Tuesday, April 26, 2011

All Domesticated 'n Stuff

Devon and I made a deal. I will be domestic, and she will be the labourer.

It came about because I expressed my unhappiness with the constant state of chaos that these house renovations are putting us in. Our house is almost not-livable. I hate this town. I want to move back to the city. We have a great condo, but we're never home, and when we are, we're working on it... I have had enough.

But I can't be done with it, because it's not done.

Devon suggested that I take care of the cleaning, cooking, shopping, laundry and all things typically domestic. In "return," she is doing the majority of the renovations. I have no problem with the work - I'm capable of painting and tiling and changing light fixtures and all that good stuff... it's just that I absolutely need my weekends to rest up, and when we're putting in work on the house after eight hours of work and three hours commuting, it's exhausting.

But here's what I've noticed: Since taking on the domestic duties, I'm bloody exhausted. I don't know if it is because I am still doing what I can for the house (I painted the bathroom in the dark for Earth Day) or because I'm not actually this used to doing so much to "keep" the house, or a combination of the two.

I realize that Devon and I make so many excuses for ourselves. I can't count the amount of times we've said, "We deserve a break so bad... we owe it to ourselves to rest tonight" and then end up zoning out playing Angry Birds in stereo on our iPhones. Which, I know is sometimes needed - just not every night.

I also realize - more importantly - how much I rely on Devon to take care of things so that I can take care of myself. This whole concept can be dangerous, as we have spent many a lustless hour trying to talk our way out of the "caregiver" and "child/patient/needy" roles. When you're essentially taking care of someone beyond the normal, equal duties, there is nothing sexy about a lover. Really. And considering the way I feel about sex, I do everything I can to move away from these roles. I like sex waaaaaay too much.

Historically, we've done everything together. We go grocery shopping together every Sunday. We spend the day cleaning. We cook together. We do renovations together. We both go out for simple tasks like picking up a meal or getting gas. Some might think it's great to have someone to share these mundane tasks with, and sometimes it is... and sometimes it's a bit telling for the dynamics of a relationship.

I'm so glad I married my best friend, I really am. But we both deserve autonomy and a life outside of each other. We deserve our own friends and our own hobbies (which is hard because we met through a major mutual hobby in our lives and were brought together by mutual friends). We deserve to live our own lives AND celebrate our life together.

It becomes layered because we have one car and we both work in the city and so when a friend calls up and asks me to come over for a visit after work, I basically have to ask Devon if it is okay and to ask her to find her own way home, which isn't a big deal except that the last commuter train home is at 5:45 and if you don't catch it, you're screwed.

I honestly wouldn't change it for the world though. I feel as though I have someone who supports my every breath, and I think I give back just as much.

And I am lucky that I have someone who wants to climb up a ladder to patch the ceiling when she gets home from work, while dealing with a wife who is trying not to burn everything I try to make in the kitchen.

I am such a bad cook and the food has been terrible. But I am trying. I actually miss having someone to grocery shop with, to cook with, to fold laundry with... not because I am needy of Devon to be with me for every little thing I do, but because it actually helps with the workload!

How do women who have to do all this shit do it?


  1. Loved the cartoon. I say take one day off of work for both of you and just sit in your house, then go to a movie, dinner and come home and get a good nights sleep. Just one day and soon.

  2. We fall into the trap of doing every errand together, too--someone to talk to while we shop! But I find that everything takes twice as long because there's no one at home working on any other errands. I think you got the worse end of the deal, though, if you're still painting and she's not doing dishes...

  3. This is a great phrase: "...as we have spent many a lustless hour trying to talk our way out of the 'caregiver' and 'child/patient/needy' roles." My partner and I have similar issues with lack of differentiation.

    We also do those lazy video game/TV nights because we "deserve" to de-stress. Unfortunately, it's actually not as stress-relieving as exercise would be. I worry about our ability to manage stress when there's a baby around.

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know you're not alone. It's a process.

  4. Pre-child, we used to run most of our errands together (not all though, like getting gas). Post-child, there is much more of a split, which is fine (usually the chores happen when he is asleep and someone goes out to run an errand while someone, aka me, cleans or does laundry). I kind of like that there is a split and it's not based on any sort of gender roles (how could we when we're both femme? lol) but just on what we like to do...or what we don't like to do less than the other person.

    I don't know how in the hell anyone could a) handle it all alone or b) accept that kind of a lifestyle.

  5. I hear ya. Pre-pregnancy we did a lot of errands together and I'm having trouble (as you read) with the adjustment. There are just so many things to consider on the road to being balanced, happy people!

  6. pre-pregnancy, we had a nice split. since getting pregnant, i have really been taking advantage of tam. i let her do most things. i'm a little ashamed of myself, but stuck in this rut now.