Dividing our gender roles can seem like a thing of the past.
My husband has always been very helpful when it comes to
His parents taught him to be very independent from a
young age—he cooks, he cleans, he pitches in around the house—and as his wife I’ve always been thankful for that.
So before our daughter was born I knew that he would be super helpful with our baby.
And he was, after I experienced a long labor that
ended in a C-section with the birth of our daughter, my husband got into work mode and took on diaper changes,
nighttime feedings, all while helping me recover.
I knew I couldn’t have asked for a better partner and father
for our daughter.
After I fully recovered, I took on my new role as a full time mom who also worked part-time. My husband, working full time to support our family, still continued to jump right in to house and baby duties when he got home from work.
He would get home ask me how my day was, make our daughter a
bottle, place her on his chest and they would both fall peacefully asleep
This gave me time to rest, make dinner or finish
He would also take the night time feedings and diaper
changes so I could sleep a full night sleep.
It felt like the gender-equal relationship that as a modern couple, I thought we were supposed to have.
Our arrangement had been working out perfectly during those
first months, but as our daughter grew older everything started changing.
I was spending most of my time with our daughter— I was learning
her habits, her likes and dislikes as she transitioned from a baby to a toddler. She was beginning to spend more time awake during the day, going to sleep at an earlier time and waking up less frequently at night. To make up for missed experiences on the homefront, my husband started taking on chores the moment he walked in the door, the bedtime routine and night wakings.
Months passed with this arrangement in our home, but
tensions started running high. Sure, my schedule was flexible, but that meant that I was often working at night instead of having some time to recharge after a full day of caring for my daughter. My husband was putting in a hard day at work, and coming home and beginning a second shift of caring and cleaning.
We were both exhausted and things at home were barely getting
We wanted to make things work, but as our daughter grew more
active each day, finding the time to get my work or chores done at home became impossible.
We needed a change. We put our daughter to sleep one night and we had
a talk. We both had been trying so hard to take on both roles in the home and we
both were running on low.
“I know you want to put our daughter to sleep at night, but
it’s very stressful for me because she just wants to play with you and I can
put her to sleep much easier,” I said. “Hon, I need you to put her to sleep at
night because when I get home from work and a long drive I’m exhausted,” he
Through this conversation we figured out we had both been trying to take on each other’s roles so much that we had created chaos in our home.
My husband has always been willing to help at home, but he also
needed time to go to work and rest. He was bringing home our main source of
income and this was necessary if I wanted to be my daughter’s main caregiver, which I did.
By trying to equally split up responsibilities, we were starting to drive ourselves crazy.
That day we both made a decision to lessen my work hours so
I could focus more on home and our daughter. That would give
my husband time and energy to focus on working and providing for our family.
also asked our family to take our daughter for at least one day a week so I
could complete all of my work responsibilities without distraction. We also started budgeting so that in the future we could hire a sitter and take on extra hours at work.
This wasn’t an an easy decision for me in the beginning.
Taking care of a child, taking care of a home plus working isn’t easy. But as I took on the
task I realized what a positive difference this was making in our home and most of all a
positive change in our marriage.
Allowing my husband to take care of his work responsibilities as I took care of the daily responsibility of our daughter and our home allowed us surprisingly more time together and less time trying to keep it all together.
Taking on the family responsibilities is a very humbling
job. There’s no income, it’s at times mundane and at times lonely. But it is
also so crucial.
I do feel so thankful that I get to be home with my daughter
and see her grow into the beautiful girl she is becoming. This choice is a personal one to every family, but I am confident it is the right choice for us, right now.
And I’m thankful for my husband. For not only being an
incredible father to our daughter but also to be an incredible husband who works
day in and day out so we can have the life we have now.
Dividing our “male” and “female” roles can seem like a thing of the past.
But it has brought our family to a more peaceful and happier place.