So I'm just going to throw this out there -- I kind of love having a house husband and I highly recommend everyone get one. It's kind of life changing.
All sexist kidding aside though, it is absolutely ASTOUNDING how much less chaotic our lives our have been since Garrett stopped working two weeks ago. (You know, except for when I royally screwed things up.) But even when I was screwing things up -- I had support! And Garrett has kindly made himself available for whatever I need. And made my lunch (today was burgers and caramelized onions!) And ran errands I have been dreading, and oh my stars you all, it has seriously been so darn nice.
One of the things I have been trying to be especially conscious of during this transition is expressing my gratitude for all the things Garrett has been doing around the house. I was lucky growing up and my mom stayed home. I was spoiled, really. But I so clearly remember her often saying it was a thankless job and people definitely used to question what my mom did all day since she didn't work. (HA!) Boy did that used to burn her up because, as she would clarify -- it wasn't that she didn't work, it was that she didn't work outside the home. And I'll tell you if I learned one thing, I learned real quick that there was a difference between the two, and I best realize that staying home was a job!
And years later I love her to pieces for being so excellent at it!
So one of the consequences of my upbringing is that I'm very aware of the value of domestic tasks. So I have tried to really have gratitude each day that while I have been in the office, Garrett has been busting tail at home. And he has! I mean of course he has done some relaxing too. I think he has been through like 5 Audio books, but I know I've told you before that he likes to listen to those while he cleans, so you can bet our house looks spic and span because of it.
But he has done so many other things too -- things that languish on our "If we had but time and energy" to do list? I know you know this list. You have this list, I'm sure of it. Things like totally cleaning out and reorganizing our freezer (swoon!). Organizing the garage (ick!). Dealing with our yards (Achoo!). Doing our endless stack of dishes (since we don't have a dishwasher). Tackling the mass amounts of laundry that resulted from vacations, and guests, and life - OH MY! You see all of these things would probably still be on the list if he would have been at work too. We would probably be trying to figure out a way to split up those tasks so they could all get done and because of that it feels hugely decadent that I haven't done a load of laundry, or washed a dish in...well, weeks. And you guys, we don't even have kids! So my mind is seriously boggling over how to juggle being two working parents, plus life, plus (OMG!) kids. Hat tip to all of you who do that because the past few weeks have really underscored to me how much energy that really must take!
And seriously, speaking of energy, my mom had like crazy, freak energy when I was growing up! I mean she really Ran our household (and I'm sure at times it felt like a never ending hamster wheel). She taught me alot. And it's made me realize that the idea of keeping a house today is such a lost art! Where's Mad Men when I need it?!? And I'm don't mean to be Judgy McJudgerpants about it -- there's a million different reasons we don't all "keep house" and we don't need to get into here, and of course we all choose what's best for our own families so it's not my intention to offend anyone or make anyone feel bad as if there was a right way to live life. But I know for me, having these couple weeks with Garrett staying home have really highlighted the huge value in having a life without much chaos. It feels like a luxury. And now that I have seen what things could be like (insert dramatic voice here) I don't know how I will ever adjust if we go back to how it was!
But you know, it's been a learning experience. Whether, in the future, we are able to stay afloat with only one of us working, or whether we choose jobs that have more work from home flexibility (Dooce is on that, right?), or whether we both go back to work and end up juggling our multiple priorities as best we can, I know I will savor the imprint that this time in my life has made on me. And I hope to hold it close like a compass in the future when I'm trying to decide which direction to go.