Dear Carolyn: I am our family’s income earner, and my spouse stays home with our children. There’s been so much discussion of how valuable and important stay-home parents are that, at least in our house, things have slowly tipped to the point where my contributions aren’t valued at all.
I know at-home parents ARE incredible and have historically been undervalued. I know my spouse’s days can be very difficult, repetitive, physical, etc.
However, mine are, too, starting with a fairly grueling commute. I deal with difficult people and often have nothing left to give. And then I get home and am immediately told it’s my turn to be “on duty,” as though I’ve been on break for the past 11 hours. Spouse generally leaves the house to get fresh air. I don’t feel there’s any space for me to complain. We split the cooking and outsource cleaning. (Spouse hates housework of any kind.) I just feel there is a societal presumption that the at-home spouse is a saint and the income-earning parent must perpetually remind self of that fact. How do I fix this dynamic?