Mom Talk: How We Co-Parent and Divide Household Chores
With my first Mother’s Day just a few days away, I’ve been thinking a lot about my role as Margot’s mom. I love this amazing, beautiful little human than I ever could have imagined, and being her mom is simultaneously the most incredible and most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Parenthood is magical. It’s also really, really hard and completely changed us and our marriage. I don’t mean that negatively at all because as cliché as it may sound, Margot really is the best thing that ever happened to us.
I’ve also thought about how lucky I am to be a mom in a time when it’s not only ok, but also completely normal for a couple to divide what were once standard parenting roles. That’s not to say that what we’re doing is the good or right way to parent – you have to do what’s right for you and your family. But sharing responsibilities is works for us and our family, and I feel very lucky to be able to be a mom, run a company, and to have my blog, too. Neither of us could do what we do without supporting one another. It is currently early morning at our house. I “made” Margot’s breakfast (organic turkey sausage, a waffle and banana) and Conor is feeding her while I work on this post.
I’m linking up with a few of my favorite moms to each share our take on being working moms and navigating those roles with our husbands. When you’re done reading my post, head over to their blogs to read what they have to say.
Julia from Lemon Stripes
Emily from Isn’t That Charming
Eva from Happily Eva After
If you’re new here, I turned 35 one month before our wedding and was sure it would take a while to get pregnant. There was very little (ok zero) time to establish our new roles of husband and wife, because the best-case scenario happened and we found out we were going to be parents less than a month after our wedding. I always wanted to be a mom and was so excited, but at the same time, it was such a blur. Everything sort of happened at once for the next few months, and I was so, so tired.
Instead of slowing down and enjoying our marriage after a whirlwind engagement and destination wedding, everything quite literally happened like a domino effect for the next 9 months. We dove into holiday content over at The Everygirl office (busiest time of year), I had multiple personal partnerships to get through, and we were gearing up to launch The Everymom. From May – July, we launched our new site, my cofounder Alaina went on maternity leave the week before I moved into my new house, and 2 months later, I had Margot. All good things but it felt like so much at the time.
On July 6, 2018, we met our girl. Falling in love with her was easy and the first few weeks were incredible. We slowed down and just took in this tiny little person. Seeing Conor hold our little girl for the first time is a moment I never want to forget. It was one of the most beautiful and profound moments of my life – especially considering the fact that my dad was not around for his kids.
I had about 2.5 months off from work and hoped things would slow down for Conor (he’s a realtor here in Chicago) but they picked up, and even though he was very present and a great dad, he was also very busy, and I didn’t know how to hit the pause button on every aspect of my life while balancing this role of caring for the tiniest and most fragile little person I had ever known. The responsibility, love, and worry are completely consuming. It’s beautiful and scary. Conor has always done everything he can to help, and since breastfeeding didn’t work out, we took turns waking up with Margot at night, which lasted far beyond the 3 month window I had planned on. But from early on, it was our plan to split everything as much as possible since we both work.
As we settled into parenthood, the waves sort of came crashing down on us for a little while. I’ve talked about this more than once, but Margot was a very, very fussy baby for the first 6 months (maybe a little longer – I can’t remember and it’s probably better that way). We’re not sure if it was colic or a dairy intolerance, but we were mostly housebound with her because she cried a lot and would work herself up to the point of vomiting whenever we took her out. We both struggled and everything fun sort of stopped for a while. There are few things worse than not being able to make your baby feel better, and we just did what we could to support each other. It was really hard on us as individuals and hard on our marriage, too, but we got through it, and we’re better and stronger for it. My advice for anyone going through anything similar would be to not keep tabs (we weren’t always great at that) and to make time for yourselves as individuals and as a couple.
Dividing Household Chores / Parenting Duties
Household chores are divided and a mix depending on who is doing what. Conor takes out the trash, cooks, breaks down boxes, waters the plants, takes Buddy out, and I’m sure there’s more, but that’s the list he just gave me. I grocery shop, do laundry, and clean the house, and handle what Conor calls “house inventory – ordering basically anything we need for us and Margot,” and I’m the one to schedule her doctor appointments and pack up when it’s time to leave the house with her.
We try to do breakfast together and will play with Margot before our nanny arrives. After work, we’ll all have dinner together and we aim to both do bath time with Margot most nights, although I’ve been at the computer a lot lately, and he’s handled bath time this week. There are nights one of us has to work or has plans, and when that happens, one of us will take over, but it’s something we enjoy doing together, and we love that little routine for her. We all do bath time, read a book, and we take turns doing bottle and bed time.
Conor just reminded me to tell you all about the time our friends came over and he was watching Margot while I built her play kitchen. It felt like nothing in the moment, but the fact that we don’t really have gender roles, and that we just have our roles that work for us as a couple feel pretty amazing. I love that our daughter will grow up seeing us both do a mix of everything, and that it will be completely normal for her. We are anything but perfect and have our moments, but the biggest lesson is trying to help each other when things are busy.
On Being a Working Mom
We’re both able to work with the help of our nanny, but nothing about our schedules is “normal” so a lot happens when she’s not here. I’m managing my blog, organizing our home, choosing finishes for bathroom renovations (currently living through construction), and making sure we’re present when we’re with Margot and each other, too. Conor often has showings after work and on weekends, and has had some really busy periods where he’ll have multiple clients buying and selling. It can feel a little overwhelming and naturally, we have moments where we argue about who’s doing what, but we both make it a point not to keep score.
As much as I love what I do, there are nights when Conor gives Margot a bath solo because I have a sponsored post to work on, or times when I’m at work and missing her. Just last night, I had a dinner after work and didn’t see Margot before bed. This happens for both of us from time to time, probably more for Conor since he has showings after work. There’s so much guilt, but that happens however you parent. I love working and I love my daughter. You can’t do it all every moment of the day, but time away from her allows me to really focus on Margot when I’m with her.
Conor shoots a lot of content with me which I know isn’t easy but it’s been great for our family. I honestly couldn’t do it without his help, but it can be stressful for both of us. That’s why I am so so selective about who I work with, and I’ve learned to say no more than I say yes. I have to say no to a lot to get work done, and to make sure we have some family time. Things take a lot longer, but even when work is busy, I make sure most of my weekend is devoted to family time. It’s a juggling act, but that’s parenthood for you. Whether you work full-time, part-time, or are home with your little ones all day. It’s beautiful and messy and never easy, and it’s so worth it. Ultimately, we have each other’s backs and take turns reminding each other of the fact that we’re in this together.
How does your family handle parenting roles? If you’re a working mom, what are some things that have worked for you? How do you find that “balance” everyone’s always talking about?