That is the question, isn’t it? It is right up there alongside questions like, does it matter who makes more money?
On Monday night, TJ came down with a fever that was worse enough for me to keep him away from school on Tuesday. He even missed Picture Day! We stayed home all day. We also stayed home on Wednesday. As if one person coughing, sneezing, running a busy nose, and inevitably spreading his germs all over his toys isn’t enough, as a direct consequence of one sick child, my other child is now sick. She is a baby.
To make matters worse, I am showing the same symptoms. I feel miserable. I am a mom.
I don’t get to take the day off.
Although Aaron is perfectly capable of doing everything I do except for breastfeeding, let me just humor myself by making a list of some of the things that I do, that if I don’t do, he would have to take days off, to get done all by himself. In no particular order,
– Drop TJ to school
– Put Baby E down for her naps
– Change her, clothe her, bathe her, feed her
– Pick TJ up from school
– Shop for groceries, gas, and other things
– Do kids’ laundry
– Clean up after cooking
– Entertain/Creatively engage TJ in the morning and after he wakes up from his nap
– Take TJ (and by default, E) to parks and playgrounds, the museum, or zoo
-OR let him play independently but be there should he need us
– Put him down for a nap
– Give TJ snacks in the morning and after he wakes up from his naps
– Make TJ lunch
– Return order to our chaotic living room after the kids go to sleep
– Heat up and serve dinner
– Clean up after dinner
– Make baby food, store in the right containers, and freeze
– Play with Baby E during her wakeful hours which are getting longer and longer- Take the kids to Music Together
– Take the kids to story times at one of our local libraries
In making my list, I just realized that there is nothing I do that cannot also be done by someone paid to do them. Sure I bring in the little bit of extra being the kids’ mother and all. Still, if desperate times were the call of the hour or week, someone could very well be paid to do all that I did. So much for my grandiose notions of being indispensable!
So now, how about if Aaron falls ill and I have to do everything he does at home? Here are some of the things he does:
– Wake up with TJ
– Get him dressed and ready for the day
– Make him/us breakfast and feed it to him if it’s oatmeal
– Play with TJ
– Feed him dinner
– Bathe him
– Read to him and put him to bed
…but this is not about who does what. It is about the extent to which the carefully crafted order and rhythm of our family will be disrupted depending on which one of us gets sick.
If I get sick, in the worst case scenario where I can’t do anything, Aaron could easily hire help and get things done. As for breastfeeding, E will simply have to get used to formula.
If Aaron gets sick, who’s going to bring home the bacon? Figuratively, of course, because I am the one who brings home the bacon, literally.
So whose illness is more important? Better still, whose illness is the least inconvenient one for the rest of the family?
Drum roll please….and the correct answer is…..
Neither of ours!!!!
We work as a team and neither of should fall sick. Ever. Not for as long as we have little kids depending on us for everything.
So, what is the point of making you read over 800 words? First of all, this is one of the shortest posts I’ve written so aren’t you happy about that? Secondly, hate on me only if you’ve never felt the way I have above.
Here I was thinking (when I started writing this post) how important my falling sick was to my little family unit, how the smooth functioning of my household was balanced on my delicate shoulders, how I was instrumental to the problem-free living of our everyday…and what do I find out…that in the end, my work is entirely dispensable.
Or maybe, just maybe, I am just a housewife.
(I write this as my inner feminist decides to walk out on me, temporarily, slamming the door in my face.)
Does your household come apart when you get sick? If not, how do you make things work for you?