Sunday, August 12, 2007

Divide and Conquer

Tonight my husband and I will do something very few couples ever do. (No, I am not talking about sex). Tonight, we're going to divide The List.

You know The List -- the one that's committed to memory and constantly running through your head like the CNN ticker. The one that rules our lives made famous in the book, "I Don't Know How She Does It." It's the endless list of things that HAS to be done to keep your life and the lives of your family members on track. The one that as soon as one thing is checked off, three more pop on and therefore will never, ever, EVER be successfully and completely completed. That one.

Before you hail my husband a hero for offering, no INSISTING, that we split The List, I submit to you that this was an act of pure self preservation. He was the one that encouraged me to go back to work full time (which means less financial pressure for him). And after experiencing my umpteenth nervous breakdown and constant misery over not being able to keep up with The List anymore, there was simply only one solution. If we were going to share the earning power, we were going to have to share responsibility for The List.

Each Sunday night, we go over The List for the week. We determine who is going to do what and then my husband actually types up a separate list for each of us (ever see your list on paper? It's even more scary in print). At first, I kept forgetting to mention things that should be on The List. Not because I actually forgot them, but because I considered them things "the mom" should do. Eventually I learned to give it all up and I've been amazed at what my husband has taken on. He scheduled and accompanied the kids to their last dental appointment. He researched and organized swim lessons. He got our piano fixed and tuned (that's been on The List for years!). He's even made lunches and packed backpacks.

Now that The List has been reduced to something a bit more manageable, an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders. But it also has illuminated one simple truth. While our husbands are more than capable of stepping up and taking on more than they traditionally do, the ultimate responsibility will always lie with the mom. As wonderful as he is, my husband will never remember that we have to call the pediatrician three months in advance to schedule a check up or that every January we have to start registering the kids for camp. Those finer details are in my head and squarely and firmly in my court. But at least being able to delegate these tasks once they arrive is a step in the right direction. For now.

2 comments: said...

I think it is close to epidemic, that women are the micro managers of the family, but I also think that I am as responsible for it as my husband may be. I realized that if my husband is truly in charge of taking my son to the doctor, not just driving him there, then he will figure out how to do it. It's hard to let go and not be in charge, but it's great to feel the balance once you start.

Amy@UWM said...

So true. It's not just letting them do things, but about letting them do things the way they're going to do them. I've definitely had to hold myself back from re-doing the lunches he's packed. But letting go does feel good!