Is housework part of the SAHM job description??? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i can't get over how many times i've been asked by my girlfriends (childless) AND other sahms about doing housework during the day. everyone seems to think that in addition to taking care of my child (nursing, changing dipes, feeding solids, rocking/walking/bouncing to sleep, play time, strolls around the neighborhood.... repeat repeat repeat repeat) i need to be keeping the house clean.

is it just me or is this absurd? i didn't sah just so i could clean the house every day. i stayed at home so i could take care of ds. why should i have to clean the freaking toilets just b/c i'm at home??

and although i know that babies are high maintenance (b/c they can't really do anything for themselves), if i stay home after for longer than a year (which i probably will) i still don't plan on cleaning the house while ds plays or naps or whatever. i plan on being with him, doing stuff with him, or heck, doing stuff for ME rather than cleaning the house.

part of it is that i HATE housework. just about the only thing i like to do is laundry (LOL great for us b/c we cd). and i'll clean up after ds has solids or i eat my meals. the rest of it? forget it.

i hope other mamas here with wrecked houses can back me up on this....
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#2 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 06:21 PM
 
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I agree completely! I sometimes feel guilty about my messy house (and sometimes it is truly messy), but I spend so much time with my son, and when he's napping I either nap, do work (for pay) or laundry. Rarely do I have time to sit and read a book or anything lazy when not watching him. I feel my job is taking care of him. Oh, by the way, as they get older it gets to be MORE work, not less! I have a toddler and I have to watch him much more closely now that he can get into things!
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#3 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 06:43 PM
 
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If it weren't for being able to pay somone to clean once every 2 weeks our house would be a wreck. I hate to clean too and other than picking up when I know someone's coming over or cleaning up after cooking I don't do anything. Luckily my dh completely understands and doesn't think it's "my job". He's been alone with the boys enough to understand how hard it is to clean when they're awake and how much you need a break when they're alseep .
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#4 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 06:48 PM
 
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I know my dh secretly thinks that cleaning is my "job". I disagree. I think that since I am more the cleaning person that I would clean even if I had a job outside the house. Therefore I don't clean during the day when I'm home with the kids. I think the kids are my job. We homeschool and are very busy with other things as well. My job is to take them to the library, music class, gymnastics, dance, etc and to PLAY with them! When dh is home and on the weekends I have him watch the kids and then I clean. If I can't get to stuff then I just don't do it!

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#5 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 07:02 PM
 
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my dh doesn't seem to expect me to clean the house, but then again, he doesn't come home from a long day at work and start vacuuming.
i do most of the cleaning, like ekblad on the wknds, b/c i'd rather clean than wrangle kids (not that i like cleaning, mind you, but trying to play w/ 2 kids at very different developmental stages gets exhausting by the end of the week and its nice to be off duty, even if i'm doing chores.)
i do do more housecleaning during my workday lately than i ever have before, and that's because i realized how much it got me down to live my days in the middle of constant chaos. so i started decluttering and trying to stay more on top of the messes, but i did it for me -- just to give myself a more pleasant environment to be in. i spend *so* much of my life at home or in the yard that i realized it was important to me to be uplifted by these surroundings. so, i also started using essential oils and a diffuser and i cut flowers from the gardens and bring them in and i try to remember to plug the fountain in on my little altar, all to improve the ambience. but i still blow off cleaning in those parts of the house that i don't spend much time in...
fwiw,
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#6 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 07:05 PM
 
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I feel the same way. Being a SAHM is about being a MUM and not so I can do all the housework.

My feeling is that either A) housework is divided equally between me and DH as if I were WOH or B) a cleaning lady should come.

We fluctuate between having a cleaning lady or sharing the work (we move alot, lol).

Now that we're into cloth diapering, I'm actually enjoying doing laundry (I know...it's a sickness, lol).

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#7 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 09:01 PM
 
