What a week! I cannot tell you how glad I am it is over.
After Molly recovered from her cold, Sean's ear infection relapsed (the first antibiotic was resistant to this nasty infection) and so back to the doctor for another antibiotic.
Meanwhile, I was having a very intense week (5 events to plan, organize) at work and our sick children were keeping us up at all hours at night, so it's just been enough to slog through the week in one piece.
But somehow we managed with our sense of humor intact and cancelled our plans to travel next week to see my family for Thanksgiving.
Since we will be spending several days with them in Disneyworld in early December, it just didn't make sense to take on another trip if we could stay put, get everyone healthy, and spend the holiday with my husband's family.
So, next week will be restful. Anything will be more restful than this week. Yikes!
Who Does What
I was totally fascinated by the responses that Salon.com got to Cary Tennis' advice column
about the uneven division of domestic work in one household.
The husband makes a lot of money but works ungodly hours while the wife feels resentful that she is left with most of the work, although she works only part time. The husband asks: is it fair to expect that the wife will do more since I work more hours out of the house?
Cary said that they should just hire a housekeeper and be done with it, but the readers said that the housework is actually "beside the point" and they all brought up various (and pointed) observations about the entire situation.
I was fascinated about this because, like a lot of women, I have struggled with this issue on and off since Ed and I moved in together before we were married. At first, we divided chores down the middle since we had about equal amount of work "outside the home."
Now, I do more work in the house, mainly because 1) I notice/care/initiate more tasks and 2) Ed works his ass off from 8pm-midnight every night preparing for school the next day. He's up from 5:30am to midnight every day doing either his job or being a dad and I'm not going to tell him to fold more laundry when he has a mountain of school work to do before he sleeps. I would rather do it myself and let him get a bit more sleep.
Like most women I know (huge generalization, I know), I care more about what the house looks like and so I do more in general. However, I have found that Ed is a creature of habit and so I have learned to take advantage of that. If I want the dishwasher loaded/garbage taken out/beds made/grocery shopping done/bills paid, I merely give him a day and time each week (or day) and say "Please do it."
And then it gets done.
I used to waste my energy trying to get him to "notice" tasks on his own and it was fruitless. We have just different styles and until I started to plug into his way of thinking, it was an uphill battle.
Yes, sometimes I do resent that I have to think of it first and yes, sometimes I end up doing more, but you know what? This system is what works for us. For now.
I used to ask him to look around every evening and do one thing--no matter how small--without me asking him to do it. But, since he started this job and he is snowed under with work, I will gladly give him a break if it means his stress level is lowered.
Ed is adaptable, however. I've asked him to start making dinner more often so I can play with the kids after work. Under my direction, he is learning to cook and is willing to do it happily if it brings domestic harmony to our house. Last night he made chili. Some nights, he plays with the kids while I make dinner.
I want them to grow up in a house where mom and dad both cook, get them ready for bed, and either of us will stay home when they are sick (Ed's home with Molly today--she's got a cold).
I'd love to hear about how other women and men deal with this issue.
I just need to take a moment and reflect on how wonderful my new job is. It was definitely worth all the upheaval I put my entire family through in these past months.
Deb is a superior boss and good friend and she makes all the hectic, crazy days totally ok. I have all the student help I need and I have been given the green light to hire another if I want/need.
The only thing is that I haven't had time to organize my office and the public space outside my office. It is a jumble of boxes in corners and papers and things. I hate it but I won't have time until mid-December to organize it.
It's sort of like our new house--I have to be patient in organizing it a little bit at a time. It's hard-- I want it to all come together right away and stay neat! Ha! With two kids and two careers, it's always an uphill battle against clutter.
However, as my friend Patrick once advised me, after you have kids, you "lower the bar" on your cleaning/organization standards. Oh, yes. The bar has been lowered but is still hanging in there.
This weekend was a nice combination of cleaning up a bit, unpacking a bit (finally got the boxes of books in our bedroom unpacked and we have so much room now!), playing with the kids a bit, having time to ourselves (we used our new family room fireplace for the first time Saturday night), and alone time (I got a nap and a bit of shopping in).
Also, the kids' Christmas photos/Christmas cards were ready and I need to start working on getting those out.
I look ahead to the next weeks and part of me is really freaked out by all that will be done in 6 weeks:
1) travel over Thanksgiving
2) Molly's birthday party
3) trip to Disneyworld with my family
4) Christmas (oh, just that), including Christmas dinner at our house
5) possible trip to my parents for New Year's.
And, then, the other part of me wants to just relax and enjoy all of those family-focused activities. So what if laundry piles up a bit and we're a bit behind in getting the checkbook balanaced and the oil changed?
It's going to be a wild but fun time.