Friday, May 27, 2016

Subsidizing My Spouse

Dear Readers, I don't know where the time goes.... actually, I do: whenever the children are not needing something, I just want to sit and read a book.  (All one hour of daylight when this is true. Some of the time, instead, I cook dinner or clean or put in another load of laundry.)

Right now is a point in my life where my work subsidizes my spouse's career.

This is what his life looks like outside of work:
Pack child lunches*; make coffee in morning; take children to school; play with children after work; wash dishes; take out trash; do investments.  Mow lawn.  Sweep and clean on weekends.

This is what my life looks like outside of (three hours a week, which are now over, of) work:
Get children from school; arrange all childcare; do all grocery shopping; cook all dinners and lunches; feed baby eight times a day; book tradespeople; pay bills; make and execute all medical and dental appointments for everyone but spouse.  Wash laundry; remove spiders from house; go to library with children; obtain clothing for all members of family.  Car maintenance.  All paperwork having to do with everything but work.  Bills. Arrange sports and extracurriculars.

(Shortly it will be Summer, No More School, and spouse will get to skip lunches and take-children-to-school, and I'll have them all the time!  Except for camp.  All hail camp.)

Do you see anything enjoyable on that list?  I do not.  I dislike all of it.  More precisely, I dislike being obligated to do all these things.  And yet, it is irrational to push it off onto my spouse.  I give it good odds that we will stay married for a long time (barring death, you know) and so it makes sense to put all one's tenure eggs in one basket.  In the meantime, I kind of hate it all.

* The big one packs his own lunch but requires some supervision.

Next time I have time: pondering the possibilities of work options. Spoiler: few.


  1. Yes, you totally are subsidizing Mr. Dr. Scientist's career. He should thank you in all his research papers. No, really.

    When I was little my mother worked, but my grandmother lived with us and we were next door to our other grandparents. And there was childcare. I had no idea what a SAHM did all day. I vaguely realized it used to be a thing. Grandma Dorothy didn't work, but they were Catholic and had six kids.

    Now I Know.

    It's too bad there are so many necessary and unpleasant jobs, and they're primarily falling on you. Have I mentioned how much I love my vacuuming robot? Also, would something like Blue Apron be able to mail you dinners that wouldn't kill you? You really should have some time that you enjoy every day.

  2. I am going to assume your spouse said, "I know when you decided to quit the workforce to raise our children you did not sign up for 1) chronic pain and insanely restricted diet 2) living in the south with the social isolation 2) yet more children, exactly, so while it's true that me getting tenure is a priority so I can't offer to do as much as I want to, it's summer now and I'm not teaching, so I can definitely give you half a day any day of the week you choose, during which I will work from home and learn just how insanity-inducing it is to care for our beloved offspring, which will give me added empathy for you, most dedicated and beloved spouse." Right? RIGHT? And I say this as someone who knows about the importance of getting tenure and how the academics are not "off" in the summer. And maybe you were too self-denying to take him up on this but I think you should re-think, because what if you hit your breaking point and end up murdering your whole family?

    1. Alas, he has summer students for the next 9 weeks, all of whom may set the lab on fire if unsupervised (you know I'm not exaggerating!). He does take them pretty much all weekend, every weekend, and I even got a nap Monday, so I feel that's equivalent to a half day. And he watches them a lot while I garden. Like flowers.

  3. You have just described my life, except for the three days a week I work, and the fact thatspouse does not take child to school; wash dishes; do investments; mow lawn or sweep and clean on weekends. Am I bitter? Oh yes. Does he earn oodles more than me at the pinnacle of his industry. Yes, yes he does. But it doesn't mean I enjoy being housekeeper, child-carer, odd-jobber, gardener, appointment's secretary, and all the rest.

    tl~dr: I empathise.

  4. I've been resisting saying anything whenever you bring these topics up, but... academia isn't all that. Given your mounting levels of unhappiness, it could make sense that he quit and you both move someplace where you can both get full-time work. His tenure isn't the end-all and be-all unless you're happy too.

    If you guys are stuck on academia, I hope he's selectively applying each year so he increases the chances of you getting a spousal hire. I hope you're also able to work on research to make yourself more competitive. If you want academia.

    1. I do NOT want academia, but it's a viable part-time option. Don't worry - I have no intention of this situation continuing forever. I'm applying for jobs. There is a time limit on how long I'm planning to put up with this. I'm applying for jobs. I'm trying to figure out many things (some of which are so specific that I cannot write about them in public; suffice it to say Things Are Happening). I have already told the spouse that if he's up for tenure and I've got nothing, he'll be applying for jobs elsewhere, or we'll be getting a divorce, because this is NOT going to go on forever.

      (But if I can't complain on my own blog, then where? :))

      The difficulty, of course, is that the spouse is *really* happy with *his* job/life, and everything else about our quality of life is quite good (aside from how I am SO FUCKING BORED). So it'll take a little longer before 'everything else is great' is balanced out by 'except how I'm not great.'

    2. Is there a reason for him to not selectively apply at the next cycle? Why wait until tenure?

    3. Unbloggable reasons having to do with [DEPARTMENT REDACTED].


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