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?