Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's My Job Description?

Here's a question for any stay at home moms out there:  How much help do you get from your partner?  I know Brendan is a great help and is always willing to help, but I feel like his job is going to work and making the money and my job is everything else.  And it's never ending.

My days start at 4am, when Otis wakes up for his first nursing of the day.  Back to sleep until 6ish when Ingrid gets up.  Coffee, breakfast, clean up the kitchen from Brendan's hasty rush out the door, clean up the living room from Brendan being up later than me and leaving mugs/blankets/laptops all over the place.  I deal with Ingrid, then I deal with Otis, then I maybe deal with myself.  Maybe.  The laundry gets done, the groceries are purchased, the meals planned, the floors swept, the baby worn so he naps, the kids fed, the cat box cleaned, the bills payed.  Then it's dinner, bedtime for Ingrid (which has recently become a knock down, drag out brawl every night...and can only be done by Mama) a brief pause when Otis is happy and will be content with Brendan, and then bedtime for Otis at 9pm, also done by Mama.  And then I pass out. 

I'm not complaining about my job, because I love it.  I love being home, not having to bring the kids to daycare, being able to go for long walks to the park, staying in my pjs until 10am.  But I could still use some help.  Like I said, the mister is willing to help but doesn't do it on his own usually.  I can ask for help and get it, but for example, I never come home to a fresh load of laundry all nicely folded, or a swept floor or cleaned kitchen.  And his excuse is "I had both kids."  It is SO frustrating.

He works hard, he has stress at his job and worries about providing for us, and I appreciate that.  But I don't get paid and my job goes for way longer than 9 hours a day.  And I work weekends and holidays.  And Mama is tired!  I just want help.  I have thought about hiring someone to come in and clean once every two weeks or so--but that's ridiculous!  We should be able to get things done around here as a team and I feel like I'm alone in everything house related.  Like that's my job as a SAHM, and I should just deal with it. 

Anyway, any tips on getting the help without it becoming a huge deal?  Without fighting or arguing all the time?  Much appreciated, thanks ladies!


Mommy, Papa and the 'Nuts said...

I hear ya, loud and clear and often feel exactly the same...what am I talking about? I ALWAYS feel the same and Fabio DOES help. Fact is, this is a hard job. WAY harder then going to work, which I now count car-time relaxation/break time, and LEAVING your work AT work.

The ONLY thing I've come up with with a tight budget is either hiring a cleaning service for once every two weeks...which anyway doesn't take care of the everyday messes... OR (better!) hiring a Mommy's helper. Especially with summer break coming up for all the 10-12 year olds. I'm sure one of your friends has a friend with an older kid. The brilliance of the age is that they WANT to just PLAY with the kids. Even if its only when Otis is napping or even when he is awake and you can just tidy up and not worry about "snack, potty, cartoon, game MOMMY!". It would be WELL worth the (little) money spent. Someone told me they paid a young girl $5 an hour! Not that I'm into child-labor...but thats hella cheap!

MaryAnne said...

Sounds like our house. I wish I had advice. I will say getting a 10-13yo who will just come and play with the kids does help, a lot. My youngest sister used to come stay with us in the summer, and just having her play with the kids an hour or so every day while Mike was at work was incredibly liberating/relaxing/rejuvenating.

I have started sending Mike off with the kids for a couple hours every Saturday. I usually spend the time cleaning, which is sort of lame, but it still gives me a break - and a headstart on the week. Things are also getting better now that Emma is old enough to help with a few more household chores!

Fiona said...

Oh Amber, this is such a difficult time, and believe me when I say it does get better (and easier). I too remember so well the feeling of being the unpaid slave to lots of people.

I have found it is best to be non confrontational.
Me: DH, The kids are driving me mad. They leave their stuff lying around everywhere, the house looks like a bomb site, and I feel all I ever do is run along and pick up behind them.

DH: How awful. It is pretty messy around here, and you shouldn't have to do all the work.

Me: I know they are small, but I think we need to start introducing a few rules.

DH: Absolutely, after all this isn't a hotel.

Me: Does it sound too harsh if I occasionally go around and put all the stuff they leave lying around in a large black sack? They can have it back - maybe after a week?

DH: Sounds fair to me.

ME: And maybe they could start clearing away a few dishes, and bring them to the kitchen?

DH: Good idea.

So after this conversation I would throw all the stuff he leaves lying in the living room into a bin bag, and the mess he leaves in the kitchen gets dumped in his half of the bed/on his desk/ in his briefcase.

Seriously, husbands can be quite fast learners when given clear instructions.

Anna said...

I completely feel your pain. What worked for me was just sitting my husband down and explaining how I was feeling. Then we sat down and made a list of "chores" he could do consistently that would really reduce my stress levels. It is still hard for me to let go when he gets lax about his jobs, but it definitely makes me a feel a little better that I don't have to do it all.
This is something a friend wrote out about an analogy she used for her husband who wasn't getting it:
I asked my husband this last night (he's an electrical contractor): What if, before you even got your underwear on in the morning, you started doing electrical work? You did electrical work all day non stop. You kept doing electrical work while you ate, when you went to the bathroom, while on the phone, and while driving. Then you came home and just kept doing electrical work right through dinner. You went to the gym, checked your email, maybe even tried to have a conversation with a friend but electrical work just kept popping up everywhere and you HAD to do it. You went to bed late but still got up 2-3 times in the night to do more electrical work. Every second of every day and night was consumed with electrical work and electrical thoughts and worries. Would you get crabby? He gave the right answer ;) Good thing there are so many cool things about being a mom too! I love my bubbies ( and my hubby)!

It really does a good job of summing it up for them :)