Thursday, October 3, 2019

Home Chores: Mom vs. Dad

Great color for the pump house, not so much my hair.

The house painter is here as I write, patching, caulking and priming the exterior of our house to get it ready for painting, which will hopefully happen next week. Tuesday I went to the stylist to get my hair cut and as she was washing my hair, she asked, "so...doing some painting?" Apparently there were a couple of different shades of paint I'd somehow gotten into my hair while I was painting walls and a couple of outbuildings around here, before the painter showed up for the Big Job. 

I'm of the opinion that when you start to wear your work it's probably time for a break. 

I used to have some neighbors who had a very clear division of labor in their home: mom took care of everything inside -- cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc -- and dad took care of everything outside, like yardwork. Since mom had no interest in gardening, their roles were enjoyed by both and their house was run well. What was funny was that I was a single mom at the time I lived next door to them, and so I started to realize that around my place, I was both mom and dad. I still am to some extent.

That's because Big Ag works off property in a high-powered job in the agriculture sector, which leaves me pretty much in charge of the homestead. The things I can't do, he gets memos on, in the form of "to do" lists. Anything that requires significant upper body strength I leave to him. So he stretches fence, digs holes, and builds outbuildings in his spare time, which believe it or not, he loves doing, since most of his day job uses brain, not muscle power.  

I do all the typical housewifery-type stuff, but also work in the garden, manage the general landscaping, do the painting (wherever possible) and decor, and manage our finances.

I'll never hire someone to pick our pumpkins. Too much fun.

It works, but honestly after a day of being on a ladder painting or moving 10 yards of pea gravel, the last thing in the world I want to do is come inside, clean house and cook. And so on the days when I'm the Estate Manager and Chief Handyman (dad), those mom things suffer. I've joked before that all I really need to do is hire a professional housewife from 9 - 5 to manage all that inside stuff when I've got a lot of manual labor to do outside. But with the painters here, I've actually had time to clean the house really well, can some tomatoes, AND have some good food prepared by the end of the day.  

When I worked at the winery, I had a housekeeper, so many of my "mom" tasks were covered by her. This week, I'm paying someone to do some "dad" stuff. You can probably gauge how busy you are at times by how many auxiliary people you need to hire to help you. But unless your homestead is your job, some aspect of what you do is probably hired out, whether it's the construction people, electricians, or just hitting a restaurant for take out dinner once or twice a week because you're too tired to cook.

None of us can do it all, and even if you could, you shouldn't even try. It's exhausting, plus there's every chance you'll end up resentful over some aspect of your never-ending tasks.

But in a year full of dad-type house stuff, I gotta say being inside with a latte preparing dinner has been a little slice of mom heaven. 

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