it takes two

Before I gave birth to my second son, I did just about all the chores and childcare stuff around the house. I cooked, I cleaned, I changed every single diaper and gave almost all the baths. Then the second kid came along shortly after the first and changed everything. I thought that having two children would be twice as much work, but that little guy multiplied the housework by a difficulty factor of about 100.

I’d try to bathe him and the toddler would splash water everywhere. I’d be feeding the toddler and the baby would spit up on himself. Right when I’d go to change the little one is when the big one would decide to fall down and cry. And on and on and on. The house was a disaster. I thought I’d never get on top of it. I actually started to accept the idea, leaving dirty dishes in the sink overnight (I needed sleep far more than I needed a clean kitchen) and snapping at my husband when he’d bring guests over because, really, God forbid anyone else be submitted to this train wreck!

Then, a miraculous thing happened. My husband just started spontaneously doing things. I don’t blame him for not taking on more before the second child was born. The fact is that I had naturally begun to tend to the home because I always saw that as my role. It’s how I was raised and it never occurred to me to ask my husband for help. But he saw that I couldn’t keep up with two kids and he stepped in where I started falling short, giving me a much-needed break. We slowly fell into a routine that worked – dare I say – like a charm. He’d wake up early with the toddler after I’d been up all night with the baby. I’d make dinner and he’d do the dishes. I’d dust, he’d vacuum. He started changing diapers (even the gross ones) and I started to feel like a wife/mom instead of a circus trainer/maid.

They say it takes a village. I say it takes at least two (yes, I believe that single parents should still try to enlist help from a friend or close family member once in a while, if only to preserve some of their own sanity!).

Have you been taking on most of the work at home? Given the chance, what tasks would you have someone else help with?

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2 Responses to It takes two

  1. Catherine says:

    I have taken on most of the work at home. I am a stay at home mom and my husband works long hours to financially support our family. There is no way around it and you are so right, two is so much more work. I have let some things slide since our second was born last year and my husband has upped his house work load to balance everything out. He’s always been a very involved dad- bathing, diaper changing, feeding, etc- but with two we’re both having to do more parenting and housework.

    The difference between one child and two is like the difference between a tornado and a tsunami. One leaves a terrible trail of destruction and two completely wipes everything out.

    • SO true!! Everyone tried to warn me how much more difficult two kids would be and I just didn’t get it. Of course, it seems that there’s no telling pregnant women anything. We all have our own idea of how motherhood is “theoretically” going to go! 🙂

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