I am a stay-at-home mom… my third time around in that role. Unlike the first couple of times ~ a year after the birth of my daughter, and 12 years after the birth of my son ~ this time wasn’t voluntary. I went back to working in an office when my kids were teens, and after being at that particular job for about four years, I was laid off. That was more than 18 months ago.
When my kids were young, I could fill our days with trips to the park. I’d plan fun crafty activities, we’d build couch-cushion forts and have picnics in the living room, I’d hide little gifts for them and draw treasure maps… I was a fun mom.
Now, my oldest is weeks away from 22, and my baby just turned 18. Forts and Perler Beads just don’t entertain like they used to.
They have their own plans, I have my own pastimes…. and I have housework.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a terrible housekeeper. Any given morning you’ll find dirty dishes from last night’s dinner in the sink. Piles
mountains of clothes will stay unfolded on the couch for days. I rarely mop, and periodic dust bunnies will float to the floor from fuzz covered ceiling fans.
My house is lived-in. Even if I go on a manic tangent and clean from top to bottom, end to end, within half a day my house will look like it did before I started. I can say that my house is NOT filthy, it’s more accurately chaotically cluttered.
Saying all that, I still get apoplectic sometimes just thinking about how all of the chores inside the house (and a few outside) are by default entirely my job. Four people live in my house, four adults if we’re being precise.
Why should I be expected to be the only one washing clothes and dishes, vacuuming up pet hair from animals that are technically not even mine, caring for said pets, cooking all the meals, paying bills, mowing lawns, blah, blah, blah…
I give credit to my husband. He works very hard at his job. But it wouldn’t break him to scoop out the litter boxes on the weekends, or switch a load of wet clothes from the washer to the dryer in the mornings… or at least do it without acting like I’m a gulag commandant, or completely incompetent.
My kids know how to do dishes and laundry, but if I rely on them no one would have clean underwear and we’d eat off paper plates ad nauseam. Those pets? Yeah, they belong to kids who swore they’d take full responsibility for feeding and cleaning up after them…. lasted two days, tops!
If something doesn’t get cleaned, fed, or fixed, somehow it’s all my fault.
So you know I’m not a complete shrew, I do tell my husband ‘thank you’ all the time. I spread the appreciation around to my kids too. I’d just like to have a little gratitude back every so often.
When I’m being all introspective I tell myself it’s reasonable. I’m home all day, I should be in charge of the house. Hubs brings home the bacon, I fry it up in a pan. But, day-um it gets old after a while.
*Here I was just yesterday saying I wanted this space to be ‘brighter and hopeful.’ Eh, tomorrow. Tomorrow it’ll be back to unicorns and rainbows, today I’m gonna bitch.