“When my husband and I decided I should be a stay at home mom, we agreed that that’s what I would be, a MOM. I am not a stay at home housekeeper.”
These powerful words are the opening to a hugely viral post written by Kayla Roussin of In the Midst of Mama. Because, despite it being the year 2018, Kayla says that many women still find themselves fighting unrealistic and antiquated expectations of how they run their households while their husbands are at work.
“Most of the cleaning I do during the day involves our kids in some way, switching laundry, unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, picking up toys,” her post reads. “I want them to know that it takes a team to keep our home clean. But if we spent the entire day playing and learning and growing and the house is a mess at the end of the day, my husband and I tag team when he gets home from work.”
That’s right. Her husband knows that although he’s worked hard all day, so has his wife — doing the most precious job in the world.
So, in the evenings, they do the housework together.
“He does not walk in the door and scold me for the pile of dirty dishes in the sink, he just cleans them,” she continues. “We fold the laundry together after WE put our kids to bed, and use that as time to talk about the day or whatever is on our minds.”
What a supportive marriage (that’s also time-efficient!). Rather than having one person fold laundry until midnight and having no time to connect with her spouse, they share the work and spend time together, talking about their day.
“These children are OURS not just mine,” writes Roussin. “I refuse for them to remember me just cleaning all the time and I refuse to teach my children that the household duties fall on the mother’s shoulders alone. I stay at home to be present in their lives, not to make sure my house is spotless at a moment’s notice.”
And wives everywhere are clapping.
Roussin goes on to say that her days are spent reading, playing, and snugging with her kids. Some days, the house gets cleaned. Other days, it doesn’t. And no one — not her husband or anyone else — expects it or demeans her if the sink is full of dishes after a long day of mothering.
“I, unfortunately, do know women who feel anxious about needing to have the house cleaned or dinner on the table when their husbands walk in the door,” Roussin tells Babble. “I love when I have the house spotless or dinner ready when my husband comes home, but it’s not expected.”
I can relate to this post on many levels. I, too, have a hands-on husband who often comes home to dinner half-cooked (or not cooked at all), a bunch of dirty kids who need baths, and a house strewn with toys. Never once has he asked what I do all day or “scolded me” about how I run our home while he’s at work. Because he knows that in all likelihood, dinner didn’t get made and the house didn’t get cleaned because I was busy wiping butts, reading stories, running errands, and … wiping more butts.
“We as mothers do not give up careers, adult interaction, a paycheck, and sanity to ensure that the house shines like the top of the Chrysler building when our husbands walk through the door,” Roussin writes.
And to that I say, PREACH.
I have an undergraduate and graduate degree myself. Yes, I chose to stay home and take a break from my career, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend my days mopping the floor. Just like Roussin says, I ain’t no housekeeper. I’m a mom.
At the end of the day, Roussin says she and her husband are a respectful team in all aspects of parenting and housework. After all, “Going to work and paying the bills does not exclude you from parenting and household duties,” she says. While Roussin takes care of their three kids, ages 6, 3, and 1, her husband works as a mechanic to pay the bills and put food on the table.
For spouses who still don’t get it, she has this to say:
“Instead of telling her she’s lazy for not folding the laundry, thank her for raising your children and start folding the never ending pile of mismatched socks. Instead of huffing and puffing about the things that aren’t done, ask her what she did with the kids, ask her if they laughed, what she taught them, how many times she told them she loved them. Then take off your work boots and clean the kitchen.”
In the end, it takes teamwork, respect, and appreciation — from both sides. Roussin closes this powerful post by saying, “So husbands, if you’re reading this, thank your amazing wives for giving up everything to raise those beautiful babies you made together, and wives, thank those hubbies for making staying home possible.”