This evening, for the first time in my relationship with Stewart, I felt guilty for not cleaning the house. In our New Normal, he leaves home every day, works long hours to make a living, and actively engages me and the children when he gets home at night. Meanwhile, I have a flexible work schedule so I can be with the kids during the day, feed everybody, and keep the house in order.
Today: check, check, check, and a big fat X. I worked, I picked up the kids, I packed snacks for the beach, but I didn’t do a lick of housework today, and it is sorely needed. I am reminded of this every time I set a bare foot on the floor, which is covered by a thin layer of sand. Not just one room of the house. All of them. We spend a lot of time at the beach, you see.
Sometimes, Something’s Gotta Give
In my defense, consider the following:
- We were away this weekend (in heaven, as it turns out, but that’s another story).
- I was slammed with Things To Do while the kids were at school. Things that make me money.
- It was 110+ degrees today.
- I spent the rest of the day entertaining the children, and making sure they didn’t melt.
- I am exhausted.
Clearly, The Paradigm Has Shifted
Once upon a time (3 months ago) I wouldn’t have thought twice about leaving the house unkempt. We all make the mess so we’re all responsible for it. It’s not an affront to my husband to skip the cleanup. Who am I, Mrs. Cleaver? No! This is a marriage of equals! That is a direct quote from our wedding vows, by the way. Equals!
I’ve come to realize that me being responsible for the housework doesn’t make me less than Stewart, any more than him doing the gardening makes him less than me. We are both smart, considerate, loving people. There are many jobs to be done, and so there is a finite division of labor. My tasks just happen to be the most immediate, the most lived-in, and the most noticeable when they are not done.
I’m Not Complaining
I’m a little bit surprised at myself. Once I realized that I was feeling guilty for letting the housework slide, instead of getting angry I simply…noticed it. My domestic evolution is an example of the choice of feminism, isn’t it? I had the option to fashion a career that I loved. I had the option of morphing that career once I started having children. And now I’m exercising that same wonderful option to be the captain of my home and my family. I’ve come a long way, baby.