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Wow --- just glad that I found thsi post. Several months ago, I posted about how much DH/DP helps with housework and most of the people who responded said they felt it was their job to do the housework. One person even went so far to say that if I was not keeping the house clean for my DH, then I was not doing my duty -- this person likes her DH to come home to a clean, nice smelling house so that he can relax. This board was fairly AP oriented, so I was surprised by he responses and wondered how these SAHMs found the time to interact with their children AND do housework (not to mention have time to post on-line). I do try and get some things done, but often find myself conflicted between housework and playing with the children. Of course, I try to involve the kids in housework, but this has limited success right now --- kids still pretty young. DH does not put pressure on me to do housework and says he'd rather come home to a messy house and know I've spent time with kids than a clean house where kids have been wanting for my attention. The only problem is that he isn't helping with housework as much as he used to. He is tired in the evenings and has been bringing work home with him, so our house is just not as kept as it used to be. DH does 95% of yard work, so I can't complain too much. He also does cat care on daily basis (feeding, litter) and does trash about 75% of the time. He bathes children and gets them in their pjs and then we each put one down to bed. I do dishes about 75% of time. We are always behind on laundry. Both of us hate the folding/hanging/putting away step to laundry. I have one room that is a true mess and has been for a month -- needs major organization (office stuff). I am behind on organizing pictures in albums. I got a sewing machine for mother's day last year and it is still sitting in the box untouched. I am six weeks pregnant and just utterly exhausted and sick in the late afternoons and evenings. I think DH is going to try to help a bit more -- like he used to help. All in all, it sort of works for us but we both feel overhwelmed with the housework. I'd rather feel this way than feel our children don't get attention they need...and right now my 3 year old needs me to tape his "Thomas" train picture together...so off I go!
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#8 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 09:30 PM
 
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I feel it is my job. Our house is not spotles mind you (I amsorry if this needs otbe spotless we need someone else to clean) but dh is rarely home and for the most part doesn't make the mess. It is also my childrens responsibility. So I guess we still do stuff together. How are they gonna learn how to clean a house if htey never see me doing it. Dh does pitch in because the rate of cleaning doesnot equal the rate of mess . And just for the record. even if I wasn't home the resposibility of cleaning wuld still fall to me.

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#9 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 09:56 PM
 
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I don't think it is part of the job BUT I do enjoy having a clean house. I would be annoyed if dh expected the house to be clean, but thankfully he does not and he does just as much around the house as I do.

On a side note (please note this is my personal belief), I do believe it is important for children to see us engaged in meaningful work. We tend to be more family centered, rather than child centered around here. I guess I don't feel comfortable just hanging out and playing all day. I get satisfaction from doing "chores" and it is a learning experience for the kiddos. We make chores fun! We do save the big stuff (cleaning the floors, bathroom, etc) for the weekend, when we can both blitz though it, but I would go crazy (and feel sooo overwhelmed) if I didn't do basic cleanup throughout the day.

That being said, QuinsMami, life with an infant is a whole different deal.
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#10 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 11:30 PM
 
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#11 of 102 Old 03-31-2003, 11:33 PM
 
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It is primarily my job, as is taking care of the kids, and preparing meals. However, when dh is off, he does housework and takes care of the kids. He primarily does the yardwork, but I sometimes do some of that, too. I primarily do the finances. He doesn't expect me to keep everything 100%- he used to be the primary housekeeper when we both worked. I do try to keep things neat, though.

We sort of fell into our roles, but I don't expect him to do anything and he doesn't expect me to things. We just usually do them. If I need help with something, I ask and he'll help and vice versa. It always works itself out. I'm pretty fortunate that way.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#12 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 01:27 AM
 
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I don't think it's part of the job. I think DH used to think so but he has changed his tune. I started filling in at my old job 4 hours at a time on the days when DH is home so he has learned what it's like to be a SAHD. Now he understands that after playing, bouncing, rocking, changing diapers and wiping up spit that once DD finally falls asleep the last thing I want to do is clean. I either want to sleep or do something for ME. If DD is fine on her own and I feel like I have time and energy to wash a few dishes then great but I don't stress about it. My sanity and DD's needs come way before a clean place.

I do try to straighten up every evening - just very quickly to get the big chunks and we do dishes every couple of days. The big things like scrubbing out the tub or washing the floor wait until he's home to watch DD and then I do it just because I care more than him if I bathe in a dirty tub not because either of us think it's my job.
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#13 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 01:40 AM
 
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Yes, being a SAHM also means keeping the house tidy. I don't keep it spotless, and sometimes I REALLY let it go. It is however in my job description. I get ZERO help with the house!

DH does do the yard work (mowing weedwacking and edging but no trimming bushes). Trimming bushes is also my job. Washing the cars and keeping them clean inside is also my job.

Cooking is also my job!
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#14 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 01:51 AM
 
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I don't consider cleaning house as soley my job, but it seems that DH does. DH is alway talking about how stressed I am, but I can't get him to see that if I just had to take care of Danielle, then there would be no stress. But because I have to take care of everything else, then I am stressed. Danielle doesn't take kindly to being put down, or having to sleep alone, so it makes every chore around the house a big deal. I keep dropping hints that he needs to help out more, but he seems to think that washing the car is a household chore! Hopefully I can get this straightened out before I go crazy!!

