the business of a house...is some serious business.
Truth be told, I was that girl who would roll my eyes at women who didn't have a job outside of the house and said their day-to-day was to 'run the business of the house'. This would include laundry, cleaning, cooking....oh and yes, this would also include manicures, pedicures and ladies who lunch. You name it, I judged it.
It's one thing to be home with children full time or on maternity leave. Kudos to all those women who do that hard work. As a woman, I've always felt that being a stay at home mother is the most unselfish thing any woman can do and its still under appreciated, undervalued and misunderstood. Whether you had a career prior to starting a family or not, its always the woman who has to put herself on the back burner to stay at home. Whether its for 1 year or 10. Now that I am entering this phase of my life, I think about it A LOT.
According to salary.com, the average stay at home mom puts in 96.5 hours/week (to be exact, that's 56.8 hours above the industry standard of 40 hours/week) and would earn just below $120,000 per annum. And no, thats not a typo. Shocking? I'm not shocked, mothers do A LOT!
So as I get more settled into my new life up north, I couldn't help but notice that I was literally running the house as a business and it was non-stop. Not to mention exhausting. Sure I am taking on more right now because I just moved in and was still unpacking, but I am still shocked at how much time it sucks up. Paperwork, organizing bills, finances, cleaning, unpacking, purging, groceries, painting, errands, making breakfast, cooking dinner and cleaning up. The list never ends. My "me" time is heading to the gym 4 times a week to get my exercise in and to decompress. And I keep thinking to myself, "and we don't even have children yet!". How will this all get done when I do start working part time or full time? Where will I find the time? And not that I'm outing my fiancee, but he can be a bit of a deadbeat sometimes (have you ever come home to a sink FULL or dirty dishes?! And when I say full I mean bursting at the seams, & over-flowing). He's exhausted when he gets home from work as he puts in anywhere from 12-18 hour days and isn't quite as anal retentive about neatness and organization as I am.
(Can I please get a cleaning lady now? (some subtle sarcasm here....but really, when can I hire one??).
This is a full on Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus situation we have going on here people.
Here's the brutal truth: I've always identified myself as a career woman, mostly because it was my livelihood and I was on my own up until recently. I've spent years building my professional career and image while working my way up the proverbial ladder. I was always taught to never fully depend on a man to (financially) support you, make my own money, know how to change a flat tire on your car and check your oil levels (thanks dad. you always had my best interest at heart:)). My parents instilled some great values in both my brother and I and the environment we grew up in was watching them both work extremely hard, provide for their family, give us the opportunities they never had, and both honour the work they did outside of the home. My mother was like superwoman. She had the flexibility as a nurse to be home in the day, make all the meals and still go out and make a living while my father picked up the slack when she wasn't there. For me, this is truly showing respect in a relationship and I believe I've found that in Nathan.
So here's what I've learned through this experience and some tips to share in case you're experiencing something similar:
- Take it all in stride. Breath & reboot. Headspace is a great meditation app that is simple to follow, cuts through the crap and not fluffy.
- Give a little wiggle room & relax. (Basically put your OCD tendencies to the side every once in a while..which is extremely hard for me).
- Make a to do list (I LOVE lists and they keep me in line & hold me accountable. Not to mention they help me a lot because my memory seems to be failing me more and more by the day. Lists will help you...
- ...prioritize! Need I say more? Catching up on last weeks episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills should not be #1 on your list...or on your list at all....although (FULL DISCLOSURE) I have been guilty of this in the past. Ok, as recently as this past Monday.
- There are only 24 hours in a day...15 of which you're actually doing something productive. Know that you can accomplish a lot in these 15+ hours, but take it easy. You don't have to be productive every second of the day.
- Quiet time. This is something my friends with kids tell me to embrace and enjoy because once you have kids, your quiet time is limited, if existent at all. Read a book or magazine, have a cup of tea, take a nap! Whatever floats your boat, just do it.
- Ask for help. I do not feel guilty asking my fiancee for help with anything, even if he has put in a long work day and just wants to put his feet up. The truth of the matter is, SO DO I, and I don't want us to get into the habit of me doing everything. If I cooked a great meal, he can certainly clean up:)
Did I ruffle too many feathers? I hope so but I also hope you can, at the very least, put your feet up, take a breather, pat yourself on the back....while reading this post:)