Have you ever heard this and just wanted to strangle the person?
I know, I know, until just recently, I was in the same boat as “that person”. While I knew that stay at-home spouses did a lot of the work, it wasn’t until I became one that my husband and I realized how much work it really is!
Now that I’m not working for a paycheck (note the semantics people!), I find myself taking on more chores and tasks that normally we would have split up – or just not do as frequently.
However, now that I have an ‘extra’ 40 hours, the tasks just pile up!
When I was working for paycheck, we used to only lightly clean the house once a week (do laundry, dishes, take out trash & recycling, empty roombas every day, kitty liter 3 times a week), and every other week (wipe sinks & counters, swish toilets). This ‘spot cleaning’ was justified because on the opposite week, we would pay to have someone come in and do a deep-clean (wipe sinks & counters, swish toilets, vacuum floors and furniture, sweep, mop, floorboards, dust everything, mirrors, microwave, fridge, stovetop & burner pans, etc). It was such a nice splurge and I highly recommend it if you can afford it. The companies have all sorts of levels and frequencies; they even do one-time deals. My one recommendation is to make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured. It forces you to pick up your stuff (so they can clean that surface) and was such a feeling of relief to come in and know that your home was clean. (For some reason, I, not my husband, felt guilty if people came over and our house wasn’t really clean -even though he helped to make half that mess! Stupid social conditioning.)
Now that I am not working for a paycheck, I’m doing all of the above, but trying to do it every week – in little bits every day. After all, that’s what’s expected of us women stay-at-homes, right? A clean house, folded laundry, and dinner on the table every night?
After speaking with my eldest cousin over the weekend (also a fab female currently rockin the ‘stay-at-home’ thing whilst looking for work), I am wondering why I am trying so hard. The house was fine with the ‘every other week’ method. Why isn’t it fine now?
Why can’t I go window shopping on my lunch break or take half a day to read and answer emails like I used to? Maybe I don’t want to work on the bathrooms today and really feel like unpacking our last book box and organizing our library instead? They both need doing, after all.
I am slowly realizing that the beauty of being a stay-at-home spouse is that I am the boss of my own unique business. Sure, I have responsibilities, but I also make the schedule. So maybe the house isn’t immaculate, but is the ‘lunch food’ good, are the ‘planning & develop’ conversations lively, and are the ’employees’ happy? Sounds like a well-run business to me!
And maybe I’ll start responding back to folks: “Not having to work? Come on, you know me better than that! I can’t go for a minute without jumping on some kind of task. But, come to think of it, I have learned an important mindset in these last few months.”
Learn to be your own boss of You and be accountable to that first. It’s amazing how being accountable to yourself first will really help you feel At-Home with who you are and erase that ‘guilt’ society feeds us for not being the stereotype they expect.
Learning to be accountable to yourself first is something I think everyone should learn how to do; I’m excited that I am finally learning how.
What about you? Have you ever had folks make assumptions about your job and/or place in society? How did it make you feel? How did you respond?