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#15 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 02:03 AM
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Oh, Jesse! I am sitting here with tears because I'm laughing so hard at your post! Hope you don't mind. But dang, it is hilarious - the liptstick, q tips, CDs, refolding the clothes. Too funny. In a tragically funny sort of way.

I also can relax when things are put away and clean. Whenever that lady is on Oprah - the organization lady who says 'a place for everything and everything in it's place', I drool with attraction for that kind of life.

The problem is I need someone to overhaul my place first to get me started.

I've done a bunch of decluttering and that's gone a long way toward tidiness on a daily basis.

My DH doesn't say the housework is my job but if I suddenly stopped, he would protest. We are considering hiring cleaning once I'm too pregnant to bend over and the baby is born. The older DS gets, the less I accomplish. With a newborn, I would be an idiot not to surrender that last bit!
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#16 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 02:14 AM
 
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Hi, I just mentioned this on another thread, but I have really been helped by Flylady (http://flylady.net)

I don't like housework either, but having a messy house just adds to my stress - and I want to ingrain neat habits in my kids so they don't have to struggle with it as adults as I did.

DH works hard so we can afford to have me stay home and I try to think of it as a Thank You gift to him to come home to a relatively clean house (not that I always manage it - I have an infant too.)

As Flylady says, it's all about babysteps. I set aside little chunks of 5 minutes at a time (and literally set the timer on my stove so I am free to quit when those minutes are up). You might be amazed at what you can accomplish in 5 minutes.

Boy, I'm just full of advice tonight.... Better quit rambling and go to bed.
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#17 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 02:19 AM
 
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I think it is part of my job to clean. Mind you, I do not do all of the housework but I do a good majority of it. The house is not spotless by no means, it is very lived in, especially since the living room is ds' main play area. I try to vaccuum 3 times a week, with spot dustbusting daily. I wash the dishes at least every other day and wipe down the counter tops every day. Big jobs or anything upstairs usually waits for dh's day off and we take turns cleaning whatever and watching ds. My place is pretty small but I try to keep it to where it would be presentable for company within 15 minutes. Just don't look in the bedrooms
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#18 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 02:49 AM
 
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I am just now starting to feel like I should clean during the day, and that's just because DS is crawling everywhere now and likes to put his hands on/under everything! Otherwise, DH and I share the cleaning, when it gets done.
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#19 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 03:39 AM
 
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My views on housework has changed a lot over the last 10 years. When we were first living together, we split all chores 50/50. When we had babies and toddlers who were nursing, DH would be the first to say that as a SAHM my "job" was to take care of the kids, and anything else that got done (including cooking) was extra.
When the kids weaned, and got older, DH's views on housework seemed to change. "Well, you're home all day- you have time to do the housework" is what he would say. And he began to expect a meal to be cooked. ("Well, you have to make something for yourself and the kids anyway") As first I was very rebellious and bitter about this change in attitude. Having a messy house didn't seem to bother him much, whereas it really bothered me a lot. I started doing the flylady thing to help me keep up with things, and gradually got myself into a cleaning routine. Now I realize that there are only 24 hours in the day- most of those my husband spends either at work, or sleeping. Keeping the house clean does take a certain amout of time each, and since I am here, it does naturally fall to me. Woudl I really want my husband to spend valuable family time or time for us as a couple scrubbing toilets? No way! I also want my children to learn what it takes to keep a house clean, and over time I expect to teach them exactly to do each chore, at an age appropriate time. As someone else mentioned, this is a more family centered approach. I too believe that it is important for the kids to see me engaged not only in things that I enjoy, but things that need to be done.
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#20 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 03:45 AM
 
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Uh, yeah. It's Stay At Home MOM not Stay At Home Housekeeper. Jeez. Dp helps me clean a bit, but mostly we live in mess and I'm the only one who complains. MIL got me a Supermom Tshirt when I was preggo and I wore it after Sephie was born and MIL noticed and said, "hey Supermom." I said, "I'm hardly Supermom, you should see my filthy house." MIL says, "You're not the house's mother." Sometimes I really love that woman.
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#21 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 04:38 AM
 
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Cloverlove, it's not just your personal belief Are you a continuum concept fan?

I also think that cleaning the house is not my job as the SAHM, but one of my jobs as a parent and a person in this house. I think everyone should be part of taking care of their house and that includes me, the SAHM. Since I am physically IN the house more than my dh, then I naturally do more than he does but he cleans a lot too when he is here. Ok, the baby is a little young (though he did help clean up blocks tonight ), but the 4 year old helps out in 4 year old appropriate ways. I also think it's my job as parent to model the behavior and show my kids how to do these things so they don't end up as clueless, floundering messes when they are adults with their own houses (like I was!!!).

