Friday, August 08, 2008

Husband and Wife

I have been flipping through our copy of the Tightwad Gazette III, looking for ideas to use in the turning around of our financial ship. I came across an article that I remember reading perhaps around nine years ago: "Equity in the Home". It is not an article on interest rates and refinancing, but on how to divide the chores between spouses.

She presents one thought that has stuck with me for almost a week:

Very simply, each spouse must contribute the same number of hours each day to productive activities that directly contribute to the well-being of the household...If your family has one wage-earner, the stay-at-home spouse should expect to work an equal amount of time at home, from the time the wage earner leaves until he or she returns home.

I completely agree with her. I don't think this means the SAHM has to be working her fingers to the bone every second her husband is at work, but yeah, we shouldn't be slouching around.

Do I contribute the same amount of hours working as Mr. Honey? I don't want to divide it down to the last bean-counting, but do I spend enough hours working?

I have to say that my husband is a workhorse. He works hard, he works long hours, and he has a long commute to work. And he does paperwork when he comes home at night. I did work that hard when the kids were smaller, but they are growing up now. They have reached the stage where they are chore-doing assets rather than chore-creating liabilities.

So he is driving all over creation every day, meeting and greeting and delivering and fixing, and coming home and doing paperwork. I am at home every day, planning, cleaning, supervising, correcting, paying bills, driving kids places, fixing dinner, taking care of clothes. But I have three able assistants. I am pretty sure I have the cushier position. (After all, I can stop down in the afternoon and have a snack and write a blog post.)

Amy Dacyzyn points out that "being a stay-at-home parent is a privilege that many working parents desperately want but have yet to achieve." I do not want to forget that. I don't want to get into tit for tat thinking either, but I do want to pull my own weight. I am able to do some things now that I couldn't a few years ago.

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