Separate Roles, Equal Partnership {How Things Work Around Here Part 2}

Any given day this mama is responsible for grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, cooking, dusting, vacuuming, bathrooms, and all the scrubbing in the whole house. Throw in homeschool lessons and chauffeuring two kiddos around town to all the activities under the sun, and you have one busy mama!

Recently I wrote a blog post with a few tips to make laundry easier. The first Facebook comment was from a fellow Red Stick Moms contributor about how her husband does 50% of the laundry and household chores. My thought process was something like this, “HOLD UP! Your husband does what?! I’m sorta jealous.” The comment gave me pause, and put the topic of gender roles and household duties in the forefront of my mind, which inspired this little series brought to you by Kristen and myself. In case you missed it yesterday, her take can be found here.

In 2016 should I be more pro-active in splitting the household duties? Is our marriage a true partnership? I’ve come to the conclusion that, yes, in my household we have traditional roles, and I’m at peace with it. We are very much equals in our relationship even though the household duties largely fall on me.

My husband works 12-hour days on shift work. He wakes at 3 am, so he can prepare his lunch, eat a good breakfast, read his Bible and get to work for 5:30 am. The girls and I typically don’t wake until after he’s left for the day. He comes home between 6:30-7 pm and is in bed by 9pm. One can conclude that there is not much time for him to pick up a toilet scrub brush during the precious 2 hours we have as a family in the evenings. I’ll gladly take on the household chores and cooking during the daytime hours, so our evenings can be spent as a family. And truth be told, my workload is starting to become lighter as my daughters are growing and given more responsibility.

Because my husband works 12-hour days, he has more off days than the average person. So could he do some chores on those days? Certainly! He does. They look different from my chores. Off days are used for yard work, gardening, vehicle and home maintenance, errands, assisting relatives and friends with various projects, and volunteering at our church. He does much of this with one or both girls at his side, patiently teaching and listening. They miss him on his long work days, so they soak up time with daddy when he’s home, even if that means weeding the flower garden. My husband is typically working hard on his “off” days, rarely sitting and doing nothing. We have to intentionally set aside some of his off days to to just relax and enjoy being a family. On those days we like to sleep in, prepare breakfast together, visit grandparents, or go on a family outing. On those days, I’m not dusting shelves, either. I’m “off” too.

If you look at just the housework, the surface, our household may not seem equal, but walk into my house around 7pm on most nights and you’ll see four people bustling about the kitchen. My husband has just come in from a 12-hour shift, but is filling plates and bowls with the meal I’ve cooked, meticulously cutting meat into bite size pieces for our daughters. As he finishes a plate, I set it on the table. Our oldest is filling water glasses, while our youngest is counting out four forks or spoons. When we’re done with all the work, we sit to enjoy a meal and each other around our table, chatting about the day. This. This moment that happens almost every day is a true picture of how our household runs. We each do our part, each part equal and important, so that we can fully enjoy each other.

We may not look like other families where both parents work outside the home and contribute to each task. I know some mamas are doing it all alone, and my hat goes off to you. My family may be considered traditional in our roles. That’s okay. Our way doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for us. In our home, it’s not about splitting each task, but more about the big picture. Everything each of us does is important to our family’s well being. Though our roles are different, each of us is equally responsible for our household. We’re in this together. All in. 100%. Especially in our most important roles as spouses to each other and parents to our children.

How does your household run?

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