Friday, November 9, 2012

Who Does Household Chores In Your Family?

The other day, I overheard the following conversation in the elevator on my way to work:

M: My wife does not do my laundry.
F: I do my husband's laundry, but I do not wash his clothes if they are lying on the floor around the house or next to the laundry basket.  I absolutely hate when he does that!

I was listening and smiling quietly.  It is so interesting how different families do things differently.  Two people with their own points of view on absolutely everything come together, create a family, and try to live in peace, while imposing their views on each other.  It is good when you two find a compromise: the husband deposits his dirty socks INTO the basket (and not on the floor NEXT to it), and the wife is nice enough to do his laundry along with hers. 

Who does household chores in your family? Do you share responsibilities, or does one spouse do everything?  In Russian families, women almost always do everything, including groceries, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning up, cooking, gardening, and putting nails into the walls if the need arises.  Since our family is half-Russian, half-American, we do it the "mixed" way.  My husband cooks, does the dishes and laundry, vacuums, takes out the trash, and waters flowers.  I clean the kitchen (after he cooks and does the dishes) and clean up the house.  I also cook whenever I come home first (which is rare).  We do groceries and make our bed together.  I know that I must sound like a terrible wife if my husband does almost everything at home, but serving is his love language, and I, of course, let him express his love this way (lucky me!).  Well, this was the way things used to be before he got deployed.  Nowadays, I do it all by myself, of course. Needless to say, I am longing for my husband to come back home!

According to the 2010 London School of Economics study, a marriage in which the wife works full-time and the husband doesn't help much with chores is 44% more likely to fail than a marriage in which the man helps out more.  I think this is true, even though, according to statistics, about 65% of all stats are made up.  A healthy balance would definitely help save any marriage, but I also think that it depends on the family.  If the husband is the only provider, it is okay for the wife to take care of the home and most chores.  But what if both of you work?  One option is to hire household help if you absolutely don't have time to take care of all the chores.  For me, it would definitely be an issue of trust; I would have a hard time letting an unknown person into my home and into my life.  Maybe the maid would even drink my liquor, like one of my co-workers' housekeeper did.  However, today hiring help is more widely spread, and there are sites that can mitigate the risk of hiring a wrong person.  For example, and will let you comparison shop for individual housekeepers.  They do background checks and provide references.

I am not sure if we will hire help soon (or ever), but as of right now, our chores sharing seems to work for both the house and our relationship.  Would you be comfortable to hire a housekeeper?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My (Not Lonely) Happy Birthday

In Russian culture, birthdays are always special, no matter how old you are.  When I first came to the States and went to high school, I was very surprised when some of my friends did not wish me a happy birthday, even though they knew about it.  I guess it is treated differently here, even though it does not make sense to me - American culture is quite individualistic.  I had never spent my birthday alone, without my husband or my family.  Not until this year.  I had to blow my candle, though, so a (pretty lonely) piece of cake from Kroger was a given. 

The day before my birthday, I almost had a breakdown from the mere thought of being by myself after work.  I cried because I thought I would feel lonely (I bet only women can cry about something like that), but my husband calmed me down and promised that I would feel special on my special day.  And I did!  He called me on my way to work, which absolutely made my day.  Then I got flowers from my wonderful husband who made me feel loved even while he is deployed.  

My co-workers were very nice, too, and wished me a happy birthday (thank God I am not in high school anymore!).  I got calls from my family and friends from all over, including, among others, Kazakhstan, Russia, Germany, North Carolina, New York, Kansas, Missouri, and Hawaii.  I wish my family were with me, but since they are not, it is nice to be able to say that people from all over the world were thinking of me.  And what I had been dreading so much - spending my birthday evening at home alone - did not happen!  My new Russian friend drove an hour one way just to have dinner with me.  I am surrounded by truly amazing people!

To make my birthday last one extra day, David sent me chocolate-covered strawberries to work yesterday.

The day that I was so afraid of turned out to be one of the best birthdays in my life.  I prayed, and the Lord granted me my wish - to feel loved, blessed, and cared for.  I am truly never alone.  Thank you so much, my wonderful family and friends!