Celebrating International Woman’s Day to me is all about choice. We have choices that our parents did not have or chose not to have. The woman was always at home taking care of the house and the man was always working and did not do a thing at home.
Environment I Grew Up In
When I was growing up, my mother stayed home and took care of the house while my father worked. My father didn’t do a thing to help. He even went as far as to use a white glove to check to make sure the window tracks were clean. It was not a happy house. I saw my mother get mistreated almost hourly. I vowed I wouldn’t live like this. He would be verbally and physically abusive to her if she didn’t do something good enough for him. He went as far as to rip up her new clothes because she didn’t lose enough weight. He thought he had the right because he earned the money in the house. I don’t know if it was the generation, my parents are boomers, but it was no way to live.
How We Are Doing It Differently
When I met Nick, I told him right at the beginning that I did not want to live like that because I saw the damage it does. He told me not to worry because he was raised by a single mother and she would not be happy if he did that.
Right when we moved in together, we split all chores in half. We were both working and it was only fair if we split the responsibilities. It was working great. Even when we decided to move the Florida, we had the same arrangement. We had minimal arguments and everything was split. He did the cooking because I was never taught and lets face it. I married the grandson of an Italian chef.
When we started to try to have children, it changed a little bit. He started taking care of the cat boxes so I wouldn’t have to. I did have bloodwork done to show that I was not immune to toxoplasmosis, a common bacteria that is carried in cat feces. We did this as a precaution. He just does it now just because it makes him feel better if I don’t.
When I was pregnant, I was consider high risk because of my miscarriage/stillborn rate. He took over most of the house work when I was pregnant on top of his full-time job. I felt bad but he told me not worry about it. It was like this until N was born. After I recovered, I went back to work.
We both worked full-time, opposite schedules so we did not need day care of a baby sitter until the kids started school. We worked it out where I was home in the eventing and he was home in the morning. We would get done in the house what needed to be done and rest after we were done with our housework. This was before we knew about J, D and A. We only had four kids at the time and they were all close in age. Roo and B are two months apart so they started school at the same time.
One year after J D and A came into our lives, that changed. Both of use working full time did not work. Nick hated his job, he was a police officer and I love my job as a Vet tech. He took early retirement. He was getting tired of the establishment and this was a perfect excuse to quit. At this time, we had just gotten A who was a very not controlled type one diabetic who needed to be able to be picked up from school at a moments notice. It just made sense. We sat down and discussed this together to see who would stay home with the kids.
After he quit his job, he took over most of the housework but I still did some of it. It wasn’t solely his job to take care of the house. I still live there. I still dirty the dishes. I still ate, I still walked on the floor. Does it make sense to have him do all of it? No.
It did take a while to get into a groove because this was a new dynamic for us. It was trial and error and we figured out how it works. I drop J off at school, Nick gets the rest of the kids on the bus while I see morning pets. After I am done, I come home and get laundry and dishes done while he sleeps because he is up all night with Potato, who is not sleeping through the night yet. He rests when she does and it is only fair when he takes care of her all night. He still does the cooking because he is better at it than I am and he has more time to prepare great meals.
We are A Partnership
Who said the man works and the woman stays home? Being in the home is still work. I do have to constantly remind him of that because the patriarchy has been beat into him that he should be the one to earn the money but that is something he is working on. When he catches himself slipping up, we talk about it.
This is a partnership. I am out working and he is home taking care of the house, but not all by himself. Between doing the chores around the house, we are teaching the kids these as life skills but at age appropriate times or when the opportunity arises.
Do we get hate from different people? Sure but they aren’t raising 8 kids and making sure they know how they need to be treated. They are much happier for it. This is how we are both able to be scout leaders, be involved in schools, etc.
This dynamic works for us, I am not saying it will work for everyone. We do not do gender roles here. Celebrating Woman’s day is about celebrating our right to choose. I choose to be a mom, the road to motherhood was far from easy. I chose to work out of the home, be a business owner, etc. It’s all about choice.