The unequalness of household chores after baby

Listening to Weekend Life Matters on Radio National (via podcast) on my way to Toy Library duty this morning, I was inspired to share how minimalism has enabled our household to more fairly share the household chores since we began our family in 2015.

I am absolutely a type A personality and have always prided myself on my ability to multi-task, be extremely organised and get a lot done. However, since discovering minimalism in 2014, I realised these qualities were actually not helpful for my wellbeing, particularly in the way the constant busyness hid anxiety.

Certainly, when we were pregnant with our first child, I thought being a stay at home mum was the best job in the world – there would be so much time to cook and have the house perfect, I would play with my child and then they would entertain themselves. I could write while they slept… ha ha ha. None of that happened!

But what I did find is that I increased my standards of perfection as a result of the anxiety of having a quite unwell and demanding child, and nothing I did was ever good enough, for my own unrelenting standards. My husband was completely supportive but he did not have the same high standards, not even close. Mine were unrealistic and we discovered we needed to meet in the middle.

I loved how Eve explained the way she brought values to the discussion about garbage (in the podcast). This strategy has helped us too – we have discussed what is important and made a compromise in the way it should be done, how frequently etc.

Overall, minimalism, the intentional practice of letting things go and placing value on what is truly important, has played a large part in allowing me to free up some time for myself. Even right now, having moved home 2 weeks ago, the floor needs to be swept, the toy room is a mess, the beds not made, but instead of doing all that, I am here, writing. A few years ago I would have done ALL the housework before I made time for myself.

I’m still a recovering perfectionist, and a some time control freak – it’s not an end game, it’s an ongoing practice in the art of unwinding perfectionist and the busy mindset. Over time, you can change these parts of yourself, softening and allowing more freedom and less demanding standards.

Despite all of this, with two children who have additional needs, I am still performing far more of the home life load, and this means I don’t have the capacity to work much (freelance) nor could I find a job (no childcare at the moment) – but these are sacrifices I choose at the moment. I do need to keep working on finding time for my passions, hobbies and creativity – what about you?

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