Do you feel like it's your responsibility to take care of the household? - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-06-2007, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious where other SAHMs fall on this spectrum. When I first began SAHM-ing, I really felt my sole responsibility was to take excellent care of DS. But as the years have passed, I've begun to feel more and more responsibility for keeping the house clean, keeping the pantry stocked, meal planning, etc. Part of this is probably that DH is working waaay longer hours (60 hrs/week), so the reality is that he can't help much. He is, however, an excellent chef, and some nights will cook two meals for us so we have something to eat for later in the week.

I think part of it is that I don't like living in a messy, disorganized home, so it's become important to me to take care of our home.

What are your thoughts?

-Erin

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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Old 07-06-2007, 08:43 PM
 
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My husband works too many hours. I take care of the house and I'm happy to.
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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My Responsibility? No. My Pleasure? Often. However, my dh is very interested in the runnings of our household and gets great pleasure from certain things, including cooking and working on our two acres (He works in the 'city', but has a great deal of interest in our land). While I am at home right now, I still contribute financially in various ways.
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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I am coming to the place of embracing taking care of the whole household. My partner does what he can, but only can get to the surface stuff.... or has time for taking care of the more obscure things that come up.When the kids were youngger I felt that it wasn't my responsibility. I was very resistant to being a " home maker" or a " housewife"! Now I am making steps towards being at peace with it all, and finding a way to make it into spiritual practice I guess. I really like having a clean house, food stocked, good meals, nice yard and garden etc. I also homeschool my boys.... its a tricky balancing act.

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Old 07-06-2007, 08:48 PM
 
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Nope. My husband's 9-5 job is to work for pay. Mine is child care. We split the housework and child care when he is home.

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Old 07-06-2007, 08:54 PM
 
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I do feel like its my responsibility essentially to do 98% however I must admit it is VERY much welcomed if dh wants to help out since we have 3 under 3 and I am 22 weeks pregnant. I cant keep up as well as I'd like with the heavy duty cleaning but I do my best. I too cant stand a messy disorganized house so I try an d clean up all day as I go along. I am happy when my dh can come home to a meal and clean house....they kids may be screamin but he's got a hot plate and a clean place to sit!
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:54 PM
 
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Nope. My husband's 9-5 job is to work for pay. Mine is child care. We split the housework and child care when he is home.
You are so lucky, DH works anywhere from 12 to 18 hour shifts a day. I can't expect him to clean the house the way I do or even half the chores but he is responsible for certain chores like garbage and cleaning up after himself (my rule is if my dishes are done and either of the other adults cook after my dishes are done, they do their own dishes and clean up) and I do expect (when he's home) to equally parent as much as I do.

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Old 07-06-2007, 09:05 PM
 
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We split things when he is home. On a weekend, he will do what is needed, as will I. On the weekdays, I will get up with the kids, do all laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. But we split pretty much 50/50 on days he has off. It's not planned, it's just how it happens. He wakes with the kids at least on weekend morning, so I may sleep in until 11am or so.

I enjoy keeping the house up during the week (and weekend). It's something I pride myself in doing, if that makes sense. I have a routine every night. Kids go down, I pick up the stray toys, vacuum, clean up the backyard if needed, dishes, laundry, take out garbage, shower myself.. not always in that order.
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:06 PM
 
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Really depends on how many hours he's working. When he was putting in just eight or nine hours a day, we were more equitable about splitting the housework.

He has decided to work more hours in hopes of landing a promotion and to make a little extra money, so now I've taken on basically all the housework. Even the lawn mowing.

I've gotten better at juggling it all, out of sheer necessity. And I've also gotten better at demanding my own time off-- I refuse to work 16-18 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Anyway, it would be a big, big stick in my craw if he was only working 8 hours a day AND expecting me to handle all the household responsibilities/childcare/gardening stuff. Cuz that IS a lot.

As it is, we both work pretty hard now, and I am (mostly) convinced that the arrangement is labor-equitable. I don't mind bustin my butt, per se, but I WOULD mind busting my butt if he weren't putting in a lot of his own effort.
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Old 07-06-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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and finding a way to make it into spiritual practice I guess.
Curious if how intentional you're being about this. It's something I resonate with as well. Have you read The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris? The subtitle of the book is "Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work." It's a tiny little booklet, an essay really.
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:15 AM
 
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I think it depends on what you define as "taking care of the household".

If by that you mean doing all of the grunt work/housework, then no. DH and I believe that the family that lives in the house should share responsibility for taking care of it.

