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

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Old 04-07-2003, 11:57 PM
 
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Thanks mothersong!

That same issue has been nagging me regarding this thread- I just couldn't articulate it as well as you.

If dh was hands-off then I would probably have a whole different perspective. But b/c he spends so much time with the kiddos and doesn't get all the breaks I do during the day, I like to have the place tidied-up when he gets home. Believe me, I never thought I would be this person! But I really don't feel like a sellout to my feminist ideals. We both work hard and we are a great team.

We are in the process of role reversal- I'm going back to work and he's gonna be the homeschooling papa! I'm sure he'll have the place pretty clean, but I'll still be the laundry goddess!
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Old 04-08-2003, 12:30 AM
 
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I can't beleive how long this thread got. it is so intersting to read all the different views and see we all want the same things strong bonds with our famalies and happy homes

As far as the points being made about the dads helping out, my dh does help he gives the kids their baths gets their p.j.s on and reads to them and tucks them in along with helping our dd set the table. He helps dd with homework plays with our ds while I get dinner ready and either helps clean up and I finish while he plays with the kids. It serves both peoples interst this way dh gets bonding time while taking some of the workload off me. I don't think my dh helping with housework means he has to do laundry or clean the bathroom just set a good examble for our children by picking up after himself and lending a hand with dinner and clean up. We do yard work as a family, but it is easier for me to just do the majority of the house work. I don't have spotless windows you could probally find a couple of cobwebs on my walls and some dust bunnies under the couch but my house is tidy enough for drop in company which we get alot of: and safe for my children. I have to really try and not stress over how clean my house is not I can get swept up in the cleaning of it, I think for me it is an escape. I really do love it when my house is clean but my kids have to come first my house will be in need of cleaning forever my kids will be little for just so long
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Old 04-08-2003, 02:09 AM
 
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I was thinking of this thread today! Dh came home unexpectedly (thank you nasty weather!!! ). We ate dinner and he was going to shovel but instead, I handed him the baby and I did it. Then, with him still playing with kids, I washed the dishes and did laundry. So I guess it looks like I did all the "work" and he did nothing but play with the kids tonight (and I don't mean anything lame like him watching the tube and saying "uh huh" while dd gabs - they actually got on the computer and made a map of the house with visio and then played pirates and buried treasure under the chairs!).

So I started thinking about "fair" division of labor. We all agree that watching kids is work. So why isn't it work when the WOH parent does it? If watching kids is work and housework is work, then we both worked tonight, we just did different work.

And as much as I love and adore my kids and love staying home with them, I have to say 20 minutes shoveling snow in peace and quiet by myself was niiiiiiiiiiiiice
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Old 04-08-2003, 10:56 PM
 
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I guess I figured it to be part of the deal. Me being home is my contribution to the family and if I can juggle my baby and the housework then when dh gets home we get family time without being hindered by a long "gotta get done" list. I'm not great at the juggle act yet, but I hope to improve as time progresses and eventually strike harmony between motherhood and house duties. I can't wait till my dd can share in the joys of house cleaning (I enjoy a clean house) and learn how to help in ways that are fun .
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Old 04-09-2003, 11:14 AM
 
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I very happily keep our house clean and prepare dh's meals. He has a very tuff job (not that being a mother is EASY - cause it is probably the most demanding and rewarding job on the planet) and I don't expect him to come home after 12 sometimes 16 hours of work and clean house. He comes home, eats and then spends as much time with the kids as he can before he drops into bed exhausted. I also don't ask him to get up with Kaeleb in the middle of the night (during the week). He is the bread winner and his job requires that he drive all day. I would much rather take a nap during the day (if I am tired from being up the night before) than him have an accident (from being too tired from being up the night before).

That being said...weekends are an entire different matter. Not only do I expect him to help with the kids, but also the housework and the yard....hey, I gotta have a break too!!!
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Old 04-09-2003, 01:12 PM
 
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If it's good for kids to see their moms doing work around the house (the whole continuum concept thing), why isn't it ok for them to see their dads doing housework, too? Why is it more important for them to have time just playing with Dad when he gets home instead of time together making dinner, setting the table, working in the yard or whatever?

