Friday, September 16, 2011

Driving Into Different Territory

So, some of you may already know that my full-time telecommuter status has been revoked. Come October it looks like I will be back in the office full-time, and it's got me more than a little stressed. The autonomy and work/life balance of working at home has been something I have come to cherish.

The fact that my new commute (about 40 minutes) will come right before winter offers me little in the way of consolation.

Consider this article on how it's more difficult for women to commute than men.  At first I found the premise sexist and kind of absurd, but then I really thought about it. While my husband doesn't love driving all over creation for his job, he's rarely stressed about it. Because I am the one who usually picks Wee 'Burb up, because if I can't, I have the sexless sister wife to back me up. And then, of course, my parents help out at least once a week. He doesn't worry about dinner being late because I'm the one who prepares it and cooks it well before he's even on the road.

We've both taken for granted that since I've been a Mom, I've been working at home.

The article puts it succinctly: Researchers attribute women's heightened "sensitivity to time spent commuting" to our "greater responsibility for day to day household tasks (including childcare and housework)."

I have gently broached the subject with Scott in terms of us re-regulating our life. While it made sense for me to do household chores and cook while I was home (because I could do them on a lunch break, or because I could start work earlier and have more time to prepare dinner, etc), we'll now both be on the road, stuck in traffic, racing to see which of us can pick Wee 'Burb up before having to hand the daycare a late fee.

I'm not sure I'm ready for this. I'm not sure he is, either.

Do you agree that commutes are harder on women, especially working moms? Have you had this kind of switch? If you went from working to staying at home, did you just start assuming housework? How do you divide chores if you both work outside the home? Is your entire weekend spent cleaning and catching up?


The Woven Moments said...

We have what I like to call The Egalitarian Marriage. We both work. We both do housework. We both parent.

This is how we split stuff up:

Kat said...

I'm stressed out just thinking about this. I know for Marcus and I, we both have specific chores that we're responsible for and then other communal tasks. It helps to allow for more accountability and less nagging. And yes, we usually do more of the chores on the weekend so that we can more freely enjoy our time together on weeknights.

I definitely think that the commute is harder on women, period. My stress levels go through the roof if I'm driving in afternoon rush hour. It's ridiculous.

I'll be thinking of you guys as you make this transition - just remember to be patient with one another.

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

My husband and I struggle with this a lot. I'm a working Mom and still do at least 80% of the household chores, including laundry and cooking. That doesn't include the weekends when I am also caring for Luke. He watches Luke two days/week because he doesn't work those two days, so he thinks that he can get off the hook on the weekends. I feel responsible for it all. It's an old fashioned notion, but for some reason that's' what I think. As mothers, we're alwyas thinking "what's next" the whole 30 min. i'm driving home I'm thinking, I need to go in, feed Luke, start dinner, clean up, do bottles.

This weekend my hub has a plan to make a dry erase board chart for us so we can start dividing chores (since I've been really struggling mentally and emotionally lately) and it's music to my ears!

Shell said...

What a hard switch. I know that when I did work outside of the home, my husband and I split things more evenly.

Working at home- it all fell to me. Oh man, did that ever cause issues- b/c I was WORKING. Full time.

Now down to part time and it's still on me, but I'm less resentful.

Um, slight sidetrack there.

Ameena said...

I absolutely think that commutes are harder on the mom. I remember racing from work to daycare and then to the grocery store, thinking the entire time of the 1000 things I needed to accomplish before bedtime.

I'm sorry you have to start commuting...that totally sucks.

Sparkling said...

You need to get a chauffeur, Then you could at least do other stuff while the chauffeur drives you in and out of work.... I'd like a chauffeur and my commute is 3 miles. Think of all that I could get done...

KLZ said...

This, precisely, is why I've been begging, begging, begging to work more from home. Right now I do every Friday and without that, I don't think I'd survive. But another two days? Would revolutionize our lives.

Hungrigyrl said...

I don't want to alarm you, but this has been one of my biggest challenges of being a working mom. My commute is 40-50 minutes depending on traffic. If I had never known the pleasures of working at home (which I did full time for about 4 years, until my company shut down)before I started this job which I have been at for 1.5 years...maybe I wouldn't hate it so much. But commuting for a job that can be done at home seems like such a waste of time and gas. Not to mention the loss of family/home time for all the reasons you mentioned. Try to stay positive! I hope you don't become bitter about it like me. :(

Working Mommy said...

i have a post similar to this in my drafts. you have been lucky to work from home and that afforded you certain things - but i'm sure you will be able to figure out a new schedule once things settle down.


Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

I can only imagine how hard it is to find balance in this area. I'm a stay at home mom, but my husband still comes home and helps around the house.

So I would think if you work as a team to take care of the house, or have him take over a night or two of cooking dinner...that would go a long way in helping to relieve some of the stress?

Like any transition, it will take awhile to find your groove. But you'll get there!

Kristen said...

We used to work opposite shifts so whoever was home, did what needed done and whoever was not at home did the shopping, kid picking up etc. Now we both work during the day, I travel 45 minutes each way and he travels 2 minutes. So he does the errands and kid picking up , outside maintenance and dinner. I do the laundry, inside cleaning, bill paying, homework monitor. Yes,at least 1/2 the weekend is spent catching up. I have learned that the drive time is good for calming down before entering full time job #2. Listen to your favorite music loudly, or sit in silence. Make you phone calls (cause there is no other time to talk) and at every stop, I am jotting down notes of things to do, and to buy....
Good Luck!

Missy said...

Good luck. Keep communicating. It's easy to let resentment build up into something bigger. Keep us updated on how it's going!