Wednesday, October 19, 2005

do husbands have it better?

I might be about to create some controversy here but hey, better that than boredom.

I am feeling overworked and underappreciated, having done the usual working mother stuff - got up, dressed and fed both kids (oh, yeah, and myself), gone to work, come home, gone grocery shopping with 2 bored kids in tow, unpacked groceries, reorganised fridge, made a start on dinner, intervened in WW3, gone to look at the twig that was caught in the clothesline (after my kids pleading with me, "Mum! You have to come and see this!"), blah blah blah. All other mothers will know what I mean, whether full-time at home, or working and doing home duties. And generally I must say, Fatty (my husband) is pretty good at doing his share - he always cleans up the kitchen at night, because I always cook (when I say cleans up the kitchen - this may or may not involve wiping benches etc!, but does involve stacking the dishwasher and washing pots in the sink). But I sometimes feel that I am doing more of the running around, and I almost always feel that he doesn't realise how much I do, and therefore doesn't appreciate it. Anyone feel the same?

I think the problem is - when our kids were smaller, it was pretty much a full-time job to look after the 2 of them, so I was happy to cook, set the table, clean up a bit etc while Fatty was on pre-dinner kid-duty. But lately the kids play a lot without us, and so Fatty gets to sit around, flicking through the paper, watching the news... and I'm like, HELLO! COULD YOU POSSIBLY MAYBE do SOMETHING??! Poor Fatty. I always told him I was not the apple-pie-baking, smiling-whilst-bringing-hubby-a-nice-drink kind of woman. I'm sure he thinks I'm a grumpy cow and that he does his fair share in the end. But I'm not so sure.


Serena said...

Hmmm... you should confront him or else you'll start resenting him.

I love my mom. I appreciate her so much, being a mom is a very hard job... And you don't get paid either! Its is very rewarding though. Your kids will appreiciate all the hard work you do when they get older.

jellyhead said...

hotaru, I'm sure you're right. And thanks for the positive sentiments about mothers!

mackeydoodle said...

You are not alone with those feelings. My hubby is a truckdriver so he is out of town for 4-5 days at a time. When he is at home it almost seems to me that he thinks he is on some sort of vacation. He has never said it but it's almost as if he thinks"I worked all week now it's time to sit on my arse for 3 days" I mean he is entitled to some down time, but a litlle help would be nice. He will help if I ask, but I hate asking all the time. I am a SAHM(stay at home Mom) or Domestic Goddess as I like to refer to it as! I don't mind having all the house duties but there ar etimes that it feels like he is a 3rd kid!
Also , my kids come to me for eveything. Dave could be sitting in his chair watching T.V & I can be upstairs in the shower & they will come upstairs bang on the door to ask me something...Geesh...go & ask your Dad he is just sitting there! He can sit in his chair for hours & they don't bother him....if I sit for longer than 30 seconds you can bet someone is going to come & make sure that I get up for some reason or other!

hiro said...

I quite understand you feeling "he doesn't realise how much Ido therefore doesn't appresiate it". However I wonder if I realise how hard my husband's work is? We need to respect each other if we can.

My husband is also truck driver and is the same at home like yours, mackeydoodle!

jellyhead said...

thanks for all the comments! I guess I our husbands do work hard and support their families, so I do try to understand when Fatty is tired (but surely just a tiny amount of complaining is OK?!)

mackeydoodle said...

Yes you are right Hiro. I am guilty of not fully appreciating his job & that it does take him away from home & his family. We do have to let each other know how much we appreciate what the other does.

Alice said...

I could relate to your posting both as a SAHM and a working one. I think part of the problem is that men and women look at a given situation in different ways. I remember one Saturday morning many years ago, with four children and a house that looked like a hurricane had hit it, I said to my husband, "I'd just like a bit of help around the place." He came inside and said, "Well, what do you want done?" I really blew up and said, "If you can't see it, then don't bother!" It was true, he just didn't see the place the same way as I did, or have the same expectations of how it should look.

As a stay-at-home-mum then, and not very organised, I sometimes resented the fact that for me it was a 7-day-a-week job but he could work for 5 days and have 2 days doing something completely different.

Of course, I always felt guilty that I couldn't live up to my dreams or ideals (before I got married I imagined that I would cope with anything - house would always be clean and tidy, meals on time, the sun would always be shining, etc. and that I could do it all myself). You see I am 61 years old and was brought up in an era when most women stayed at home and roles were more defined (actually I lived on a farm, so we ALL stayed home), but nevertheless, husbands worked outside the home and wives worked inside. (Although, my mother often helped to milk the cows, too.) However, she didn't tell Dad how to run the farm and he didn't tell her how to bring up the children, and it was only much later in life that I ever saw him help with dishes or bring in the washing, etc.

Whilst I think that deep down most husbands and wives appreciate what the other does, it's just the small, everyday, repetitively boring things that cause the friction and resentments build. Once on that treadmill, it's hard to break out. So often you hear the advice "take some time out for yourself", but it's never that easy, usually because mothers never switch off emotionally and when you come back from your 'time out' the same damn jobs are waiting for you and probably a bit more chaos as well.

Yet, looking back at the scenario from the vantage point of several decades, I realise that the time spent as a happy family is more important than swept floors and ironed clothes. The shame is that too many of us cannot see it at the time and miss out on so much precious time that can never be recaptured. We often think "Well, if I can just get through these years when the children are small, then it will be better." But it won't be better unless we appreciate the NOW.

Sorry to have waffled on so long, and I hope you have a happy family-weekend.

shellyC said...

Hi Jellyhead.

Found your blog via my mum (Alice with the really long comment.....and pretty fine words I must say!!).

and YES husbands do have it better!!!

I loved reading your blog. It has been a real insight.

TotalChaos said...

As a SAHD, I can sympathize with you, because even though I was the one taking care of the kids, they always waited for Mommy to come home, and pester her to death. I took care of them, did the house cleaning, cooking, made bread every otherday, but Mommy got the tough stuff.