Archive for the ‘work-life balance’ Tag

A more equal union   Leave a comment


I am the first to admit I do not have the BEST relationship, but I try every day to make it as equal as I can. I sometimes ponder my life before having kids and after. Before, life was SO easy – I mostly did what I wanted: going here, buying this, meeting that person, but also going shopping with my spouse, going to a romantic movie together, and to sundry activities that I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. These days are long gone. Today, and two daughters deep, things are really different. I now almost exclusively do things I wouldn’t have chosen to do: go watch Cars 3, go to the restroom for a whole 5 minutes in the middle of the movie (no intermission in movies in the US), prepare dinner, pick it up from the floor afterwards, do the dishes, brush my kids’ teeth, change diapers (thankfully these days are over for me), wake up in the middle of the night to put a baby back to sleep, give a pacifier, etc.

I know way too many friends, all of them well raised, well intentioned, avoiding many of these or other tasks at home. I’m not sure what other men are telling themselves as they avoid these, maybe some kind of white lies: there’s no need for me to wake up in the night – the kid wants mommy anyway, they can go to the park without me – she loves going to the park with them, etc. I sometimes say these too, mostly when I’m tired, overwhelmed, or hungry. But many times, I hear men put these “walls” around them to protect themselves from these chores: I have to put the hours at work, I can’t change diapers or I can’t stand the smell, I don’t know how to prepare dinner, do the laundry, do dishes, etc. While this might be true for some, these excuses are just excuses, temporary ones at most. This might sounds funny, but if you had to make dinner at your workplace, would you have said you can’t? You might say “it’s better that at least one of us sleeps well at night”, but did you ask her what she really wants, without pressure, in a frank discussion? Just as you have done before the kids, you should now do even more. I know you have zero time for yourself, for maintaining sanity, for relaxing, but think about your wife – she is doing MUCH more, giving up WAY MORE than you. Or you might say to yourself “she wanted kids, I just agreed”; while that might be the case, that’s not how partnerships work. When you buy a house, maybe she wants it more, but BOTH OF YOU agree to pay for it for the next 30 years. It was the same when you agreed to go to the ballet – once you said yes, you tagging along with a sad face isn’t really doing your part; you have to bite the bullet and actually participate. Same for kids, house, chores – you should make time for these. It is all about bearing the burden equally. If you like to go watch a game over with friends, make sure she has similar time going out with her girlfriends. If you like staying in bed in the weekend, do it on Saturday, then clear out Sunday morning for her, taking the kids out, making breakfast, etc. If you don’t like taking them to classes, take them to the park instead. If she took a day off to join your child’s field trip, you should join to the next one. How many nights or weekends did you stay alone with the kids and how many did she?

Volunteering is an important aspect. Without you suggesting, there’s so much your wife can push you to do. Why should she have to ”boss” you around? Aren’t you a consenting adult? I don’t say you have to give up a 100% of your time; conversely, take as much time as you want, but make sure she takes similar time.

Lastly, I want to make a point about work: it’s really easy to use it as an excuse for having to stay longer, for staying at home working while everyone else go to the zoo, etc. This is your choosing. Especially if you are the main breadwinner, it’s easy to use this excuse to have your way. But again, this is you choosing to persist the imbalance between you and your spouse. You can choose to say to yourself “I’ll do it first thing on Monday morning” instead. You can choose to not have to reply at evenings. You can choose to take the day off when school is out or your kid is sick. You should be a better role model to your friends and colleagues — I will appreciate not being in the minority when it comes to work-life balance —  a better role model to your wife, to your kids, and to yourself. You can do it — to a more equal union!

 

Posted July 10, 2017 by Ohad Kravchick (myok12) in Life

Tagged with , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: