I will start by saying that my husband is awesome in about 10 million ways. He's the most loving, dedicated guy I’ve ever known and also a fantastic father. Parenting has never been “babysitting” to him — it’s just what all good men do. While he hasn't been the greatest at taking initiative to do housework, it's something he's improved at too.
However, there’s still one prickly little issue that we’ve been contending with, and it has a little something to do with our two boys. They are 6 and 12, and although we probably don’t make them do nearly enough chores, they each have daily responsibilities that we (i.e. me) have neatly typed up, and taped to the fridge. And when it comes to enforcing these rules, let’s just say, there's pretty much only one person in this house who actually does it.
You guessed it: little old me.
First of all, I’m usually the main one doing most of the chores in the first place. I work from home and my husband works outside the house, so that’s just how things line up. He does have responsibility for the kids after dinner, though, when I usually slip away and finish my work, and I’ve just assumed that he had stuck to our rules of making the boys clean up after themselves and serve themselves evening snacks.
Well, apparently not.
The other night, I was taking over bedtime and my 12-year-old asked for a bowl of cereal. I said, “You can do that yourself, buddy.” He whined, “But Daddy always does it for me!” I asked him if that’s usually the case with the chores on his to-do list, and he was like, “Yep.”
I was pissed off.
Holding our kids accountable has to be a group effort.
Not only because I was learning that my husband doesn’t enforce the chores when I’m gone, but now suddenly, my son was branding me the “bad cop” because Daddy let him get away with stuff that I didn't.
So, I guess it’s time for me to have another talk with my husband about housework. The thing is that while I am truly grateful for all the ways he contributes to our family, this issue is as important as anything else. Especially as the parents of two boys, it’s vital that they learn to do their part at home, and letting them slip up on their chores is not a good place to start.
Holding our kids accountable has to be a group effort. It can’t just be something that lands in Mom’s lap (like so many other things). We need our partners to step up to the task — to form a united front against our rascally kids, who would happily break every single rule in our house if we let them.
I know I’m not alone here either. So many of my mom friends complain about this exact thing too.
Husbands, when we talk about the mental and emotional load that mothers carry, we are talking about things precisely like this. We’re not just exhausted because we do the majority of the housework, but because we're the only ones making sure everyone else is following through on their end of the bargain.
It’s exhausting, unfair, and our partners better step up ASAP, or we’re going to lose our damn minds.
Trust me, that wouldn’t be a pretty sight at all.