Sunday, May 8, 2016

His help

When I was first married, I had a certain mental image of myself in my mind: not just a wife and mother at home, but a wife who does absolutely everything in the home, which is her exclusive domain, with no help from anyone. It was a nice image, but it was unrealistic. The truth is, I was unaccustomed to housework, I was an inexperienced cook, and I soon had two small children. I was under stress.

It took me a long time to realize that my husband, in fact, is quite capable and willing to lend a hand in order to promote the things that are important to him - such as cleaner floors and more diverse dishes - and what's more, actually enjoys doing some of the cooking and baking. His pita bread is famous around the neighborhood.

It took me even longer to let go of the feeling of inadequacy when my husband takes over some of the household duties - another of my unspoken convictions being that, since he works such long hours, when he's finally home he's supposed to have perfect liberty and leisure. Somehow, it never seemed to work. Eventually I realized it takes both of us to finish the Shabbat preparations at a reasonable hour, not because I'm lazy or disorganized, but because even though I am, in fact, busy doing my duties at home every day and all day long, there are things I just don't get around to soon/often enough, through no fault of my own.

Now, there are many things around here which are my exclusive property, such as dishes, laundry and diapers. There are, on the other hand, things my husband does on a regular basis, such as grocery shopping and fixing things around the house. And there is what I normally do but what he lends a hand with, such as washing the floor and cooking.

There are women in my neighborhood who would rather invite their mother or sister over, or hire household help, than accept help from their husbands, the premise being that there is women's work and there's men's work. And you know what, in most cases it might be true. I, however, have come to terms with the fact that I'm not just a stay-at-home Mom, but a SAHM who gets a great deal of help from her husband - and grateful for it. I realized that well-functioning arrangements are better than idealized expectations, and that pride leads to unnecessary stress. It took me a long time, yes, but I finally got there.

Today I know that, the nature of work in and around the home being constant and never-ending, there will always, no matter what, be more than enough left to my share, even deducting anything my husband can reasonably do. Therefore, I accept whatever help I can get with no qualms and with a lot of simple gratitude.


Lady Anne said...

You are very fortunate, both to have a husband who is willing to help, and the grace to accept that help. My first husband felt that since he worked all day he couldn't/wouldn't lift a finger around the house. I also worked full time and had two small children, but "that was different".

The Squire, on the other hand, is a lot like your husband. He enjoys cooking, will stop at the store and grab something I've forgotten, enjoys spending time with me at the laundromat, just to have a chance to sit down and talk.

His attitude is "it's our house, and I live here, too". That's something I have to remember when I want *this* picture on *that* wall, or whatever. "Hey! It's his home, too!"

Mrs. Anna T said...

Lady Anne, indeed I feel most fortunate in having so much help from my husband, not just with housework, but with the children too. Without it the strain would be great. I wish I could take back all the days when I fretted about his "intrusion" in the kitchen.

Anonymous said...

This is so timely for me. My husband is a wonderful servant to his family. I am grateful that he recognizes and encourages me that I am HIS helper - he is the one responsible for the functioning of our home, and when I am exhausted or beyond my abilities (due to the reality of time) when helping him, he fills in my needs for help.

What I find so interesting is what I have been studying through Nutritious Movement, of how far we have all strayed from community... our daily lives as women were never meant to be alone or doing all of the work by ourselves. Here is a really interesting podcast, if you are interested in listening to it:

Mrs. Anna T said...

4beauty, I haven't had the chance to listen to this podcast yet, but indeed, we were never meant to be isolated with little ones all day long. A supportive network of extended family and friends goes a long way. Unfortunately we have nothing of the sort at an easy distance, so I'm especially grateful to my husband for his help.