I am talking about mums. The tireless workers who go unpaid for their time inside the home. And more specifically my wife. I know many blogs have been written about this and the general consensus is that housewife’s are underpaid and underappreciated! A long time ago my wife and I made a decision for her to be a stay at home mum. At the time we were both working with no children and life was pretty good. It was the usual DINKS (Double Income No Kids) lifestyle, eating out every other night, nice cars, flash apartment, a financially carefree attitude, all night benders and (cant mention it here cause its PG rated) weekends away in B&B’s and nice hotels. Due to our own experiences we made the call that my wife would stay at home and raise the girls and I would continue to work. I was able to bring in a larger wage due to my career advancement so it only made sense. We made plans to be able to live on the one income and went about setting ourselves up for a family. We sold my ute (carseats dont go well in the front) and bought a nice little home in the outer suburbs. It almost reads as an advertisement for family planning council.
Once baby number 1 came along we were glad almost instantly that Jo did not have to go to work though I am 100% sure that she wished she was. She was able to follow the babies sleeping routine and let me sleep through the night. Endless nights at the beginning due to my daughters reflux I would awake to find the other side of the bed empty, initially thinking she had packed her bags and gone (all new mums have thought this at least once I am sure), only to find her and our baby asleep in the rocking chair in the nursery. After a while I would slide BB out and place her back in the cot. Then dragging an exhausted Jo back to bed. While all this was going on the meals would still flow. Now before all the feminists start ranting about a man should pull his weight I need to state that Jo and I have an agreement. I do everything outside and all the heavy lifting inside. I also vacuum. However since I bought a Dyson to make the job easier I have found the wife has been doing the vacuuming whilst I am at work, I am now convinced she secretly loves my vacuum cleaner but wont admit it. I also don’t cook because we have a nice house and Jo doesn’t want me to burn it down despite me trying repeatedly, and after me putting the laundry away it takes Jo a week to find everything and put it back in its correct home.
As I was saying while all this was going on the meals still flowed, I always had clean clothes to wear and the house was always tidy. Did I take it for granted, ashamedly yes. I look back at that time now (3.5 years ago) and realise that I very rarely if ever tripped over a toy or pile of laundry or walked into the kitchen and found it still in the same chaotic state as the night before. Our house was always tidy and clean. I took a week off work last year and Jo went to an old school reunion out of the state. I had the girls for 4 days and I was absolutely exhausted by the time Jo returned and I had not done half the things in the 4 days that she usually gets done. I look at her in awe sometimes, wondering how she knows what to do, is it maternal instinct? Trial and error or just winging it. Talking to her it’s a train smash of all 3. The girls come to me asking for something in gibberish and it takes me a good 5 mins to work out what they are talking about, not because I am an inattentive dad, I play with my girls a lot, but just because I am not around them 24/7 and don’t always know the name of their new favourite doll or the must watch DVD of the week. Yet my wife gets it in an instant.
I come home from work ever single day to a clean house. I know this may sound like a “it should be like that anyway cause your wife doesn’t work” but I understand and appreciate the effort required to make this happen. I recently had 6 weeks of Annual leave to just spend time with my wife and my girls and I could not believe how much drive Jo had to keep the girls going, the house going and still have time for extra activities like playgroup and Kindergarten Gym. Give me control of the ship for a week and the house would look like a bomb gone off in a thrift shop and 2 homeless naked toddlers are running around. During that 6 weeks I got to thinking about the difference in our day. Yes I have to get up early and go to work, yes my days are long and due to managing large teams the stress levels are high, but I get to close the door for 5 mins when I have had enough. I get to hand out orders and requests and expect them to just happen and they do. Jo closes a door and 2 screaming psychotic midgets pound on the door till it is opened again, not because they want in but just because mum could be doing something completely awesome and they are definitely being left out. I ask the guys to clean the workshop and it gets done. Jo asks the girls to clean their room and she comes back later to find the bed stripped the chest of draws has exploded and rained down clothes everywhere and someone has drawn on the walls. She has the patience of a saint. My guys back chat me and its 50 days in the slammer, well not quite but it doesn’t happen, Jo talks to our toddlers and it’s an endless sea of questions usually consisting of “WHY” and then the same question over and over like “where are we going? Have you seen my (insert fav toy here) BB hit me” and so on.
I get paid well for my time at work, and yes Jo also enjoys this, but she does not directly receive financial compensation for her time doing homely duties. If she did? My salary wouldn’t cover it.
In my eyes my wife is a saint. Why? Because if left to me the house would be a well vacuumed burnt smouldering mess, a destroyed kitchen, exploding chest of draws, naked children running around like lunatics and a very hungry clan.