Retrospective on Labor

When you wake up to cranky babies, a filthy house, laundry piled to the ceiling, and the knowledge that your entire day will be played out entirely in the confines of the walls of your home... and may not include any conversations with adults; watching the husband waltz out the door as the kids scream that they spilled their milk on the floor can border on murderous jealousy, yes?

I often hear the thoughts swirling in my head: He gets to be apart of the outside world for eight (plus) hours! He'll get to carry on adult conversations! He won't watch Sesame Street at all today! He'll come home to find a meal, and his clothes that were on the floor, hung in the closet- like magic! He'll get to whisk in at the "fun" bath time with pleasant children and tuck them in... then just chill on the couch!

I have been reading this couple's experience switching roles for two weeks and daydreaming about the possibilities. But there are kinks and inconsistencies between what they managed to pull off and our own little reality.

It may be a good thing that husband works a physically demanding job. I could pretty much do anything... except manual labor. There would be no way on this planet I could even pretend to do his job. And I wouldn't want to- especially in the unbearable summer heat that seems to last the majority of the year. So, this probably keeps me from stomping my feet like a child and demanding that we do this little experiment ourselves.

But I often wonder how the hubs would fare in my world. I am fairly confident the husband is oblivious to the inner workings of keeping a household running. (and clean for that matter) I'm pretty sure his cleanliness standards border on the hobo model of housekeeping. He can keep things afloat for a weekend, (we've tested that theory- but the girls still got by on french fries and chicken nuggets) but the long-term brings some serious questions.

Looking at a few of these evaluations and division of labor charts, I found that I'm pretty much doing everything. I'm sure there are probably some things I don't give the husband credit for, but I can't be overlooking this vast expanse of household inequality. (right, pregnancy brain?)
So I thought of what I could delegate out... and came up with nada, a big huge pile of nothing. Perhaps the reason that I'm the ship's captain around here is my need for control and my feeling of above-average competency at these things? Well, maybe. But that makes me feel like crap again.

Besides, could I really find a job (especially in this economy) that would support our family, have super-shiny health benefits, and provide for everyone on my art degree? Not to mention leave my kids for most of the day? (perhaps just on the days that started off with two time outs before 7:30)

So maybe this system works after all. (as I remember that I have three loads of laundry to fold, and that the girls are starting to demand lunch in harsher tones) Ok, fine... back to the salt mines it is.


  1. Can I just say that I totally feel like this sometimes. And I only have one kid. Now that we're in with the in-laws I don't have cleaning or much cooking to do so it's helped a little. But for me, I couldn't trade a week or so because I not only couldn't even sort of do his job well without dying, but I'd be stressing all day about how my house is surely falling apart while I'm away.
    Ha, I love you. We are one in the same!

  2. Thank you for saying everything I needed to get off my chest. I feel much better now.