I’m an older mom – late 50’s – and all of my kids but one are adults. After being a full-time mom for 30+ years, I now have a full-time job that pays me in dollars. I work mostly from home, as does my husband. That has lots of advantages, but one disadvantage I’m finding is that it’s difficult to navigate the changing roles with my husband.
Even though I carried the bulk of the household chores during my stay-at-home years, when I worked not-for-dollars, I now want to share more equally in household chores. And – I want my husband to see them and do them without me having to ask. He’s totally willing to pitch in when I ask him to do specific chores, like load the dishwasher or make dinner, but he doesn’t see what needs to be done.
We are not alone. An academic study published last fall found that not only did women do the bulk of the work at home, but a) men thought they were doing more, and, b), men were largely blind to the needs in front of them. Years of research have consistently shown that men overestimate the amount they do at home, with housework and childcare, and that it’s actually the women who are doing more.
It’s easy to create patterns and harder to move out of them, especially after decades of being in the same pattern. Sometimes, the anticipation of the emotional work it takes to create new schedules and “assignments” makes me tired and then I tell myself it’s easier to just do it myself. Probably not the best approach, because then I feel resentment creeping in.
I will say this: Greg is my biggest cheerleader. I have a PhD because of him and feel like I have been able to step into my own self because of him. Equal sharing of chores is not that big of a deal in the larger scheme of things.
But – if you have suggestions on how to “renegotiate” tasks at home, I’m all ears.