Have it all

By most standards, I have it all. I’m married to a supportive man, I have two kids (1 boy, 1 girl, how perfect!), I’m well-educated, leaning in at work, taking time to write in this blog, running a side business, and keeping up with the household chores (most of the time, anyway!). We live on a great property in a house that was built by my grandpa. This means lots of legacy and lots of DIY. I’ve been pretty blessed.

Have it all

Having it all

But do I have it all or do I just have pieces of it all?

In a prior post, I wrote that I feel as though I am perpetually and chronically running behind. I’m playing catch up, unable to keep up with my own scorecard and due dates because I am so busy try to have it all.

Marriage is a partnership, but is it an equal 50/50 partnership?  I’m guessing that in most households, it’s not. I came across a video today–actually a commercial.  You may have seen it as it’s actually going viral.  You can check it out here on Sheryl Sandberg’s facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/sheryl/videos/10156510941810177/?pnref=story.

The video/commercial in question shows a grandfather sitting at the table with his grandson.  He’s watching his daughter as she gets home from work, starts dinner, picks up the toys, and works on laundry, all while participating in a teleconference for her job.  Her husband is sitting in the background watching TV.  Then, there’s a voice over from the grandfather.  He’s written a letter to his daughter, lamenting the bad example that he set in not doing things around the house, and he promises to go home and at least help with the laundry.  It’ s a commercial for Ariel laundry from P&G, but it’s so much more than that!  It’s really a statement on global inequality.

I can really identify with this commercial!  Both Mr. Keller and I grew up in more traditional homes where the wife took care of the household chores and the children while the husband took care of the outside (but heaven forbid the flower beds be included in what is known as the outside!). When we entered into our marriage, I had high hopes of a marriage in which I cooked and he cleaned up after dinner, but I never made that reality happen. Instead, I accepted his expectations (again rationalizing it because we grew up that way and “he’d had a hard day at work”).

Why do I accept this? Why do I accept the fact that I maintain the house, the children, the finances, and our social calendar, all while bringing home more than half of our family’s financial income?  Some days, I feel as though everyone and everything in the little Keller world is dependent upon me. Silly, right? I mean, they won’t starve without me cooking. Eventually, someone else would do laundry. The dusting probably won’t happen, but I’m sure that Mr. Keller would get the kids ready in the morning if I just refused. BUT, I don’t.

Mr. Keller is a wonderful man.  I’m not trying to complain about him.  I’m simply sharing my thoughts on how our household got to where we are today.

I’ve put myself in this position, but so has society.  Stereotypes and gender expectations have had a huge influence in my life and, I’m sure others.

The feminist movement was great… until it wasn’t.  You see, I don’t think feminists expected the world I live today.  They fought so that I could vote, work a job, and be reliant upon myself.  I don’t think they expected that women would do all of those things while still shouldering the bulk of the household chores.  You see, I’m competitive and ambitious; I want to be the best.  I want to win at being the best wife, mom, housewife, and employee.  I want to have it all, but I’m realizing that something has to give.

Mommy Confession #2: We love daycare!

I’ll just admit it:  we love daycare!  We have been incredibly fortunate that all 3 daycares (2 in home and 1 daycare center) we have used have been great fits for our family.  I wish that I could stay home with my children, of course, but that’s not in the cards for us right now.  Although, if I’m going to be honest, I would probably still send the children to daycare part time if I could stay at home.  The benefits and connections that we have made through daycare have really been phenomenal.

For us, the biggest benefit to daycare has been the opportunity to connect with caring daycare providers.  We have been blessed beyond measure in that most of our daycare providers have truly loved our children.  These wonderful women have bestowed kisses, hugs, and caring words onto our children on good days and bad days, and they have even provided snuggles on sick days.  My children are left with no doubt that they are loved.  How awesome is that?  Not only do my children have large extended families available to love them, they also have a makeshift family of wonderful daycare providers.

We love daycare

Sliding at the park

BK and MK would also attest to the fact that they love the opportunity to socialize with their friends!  Since BK was just a few weeks old, we have benefited from his opportunities to socialize.  I have mentioned before that he was not an easy baby, but he clearly loved going to daycare as an infant.  He loved to watch the older children play, and it really seemed as though he had bonded with his daycare provider’s sons.  The social opportunities have helped my children learn to share, voice their frustrations rather than simply scream or cry, problem solve, and work as a team.  Truly, I love hearing about BK and MK’s day.  I feel as though I know Blake, Luca, Melody, Vivian, Tait, Norah, Nick, and Tony!

Another very clear benefit of daycare is that I have no doubts that my children will be ready for kindergarten.  They are used to structured days.  They can do basic tasks such as hold a pencil and use safety scissors that, frankly, aren’t such basic tasks when you are a young child learning to do them for the first time!  Even more importantly, they know how to respect and listen to their teachers.  That last lesson may be what sets them up for success!

We love daycare

Finding Balance

Not to be downplayed is the stress relief that comes with a really great daycare situation.  I can work all day knowing that my children are ensconced in a safe, loving place.  They’re working on crafts and art projects that I always say I’m going to do with them, but. somehow, time never seems to permit.  The school is doing the tough job of teaching them how to count and sing their ABCs; we get to practice those things while we swing at the park!  I feel as though we have found a really great balance in our lives.  I’ll say it again:  We love daycare!

Side note:  I know many stay at home moms who do a great job finding social opportunities for their children, and who excel at preparing their children for kindergarten.  That’s just not our situation.