However, if by "taking care of the household" you mean taking on the organizational task of running things/events/appointments/making sure they get on the calendar/people have what they need available when they need it...yep, I do that. It's just easier for me to do that, since I'm generally the one who's most in contact with the teachers/classes/parents of friends, ect. And I've gotten better at it over the years.

Would DH do it if I asked him to? Yep. But I don't mind it, it's something I like to do for the family and him since A) I'm the most attuned to it, and B) it helps me keep in the rhythm of things.
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:59 AM
 
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Do I WANT all responsibility to be mine? NO WAY! Does it become all mine? YUP!! My husband works 60 hours a week so he doesn't have much opportunity to really help out but it does get to me sometimes. Im home taking care of 4 kids, cooking, and cleaning and all that stuff that you all know about so well too....and I dont get a second to breathe or even communicate with the outside world...and his job is to sit at a desk even though it is somewhat stressful but atleast he gets to socialize and laugh with people that are actually adults. He can come home feeling more refreshed with the energy still going so yeah..I'd love for him to come home and help me clean up the kitchen after dinner or take the garbage out without me asking. Sometimes I'd love to look at a clean house without being the one exausted from making it that clean house.
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:39 PM
 
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I don't want it to be my responsibility but it is. I despise cleaning and don't even care if our house is clean, but I feel an obligation to do it for some weird reason. DH only works about 30 hours a week and I feel like a parent asking a kid to do chores when I need him to do anything, even the most basic things. Where he works so little, I think it should be shared, especially now since I'm babysitting and often have a houseful of kids to take care of now.
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Old 07-07-2007, 01:11 PM
 
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Curious if how intentional you're being about this. It's something I resonate with as well. Have you read The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris? The subtitle of the book is "Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work." It's a tiny little booklet, an essay really.
I had just read a short book about Amish women that really gave me some insight into looking at it differently as well. We also have a book of translated Rumi about " work".
I am being very intentional about this. I am homeschooling the boys, so see this as being long term for now. I really need to come to a peaceful place with this. I don't want to look at it as somthing I dislike, or somthing I need to get done so I can get onto somthing else better...

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Old 07-07-2007, 02:37 PM
 
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I am 75% responsible and if dh is home, he pitches in as well. He is an excellent cook like myself and is also super handy. So right now along side his FT career, he is remodeling our home. The hard work and sacrifice we are doing at this time will pay off when our home is done in the next few months.

I do 90% of the shopping, 100% $$ issues although we discuss all purchases together since its our money. And it was when I was also an earner. I do 100% of the laundry, 50% of the cleaning, garden work, etc. If I wasnt here to run the house, it would not get done. I am just better at it and I am also the sah parent.

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Old 07-07-2007, 04:30 PM
 
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If I wasnt here to run the house, it would not get done. I am just better at it and I am also the sah parent.
This is how it is at my house, too. Dh would do what needed to be done RIGHT NOW, but he misses the whole planning ahead, making sure that the pantry is stocked, that there are clean clothes all the time, that we don't spend all our money as soon as we get it. That sort of thing.
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Old 07-07-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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My Responsibility? No. My Pleasure? Often
My responsibility? Yes. My pleasure? Never

I detest housekeeping. I don't like living in a dirty house, so I do it, but I hate every minute of it.

However my husband is in the navy and I don't really have an option. He works insane shifts and hours when he is home, and he is exhausted at the end of the day and needs to spend time with the bee (our DD). He does do the dishes almost every night as he has seen me crying over dishes before because I hate to do them so much (it goes back to a childhood abuse thing)
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Old 07-07-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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Nope. My husband's 9-5 job is to work for pay. Mine is child care. We split the housework and child care when he is home.
ditto.

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Old 07-07-2007, 05:15 PM
 
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My responsibility? Yes. My pleasure? Never

I detest housekeeping. I don't like living in a dirty house, so I do it, but I hate every minute of it.

However my husband is in the navy and I don't really have an option. He works insane shifts and hours when he is home, and he is exhausted at the end of the day and needs to spend time with the bee (our DD).
Yes, me too . Except my husband is not in the navy (he has a different job which has him working insane hours).
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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Yes but I pretty much took care of all of that before DS was born. Well we had a cleaning lady when we both WOH. But in the 4 years we were together before DS was born, I think DP did about 5 loads of laundry total. If I tell him I'm not cooking dinner his response is "Okay where do you want to go out to eat?"
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Old 07-07-2007, 06:45 PM
 
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This is how it is at my house, too. Dh would do what needed to be done RIGHT NOW, but he misses the whole planning ahead, making sure that the pantry is stocked, that there are clean clothes all the time, that we don't spend all our money as soon as we get it. That sort of thing.
I agree, for us I have A all done in order to get to B and then C. DH wants to go right to C and not worry about A or B getting done. I have to keep on top of things or everything would be in an uproar. But then again, as I said I am good at it and I take pleasure in running a tight ship in my house. Or as DH says, a well oiled machine. When we have crisises that hit such as our nicu stay last year, if I wasnt organized or keep things frugal and planned, our lives would have been an utter mess instead of keeping our life going on.