I also get a bit put off when people imply that cleaning means you are neglecting your kids. How about involving your kids in the cleaning? The baby is with me 24/7. He's not in arms all the time anymore, but he's at least exploring in the same room as me and whatever I'm doing. The 4 year old comes and goes. She helps me clean or she sits and talks with me or plays near me while I clean, or she ignores me and goes in the other room, it's up to her. But they are involved in meaningful work as opposed to us just playing aaaaaaaaalllllll day long.

And yet we play a lot! And they get read to and we go places, but they are involved in the real work of life too. Yes, that means scrubbing toilets too (which, by the way, my four year old thinks is fun! ) I use homemade cleansers too (or even just water) so they can help without problems. Bridget loves to dust and "polish" and for some reason is just thrilled with the swiffer (as soon as the cleanser ran out, I refilled it with vinegar, water and mint oil).

I will also put in a plug for Flylady. It's helped me tremendously. I do not do her full tilt program but since I'm by nature a slob, her ideas and methods have really helped me out.

And of course, the definition of the word "clean" is relative : Maybe some of you would come over here and say "THIS is what she calls clean?" But I'm happy I grew up not inviting friends over because I was too embarrassed to have them see my house. I am happy to say I now live in a house that can accept guests without a panicked days long clean-up beforehand It's a wonderful feeling
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#22 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 05:54 AM
 
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I've had this discussion with my Dh. He agrees that once our child is here it is no longer my "job" to cook and clean. However, he also agrees that it wasn't fair when I worked 50+ hours a week and he worked 30- that I did 90% of the housework. But thats still what happened. He just doesn't really see the messes. When I made chore sheets he followed them, but I couldn't expect him to notice and take care of things that I saw and bugged me.

And now that I've been home for awhile the cleaning and cooking IS my job (without kids, if I'm not working, I don't think he should have to clean or cook). All I ask him to do is pick up his own messes (papers, garbage, things he drags out of the drawers and such), rinse his dishes and leave them in the sink, and take the garbage out for me when I leave it by the front door. Its still a hassle to get him to do all of that very reliably (unless I block the front door with the garbage bag) so I think once the kiddo arrives, its still going to fall on my shoulders, regardless.

I'm just glad he doesn't care if our house is spotless or a trashed out mess. Because once this baby arrives I highly doubt I'll be doing much besides taking care of them while we figure out breastfeeding and such.

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#23 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 10:50 AM
 
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I wish there was a button I could push and all the mess in my house would be sucked thru the floor But that is not likely to happen. My dh is very good about not saying anything if I get behind on house cleaning or laundry,. He does help alot he loads and unloads the dishwasher and if I ask him to do some housework he will, I just have to be the one to ask.He works full time and is starting his own buisness he is working very hard to balance being a dad first and then work and his new buisness, so I don't ask alot out of him when it comes to housework.
That being said I like my house clean I hate watching my kids have to step over toys to play, I don't like making them meals in a dirty kitchen so I do keep my house clean. Except on the weekends we have a no house cleaning rule on the weekends, I let it go I do not want the two days my family is together to be spent cleaning I start on Sunday night when the kids are in bed and spend about an hour on monday finishing. I have a small house I keep it very simple and do not have any knickknacks to dust, only one bathroom. It does not take me long to clean it I have a good routine. We ALL work to keep it kept up during the week every night we have a 5 minute clean-up race and spend that 5 minutes picking up the house, we put some fast music on and then slow it down when it is time for night time routines.
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#24 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 12:08 PM
 
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This used to be a recurring issue with us...until we came to a compromise that seems fair to both of us.
I feel like my job is staying home is to raise our children. To play with them, take them fun places, educate them , feed them, potty teach them, clean them, read to them, etc etc etc etc. My dh never said that he expected me to keep the house clean. However, he also never came home from work and cleaned a bathroom or threw in a load of laundry.
So, after me feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated for a while, we decided to do all of the house cleaning on Saturday or Sunday morning. It doesn't take too long working together, and our 3 yr old helps too. I agree that children should learn to clean up after themselves, but I also don't want my daughter growing up with a cut and dry idea of gender roles....mommies clean the house and do the laundry and daddies go to work all day. I want my children seeing that all of us take on many roles and that we work together as a team.
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#25 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 01:00 PM
 
