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Aug 19 2011

Do “Stay-At-Home” Moms Work More?

By at 12:04 pm

I took a night off from doing the dishes once before, a few months ago. When I told my mom about my joy over not putting sponge to ceramic, she said, “But didn’t Scott work all day?” She was referring to my hard-working engineer of a husband who handles bath and bedtime.

Her response surprised me, especially because she was a stay-at-home mom. It seemed to me she should realize that I probably did more work that day than Scott even thought about. He for sure worked, but very differently. So, I did what any daughter proving her worth to her Jewish mother would do. I recapped my day. In great detail.

8 a.m.: Attended to a screaming Ellie who was mad at having to wake up.

8:45 a.m.: Made breakfast for and fed Ellie.

10 a.m.: Took Ellie to a class at the play gym and ran an errand afterward.

1 p.m.: Prepared and gave Ellie lunch.

2:30 p.m.: Put Ellie down for a nap after taking care of a poopie diaper and changing her outfit, which was covered in lunch.

2:30-4:30 p.m.: Conducted three phone interviews, worked on two articles, cleaned the mess from lunch, checked the mail, did two loads of laundry and dusted the house.

4:30 p.m. Got a screaming Ellie out of the crib and commenced the afternoon snack fight, defined as me trying to get her to have one and her refusing everything in favor of going outside.

4:35 p.m.: Took Ellie outside, where she proceeded to dig her nails into the soil and get it embedded so deeply they had to be filed to get clean.

6:30 p.m.: Scott came home and played with Ellie for an hour while I did more freelance work.

7:30 p.m.: Dinner.

8:15 p.m. Post-dinner family play time.

8:45 p.m.: Bath.

9 p.m.: Bed.

Usually while she’s in the bath, I vacuum the floor and start the dishes, pausing to kiss her goodnight and continuing while Scott puts her down. Once everything is shoved into the drying rack, I go back to my freelance work until midnight or later.

At some point in that particular day I also wiped the kitchen floor twice (after breakfast and lunch), responded to as many “Mommy, up” requests as I couldn’t tune out and begged Ellie not to flush the toilet while I was still on it at least four times.

My mom was unconvinced. “He was busy, too,” she said.

Lucky for me, Scott is much easier to sway. It’s about teamwork and not trying to one-up each other in the effort race. We understand that we both work our asses off in our own ways, and with that work comes the need to give each other a break. Even if that break also involves a bowl he shattered while putting it away. I’ll go back to doing the dishes tomorrow, before we need a new set.

How do you deal with sharing housework?

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