Last night when my partner came home, he and Jackson went outside to water the new grass seed we planted over the weekend. Then, they pulled a few weeds. Then Daddy made dinner while Jack and I played in the kitchen and kept him company. My partner would prefer time like this than time just 'playing', but that's just us.

Can we just agree that we all do what works best for our families? And that if we are doing what works best for our families nobody is being neglected or short-changed or over-worked?
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Old 04-09-2003, 03:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by tara
Can we just agree that we all do what works best for our families? And that if we are doing what works best for our families nobody is being neglected or short-changed or over-worked?
I just want to say that I thought that was what we were doing. I certainly don't mean that because my family does things a certain way that every family should do them that way.

The question was asked and the opinions given. No dictates here.

And to answer your question, in the course of living life, my children do see their father doing things around the house. He cleans up the bathroom after he gives them a bath, he helps clean up the kitchen lots of nights. He always helps them pick up their own things before bed. As I said before, I have a grown dd who is 24, and two teenage daughters, besides my littler guys. Not one of those older girls thinks only women should clean, nor that daddies only "play.

Still, we both want him to have one on one time with them without having his attention divided. That doesn't always mean "play" in our definition. He reads to them, he talks to them, he helps with homework, and sometimes they help him do things. Lots of times they do "play" I guess, if reading and computer games are play. But he can't spend that time one on one relating to them on their level while he's mopping.

When I clean, the kids are around, sometimes talking, sometimes helping, sometimes playing on their own. During the day I make sure I spend time focusing on each of them, reading a book, playing tea party or pretend, or just cuddling. DH just doesn't have enough hours at night to do both cleaning and cuddling, and cuddling comes first for our family.

Again, this is our family. No soapboxing here. Every family is different.

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible---St. Francis of Assisi
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Old 04-09-2003, 03:22 PM
 
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If I were a SAHM, I would absolutely consider the housework as part of my job. Dh is a teacher and is home during the summer and on school vacations. I won't say he gets a ton of housework done, but he does make an effort, and he gets dinner started.

My feeling is that we both have an obligation to contribute at least 40 hours a week to the running of the family, whether that be through working outside the home or otherwise. I, personally, don't think that I'd be living up to my part of the deal if I were spending the entire time playing with the kids. This is my opinon about my family--I'm not saying anything about anybody else's family.

When I am home during the day with the kids I do try to get some housework done. I try to find ways to have them entertain themselves for some of the time. Of course, I never get done anywhere near as much as I plan to do...

I have a SIL who really does think that her job is to play with the kids all day and not do any housework at all. Her house is filthy beyond belief--not just messy, but unspeakably dirty. They are quite well to do. Her dh has tried to hire cleaning help for her many times but they won't come back after the first time. He works very long hours and doesn't clean either. If it works for them, that's fine with me, but I couldn't live like that.
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Old 04-09-2003, 04:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by mothersong
When I clean, the kids are around, sometimes talking, sometimes helping, sometimes playing on their own. During the day I make sure I spend time focusing on each of them, reading a book, playing tea party or pretend, or just cuddling. DH just doesn't have enough hours at night to do both cleaning and cuddling, and cuddling comes first for our family.
This is what I think too. As the SAHP I am with my kids 24/7. I don't need (nor do I believe it would be good!) to spend every minute focused on the kids. We get quality *and* quantity time. Because I'm with them all day, we have plenty of time for cuddles, reading, computer games, playing AND cooking, sweeping, vacuuming, grocery shopping, etc. During the week, dh just doesn't get a lot of time with them so he has to focus on quality. For the few hours he is home and awake each night I would rather he actually does kid things they want to do and give them focused attention.

