thoughts and things

Oh! What a Chore!

There appears to be something about bringing up a child that concretes you into a ‘place’ and a ‘role’. Whereas we used to share the chores, and I was pretty good at making sure I only did my share, I seem to now do everything around the house.

This morning, my partner left me, with my baby, with a sore throat, and a mountain of washing up, a mountain of dirty clothes, a mountain of clean clothes, debris, plastic bags, letters, cans of coke, glasses, socks left all over the place.

What was I doing at 8am this morning? I was washing up, as I couldn’t have a cup of tea unless I did it. Whilst washing this cup, I thought to myself, “What the hell am I doing?”

Why is it always me that has to sort this stuff out? Why, just because we are mothers, we are on maternity leave, because we are stay at home mums or dads, why are we suddenly thrust into a world of domestic service?

I am no clean freak. I do what I need to do, and every so often do a massive blast of spring cleaning. I am not someone who sort of likes doing all this stuff. If you do, then I guess it’s not so bad. I’d rather be out making the most of life than polishing my TV.
My house is tidy, and clean, most of the time. There are good days, and bad days. There are days when people come to see me, and leave me with every cup needing washing up, stuff all over the place.

Why can’t I change this? Why am I doing this? I never used to before. Although I did do a larger amount of the chores than he did. Why am I suddenly put into this position, where I feel I have to do it all, without discussion, or allocation of jobs. And it seems that everyone else seems to think this is right too. Family members comment about the state of the house, and it seems that it’s my job to sort it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a hovel. But suddenly ensuring there is the right amount of ventilation in order to sort out the condensation on the windows, is my job.

Don’t get me wrong, I know he works hard. I know he does. But so do I. But that doesn’t seem to matter. He makes stupid comments without thinking. One time he told me to make the most of my time and wash up at 3am. He has a day off and says he is sooo tired he can’t get out of bed.

Where’s my day off? When I collapse with exhaustion?

Sleep when the baby sleeps they say, if I am so tired. But first I have to wash up, put washing on, put clean clothes away, Hoover, take rubbish out, wipe down kitchen, sterilise bottles, make a cold cup of tea. Then the baby wakes up. If I don’t do it one day, it’s just worse for me the next.

What is it about bringing up a baby, that people don’t acknowledge it as a role, as a task, as a job, and find it acceptable to add a heap of other tasks onto it, too? Why do they not think we need a break, a bit of help?

I have had help, and when I ask, people do help me. But generally, day to day, there is this assumption that this Is what I do. I wonder if I would do the same if I was in his shoes? Would I act the same? I don’t think I would. Primarily because when he has looked after the baby all day, it looked like world war three in here.
He knows that in the end, I will do it, because it needs to be done.

He doesn’t do it in a malicious way. He just seriously doesn’t think about it. He doesn’t think, “oh, I need to do the washing up/wash my clothes/Hoover”. It doesn’t enter his mind. Oh, to live in that world!

Sometimes I feel like a walkover, but in the end I want to live in a clean house! I am at home, and I guess that means if you’re at home, you do the housework. I can see that some aspects of the household chores could be allocated to me, but not all of them. I don’t know what he answer is here. And I suspect some lucky people may have a lovely arrangement, and not suffer this at all.

Dividing household chores is something we did so well before. I find it interesting that having a baby has shifted the emphasis solely onto me. I am due to go back to work in a few weeks, what will be the expectation then? Will we revert to previous? Or will I be expected to work a 30 hour week plus do all the housework?

What is it like for you? Are you the main person in the house that does the household chores?



9 thoughts on “Oh! What a Chore!”

  • Pretty much exactly the same as you. Mine will do chores, BUT only if I ask him. He won’t do it of his own back and he never picks his dirty underwear up off the bathroom floor. It’s been a swift learning curve I must say.

  • As I am the stay at home Mum, the majority of the household chores are left to me. I must admit I am very lucky in that my hubby does cook me a Sunday roast, baths the children and sometimes does the ironing (without being asked) and puts the hoover around the lounge once in a while. He’s also quite well house trained and keeps his own stuff tidy and puts his washing in the basket etc. as do the children. Other than that, I do everything else. All the cleaning, washing, sorting, making beds, school runs and helping with homework and reading. I can also fully relate to being the one who has to deal with the condensation on the windows! I am so glad I’m not the only one! Sometimes it feels like I’m just the unpaid cleaner!

  • I’m a bit funny about this (and lucky in some respects). I’ve always earnt more than my husband and quite probably would have continued to do so had I not resigned to stay at home with my boys. Maybe it put me in a better negotiating position but I told him I was giving up work to look after our children and not clean the house. As a result, we have a cleaner and if anything needs doing inbetween her visits, we share the chores. I do the washing and ironing (it’s relatively easy to do and I don’t mind it) and I cook in the week and Paul tends to take over at the weekend. I think that it comes down to knowing your worth as a mum. If you don’t see it and don’t value it, no one else will. In my eyes, being a mum and being a housewife are two completely different things and I didn’t give up my job to be the latter.

  • Loved reading this. I have a bit of a different perspective as my man is a domestic GOD in comparison to me and its always been this way, pre and post baby. He’s just a really tidy and houseproud person – I’m fairly chilled out about a bit of mess and leaving the washing up until tomorrow. However, since having our baba and being on maternity leave, I’ve noticed that quite a few people think that a tidy mum = a good mum. A tidy house means you are not depressed. A tidy house means your child is look after well. A tidy house is a happy house. I see this opinion as not only very old fashioned, but also errrr…crap. When people say…”ooh your house is tidy” and I laugh and tell them my dearest cleans up the chaos every afternoon when he returns from work, then again before he goes to bed, people are very surprised – more so than ever now we are parents. They assume that now I am ‘off work’ and he is still ‘working’ I should have taken over the bulk of the household chores. Is my baby happier because the house is mostly kept vacumed and fairly clean? No, she couldn’t give two hoots about this. Is my baby happier because she has a mum who doesn’t have to worry about the housekeeping as well as the HUGE amount of WORK that needs to be done during the day to see to her needs? Possibly… X

    • Thank you for your comment! It is so interesting isnt it, the assumptions and beliefs that people hold. I totally agree I’d much rather be having fun with my little girl than bleaching the worktops x

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