One subject that my husband and I argue over all of the time is, who’s job is harder – his 9-5 office job, or my job of looking after our 18 month old son at home? He will always argue that his job is so much harder because he has to be there on time each day, work to tight deadlines, stay late if needed and is glued to a computer all day. He considers my job to be a piece of cake – I get to stay at home and watch Jeremy Kyle in my pyjamas all day, surely?
I think this is a misconception that a lot of working fathers have of their partners and one which can be extremely frustrating to us mothers who are working so hard to bring up well-rounded children. I can understand that it may appear to be an easy task, but caring for a toddler whilst keeping on top of household chores is no simple task. First there are the nappies to change – about six a day; then there is the constant entertaining – a child of 18 months will not entertain himself, he will require a regular change of activity and constant attention; then we have the tantrums – these will occur around 3 times a day depending on the toddler’s mood and can be particularly straining on a mother; and let’s not forget meal times – these take a lot longer than usual and can be very messy. A mother will spend most of her day cleaning up after her child, whether it’s from eating, painting or simply wetting himself.
So when do mothers get a chance to keep on top of the housework, do the weekly shop and make the dinner? And how on earth is there always clean clothes in the drawer for work, guys? Well, these jobs magically get done in between the above – sometimes when our child is taking that precious half hour nap or when his favourite TV programme is on; but we manage – somehow.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that working a 9-5 job is easy – I do it three days a week and so understand the pressures it can bring, but I also know that on the days I stay at home with our son, I go to bed a lot earlier and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. So to those of you who think bringing up a child doesn’t count as a job – think again, our work is never done.
No ordinary work done by a man is either as hard or as responsible as the work of a woman who is bringing up a family of small children; for upon her time and strength, demands are made not only every hour of the day, but often every hour of the night.