I’m always fascinated by how parents balance life with children – the housework, the meals, the playdates, appointments, classes, school, and just the day to day. No parent duo is the same, but we all seem to make it work (and major shout out to the single parents out there – you’re the real heroes!)
Before the baby, Lu and I had the, “I cook, you clean” separation of duties. Now, there’s a lot more to do other than cooking and cleaning (and there’s even more of that with the baby, haha!) and it’s a bit more complicated and busy, which is why it’s important to have each partner be responsible for something separate.
I feel like Lu and I have our groove down with the separation of “duties.” This allows us to not go crazy with a toddler, to have a tidy home (most of the time), to have our pantry, toiletry and cleaning supplies stocked, and to not resent one another for “doing more.”
Having said that, however, the most important part of all of this is flexibility. There are going to be days when Lu has a bad day at work and doesn’t want to lift a finger. And I understand that. And I have the same kind of days where I don’t feel like cooking, and I don’t want to make him coffee in the morning like I always do, because I’m stressed about starting my day. And he understands. In the end, it all works out.
The other important part about all of this is communication – standing up for yourself if you do feel like you’re doing it all. But don’t be accusatory, say something like, “Honey, I’m so happy that you do the dishes for us, but for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been doing them and it’s getting to be a lot. Can you jump back in?” Whatever you do, don’t let it build up (not the dishes, the angst, haha.)
Now, I’m not saying that Lu and I have a chore chart up, but it’s an unspoken contract between us that most of the times, we divide and conquer like this:
Lu’s household responsibilities
- Cleaning – he cleans everything, from the dishes after dinner to the toilet bowl. This includes the trash (he always takes it out)!
- Packing – he always packs us up for trips, whether it’s the car or a flight with packed bags.
- Building things – he builds everything from screwing in lightbulbs to building furniture.
- Flights – he books all of our flights for trips.
Ali’s household responsibilities
- Cook everything (I love the guy, but he can barely boil water)
- Keep the house stocked with everything – water, groceries, toiletries for both of us, cleaning supplies, Luca’s diapers/creams/clothes/etc
- Thank you cards and mail – anything that needs to be mailed out, I handle – and write all of our thank you cards.
- Vacation planning – I book hotels, plan our trips, etc.
- Bills – they’re all on Auto Pay except for rent, but I handle the Auto Pay. He always prepares the rent check, but per the above, I mail it out!
- Finances – all of our money is together in one account (we wanted it this way for many reasons), so we make all decisions together.
- Laundry – we each do our own laundry! We have our own laundry baskets.
Baby day-to-day responsibilities
We are both equally involved in Luca’s life, of course, but there are certain things that we divide and conquer (especially during the weekday) so we can make sure everyone has a bit of time to get ready in the mornings and start their day.
In the morning, after I nurse the baby, I wash up and get dressed while Lu looks after Luca – he brushes his teeth and changes him into his day clothes. Meanwhile, I brew us coffee and start making Luca’s breakfast. About halfway through that, Lu leaves the baby with me and he gets ready for work. In that time, I finish up Luca’s breakfast, tidy up the house, and play with Luca (if there’s time.) The nanny arrives. During the day, I nurse Luca and prepare and feed him all of his meals and snacks.
After the nanny leaves (5:30pm), Lu doesn’t get home until 6:45-7:30pm (if he doesn’t have any other commitments like work drinks or dinner), so I’m with the baby until bedtime. I make his dinner, feed him, clean up, and then play with him until it’s time for the bedtime routine. We do the bedtime routine together and usually 10-15 minutes before it’s time to read books and nurse, Lu comes home and spends some time with him. He really tries his hardest to get home before Luca’s asleep, so he can see him.
On the weekends, it’s a bit more relaxed, except Lu still looks after him in the morning, so I can make coffee and prepare all of our breakfasts. As for diaper changes and all that during the weekends, we divide it up. Not one of us does it all – we share in the poop fun, haha.