Allow yourself to be honest about what you need, and see what happens
When the first COVID lockdown hit the UK, I suddenly got to work from home for the first time ever.
I’ve spent the last 3 years travelling every single week. Mostly just within the UK, but hours and hours mostly on trains, to London, to Manchester, up, down and sideways across the country. I live on the border of Wales, so nowhere is that far, but also no where is that near either. Throughout that time my husband has worked from home. He took a sabbatical to retrain as a garden designer, then switched to affiliate marketing, so for most of the last 3 years I’ve been the sole income earner too.
For various reasons, I always tried hard to make sure that I did my fair share of the chores, even though I wasn’t home much. Partly because my husband was going through essentially a mid life crisis trying to figure out what he wanted to do for the next x years, and partly because I think it’s the way I’m wired — to get things done, try to show that I’m capable and can do everything, even when I’m not at home!
When the home working started though, I noticed I was doing more and more of the household chores. Although we were lucky to have a home office, we quickly realised we couldn’t both work in there the same time. It was just too distracting. So we moved my desk to the dining room. Being next to the kitchen, if I had a team meeting where I wasn’t in charge, I’d happily to the washing up whilst listening in. Or I had a quick break so I’d put the washing in the washing machine. Or prep lunch. Or vacuum. Or run upstairs to clean the bathroom. Or something else. It’s all just multi-tasking, right?
Before too long, my husband stopped doing any chores. He stopped doing much housework. He rarely cooked. Of the two of us, he has the least work constraints. I have client deadlines, conference calls, workshops, he doesn’t. Yet somehow I was the one fitting everything into my day, on top of all these challenges.
Of course, as is often the case. Some of the problem was me. My husband is perfectly willing and capable of doing household tasks and cooking. But, I had removed the need for him to do…