Had some of the NCT girls round this morning for coffee and cake and while the babies were playing 'empty the duplo out all over the floor then not touch it before moving onto another basket entirely...' we got chatting with French Mama about the frustration she is feeling towards her husband at the minute.
Amongst other smaller day-to-day rants, she mentioned the fact that he leaves all his stuff all over the house and she is mad that she now essentially has to pick up after 3 people (they have two girls) She feels that resigning from her job last Autumn means that he now sees her role as that of 'person at home who does everything therefore I no longer need to make an effort'?
We chatted about it briefly and discussed the universal fact that men are, in fact, from another planet, and what we might construe idiocy on an epic level may simply be a case of 'the laundry basket wasn't where it normally lives and I couldn't function so left my pants here on the floor...'! But after they left I thought, there are two big problems there.
One, if that's how he sees it then that's not on and they need to have a long, hard talk about their new roles and responsibilities. If he now assumes she's going to do everything within the house, and she doesn't feel that's fair, then that's going to cause problems and tension and needs to be straightened out ASAP. I think it's easy to assume that stay-at-home Mamas have all the time in the world to make meals and iron sheets and walk the dog etc...when actually some days you only manage to pee once, risk a water infection and still wind up feeding them fish fingers. Parenting full time is hard work, physically and emotionally, and should be seen as a job of equal worth in a partnership where one stays at home and another goes 'out' to work.
And two, maybe she needs to have a think about her new role in the family and make her peace with who she 'is' now. I don't see anything wrong with being the person who picks up after 3 loved ones, the person who puts away shoes and picks up dirty pants, who folds towels and packs swim bags...When Husband leaves his pants at the side of the bed, yes it is an inconvenience and a frustration, but I don't see it as disrespectful because, ultimately, I don't see my job as trivial or demeaning?? Maybe that's the difference? What I do at home is my 'job' and on the whole I love it. There are days when I long for a menial desk job, 9-5, no real mental effort required, but if push came to shove I wouldn't dream of being anywhere else but at here.
It's a big transition, and you do lose a sense of 'you' when you are Mama full-time. I hope she embraces it and comes to see it as a blessing rather than a demotion. I shall encourage her with scones!