When I was a wohm I still did most of the chores, so maybe it was not really fair, but I think that is still very common in our society. So even though we are now home all day and mess up the house all day, it still doesn't seem as hard to keep up as it did when I was a wohm.

My dh has a very physical job, so maybe that is part of why I let him off the hook so easily, he really is physically exhausted when he gets home after a 12 hour day. Now the kids are a different story, before my oldest ds was away at college he was expected to help out quite a bit around the house.
post #76 of 102
While Ocean's post really got me thinking, she is in a unique situation since she is the one going to work, then when she gets home it sounds like she is the primary caregiver since she is nursing and up at night with the baby. For you, I agree that your dh should be pulling his weight in housework.

However, as a sahm, I am "on duty" 24 hours a day. My first was an increadibly high needs baby. I spent most of my waking hours breastfeeding (an hour and fifteen minutes out of every two hours.) He also would not sleep if I wasn't holding him. As he eased into the latter half of his first year and would nap without me, I picked up and did more housework.

When the second came, he was a horrible sleeper. For a year and a half I didn't get more than an hour and a half of sleep in a row, and that was rare. I typically got around three hours a night in 25 to 45 minute segments. It makes functioning very hard and in my case, led to depression, medication and a hospital stay.

I am still the one who has to get up with the kids, simply because I am the one they want. The youngest (2 1/2) is going through a stage where he ONLY wants me to do things (and I mean anything) for him. Thus, I have become the focus of competition between my 4 1/2 year old and my 2 1/2 year old. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. It is physically impossible for me to do much housework with the two very active boys. I could give up the hour or so that I spend here each day, but I wouldn't be the mother I am if I did that. I deserve this time. I work hard.

Ocean, I hope you can somehow convince your dh to pitch in and help you. You are way overloaded. I feel very lucky that my dh feels that keeping the house in order is as much his job as it is mine, although I always seem to be the one to clean the toilets and showers.
post #77 of 102
Originally posted by mothersong
yes abagail, that's what I was trying to get at - that by expecting the work at home partent to do housework we are really saying something about how we don't value the work s/he is doing in childcare. I was trying to get at the cultural reasons for this devaluation.
I'm sorry, I thought you were stating that you thought that the parents at home should do the work because they are there.

Originally posted by mothersong
Why should I think that because I mother, I shouldn't have to work?
Not to be argumentative, but isn't being a mother work? Even if it's work we all enjoy, it is still work. At the end of the day, if not a lick of housework got done, I'm still exhausted. I agree that it's not nice for the WOH parent to come home and not get to see the kid, but it's not as if the SAH parent isn't working by providing meals and diaper changes, baths, playtime to the child.

I personally don't spend all day playing with DS, but I do spend all day relating to him, and watching him. I make sure he eats, gets a clean diaper when needed, takes naps. I also do the grocery shopping and all of the cooking during that time. I find it hard to believe that all of that doesn't count as working if I haven't also scrubbed the toilets.
post #78 of 102
I want to describe my average day/week, because I suspect that our days are more alike than different and that we simply think about/define them differently.

Here's what we do: We all get up at about the same time and my partner and I both keep an eye on the kiddo until he leaves for work. Most days Daddy gives Jackson breakfast because Mama has not had enough coffee yet to be human.

During the day I usually do some laundry and wash the morning dishes, plus tidying up whatever disasters the little guy creates as he explores the house. Once or twice a week I manage to do something else, like clean the bathroom or vacuum during the day. During the week we run some errands like grocery shopping as well as going to a couple of playgroups, the library, the park, the gym...

When my partner gets home from work, he plays with the baby for 30-60 minutes, depending upon how hungry we are. I sometimes use this time to get some chores done but more often I veg out on the couch watching them play. Then, my partner cooks (almost every night!). Lucky for me, he loves to cook and he's really good at it and he likes cooking as a transition to being home. While he cooks Jackson and I play, sometimes we 'play' at doing laundry, and our w/d is in the kitchen so we're all together. After my partner gives Jackson a bath while I do the dishes. While I'm nursing the baby to sleep my partner will sometimes tidy up something, sometimes work on balancing the checkbook or paying bills, sometimes he will get a beer and watch tv.

On the weekends, we negotiate. We sit down for a minute and talk about what needs to be done, what we can do together, what we'll need to trade off hanging with the baby in order to get done. We make sure that most of our weekends include time together as a family as well as a break for me (usually a couple hours on Saturdays when they go out and run errands or do something fun).

Our house is not immaculate, but it's tidy and clean. This is what sharing responsibility for housework looks like for us, and it works pretty well most of the time and neither of us feels taken advantage of or resentful.
post #79 of 102
Here it is, yes unfortunately. My husband works long hours so I am respectful to that. Of course he has to clean up after himself and not create more for me to do!! LOL

I've got my business plus I am a leader of a playgroup and we go to a parent participation preschool so i am very very busy and I never stop going. UGG.
post #80 of 102
Gotta burst that nanny bubble. Around where I live, nannies do housework. Not scrubbing tile, but they do "light" housework, such as making snacks/meals, cleaning the kitchen, making beds and some laundry. Depends on the agency, but many of those nannies, esp live-ins do some housework.
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