The dream? All working parents created equal

I was inspired to write this post after I read a ‘Working Mother’ article “14 things my parents never had to do because my mom didn’t work“.  It was going good up until points 10: Manage the household from the office; 11: Manage the household at home; and 12: Worrying about traveling for work.  The author says that she has to “…make doctor’s appointments, go grocery shopping, plan birthday parties in between meetings.  This is true, it’s got to get done at some point during the working week.  But your working husband also probably can do that stuff too? Right?  She then says she is “…still primarily responsible for cooking dinner, cleaning the house and organizing their social life“. Hmmmm, your husband can also do that too, no? Finally, when she goes on work travels she has to “…prepare everything in her absence from my daughter’s wardrobe to preparing frozen meals for my husband“.  OK, so yes, sure, when a partner goes away on work travel you need to be supportive and help make it easier on the person left behind.  But the choice of ‘chores’ that need to be done are soooooooo stereotypical.  Really?  Your husband can’t make wardrobe choices on his own?  Is he able to dress himself?  I presume so because it sounds like he still makes it to work everyday without getting fired. So why can’t he dress a child?  He really can’t cook his own food? My goodness, how did he ever survive before he met you?????  After reading this and getting me mad and upset, it got me thinking more about the ideal working parents situation and equality.  Are all parents ‘created’ equal?  Is it actually possible??

Chris and I are pretty equal in most things.  Before Aviana arrived into our world we shared chores.  There are some things that Chris is better at doing than I am and vice versa.  There are also some things that Chris prefers doing than I do and vice versa.  So we always tried to make things equal: one night Chris would cook and I would wash up, then we would swap the next day.  I would put the washing on, Chris would hang it up, the next time we may swap.  And then we negotiated on other chores.  I did X if Chris did Y.  We also hired a cleaner (Something I would happily give up anything else for….clothes, tea, haribo, driving to work….if we ever needed to financially cut back somewhere, it’s a marriage saver in my mind). Grocery shopping, decorating, tidying, gardening, organising, bill paying….etc.  we are pretty equal.  Yes, there are odd times when we have to assess the balance, but we often do it on conditions at the time: our health and work.

We are also pretty equal on the work front too.  We take home similar amounts of pay.  Although Chris gets a bonus whereas I do not!  We are also the same age, and therefore have similar amounts of work experience.  We are progressing similarly in terms of accountability and responsibility, although we do very different jobs, and therefore different types of stresses, but our workloads ebb and flow for both of us.

Now we have new jobs to add to our life resumes/CVs.  Parenthood!  We are equally experienced in this new role…as in, we both have very little experience!  The question I have is, is it possible to be equal parents in life too?  Does it matter if Chris is mummy and I am daddy?  Do these labels mean anything in terms of the roles we play as parents and how we raise our daughter?

Currently there is an imbalance.  First of all, physically I grew Aviana inside me and I am also the milk provider.  Chris does feed her bottles, so it’s not like he has zero responsibility for this.  Secondly, I have just spent almost 7 months off work on maternity leave.  I have been Aviana’s caregiver during working hours and weeks and past couple of weeks I have been on ‘vacation’, getting things in order around the house, enjoying two weeks of holiday with my family and relaxing a little bit.  Although I have been back to work for a couple of odd weeks during my maternity leave and a few days here and there, this week I am back to work officially, properly, full speed ahead.  Eeeek.

The balance will shift.  But to what? Will it be equal? How will we adjust to our ‘ideals’? How will we negotiate chores?  How will we decide whose meeting is more important when we have to pick up a sick Aviana from daycare?  How will we decide who does each parenting task like feeding, bathing and dressing our baby?  Because we are both equally capable of these tasks.  And pretty much any other future task.  Party planning, birthday gift buying, holidays, doctors, caregivers, blah blah blah.

How will we adjust when we have different ways of doing these parenting tasks?  What will we do when one of us thinks we are doing it wrong, do we let it go?  Do we debate?  Do we continue to negotiate?  Do we have time to be equal?

How much do we want to pay for convenience like we do with our cleaners, gardeners and other services such as online shopping, food preparation, holiday planning etc?  How much is our time worth in ‘outsourcing’ so we can spend more time with Aviana?

I’m nervous.  I have expectations to be an equal working parent, but in reality it will probably be different.  I’m just not sure how it’s going to be.  Will my annoyance with that article I read be proven to be naivety on my part?  I hope not.

How equal is your parenting with your partner?  Is it what you thought it would be?  What would you do differently if you could go back in time? Does any of this ‘equality’ ideals even matter?

 

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16 thoughts on “The dream? All working parents created equal

  1. Mamalife says:

    Wow. you are hitting the my chores vs yours zone.

