I’m super blessed to have been raised in an awesomely functional family (where my parents had very distinctive responsibilities), and my husband and I have such a beautiful relationship and we share so many responsibilities. I think I hit the husband jackpot though, because he’s really the most supportive and involved person that I know of, and I could NOT do what I do without him. It’s interesting, though, because even though I think my parents were basically perfect in their parenting, Joe and I do things super differently. I am not my mom and Joe is not my dad. I think a “perfect” division of responsibilities can look really different for different families. I think my dad maybe changed 5 diapers each for each of his 7 children. Joe’s changed at least 50% of our girls’ diapers. When the girls were babies and nursing through the night, Joe almost always woke up with me, changed their diaper, brought the baby to me (along with a glass of water), and then tried to stay awake while I nursed. It was SO wonderful knowing that, although I was the one who actually had to wake up and nurse the babies, he cared enough to be there, showing his support and love in a very outward manner.
As for our responsibilities, we’ve never sat down with a pen and paper and divvied up what we’d each be doing as parents. It’s pretty much a given that, since he works outside the home (and provides for us primarily), I’ll be with the girls during the day, doing things that a stay at/work from home mama does: making meals, taking care of kids, laundry, etc. Thankfully, my work is conductive to working from home most of the time, which means I get to be home with the girls. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and since being a mom and wife comes first for us! Basically, this is what a typical day looks like for us:
I know this sounds so silly, but one of the things I’m most thankful for is that Joe usually gets the girls out of bed in the morning. Depending on the time, he either brings them into bed to snuggle with us (only if it’s early & still dark out), or changes diapers, takes them downstairs, and starts breakfast. I’ll sneak in a few more zs. Those 15 mins of extra sleep can feel like hours and hours to me, and it’s amazing. On weekends, he’ll sometimes take them downstairs and let me sleep for an hour or two (I really love my sleep, haha). Once he leaves for work, it’s just me and the girls!
During the day, I’m with the girls pretty much full time! My days with the girls are filled with trips to the park, gardening, chick-fil-a, splash pad (we’re so excited for summer), etc. My sister-in-law is a nanny and she helps to get me and the girls out of the house for adventures; I’m super thankful for that!
The girls are GREAT nappers, and they both take at least a 3 hour nap in the afternoon from about 3-6, and that’s when I get the bulk of my work done. Starting in June, I’m bringing on a mother’s helper AND an intern for A Daily Something, to help me with being more efficient in working from home and creating a little separation between work time and family time. On weekends, I try to escape to a coffee shop for a few uninterrupted work hours, while Joe stays home with the girls.
I don’t always have dinner hot & ready when Joe walks through the door in the evening (sometimes I’ve gotten dressed only minutes before he arrives, haha), but I do try to prioritize family time around the dinner table. Sometimes we’re eating takeout pizza. Sometimes we’re eating grilled salmon with broccoli rabe pasta and a fresh salad. Sometimes we’re eating cereal. But it’s that time together that I really cherish and always want to ensure we’re providing for our children. He usually plays with the girls while I get dinner on the table. We eat together. Then we go outside or play together in the living room. I usually give the girls their baths (he insists I’m better at it…haha), but Joe gets them in their pjs and usually puts Naomi to bed, and we usually alternate nights with Zoe’s bedtime routine.
There are usually one or two evenings each week where Joe and I switch off “duties” as soon as he gets home from work. I’m ready to do, and as soon as he pulls into the driveway, I kiss everyone goodbye and go to a work event/meeting/dinner. He’s a trooper and is definitely better than I am at playing with the girls and putting them kids to bed! He’s so patient and sensitive!
I usually do the dinner dishes, mostly because I’m about 100x faster than he is and it’s painful watching him methodically scrape…..and rinse…..and scrub. 😉 But he ALWAYS unloads the dishwasher, since it’s my least favorite thing to do. Ever. If he forgets to unload the dishwasher before leaving for work in the morning, I’ll actually rinse the dishes during the day and just stack them in the sink. He’ll unload when he gets home, and I’ll get everything loaded after dinner. I really hate unloading the dishwasher THAT much. He does most of the yard work (he is teaching me how to take care of the veggie and flower gardens, since he’s genius and knows everything about gardening), and he always helps me deep clean the house every few weeks.
I feel most motivated & most inspired when it feels like we’re on the same team. If I’m working inside while he’s working on the yard, it feels SO GOOD…like we’re unified and working towards the same goals! Who does what in your families? I know that each family is SO different, and there’s really no right or wrong….it just depends on what works for your family (and lots of times just depends on where you are as a family). We’d love to hear how you do things! And don’t forget to read all the other mama’s thoughts on co-parenting:
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