When we had son number one, we both had proper grownup jobs. We decided that I’d stay home as long as was feasible, so I didn’t go back to work, and we fell into the traditional roles – him breadwinner, me breadmaker. (That’s a lie. Perhaps I should say breadshopper). This was fine by me – I assumed that I’d go back to work eventually and that we’d re-evaluate roles at that point.
Fast forward a few years, and we have a 3 yo, a 5yo and a 7yo. We’ve owned a coffee shop for 5 years, (now sold), and set up a board games shop with a friend 3 years ago. But in essence, our roles have remained separate – he has gone ‘out’ to work at one or other of the shops, while I have done the business support & admin at home – and kept the home fires burning. But now I’m gradually finding my feet again in a career sense. I’ve worked on a couple of projects over the last year, and since Christmas have been working 3 days a week on quite a full-on contract, plus Saturdays in the shop, as well as the odd bit of consultancy, a fair chunk of shop admin, oh, and keeping the home fires burning.
Yeah, yeah, I’d like to be superwoman too. But I’m not, and so, despite my control freakery, something has had to give, and since they might notice in the office if a 6 foot grumpy git turned up instead of a caffeinated midget, I can’t exactly delegate that. I could give up my Saturdays on the shop but b)I want to keep my hand in and a)I get to go for a beer after work. Which leaves us with the home fires. And in theory that doesn’t pose a problem – the husband can be flexible in the hours he works, and he has, when pressed, hard, with a hot poker, expressed his willingness to help.
So – I’ve explained the rules. I’ve set up a shared calendar, introduced him to our household management plans on Workflowy, explained the importance of food planning (for which I use the excellent Mealboard by the way). I have left NOTHING to chance – my handover plan was a masterpiece. There is no possible way that anyone could cock this up – literally every eventually is accounted for.
Imagine my surprise when, after listening carefully to my instructions, and appearing to take them all in, (though he was watching The Wire at the time so it is possible that he was concentrating a little bit on that too), none of them were followed! Not a single one. There’s wii on school mornings, sweets after school AND NOT JUST ON FRIDAYS, they suddenly all know (and love) the word fart, and a pizza apparently counts for at least three of their 5 a day. To say this is winding me up is an understatement – I’ve spent 8 years on this – he’s been on it for about 8 weeks and already it’s falling apart!
Except for rule 1 – Do not lose any of them. He has kept to that.
Despite the terrible trauma of losing all the systems they have ever known, the kids seem quite chilled. So far, they are showing no signs of malnourishment – in fact I’d go so far as to say that my daughter has become distinctly less fussy when it comes to food. Annoyingly, they are late for school less often now than they used to be (I’d always be thinking I’d got time to get a wash on, or load the dishwasher, or something – and then it’d be 5 to nine and I’d be yelling like a banshee). And though there is definitely more wii/tv time than I’d like, they also get a healthy dose of non-electronic games and jigsaws and den building and general kid stuff – all of which I am pretty shit at, because my mind is always fast forwarding on to the next household task/meal/washing load to be done. Whereas the male mind (or at least my male’s mind) does not seem to do that.
So for now I am going to try not to stress about all the stuff that isn’t being done my way. Or possibly get therapy for it. We’ll see. *twitches uncontrollably*
PS – Husband – this does not in any way imply acceptance of, or approval of, non-qualified methods. And I reserve the right to say ‘I told you so’ at the first sign of delinquency.
PPS – don’t even try to negotiate on rule 1.