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Well, in our house, I currently do all of the housework (ok almost all), and our house is pretty neat and clean most of the time.
Why is this?
Many reasons, first and foremost, I don't currently have a nursing baby, I have 2 toddlers who play really well together.
I also think that kids should be a part of cleaning, and both my kids enjoy cleaning, so I am spending all my time with them, and still getting housework done.
When I have a newborn, probably for the first 3-4 months, I don't do much housework at all, dh does it all. Also, if I am pregnant and have morning sickness, or am huge, he does it all.
I don't think it's "my job", but I do prefer to have the house clean, as I also grew up in a house I was embarrassed to bring friends home to.
I use to dread the doorbell ringing at my house (as an adult) b/c it was such a mess, now, I have the time/energy/will to keep it clean, so, I do. I did start out w/ flylady, and she helped a lot, I don't use her whole system, but she got me started.
I think that even if you hate housework, I don't really love it, it should be something you work on throughout the day with your kids, to teach them how to be a part of a family. We have certain cleaning things we do throughout the day, and when dh is home in the evening, we all do things. I'd say about 30-45 minutes spread out throughout the day, keeps our home acceptable.
Also, I never sit down to the computer that the house isn't tidy, it's a self-discipline thing for me.

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#26 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 01:14 PM
 
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Housework is the responsibility of every member of a family. My partner works all day. I work all day as a SAHM. We share the housework 50/50. I do whatever cleaning I can during the day, but neither of us sees it as my job. Thank god. That would be really frustrating for me. Jackson sees me do chores and 'helps' sometimes, and when he is old enough to have some responsibilities, he will have chores of his own!
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#27 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 01:16 PM
 
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I just wanted to address some of the continuum concept comments. I do think it's great to involve children in the daily chores, but personally I don't feel this is possible until the children are of a certain age. With an infant, it can be darn near impossible.

My baby did not like to be put down, and I didn't like putting her down. I was not going to do that all day so I could get household chores done. I strongly believe that these precious months of babyhood are a fleeting treasure that should be savoured. I have the rest of my life to clean the toilet, but my baby will only be a baby once.

And from a practical POV, doing most housework with a baby was physically impossible. Wearing her in my sling, I found there was no way to do laundry. We had a top loader and all that bending in and out was really disturbing to her. She'd cry whenever I tried to do laundry. Doing dishes was also next to impossible. And in those early months she often napped in my lap. If she wasn't, I was loathe to be far from her side.

Once my baby was able to sit up on her own, and amuse herself playing with her toys, it became easier. I can see as a toddler I will be able to do stuff with her around. I like the idea of CC very much, but for me personally, it is something to apply to older children. Right now she is cruising everywhere and getting into everything and my day is hardly spent "playing all day".

[i realize this sounds a bit defensive, sorry!]

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#28 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 01:47 PM
 
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My MIL is a neat freak so here is a poem I display after a bew baby is born.
BABIES DON'T KEEP
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
For babies grow up, we have learned to our sorrow
So, quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I'm rocking my baby cause babies don't keep.

Patty

:Patty :fireman Catholic, intactalactivist, co-sleeping, GDing, HSing, no-vax Mama to .........................:..........hale:
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#29 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 02:37 PM
 
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The way I see it, the SAH parent must take on some extra responsibility to manage the home economy. After all, it is this effort that enables one partner to SAH on a single wage.

As the wage-earner in my family, I must admit that I seethe with resentment when I come home and discover that dh has not lifted a finger towards any chores because he was busy playing with the baby. I'd like time to play with the baby myself instead of spending all my free time trying to control dirt. My part-time job keeps us in food and shelter but I really can't support the extra expense of paying someone else to do housework.

Anyhow, raising a child ought to be shared between parents, not designated as the sole responsibility of one SAH parent. The wage-earner is almost certainly contributing to the child-raising job, but a SAH who neglects housework is unfairly plopping an extra burden on the wage-earner job who helps with child-raising, goes to work and does chores.

I'm not saying that housekeeping has to be immacculate, but in my opinion, yes, housework is part of the SAHM or SAHD job description.

--AmyB
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#30 of 102 Old 04-01-2003, 02:40 PM
 
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to me. keeping the house ....pretty clean (not perfect) is a big part of motherhood and staying home too. unless you have a maid or something.

i think that children will be less sick in a clean environment and i also think that keeping things clean teaches them to be orgainized. i also don't see why someoen that works full time should come home to a mess.

NOT that I think it should be the main focus! but , i try to put a lot of housework into "teaching" category...teach him to sort...teach him to like things in order.

But, I guess if your partner doesn't mind...and you don't mind....it really isnt' anyone's business to tell you how to run your house.
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