“You work full time and I’ll go part time”…That’s not what I meant!

7 months after Oscar was born, I returned to work part-time. At first it was 2 days, but that quickly increased to 3 days as the volume of work intensified. In reality, I was working more than full time hours but only getting paid 60% salary.

My life had become even more controlled and rigid. Once Oscar had fallen asleep to multiple rounds of Peter Rabbit, I gently lowered him into his cot and placed his snuggle bunny under his hand. 

And so it began…

…wash the pots, clean the surfaces, hang out the washing, fold the dry washing, pack my bag, pack Oscar’s bag. I drew the line at making packed lunches, feeling that there must be at least one meal a day I didn’t have to make.

There had been a time in our old house when everything was equal. Whoever cooked, the other one washed up. If I cleaned a bathroom, he hoovered. Maternity leave had somehow shifted our roles. I’d picked up the slack, as I was at home during the day, but our roles had never been redefined. 

I had pushed back a few times. Made a colour coded list of who did what and used it to highlight what was going on. It didn’t work.

“I can’t possibly do anymore. I get up at 6am and I’m out of the house for 12 hours a day. If you want, you can work full time and I’ll go part-time.” He said.

That’s not what I asked for…or what I wanted.

The injustice of it all. Up at 6am myself, working/childcare until 7:30pm then chores until 9pm. How is that fair?

But in my mind, that one exchange made it permanent. Every time he sat playing computer games, I silently seethed shoving clothes into the washing machine. My mind ruminating and preempting any further attempts to ask for help. 

Drawing the same conclusion time and again…I had no choice but to continue.

But one challenging conversation doesn’t mean that the same will happen again….and yet we make predictions that it will. 

We preempt conversations and events, sometimes never speaking up or taking action because “we know for certain” how it will unfold.

One event, one conversation does not define a relationship (at work or at home). Check in with yourself and let me know…are you drawing conclusions based on a single point of reference?

Speak Soon,