My Unpaid Part-Time Job: I Refuse to Let Housework Take Over My Life

It’s no secret that running a household is no small task. From housework, the cooking to the cleaning, to the endless amounts of laundry, it’s no wonder why a majority of parents feel like they are drowning at home.

I noticed a shift in my demeanor at home over the recent months. I had gone from home being a place I wanted to be, to constantly thinking about what I had to do next. In short, home was stressing me out.  

I decided to log my household hours for the week. These hours were made up of housework like doing dishes, mopping/vacuuming floors, preparing myself and my children for the next day, outdoor yard work, meal prepping, grocery shopping, cleaning the bathrooms, and of course laundry. First, you should know that I move at the speed of lightning around my house. I’m a fine-tuned whirlwind and make every second count. So I feel that if I moved at the speed of a normal person, this number would be higher. Second, after a week, a full Monday-Sunday week, I totaled 21 hours and 10 mins of housework. 

MIND. BLOWN. 

I knew I spent a good amount of time doing housework, but when I saw it was the equivalent of a part-time job, I was in shock! LOL. WHAT?! I wasn’t even getting paid for the amount of time and effort I was putting into this “job”! And this was after I had already worked a 50-hour workweek at a job that actually pays and has benefits. 

It turns out, I’m not alone in the number of hours I spend on housework. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women spend an average of 2.5 hours a day on household work, while men spend 1.9 hours. 

Again, mind blown!

How, in such a modern society, do we {women and single parents} spend this much time on household chores?

I had a long while to reflect on this in the weeks following my housework experiment. I definitely passed through a wide range of emotions, which closely mirrored the five stages of death:

  • Again, I couldn’t believe I spent this much time working around the house versus enjoying my time at home.
  • I was angry. Really, really angry that no one in my household helped me with these chores.
  • I bargained with myself that a majority of these tasks would have to be completed by me regardless of my family status.
  • Then I queued the depression, and I mean a truly deep depression, woe is me pity party.
  • But finally, I hit acceptance, but not in the way you might think.

Yes, I accept that I can’t get out of all 21 hours of exhausting housework because I excel at some things better than my spouse and children. I accept that I can and will ask for help. I accept that I can’t and shouldn’t have to do it all by myself. I accept that my house will never be spotless and there will always be more laundry. I accept that my home needs to be my peaceful place {especially during COVID times}. I accept that I need help with making my home my paradise, not only from my spouse but from friends and family.

When people ask what I need, I’m telling them a maid! Even if a cleaning service only comes once a month to do the “big stuff”, it will alleviate an untold amount of stress. I’m saying yes to a girl’s day out with my friends and leaving a honey-do list without feeling shame or worry.

I am saying yes to taking back some of my personal time, and no to housework taking over my life! 

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