You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
I remember the first year of marriage was tough in terms of scheduling. I was working full time, trying to write and blog, and trying to maintain our home. It wasn’t long before I realized that I couldn’t do it all, and that’s why I talked to Nate about going to part time. I cannot TELL you how much saner I am, how much farther I’ve come with my writing, and how much more peace and joy I have JUST because I have more time in my week.
Do you know how wonderful it is to have enough time every day to sleep 8 hours, get in some exercise, have time to relax, and feel like I’m a good homemaker? (lol, when was the last time you read “homemaker” in a sentence?) Plus, I’m able to blog every day.
From the 1940’s Housewife to the Superwoman Wife
Ladies, you can’t do it all. Gentlemen, she can’t do it all working full time. Our culture went from the 1940’s desperate housewife who got herself into trouble with too much time on her hands because she had no purpose outside of the home, (let’s go over to Pam’s for tea and gossip!) to the modern day woman who does it all (employer, wife, mother) and is losing her sanity because she doesn’t have a moment for herself, or she’s thoroughly lost her domestic skills and can’t even cook.
Finding a Happy Medium
I’m aiming for something in the middle: a woman who’s home is still her castle, but because her husband can support them both, she has the freedom to explore creative business pursuits, working part time to fund those business pursuits.
I understand every home has a different dynamic when it comes to who does what, and it’s up to you and your partner to figure that all out. I have an aunt who can’t stand being a stay at home mom, and thrives in the workplace. Her husband loves staying home with the kids, and this formula works for them.
The important thing to remember is that your time is not unlimited.
Why I Don’t Believe Both Partners Should Work Full Time
If you are BOTH working full time, can you really expect to have the house in top shape, dinner made from scratch, energy to get creative in the bedroom, laundry that’s not piled up, and a fit and trim physique? And what if you have kids? And what about dates with your partner? And what about time for fun, for friends, and for pursuing hobbies?
I am not a fan of a family where both partners work full time. I just don’t see how it can be done and how you can still have a thriving relationship.
And because this is the norm, we find ourselves in desperate need of sleep, energy, nourishment everyday, but instead, we use all that hard earned money and spend it on STUFF. We consume more STUFF, at the cost of our sanity.
What if We Can’t Afford for One Person to go Part Time?
Maybe you’re telling yourself, Midori, that all makes sense, but we can’t afford for only one person to work full time.
And I’d beg you to rethink that. To question it.
Write down all your bills for the month. What can you let go of to gain your freedom? Can you downsize to a smaller place? Can you let go of the cable bill? Can you share one vehicle?
In our home, I gave up my gym membership, we switched to a cheaper cable company and bundled our cable with internet, got rid of our home phone, limited eating out to once a week, refinanced our home so our mortgage bill is smaller, and went to bi-weekly mortgage payments to pay off the house sooner. I use coupons and my Target discount when I shop for groceries, only buy clothes second hand or on clearance (and not that often), and get all our dvd rentals from the library or Redbox. We hardly go to the movies (we wait for the movie to come out on DVD). The first year of our marriage we paid off all my credit cards, my car, Nate’s jeep, and now we only buy things with cash that we’ve saved. We never finance anything so that we only have the necessities every month to pay for: water, electricity, mortgage, charities, cable and internet, bridge toll, cell phone, car insurance, student loans, union dues etc…
Basically, if there’s a way to pay for something up front (cash), save up for it and pay for it in FULL so that you don’t have another montly bill.
It can be done.
How Both Partners Working Full Time Can Kill Your Relationship
First realize that lack of time is killing your relationship. Maybe not directly, but if you don’t have time for yourself, you’re going not going to be a great partner. If you don’t have time for your health, you’re not going to live long and therefore you are cutting short your relationship with your partner and possibly becoming a financial burden in the future with medical bills. If your house is in shambles, you’re not going to feel your best. If you are always lacking sleep, you’re going to be a moody or fatigued partner, and yes that affects your sex life. If you’re not able to do all the things you want to do or all the things that need to be done, you’re going to be silently resenting your partner, either wondering why they aren’t doing what needs to be done or feeling bitter because you’re stuck in a situation where you’re feeling trapped. Maybe both of you are feeling resentful or bitter and don’t know why.
I’ll tell you why. You’re expecting them to do the impossible, and they are probably expecting you to do the impossible too (somehow do it all with limited time, energy, and sleep).
Do whatever it takes, cut back wherever you need to, to make sure that you have time for it all. It’s called margin, and your relationship is counting on it if you want it to survive.
We make time for what is important to us. Stuff isn’t that important. So why should both partners be working full time to earn more money for stuff? We need to see where we can spend less so we don’t have to work as much, so we can have more time for the things that really matter.
How it Works in Our Home
As you already know, I’m a traditional kinda gal. The working world outside of our home is Nate’s domain, and I dabble in it with my dating column, fashion and beauty blog, and part time retail as a cosmetics captain for Target. But my real domain, where I’m queen:) is at home.
- all the bills
- all the laundry
- all the dishes
- all the cooking
- all the cleaning
- all the grocery shopping
All of this, most of the time, is done by me, with Nate pitching in now and then. And I LOVE it this way. Is that hard to believe? I love tinkering around the house. I love that the kitchen is MY place. I know where everything is. I have a fridge system for crying out loud:) If you’re curious, you can check it out here. He doesn’t question the “system” just like I don’t question his garage system. He takes out the trash, he picks up the doggie doo, and he fixes things that break. Everything else, I pretty much do.
Nate comes home every night and never has to make dinner or clean up. After 8-14 hour days, I want him to come home and plop down on the couch and not worry about anything. He never has to set foot in a grocery store, or ever make his own lunch or coffee, or ever have to fold clothes. Of course, once in a while he’ll help out when I’m busy, but in general this is how it works in our home. In return, he works hard to provide for us as the primary breadwinner. He supports my business dreams, and wants me to pursue my writing. This is the dynamic that works in our home.
See, if we both worked full time, I wouldn’t have time or energy to pursue my business dreams to this extent, and I wouldn’t have time and energy to take care of the whole house. And we’d both be wanting to plop down on the couch at the end of the day. But still, who’s going to make dinner? Who’s going to do the laundry? Who’s going to pay all the bills?
Guys, let her go part time or let her get a house keeper, otherwise, you do it all. OR, don’t expect any of it to get done.
What works for you in your home? I’d love to know.