If not for the fear of my blog getting X-rated and banned from family-friendly searches, this post would be littered with f-bombs. Instead, my dear three readers, help me by freely inserting many big, capitalized expletives anywhere you see fit among the frustrated details of my domestic reality.
I am a malemaid (reader #1, this would be a good place to drop the 1st one, right between the a and the m). How did I become a malemaid I do not fathom. Never signed up for the job, it just gradually shackled me. Now don’t get me wrong, my complaint has nothing to do with being a man, or work that’s more suitable for this gender or the other. But it has everything to do with…well… doing everything.
This is how it started:
I am lucky, and blessed with a professional career that allows me to work only 2 or 3 days a week, and provide my family with more or less (mostly less) adequate income. Many times my work days are long and exhausting, but hey, I’m not complaining (or maybe just a little).
Working part-time was a choice that I have made years ago. I could hustle more work, but instead I chose to stay home with the boys. Between my wife and me, there is always someone here to see them off in the morning, and greet them when they come back from school. Same goes for summer and holidays: no babysitters, no home-alone. (It worked really well when the dudes were young; now that they’re teens they’d probably love us to just leave plenty of food behind and take a long trip in the Alaskan Tundra, but that’s a different issue.)
I’m also lucky enough to have married a woman who’s passionate about life, and people, and the world. She’s always out busy with important things and events (at least more important than housekeeping). During the past few years she’s been up to her green eyeballs in grad school, and internship work, as well as a part-time job, then there’s socializing, traveling… Sometimes the dog barks at her when she shows up at the door. In the little time she is around the house, my beloved is a good cook, a wonderful mother, and a very attentive partner, but a tidy housekeeper she ain’t.
Which leaves me, Mr. Part-Time-Stay-at-Home-Dad, with “The———Chores” (Dear reader #2, another good place, I even left a blank space for your blanking addition).
Now, I like a clean house as much as the next PT SAHD, I just hate cleaning it; It’s nice to have crisp, folded, put-away laundry, but I despise the labor; a sink filled with greasy dishes irks my ire, but… You get the point. I hate the work. The stinking, never-ending, fucking work (I’m allowed one in a PG-13 post, no?).
Over years of fighting, blaming, stumbling over clutter, and begrudgingly doing it anyway, I am finally mature enough to recognize that I hold that job I never applied for. I am a janitor, a houseband, a domestic aid, not to mention a domesticated SOB.
I’m home a lot (Sir Homealot to you, unexpected reader #4), and so is the laundry. I wash, dry, fold, and put the darn load away. I’m here for the dudes, but here too are the dishes, the dog hair (like freaking tumble weeds all over the ——- house!), the stinky socks under the couch, the full-to-the-brim compost bin, the garbage, the… Are you bored yet? I am…
It’s a Sisyphean way of existence, which translates to a new load of wash by the time I finish the previous one, and toilet bowl skid- marks by the time the kitchen’s finally clean (you find it gross? Try scrubbing it). I’m not trying to love it, not even like it a little. But I have learned to accept it for a very simple reason: Since I end up doing it anyway, I may as well not spend hours upon hours of my life, every day, EVERY——— DAY! (Reader #3, your turn) being miserable, or blaming somebody else for not doing the job.
So I write when the washing machine is going, fold the laundry while on the phone, enjoy a muscular stout while I cook diner, listen to All Things Considered while I clean up, and on occasion, just once in a great while, I forget to be miserable, forget how I hate housekeeping work, and enjoy a moment of ——- domesticated bliss.