When I left work three and a half years ago to look after our firstborn it took a large dent out of our income and we had to simplify our lives to make it happen. This meant selling my car, letting our 3x a week maid go and cutting down our spending as a whole. I did it happily. I would have eaten cereal every day if it meant staying home. But that was three and a half years ago.
Now we have two kids. And I have been primary caregiver and maid and cook all this time. My husband helps and it makes a difference but these roles have largely rested on my shoulders. I took it on as my ‘job’ because it was the price I paid to be with my baby. It has been slowly but surely draining me though. I have downplayed the situation out of guilt. It doesn’t seem fair to ask my husband to share the load when he is our primary breadwinner and seems to work 20 hour days.
This all came to a head the other day though. We were working out what salary he should negotiate that would cover all our expenses and still leave enough for savings. We listed all the priority items like rent, food and household, medical etc. I insisted that daycare for my toddler be added in there as well. Then I added a second car and he brushed it off as a non essential item. I didn’t even think to mention a cleaner at the time. But I thought about it when I went to bed and I cried myself to sleep. Sounds a bit melodramatic but here’s the thing, I NEED HELP. I don’t just want it I need it! In my usual ‘suffer in silence until I crack’ way, I didn’t say anything. But by the next evening the tears slowly started to seep out. Thank goodness my husband is such a patient man. He loves talking things through when I prefer to bottle up my worries and pretend they don’t exist.
We had a really good chat. He acknowledged that getting a cleaner would make a massive difference to the time I had to spend with the girls and also for myself. I’m constantly saying ‘let me just do ??? then I’ll come and play’ or ‘I can’t play for too long because I have to ??? after this’ I am literally busy non-stop from the moment I wake up until my head hits the pilkow. Even then I wake up two or three times a night to feed my little one. I’m already feeling guilty that my toddler watches too much tv so I can care for her sister. Now I have even less time because there’s also chores and cooking to be done.
Taking care of kids and making sure they are happy, healthy, stimulated, well fed and clean is a full time job. Running a household is also a full time job. I just can’t do both. The problem is that I didn’t make my needs clear. And because I didn’t, what I needed didn’t seem like a priority.
Taking care of our girls is my job and my privilege. But running the household should be a shared responsibility. I have been taking on too much to make up for not contributing monetarily and also because I am better at it than my husband. But he never asked me to and he doesn’t expect me to. I put this heavy burden on myself. But no more.
The second car is there so that I can get out during the week with the girls. Being home all the time drives me a bit nuts. I end up getting snappy and frustrated and then I can’t wait to escape for a few hours. Plus its bloody hard keeping a toddler entertained every day. Being mobile means taking them to the park or the aquarium or for a playdate. Even going shopping adds a bit of difference to our day. It means freedom.
So these items have been added as priority items because an unhappy mum leads to an unhappy family. And we definitely don’t want that.
Side note – I am having a foot and leg massage while I am typing this and it is awful! Ugh. Me and my cheap ways always falling for specials