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Old 07-07-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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I guess so. I know that God has allowed me the ability to stay home as a wife first and now as a mother, and I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to be the one who creates and maintains the "home" that my husband works so hard to come home to, and that my daughter and future children will grow up in. I don't always enjoy it and feel burnt out sometimes, but overall I believe there is a lot of joy to be found in it. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned.

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Old 07-07-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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No I do not. DH thinks it is. Constant source of conflict.

Every person needs to assume some degree of responsibility for their living space and personal affairs. And if you are caring for children obviously they cannot do that for themselves so you have to take up that slack, partly or entirely depending on their age and abilities. And obviously someone who is away for many hours at work may also need their partner to pick up some slack. But the homemaker/household manager concept for women has carries a lot of bad mojo from the long history of patriarchal oppression. I feel that it implies that earning money excuses one partner from their normal adult responsibility for their own space, belongings, meals, clothes, personal tasks etc., and the other has to do it for him in exchange for the support of the income. Technically this makes you the person's paid servant. This is the classic unreconstructed feminist analysis of the situation. All my life, as the blissfully ignorant child of a single WOHM, I thought that analysis was extremist BS. Until I became a SAHM and started living it.

Of course a lot of this depends on the attitudes of the people involved. My husband is particularly unhelpful in this regard. He essentially agrees with the above analysis - he just thinks it's a good thing! If he were more egalitarian-minded I would extend myself more. But he's not, so I don't. Which means our house runs less well than it otherwise might. It's unfortunate, but it's the only way I can continue as a SAHM.

A more succinct way of saying all that is that SAH is something I do for my child, not for my spouse. And a toddler really gives a rat's patootie about household management.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:25 PM
 
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Actually, I feel that since I am the sahm who is actually at home so much more than DH, it is my responsibility to take care and maintain the household. I think its would be a little too much of me to demand that its DH's responsibility, or to insist on splitting half of all the maintanence (laundry, chore, cooking, grocery shopping, etc) with DH when its so much easier for me to do more than half. I feel that I should do what I can around the home in the day time when DH is not around.

Having said this, I feel strongly that any man who has a sahm for a wife should know how hard her work is, and that when he comes home from work, he should most definitely help her in every way possible. From the moment he steps home, the work should be split. Thats how it is over at our home.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:30 PM
 
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I am about to start working again next week, and I don't feel like it's my responsibility, but I like to take care of the household. I expect everyone to do certain things, like taking their own dishes to the kitchen, putting dirty laundry where it belongs, etc. to make my tasks easier. But even times where I feel like, I shouldn't do as much as I do, I really like to. I like taking care of my family. I also like being out earning an income, but I also like making dinner and keeping the house neat and making sure we have baked goodies. I keep thinking I am just some kind of weirdo though because I have a friend who keeps telling me I'm nuts and that DP should be responsible for himself.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:42 PM
 
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I'm one with a many-hours-working dh, so he doesn't really have the time to help with housework much. Most days he gets home just in time to eat a quick dinner and does bedtime for ds, and goes to sleep with him for the night.

It's been an evolving balance and ongoing tense discussion around here though... When ds1 was a baby, dh wasn't working a lot of hours, and ds1 was pretty high-needs. So I didn't have time to do much of anything during the day, and dh was around to help a lot. Now, ds2 is a much easier baby, and dh works long days. So I do accept responsibility for most (not *all*) home stuff. He's in charge of money/bills, and does some laundry, dishes sometimes.

BUT - DH is the persnickety clean/anal one, and I have more realistic/lower standards than he does. So even though I'm supposed to be managing most housework, and would love to be able to take pride in doing so, he constantly complains that it's not clean enough, or in the way he'd do it, etc. : So.... 2.5 years into my being SAHM, we're still a work in progress.
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Old 07-08-2007, 12:15 AM
 
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Nope. My husband's 9-5 job is to work for pay. Mine is child care. We split the housework and child care when he is home.
Ditto. My husband and I split the household things like cooking and we made the decision to hire someone to help out with cleaning every two weeks. We split the cleaning that needs to be done on a more frequent basis and we usually end up splitting laundry. We don't have any formal agreement as such- I guess it just works out that both of us chip in.

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