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Not Quite Back to the 50s

June 13th, 2017 at 02:22 pm

I have started and abandoned and restarted this post several times... I kind of know what I want to say, but I'm afraid I will offend someone or sound like a whiny jerk.

Here goes anyway...

The situation before: D and I made almost exactly the same amount of money. I did most of the housework, but not all. My job was more flexible, but since his job was right in town, I could call on him to pick F up sometimes if I had a meeting. He worked from 9 to 5 with lunch (a little less than 8 hours) and I worked from 8 to 3 with another hour or two at home while F did her homework (so 8 hours also plus or minus). I drove her to school, picked her up, took her to practices.

Now: D is making A LOT more money. I am doing all of the housework because his commute adds about 20 or 25 mins. to either end of his day. My job is a lot more flexible, since he's in a nearby town. He works from 8 to 5 with an hour lunch (8 hours still) and my hours won't change.

Writing this, the primary things that have changed are that I now do all of the housework, and I don't have a support system built in if I have a meeting. Also it's slightly weird going from co-earner to my salary being much less than his.

Here are my thoughts:
- I am super grateful for the extra money!!
- I have lots of friends I can call on if I have a meeting scheduled for pick up time (and that's pretty rare; I can usually control that)
- I think that I'm feeling like my job is now discounted because it's more flexible (I can drive on a field trip, for example) and I now make a lot less; but we need my income (his current income alone is still less than what we made together, so I have to work)
- I was a little resentful about having both a full time job and doing 95% of the housework (another full time job! I work until everyone is in bed, essentially). But...
- I have worked that out in my head - I would much rather "pay" in housework to be the parent with the flexible job and be able to be with F as much as possible.
- D is terrible at housework - it takes him forever and he hates it.

D started his job last week and it took me until this morning to work this out. D has a commute and a boss and a "real" job (which is good for him... he liked coworkers and someone who is ultimately responsible) whereas I stay here in town, am my own boss and have a lot more control over my job (better for my personality type). And I get more time with F. And I pay for this privilege in housework.

I know some of you may suggest we get a cleaner, but the cleaning is really minor for me... it's the daily grind of breakfast dishes, putting dishes away, keeping dog hair off the floor, tidying up, getting lunches made, doing lunch containers/dishes, making dinner, doing the dinner dishes, getting the kitchen cleaned, making sure things are repaired when they need to be, buying groceries and putting them away.

I am curious if there are any other people in my position - I have stay-at-home friends I can talk to, but it's a little different because they don't have the added stress on their time of a job. And this is the part where I feel super whiny because this is such a first world problem; we have everything we need and now MORE money.

OK - need to go brush the dog and then go to a meeting (with F - it's summer - take-your-daughter-to-work season... see? flexible!).

PS - I definitely think this is a financial post. These are the kinds of things affecting working families, right?

9 Responses to “Not Quite Back to the 50s”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I can't relate exactly since I don't work for a job, but your thoughts explain a bit why I don't go back to work...because someone has to be able to the flexible one when it comes to kid needs. From your post it sounds like you wouldn't change anything, but your thoughts and feelings are conflicted. Maybe you just want your husband to know how you feel with the change. Another thing to remember is that having children at home is a small season of our lives. They won't always be there.

  2. Buendia Says:

    Yes... not conflicted at all about spending time with F - love every minute! - but housework is a season that never ends!!

  3. My English Castle Says:

    This seems a lot like me. I have the "flexible" job--which means that during the school year I'm working all evenings into the late nights, but can take DD to the ortho, dog to the groomer, go to the bank, grocery store, etc. And while some of it is good, it's when it's "expected" that I get irritated. It was very eye-opening for DH to do all of that the years I was in London spring semesters. He had a very hard time handling dentists, early release days, garbage days,, lunches, shopping, laundry--all that stuff that has to fit into my flexible schedule. I'm completely with you on the torn part. I came home from my class last night--I'd made dinner before I left, and he was sound asleep, dishes everywhere, and DD watching Netflix. So much of this is relationship dependent too. My DH does not respond well to my irritation or anger. And my DD certainly could have cleaned the kitchen. And I only worked four hours yesterday. So it's a tangled confusing mess, isn't it?

    I love/hate/mostly love my job, and you all probably can tell. And I have the better insurance, disciplined pension plan, and flexibility. I guess what's worked for me is trying to streamline things as much as possible. But this from a woman grumbling about making lunches at 11 pm last night while cleaning the kitchen.

    I agree ( as usual) with CCF. Our DD has three years left in high school. I'm going to enjoy it as much as possible--including our funny car singalongs, endless trips to the library, movies I wouldn't choose to watch myself. And I think my DH is going to have to go back to making his own lunch. Let's keep talking about this.

