How many moms feel overwhelmed and stretched to their limits? I hear this from families over and over:
- I just want to run away.
- He doesn’t help me at all – I have to do everything around here!
- I am sick of being the maid.
- I just want to shower/go to the grocery store/sleep in alone.”
This happens to first time moms, poor moms, rich moms, stay at home moms, work at home moms. How many of you reading this have had this conversation with your family or friends or stayed up arguing with your partner over the trash not being taken out or the dishes not being done? You do hold the key to a solution. Communication. Unless you communicate and ask for something it is unreasonable to expect it to magically happen.
Sometimes stay at home mothers feel like they can’t ask their partners to help out around the house because the partner is at work all day and the mother is at home all day. But when you think about it, if your partner was single and worked they would still have to do all the care of their own home. Also, both of you are working to provide for your family. Come together to find a way to work as a team. It’s completely acceptable and smart to share the to do list in some way. How each family splits up household tasks and chores will look different but remember it is good planning and teamwork to sit down and have a conversation about how to accomplish and share the work. You are running a home and you wouldn’t run a corporation or business without assistance, a business plan, and job descriptions. If both partners work out of the home then it is also an important discussion to have.
Approach it as a business model. Tasks, job descriptions, vacation times, and breaks. It would be doubtful to be able to take two weeks off in the summer, obviously, but there are ways to work time and recreation into a schedule even if it is only once every six weeks for a trip to Target alone. Each family member can have a role assigned. For some families a financial expenditure for a housekeeping service, postpartum doula, or a nanny is an option. For other families it’s a matter of communicating needs and expectations. Do not expect your family to be mind readers. Have an honest discussion about improvements that can be made for household management and explain why this would be beneficial to the family. Less stress in the morning? Weekends free from playing catch up from the week? Time to sit and have a refreshing beverage with your partner in the evening and have an adult conversation that doesn’t involved fighting over clothes on the floor? Ask your partner what they would like to see happen and listen to their response. They may be craving some recreational time for themselves but haven’t figured out how to relay that need.
In our household we chose to set an alarm for a time in the evenings during the week and take 10-15 min to pick up clutter, get ready for the next day, put laundry away, etc. It allowed everyone time to get home from a hectic schedule, eat dinner, relax a bit but not completely allow tasks to pile up. We also use a list method so it feels far less like nagging and if they have a moment to complete a task they simply refer to the list and choose what fits into their energy level and time frame. Even small children can participate in this model and you would be amazed at how much can be accomplished in a small amount of time.
No two families are alike and no two families will create the same solution so be creative and patient with one another! Having a pristine home and rigorous schedule does not mean much if there is no love, laughter, and compassion in a home. With some communication you can work for some balance and avoid burn out.
All Rights Reserved, Kimberly Sebeck “Knoxville Doula” 2014