Wo-manual Labor

The man of the house and I have an ongoing argument as to who is more tired at the end of the day. He thinks the fact that he works outside all day beats my being in the house all day with the kids. I think this claim is as half-baked as his brains probably are from spending too much time in the sun.

Here are a few reasons I think manual labor has nothing on being a mom:

1. His workday ends earlier than mine.

My day starts when the kids get up and doesn’t end until they are in bed. And even after baths, bottles, and bedtime stories, there is still work to be done. The dinner dishes won’t clear themselves, and if my older child doesn’t want to go to school naked, somebody has to wash a load of her clothes. Guess who that somebody is.

When does his workday end? Around 5 o’clock when he strolls through the door tracking dirt and concrete across the floor and shedding his sweaty work clothes at the foot of the bed.

2. He can relax at the end of his day.

Since his workday ends so much earlier than mine, he has time to himself. He can do what he likes with that time. Take a hot bath. Prop his feet up on the couch and (if he looks pathetic enough) get someone to rub them for him. Lie back and contemplate whether the price of tea in China is really all that consequential if he so desires. And while he’s doing that, I’m chasing the little one out of the kitchen while the older one is whining that she’s hungry. By the time everyone else is taken care of, I’m too exhausted even to wash out the pudding the baby smeared in my hair at dinner.

3. He gets the occasional day off.

In his line of work, there are days when he is not on the job. Work is often slow, so there are times when he is off for weeks at a time, especially during the winter. Or, when work is steady, he will finish a job and have to wait for the next one to be ready. Rain also means a day off because it will be too wet to do anything. I wish it were so for me. But the kids’ basic needs don’t change according to the season or the weather. Spring, summer, fall, or winter, there is always a hungry mouth to feed or a dirty mess to clean up after.

So why isn’t boarding school more popular?

Our argument usually ends with a Rogerian compromise. “Yes, honey, I understand you’re tired, but it’s a different kind of tired.” How very true indeed that is, my dear clueless man.

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5 Responses to Wo-manual Labor

  1. mthoffman says:

    I always find it interesting when this type of question/debate arises. It always seems that one persons lack of energy should be more justified than another’s. I think, looking beyond the cause of the tiredness, whether it be working all day at home or at work, it’s safe to say both parties are exhausted.

    I find myself getting stuck in this tired-debate, to the point where I’m tired of debating it (pun intended). My exhausted self would rather spend my time having a nice evening with my exhausted significant other, instead of one-upping each other on the tired scale. 🙂

  2. andrewsmeyer says:

    always an interesting debate. your blog is an enjoyable read.

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