Many stepmothers report they end up doing chores without much thought or discussion around it, as though some internalized gender role has suddenly awakened within them. And even though they are modern women with high-powered jobs, they find they expect themselves to run the house. But just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean that you have to do all the chores by yourself.
“I jumped into the role I thought I should fill,” Mary says. She talks about the first year of her marriage: “I would come home early from work and make dinner almost every day and I’d do most of the laundry, but then I kind of lost it. I went on strike. I don’t even like cooking.”
Eventually she and her husband negotiated that they would trade off nights to cook, and the kids, who were in high school, would do their own laundry. “I was a little over the top when I first moved in,” Mary admits.
“I would just go crazy. I was used to having a nice neat house, so I would have my meltdowns and the kids just got used to it.” “If you’re a control freak or a neatnik, forget about it; don’t do it. You have to let it go,” warns Georgianne. “You have to let it go or resign yourself to being miserable all the time.”
The first summer I lived full-time with my stepchildren, my stepmother sent me a check with a note that read, “Hire someone to help you with the house. It will save you.” My stepmom was right.