How to Incorporate Dad? #4

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Housekeeping requires separate negotiation

This is simply a practical tip.

One of the most surprising things I've read in the last year was from Laura Vanderkam's I Know How She Does It.

"I don't like generalizations, but in my interviews with these women, some common themes emerged. Men who stay home with their kids often do not view housework as a set of tasks inevitably bundled with the task of child care. That part needs to be negotiated separately." (176)

This was also interesting: for stay-at-home moms, the moms spend about 25.5 hours on housework, and the dads spend 7.6 hours. For families with working moms and stay-at-home dads, the dads spend 17.9 hours on housework, and the moms spend 14.1 hours.

Moms, whether they work outside the home or not, spend a lot of time on housework. And if Mom is out for the evening:

"In some families, Dad hasn't even gotten the kid stuff (like their dinner) done. Mom comes home and the kids are having a blast playing with Dad in the mud in the backyard, but she's mad because dinner isn't started and, by the way, the kids are all muddy."

This rings true in my life. Maybe it does for you, too. If so, you now have words to talk to your spouse. You can negotiate better.

This might look like: "I'm going to spend the evening with a friend. Please feed the children pasta at 5:30, and have them all load the dishwasher. If you could make sure the dishes are done, and the children are bathed before bed, that would be so helpful."

It might look like, "I realize you deal with the car's oil change and mowing the lawn. Do you think you could also take responsibility for training the children to clean their bathroom on Saturdays?"

You can change things. Or, even if you change nothing, you have the words to explain why you might sometimes feel frustrated.

Read More.

Amy's pic

Amy Lykosh
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Second-generation Sonlighter
Homeschooling mom to five

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