Clearly, Beyonce and her clique had me in mind when they churned out that roaring anthem. Women everywhere frayed their dresses and frolicked on the beach while pumping their fists in the air aggressively surviving. That’s how I felt at the bottom of the weekend. Something profound happened to me. I learned that I could live without my husband. (Make no mistake, I don’t want to.) Yes, sometimes I can be homicidal towards him but most of the times we get along great and he makes me laugh. Plus (and this is where the surviving comes in), he does all the parenting duties and household chores that I prefer not to do.
As soon as my husband announced he was going out of town for an extended weekend, a multitude of emotions flowed through me.
Can I come too?
She’s 4, she can take care of herself can’t she?
But why do you get to
Okay fine, be safe.
What?? I gotta take out the garbage, too?!?
I realized shortly after my mild tantrum that this was my husband’s first trip away from us since the pandemic took hold. I’d been away from him and Charlotte a few times since March 2020, and each of those times I was overjoyed to leave and break away with the banalities of life. So as hard as it was going to be, I knew I had to tough it out for the sake of his happiness (or at least in the name of fairness).
That song now holds new meaning for me, except the lyrical part about not stopping and working harder because now that he’s back, why work harder when we can go back to being equals?
My sister once asked me out of curiosity how chores were divided in our household, and I was very honest with her. “We divvy up everything equally,” I said. The way I looked at her intensely in the eyes and enunciated the word ‘equally’ made her seek further clarification. She inquired about what that equality looks like in my house. So, I explained it to her in granular detail: he takes out the garbage, I replace the bag; he loads/unloads the dishwasher, I prefer to handwash dishes; he vacuums the downstairs family room with the big Dyson, I manage the main floor area with the smaller Dyson; he does seasonal yard work and snow removal while I take care of the family laundry; I cook meals then he cleans the pots and pans. Equal. Right. Down. The. Very. Middle.
You see, we never really planned it this way but somehow, we’ve managed to choreograph this well-timed dance of suburban life. So, you can imagine how flustered I was to realize that I’d be the one to pick up the slack while my literal other half was out of town. All the other times I left town without him, I frantically ran around meal prepping, making sure schedules were written down, important numbers were on hand for emergencies and reminded my husband of where I kept Charlotte’s health card- stuff like that.
This time, he didn’t leave a list for me but I imagine if he did, it might have looked something like this:
“Garbage day is Thursday. Don’t touch my yard equipment. And for the love of God, load the dishwasher properly!”
What are your thoughts on equality in the domestic realm? Also, if you have ever cohabitated with someone else, how were chores divided in your household? Was it ever discussed, and did you think it was fair?
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