Well I have been away for ages. I have been meaning to come back, and have tried to (a number of times) but life got in the way, well life and a desire to sleep a lot. Today I feel I need to write, to blog, to let things go. There is so much I want to get out that I don’t know where I should start.
Perhaps if I begin with why I am writing this blog. I blog here as a way to escape, to say things that I need to say and ideally be able to do so without offending anyone. I enjoy knowing that one or two people drop by to see what I have been doing. I especially love reading comments from other people sharing their experiences.
Like a gazillion other bloggers, this is a way to to vent daily frustrations without venting at the real people near and dear to us. It is a way to receive advice and suggestions or even just some moral support, a virtual hug or even a pat on the back.
It is not a totally true account of my life. Many things I don’t want to share with the world, other things are just too mundane to even want to share. The every day occurrences I blog elsewhere.
Really, I guess this space is a way for me to bitch about all that bugs me, as well as a place to celebrate all that is fantastic. Now don’t get me wrong, there is so much in my life now that is fantastic, I just don’t have the compulsion to write it all down, to get rid of it so to speak. The things that aren’t quite right are the things I NEED to share. I NEED to get rid of ickyness that begins to sour all that is good.
So all that being said, here is things that make me go GRRRRRR! number 1 – division of labour.
Here comes the first installment of what may be termed as ‘mother-guilt’ and the impact it has on my actions. I have been married for just over 9 years but in this relationship for 15 years. Most of this time has been wonderful. When we were first living together, all those years ago, I was the student living on a few dollars a week but still able to pay bills on time, eat as well as can be expected (for a student), go out and have fun and even occasionally save some money for luxuries. He was also a student, but one that was required to attend few lectures or classes allowing time for a part-time (almost full-time) job earning money, lots of money and receiving great benefits. I had too many contact hours to even allow for thinking about employment, yet I was the one who made sure we had money for food, bills and other things students require (drinking money).
In those days of shared living, I was the one who taught him how to look after himself. I was his partner and not his mother, I was not responsible for his lack of clean clothing but I could teach him how to do a load of washing. It didn’t take long before he was well trained in the ways of shared house living, you know sharing – even sharing the chores that required being done.
We eventually outgrew being students and shared living and got real-ish jobs and our own place to rent. The division of labour was fairly even. We both cooked, we both did the washing, we both cleaned the house together every weekend and we both hated cleaning bathrooms . We had differing timing, I insisted on having a clean house to start the weekend so we could then relax and enjoy, he didn’t really care when we cleaned as long as I just shut the hell up about it it happened.
Next we graduated from renting to owning and with it came our very own house, and a nice little amount of extra work in the way of renovating. Again the division of labour was even – I was just as handy with a power tool and sledge hammer.
Before the renovations were even close to finished, along came boy-child and with that maternity leave. I logically thought that there was no point in both of us being tired (boy-chid was kind of ordinary at sleeping) so I did the night shift. I also did the bulk of the cooking and cleaning as I was at home. I didn’t have to do them, but I didn’t like living in a sty (apparently now I am accustomed to living in mess) and I get bored easily so I would clean up anyway. We then lived overseas for a time and I had no work options so being domestic filled in my hours when boy-chid slept (of course by now he was a marathon day sleeper).
After a year of leave, we moved back home and it was time for me to go back to work. I still remember being asked if I was looking forward to getting back to work. Of course I was, but I wasn’t looking forward to working 2 full time jobs – mother/partner/domestic work and work work.
No sooner was I back at work when I fell pregnant again. During this time, the division of labour evened out. We were both working full time although I had quite a lot of time off with pre-natal appointments, finishing the renovations so we would have room for the arrival of girl-child, oh and boy-child having pneumonia!
Eventually and exhaustedly, the house was finished and sold, we found this house, bought it and moved in just in time for the arrival of girl-child a month later. Again, I was the stay-at-home parent and fell into the domestic routine before going back to work part time.
This coincided with man-child working overseas and I became a temporary single parent for 50% (or more if you count the useless abilities of a severely jet lagged man). When I was single parenting, I knew what I had to do and got things done. The only problem is, things never really changed. I still get more done and have more down time when I do things myself. I have dug myself a gigantic domestic hole and can’t get out of it.
Take today for instance. Kids both wake around 7. I wander down and help them get their breakfast. As they eat I make lunches for the day, pack a snack bag for dance class, get their clothes ready (school/kinder and dance clothes), do girl-childs hair in tight braids (nits are back at school and I really don’t want to add repeated hair washing to the daily routines), listen to boy-childs reader make sure that they brush their teeth and then bid farewell to girl-child at 7.45 when she gets collected for daycare (girl-child goes taken to day care by a friend and I take her daughter to school).
Around that time, man-child wanders down stairs, mumbles incoherently and goes to work. I continue getting ready; hang out a load of washing, tidy up breakfast mess, run through the shower and take boy-child and his friend to school and head to work hoping traffic will be OK as I really don’t have the time to be late. I eat a banana on the way as I didn’t have time for a real breakfast.
Work flat out all day, only taking time to support my little sister at an appointment she shouldn’t have to go to alone (but more on that at another time perhaps) instead of having a lunch break. Then it is off to collect the kids from school and kinder to take them to dance class. As they are in class I am in the foyer waiting and still working.
Eventually it is home time. Offer to pick man-child up from the train station but he is almost home. Get home and make a delicious dinner for the kids and another fruit salad for them to snack on. I am feeling tired, so instead of a shower we all jump into the hot tub for a few minutes of almost relaxation.
We get out. I get the kids into their pjs, ensure they brush their teeth, read them their bedtime books, have a chat about the days adventures and then tuck them into bed.
So that is pretty much my day from 7am until 7.30pm. Then I come downstairs finish clearing away the kids dinner mess, feed the cat, bring in a load of washing and hang out another.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have had a good day. The kids have been fun, they have listened and been responsive. Work was busy but the company of my colleagues was enjoyable. Even chatting whilst working in the foyer at dancing was tolerable. It wasn’t until I actually thought about what I really did today, and most other days, that I got annoyed.
So what does ones ‘partner’ do for the day? Here is a quick summary of the bits I am privy to… Get up after everyone else, shower, dress, wander downstairs, say goodbye and go to work – interact with family for 5.6 seconds. When returning home from work, surf the net a little, chat to the kids, snack on some delicious fruit salad, have a hot tub and then play online poker to fill in time before basketball! Total family interaction for the day 14.8 seconds.
So tell me, where the hell did I go wrong? I really don’t want to be the nagging wife, but how else can I get the division of labour to even out just a little. As well as not wanting to be the nagging wife, I don’t want to be the grumpy parent, the one who says ‘no’, the one that is no fun. Argh – HELP! The scary part is, although man-child does little around the house, he is fantastic when he does spend real time with the kids and he does a hell of a lot more than other partners I know. What is wrong with this picture? Am I too demanding? Do I expect too much? Is it simply the fact that I don’t work work full time that I should have time to do everything else? Or should I just cut myself some slack, resign myself to the fact the house will never be totally cleaned and organised and I will never feel on top of it all? Perhaps I should just grab a glass of wine and chill out before I recognise that there is birthday party residue that needs to be cleared away!