When he does do housework it's on the weekends and even then Bridget usually helps him. I also agree kids need to see their PARENTS keep house, not just the SAHP. But I want my kids to grow up learning how to keep house too and for me, that means I want to teach them to do daily maintenence. Because of that I'm not willing to put it off til the weekends just so dh will be here. Anyway, IMO there is always *something* to be done around this old place, I don't have to put off chores just to find something for dh to do :LOL (I wish!!!) This weekend the plan is to clean the garage and do yardwork (if the weather cooperates). And, as usual, dh will do a lot of cooking on the weekend just because he's good at it

I also think that we're just sharing ideas here! I hope no one is getting offended. I also don't mean to tell anyone what to do, but I am sharing my opinions as asked, that's all
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Old 04-09-2003, 04:53 PM
 
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I do just have to add something! All of this is out the window when I have an infant : I have only started keeping up on the house since my baby started crawling. Now he's walking so he enjoys walking around the house after his sister a lot! But when I have a newborn or non-mobile infant, I just let the place go.
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Old 04-09-2003, 08:02 PM
 
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I just want to say that I thought that was what we were doing. I certainly don't mean that because my family does things a certain way that every family should do them that way.

The question was asked and the opinions given. No dictates here.
I don't think anyone has dictated, but I've seen a lot of inference here that if we split housework 50/50, either we are taking advantage of our spouses by playing all day when we could be cleaning (yes, even though we have repeated ad nauseum that we're not playing all day I've still read that!) or the WOHP isn't getting 'quality' time with the children because s/he has to come home and clean. Or, the children aren't getting an opportunity to learn about housekeeping skills.

And, I suppose that those of you who do most or all of the housekeeping might feel that assumptions have been made about your household, too (like that you aren't spending enough time playing, or that you aren't expecting enough of your partner, or maybe even that you aren't liberated enough)!

So, my point was that if we have agreements about household chores that work for our families, that's all that counts. Nobody is getting short-changed or over-worked if they have happily agreed to do it.
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Old 04-11-2003, 03:25 AM
 
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I guess it all depends:

Who likes to do which chores?
How many hours does each parent work outside the home?
How old are the kids?
What are your standards of "clean"?

Right now I'm an at home parent to a 3 year old and I'm 8 months pregnant. I am doing most of the cooking and cleaning, my husband does the finances (I did them for 6 years and hated doing it) and does major projects around the house (pulling carpet, installing the new computer, painting). I really hate this gender role division of labor - but it actually sort of came because I was sick of doing the finances and I can't do major home repairs. And I am at home and can do laundry, cooking, shopping, cleaning...

My major complaint right now is that I tend to do all of the routine, thankless jobs (pick up crap, cook, do dishes) and my husband does the jobs that don't take as much time but have great "accomplishment value". For instance, this evening I made dinner and did the dishes. Including eating, this was a 2 hour project. And my husband actually DID thank me.

But my husband installed some new software on the computer - it took him 15 minutes and he was SO pleased with himself. He also does major projects on the weekend and gets such a rush. "Look - I painted this room!" And I fuss about what a great job he did. But I don't feel a rush of accomlishment about doing laundry. I felt that what I do is so mundane and I felt no real sense of accomplishment and it just needs to be done again tomorrow. Ugh.

I worked full time outside of the house until our first child was 2 years old and I was nursing all night and pumping by day. My husband and I definately shared housework more then - but we also never had time to do special projects and now we are finally getting things done that we have wanted to do. Right now I'm glad to be at home, but I do hate the tediousness of daily chores.

I understand what Ocean wrote - a parent who is bringing the income into the household and is away from a child NEEDS time with the child. If my husband were the at home parent I would be VERY RESENTFUL if he didn't manage to keep the house at some minimal level of acceptable. So, from that perspective I see it as the at home parent's responsibiltiy to manage day to day household chores. But do I enjoy it? Not really...

Tonight I was angry that I was cooking and cleaning and not feeling that I was accomplishing much. I left bath, pjs, etc to my husband and went to the store by myself. Sometimes just doing an errand or household task ALONE is all that I request. I have asked my husband to take our 3 year old out someplace so that I can wash the floor or something and that strikes me as a bit bizarre - but that way I get something accomplished (and get some alone time) and they get time together. So, I guess it works for us.

For us, I know it won't be this way forever. In a few months I will have a newborn and I won't do much cooking or cleaning. When we have older kids they will be expected to contribute at an age appropriate level (well, the 3 year old already does). When I go back to school or work I think I will consider hiring cleaning help... but for now I do most of the daily routine tasks. Ugh. Anybody have ideas to make those routine chores less boring and more fulfilling??? That is what I would like to know...

Kathleen
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