If you're in a long-term relationship, whether you're just living together or married with kids, it can be a never-ending struggle to maintain balance when it comes to taking care of the household. The uneven division of housework is an age-old problem in all types of relationships, and it can lead to a lot of strife.
But one woman — an attorney, a mom, and a woman with a life of her own — recently shared how she and her husband make sure, even though they're both running around, that they both get equal time to themselves. She calls it "hunting," even though for her, it doesn't actually involve hunting at all.
Along with this picture, Jentri Gilbert Nelson posted these words on Facebook: "I go hunting. This is a picture of me hunting tonight. No guns. No animals. But I assure you I am hunting." She goes on to explain that, when she met her husband, Adam, he made it clear to her that he goes hunting regularly.
He wanted her to know about his hunting habit because other girls that he had dated weren't so crazy about the amount of time he spent in the woods, tracking down animals. Now, nine years later, he and Jentri have three young kids and have built an amazing family together. But, Adam still has his hunting trips.
"I'm not going to lie," Jentri writes, "I struggled with Adam hunting so often, especially after our children came along. It was hard to be alone with the kids during dove season, deer season, duck season, and turkey season. It took us almost three years to get into a groove. The last two years have been pretty good. We have learned to compromise. What really helps is that I started hunting. Not with Adam. Not actual hunting. But on the weekends, after he gets home, I tell him it's my turn to hunt, which really means I go into the bedroom and read a book or watch TV. I go out to dinner with a girlfriend. I take one of my three babies for a date... All I do is say, 'I’m going hunting.' Adam just smiles and nods."
She explains that, during the week, she and Adam split up the housework fairly evenly. He does most of the cooking, she does most of the dishes. They take turns with their kids' baths and bedtime routines. But they both need alone time once in a while, and once Jentri and Adam were able to realize that and allow each other to carve out opportunities for it, their relationship started getting better.
Jentri's post continues, "I think moms often get so busy caring for their babies and husbands and homes that they don’t have time for hobbies or time to themselves. Ladies, take the time to 'hunt.' Husbands, let your wives 'hunt' or 'play video games' — the hobby you get to make time for while she cares for your babies. I love my husband, babies, and job, but I cherish my time hunting."
While it's obviously not up to husbands to "let" their wives do anything, the crux of Jentri's message here is that partners have to support each other and make time for themselves. Parents get burnt out. Throughout history, moms have been saddled with the brunt of the housework and childcare, and it's not OK. If dads get to "hunt," moms should too.
It seems that Jentri's post resonated with people because it went completely, insanely viral, garnering 45,000 reactions, 15,000 comments, and 80,000 shares. There were so many positive comments from people who saw Jentri's post as a reminder to do things for just themselves every once in a while. But when a post like this goes viral, there are bound to be haters.
In an interview with Bored Panda, Jentri said, "There were some negative comments — mostly from people making assumptions. It is interesting that several people thought they were getting a full view of my marriage from one Facebook post, rather than the tiny glimpse that it really was."
Some people were upset that Jentri didn't do the cooking in her marriage. Others thought she was left alone for weeks at a time while Adam went hunting. "I can assure that I get alone time often," Jentri said. "My husband hunts usually two days per week, and he rarely stays overnight away from home."
There's no way you can get a full picture of an entire relationship from one Facebook post. And I don't know any marriage or long-term relationship that hasn't struggled with the division of labor. Life isn't static; partners get sick or busy at work or just plain tired.
The key is to be in constant communication, to be able to tell your loved one that you need some "hunting" time alone, and to understand that a balance isn't something you just achieve one day and voilà! Everything's fixed. It takes consistent effort and consideration of your partner to make it happen. Sounds like Jentri and Adam have found a groove that works for them, and that's all that matters!