    To be fair, both my husband and I pickup whatever is to be done during the week, whoever gets to it first, does it. if he has time, he does it. Mostly, he does the laundry and the ironing, I do the cooking/ chopping and loading the dishwasher. He empties the washer. We both go grocery shopping, we go as a family, make it an outing 🙂

    We both split cleaning the floors and washrooms (we had a cleaner, but don’t anymore, we had to cut back on expenses). With feeding and bathing kids, we both can do it, although my little one prefers it if daddy feeds him. So, if he feeds the little one, I make sure my older one is fed and bathed.
    It does work best when each has a dedicated chore, not like why didn’t you do it, its your job, but more of lets make sure at least one of us gets this done.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. My Perfect Breakdown says:

    We are not equal parents in this house. Mr. MPB does way more then me! Haha! In all seriousness though, he does 98% of the cooking – when I cook it’s a crock pot meal, which I’m told isn’t real cooking. Mr. MPB also cooks breakfast almost every morning. Basically, I don’t cook much.But, I do the dishes, laundry and make sure the daycare bag is always packed and ready to go. I also mow the lawn. And I do 80% of the grocery shopping on my own.
    We share the responsibility of taking the garbage out, simply based on who’s around once its full.
    And we pay a cleaner, because that’s just a basic need in my life – I will forgo other things in life to ensure we can afford a cleaner. It keeps us both happy and very much worth the money for us. 🙂
    If one of us is sick or super busy with work, the other one just takes over everything.
    So, is it fair? Maybe. We still have our disagreements about who should do what. And sometimes he complains that I don’t cook more and sometimes I complain that he doesn’t help with laundry. But, for the most part we seem to make it work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dani says:

      You guys are the complete opposite of stereotypical ☺️it sounds fair reading what you do, but you say Mr MPB does more, does he say that too??!

      Like

  3. Amy M. says:

    Not a ton has changed as far as chores here since C was born really. We’ve both always done our own laundry, so that’s a wash. (No pun intended, ha!!) He does the yard, litter boxes (since I got pregnant, he’s kept this job lol), manages finances, cooks most meals. I do most of the house cleaning, and dishes since he cooks. He goes to work every day, I take care of C every day. I do the bulk of grocery shopping, or we go together, and he’ll pick up things after work when needed. It all kinda works out. I’m not sure how things would shift if/when I go back to work. I do really wish though that on the weekends he would take a larger role in parenting. Most of the time it’s still me doing the care of her, and him more just playing with her. Though Saturday he did come up and wanted me to walk him through bathing her, which was cool. If things need to shift a bit now that you’re going back to work, they’ll work themselves out. You guys are a good team, I think you’ll be fine! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • Dani says:

        Freeeeeedom!!! I can’t imagine how you have done it so far, my hats off to you lady in being amazing!!! I’m sure soon she will stretch with her getting into the swing of solids??!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy M. says:

        Lord I hope so! We had a big play date today and she got a hold of some Cheerios for the first time, she loved them! Potatoes and peas last night. She’s getting the hang of things finally!

        Like

  4. EmilyMaine says:

    Yeah this is a real problem worldwide. I think the stat is that over 80% of fulltime working mums also are required to manage their home. It’s so shit as there is no reason the tasks shouldn’t be equally shared at all. It’s a constant battle at our place!! Hope it goes more smoothly at yours. It sounds like Chris is pretty good to begin with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dani says:

      I feel lucky that I’m in 20% that we share our the household tasks and equally capable of nearly everything that needs to be done. With the exception of big spiders. I don’t deal with those very well and would prob be still held hostage somewhere dying of starvation if It wasn’t for Chris!!

      Hey how are you doing??!! I hope things are going OK for you all??

      Like

  5. 30yr old nothing says:

    This reminds me of an article a read a while ago and re-read recently. It’s almost like gospel in my circle of friends.
    https://english.emmaclit.com/2017/05/20/you-shouldve-asked/

    I think, right now, N and I have a good split. Our current problem is that we disagree on the weight of the chore. Mowing the lawn (him) is more work than laundry (me) so I’m more lazy. Isn’t that ridiculous? But we’re working on it.
    I’m very interested in seeing how our dynamic will change when mister comes. But I have this article in my back pocket for just in case :).

    Like

  6. RJ says:

    I generally feel like I do more but my hubby has been great at trying to help out (especially when I ask). One of my annoyances is that I spend so much time attached to a breast pump and then I have to wash everything…grrrrr. So I’ve been asking him to wash the pump parts at least once a week. Very interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dani says:

      You know, now you mention it…I spend a lot of time pumping and cleaning the parts! I bought an extra set of pump parts to help, but I think this just adds to the appearance of more cleaning!! It helps with flexibility!! I realised too that when I was pumping, although I had a chance to catch up with either Netflix or emails, I am still tied to one spot and it takes time out of my day about 2 hours!! I can’t wait to have that time back!! You are doing great still pumping ☺️

      Liked by 1 person

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