business

REALITY CHECK

James Mehring

I did it! I finally completed my MBA a week ago. Looking back, it just a big blur of lost weekends, late night cramming, and conference calls. It seems unfathomable that I have spent the last three years doing this. But if there anyone happier and more relieved that this ordeal is over, it’s my wife.

Over this long stretch Lyn has run the show at home. Outside of perhaps ironing the clothes and cleaning the bathroom, I haven’t consistently handled any other major household duties. I tried to help out and fill in where I could. But when it comes to division of household labor, Lyn has done the lion’s share of the work. For that I am really grateful. I don’t know how I would have juggled work, school, parenting and still be a functioning member of society without all of Lyn’s support.

I tried to show how much I appreciated Lyn’s patience and support on Mother’s Day. I bought Lyn a lilac bush (lilacs are her favorite flower). I made her breakfast. And I attempted to host dinner for her. I say attempted because when it was all said and done Lyn ended up pitching in quite a bit. As the day progressed, it became clear that I still have a way’s to go when it comes to reaching a 50/50 division of labor at home.

The morning generally went off without a hitch. But the rest of the day confirmed that my wife, like many other households, is the events planner and coordinator at our house. In the early afternoon, I got everything ready for the dinner. However, I neglected to inform Lyn’s parents what time we were eating. I also forgot to set up the yard for our little Mother’s Day outside dinner.

Instead, I locked into my project mode, becoming nearly oblivious to all else going on in the world, went outside to complete our vegetable garden. Having such focus is useful for staying focused on school or work with a million other things going on, but not as useful when it comes to pulling off a little celebration. A similar thing happened after the meal, which luckily was a hit. While I went around in pursuit of the perfect picture of our daughter, Lyn ended up clearing the table and her mother ended up cleaning up.

After reading Anne’s on household work and all the subsequent responses, I thought my family was doing ok, all things considered. But now that school is over and after this Mother’s Day experience, I've readjusted my view. It’s easy to underestimate how much work one’s partner does. A lot of it can go unnoticed and be taken for granted. After devoting so much time to school, it looks like I need some refresher courses on helping out at home.

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