  4. Buendia Says:

    English Castle, it helps a lot to hear your story! Very similar! D is great, but he would absolutely eat the dinner I made and then leave the dishes... but then I often have more time (and it also takes me about 1/3 of the time it takes D to do the dishes!)... and there is the expectation that I will do certain things (or the idea that he will "help" with what are really my responsibilities)... yes, a tangled confusing mess. Thank you for the offer to keep talking about this! Helps to write it out, hear from others, etc.

  5. Debt-free by Thir-ty Says:

    Reading this just made me aware of the disparity in my relationship. I'd never really thought about it, but I'm the primary breadwinner, housekeeper, farther commuter, and flexible employee. I'm fortunate in that my job allows me the flexibility to adjust my schedule for vet appointments/car appointments/house visits/etc. I've also been in the same career with the same company for 8 years now, while DH just started his new job last year in a new industry. Coincidentally, our house is in a location where his new commute is 15 minutes, while mine is 45 or more. I also do the majority of the housework, partly because DH is on his feet all day while I'm not and partly because he just won't do it right.

    If it bothers you, even slightly, maybe just discuss it with D? It will also probably take some time to find a new normal. It took us about 6 months to get used to the routine we have now.

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    My first thought was to use some of the new income to hire a cleaner. If that's not useful, then I'd just keep talking to your husband about it. Tell him you aren't happy and need to find a better balance. It's a work in progress. These things take time to figure out. & then something changes and you re-figure again.

    I think we are better than most at delegating to our kids and preparing them for adulthood. If you all three chip in together, is totally different than doing it all on your own. I'd think more along those lines. Everyone has school and jobs, and *everyone* can/should pitch in around the house.

    I am embarrassed to say that we still pack lunches for our kids. That will probably change next year since most likely all morning duty will fall to my shoulders. (I think we've been able to split 50/50 most years, which is why I have just been mindlessly making lunches though I don't feel it's necessary at all at this point. Apparently MH's mom made him lunch for like a decade longer than mine did. Which is why I Feel it is ridiculous). My husband does want to go back to work full-time, so he is working this summer on getting the kids on some permanent dishes schedule, and having them each cook one night per week. But of course, these are all skills they should be learning regardless. I guess we always "practice" and plan ahead for big transitions like this, when they are foreseeable.

    When my husband got a job a couple of years ago, we just kind of started shifting things in my direction. As long as everyone is happy, we just shift things around. Anything we both passionately HATE and can't agree on just gets hired out. The last fight we had about chores was about 13 years ago, when we hired out all the yard work. Everything else we can negotiate. I feel like it's kind of a constant negotiation though, so I do think talking with your hubby is the most important. Like I Said, we are re-jiggering things this summer while my husband has lots of time to establish new routines. I am sure we will re-jigger again in the fall when we add two schools and one part-time job back to the equation. Completely new schedules that we will have to figure out. & if something isn't working, then we will keep re-jiggering until it works.

  7. Buendia Says:

    Yard work is something I would pay for! Yes, we need to find the "new normal" - that's great advice - since his job is so new, we need to figure some things out. I am going to just sit down and say "here are a few things we didn't think about/discuss." I don't want to make him feel guilty or terrible! Good advice everyone!

  8. ceejay74 Says:

    Interesting thread and good luck working things out! I am definitely the slacker in my home when it comes to chores and tidying. I don't have much sympathy for me and my ilk, but I will say that we don't come from a malicious or even necessarily lazy place -- we just don't often "see" what needs doing and don't think about chores as a natural part of our day.

    Every once in a while I'll go on a cleaning tear, but mostly I try to add value in other ways: I do most of the menu planning/shopping/cooking, most of the dropoff and pickup of the kids during the week, I did do all the pots and pans until I started handling kid pickup, now it's about half and half. I trim the cats' toenails, I do all the budgeting and financial planning for everyone, I schedule swim and dance classes. If there are certain chores that would be hard to ignore, that would be something to give to D. I do things that I can't really shirk or our routine will be disrupted. Tidying is easy for people like me to ignore because not doing it doesn't really hold up anything else.

  9. rob62521 Says:

    I think discussing this with your hubby will help, even if it doesn't change things. For awhile DH made more money than I. I did all the housework, paid all the bills, and then started grad school. I finally had to have the "talk" and say I couldn't do it all. He pitched in. After I earned my master's degree, I eventually became the lead breadwinner, and still did the bulk of housework and bill paying. But, DH did fill in when I needed it and still does even though we are both retired. Sometimes I just have to ask him.

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