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Take Back…or Don’t: Extending Those Pregnancy Benefits

By Amalah

Hey, I have a crazy idea. Let’s NOT talk about vaginal tears or depression or inner-tube midsections today!

Let’s talk about something light and fluffy and possibly a little childish and scammy that I’m SURE the rest of you are too mature and responsible to pull.

You know how certain household tasks generally fall to other people during pregnancy? Either for health/safety reasons or simply because the smell of fabric softener made you barf? I have a confession. Eight months later, I have not ONCE done any of the following chores for no other reason except that I was pregnant last year and it hasn’t yet occurred to my husband that I am still coasting on his simple force of habit.

Five Chores Non-Pregnant Me Does Not Want Back

1. The litter box. I’m not even sure where we keep the pan liners anymore.

2. Opening and disposing of the contents of various Plastic Food Containers of Fuzzy Mystery from the back of the fridge.

3. Anything that requires a ladder or standing on chairs.

4. Mowing the lawn.

5. Painting in non-well-ventilated areas. Or in well-ventilated areas, if we’re being completely honest.

On the flip side, a pregnant friend told me that she couldn’t WAIT to take over litter box duty again because she was so tired of having to nag her husband about it every week. But she was terribly upset at the prospect of no longer getting that pint of ice cream he’d obediently picked up for her every Friday after work for nine months. Sort of like how I was excited to be able to rearrange the living room furniture all by myself, but annoyed that I wasn’t able to dictate our dinner menu every night of the week to cater to my cravings and whims.

What pregnancy benefits are you still clinging to? Are you still enforcing an embargo on Microwaved Popcorn Smell? Do you still expect your partner to do all the heavy lifting? Still justifying the daily chocolate pudding cup habit?

If you landed here but are still pregnant, visit Amalah’s Pregnancy Calendar. You won’t regret it.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Elizabeth

    June 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I haven’t done the litter box since spring 2006. I’m never taking that one back!

  • anne

    June 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I got out of trash and the litter box in my “prenup” but it was further cemented by the pregnancy.
    Painting I generally prefer to do…because only I do it right. 🙂
    There are plenty of things that I look forward to with being pregnant again though. Definitely the food and food-related demands. And really, any chore that you don’t feel like doing because you’re “too tired,” or “too huge,” or “I’m growing a person here, dangit!”
    Ahh, the perks.

  • cindy

    June 16, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I just changed the litter box for the first time since October 2003. My husband finally asked me last week why he is still doing it. I stepped up and cleaned it. I figure I had a good run of it.

  • Hillary

    June 16, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I was hitting the end of the no-litter box road when I got knocked up again. Problem solved.

  • Kimberly

    June 16, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I might be SOL. I had my 6-week postpartum appointment yesterday, and when I asked my husband if he had any questions he wanted me to ask the OB, my *dear* husband wanted to ensure I’d be OK to start mowing the grass again. Dammit.

  • Rayna

    June 16, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    No sauerkraut in the house. Period.
    About 5 months in to my 2nd pregnancy I woke up extremely nauseous and very concerned since I was well past morning sickness. Come to find out some sauerkraut was cooking away in the kitchen for a party later that day. I couldn’t go in the kitchen at all and ten years later it isn’t any better. I don’t care for it so it just makes sense to keep the embargo!

  • hydrogeek

    June 16, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    @Kimberly: I told my husband I would happily mow the grass again whenever he could come nurse the baby for me so I could go outside for a few hours. Problem solved.

  • Jenn

    June 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Full disclosure? I’ve never used a lawnmower. In. My. Life. (oh, and I’m 34).
    Honestly? I didn’t really get any chores “taken away” from me while I was pregnant. I know, that sounds really awful, but my hubby, the sweetie he is, just helped me a little more with the daily household chores.
    He’s still helping me. And I’m letting him. That way we both have more time to play with The Munchkin, who’s now 4 months old.

  • Kathleen

    June 16, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    I’m pretty much with anne- although I even ended up with the painting during pregnancy whether I wanted it or not, thanks to low-VOC paint.
    Celebrating twenty weeks of baby and no litter box. 🙂

  • Heidi

    June 16, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    First of all, Kimberly….Thanks for the LOLZ.
    My BF used to wash the dishes every night beause just the feel of soggy, chewed up, nasty-azz food brushing mah delicate hands would make me barf. (And to be honest CSI came on right after dinner and I have a weird thing for Grissom.)
    I got away with that for like 10 months, with “I don’t know, honey, it just still makes me sick to my stomach. Where’s the remote, by the way? Looove yoooou.” Until we moved and the new house has a dishwasher. Now all I have to do is rinse the plates off and plunk them in the dishwasher. Damn you, technology, DAMN YOU!

  • Catherine S

    June 16, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I didn’t get any chores taken away from me either!! We don’t have a cat and I do not, will not, ever, un un, mow a lawn. But was expected to do everything else, including cleaning, cooking, and install ceiling fans at 7 months, climbing ladders and all. Love the husband but he just didn’t really get the whole pregnant thing.


    June 17, 2009 at 2:23 am

    dove’s unconditional chocolate for dinner followed up by an ENORMOUS bowl of golden grahams. and when i say enormous, i mean half a box…

  • geek anachronism

    June 17, 2009 at 6:30 am

    I stopped cooking in the first trimester, but took up washing up because I felt guilty. At least that was until it started killing my back. Then I got high blood pressure and got limited to about two chores a day, if that. So i usually did a load of laundry and maybe a bit of cooking. Mostly I lay on the couch feeling sorry for myself. Demanding food occasionally. Oh and absolutely refusing to vacuum because it set off BH contractions.
    Mind you at 26 weeks we moved house and there’s only so much you can refuse to do…
    One week out from the birth and I tend to avoid the laundry, vacuuming and taking out the rubbish. But I’ve always hated taking out the rubbish.

  • Olivia

    June 17, 2009 at 8:51 am

    Two and a half months post partum and I’m back to doing all the chores I did before pregnancy. I took back the litter box about a month after giving birth because the cats were mine before marriage and I feel obligated. And, I just helped mow the lawn last weekend.
    Really, I felt too guilty letting him do all the heavy lifting since he is now a SAHD. He’s responsible for the bulk of child care, and he does the dishes more than I do and cooks.

  • kathy

    June 17, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I took back litter box duty the second I could squat down to do it. God bless my husband, but he SUUUUCKED at litter box duty. I’m dreading that the next pregnancy, to be honest. I’d rather just do it myself.
    It took me awhile to remember, after coming back to work, that I can no longer get out of going to radiology:( X-rays and CTs requiring our presence are back on my to-do list, which stinks because I hate those tasks and was thrilled to have them gone. I still have moments of, “hey, wait…damn. I CAN do that.”

  • Ellie

    June 18, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Every time I hit the point post partum where I could resume the chores again I got knocked up. Sorry Honey, you’re gonna have to clean the litter box for another ten months! Oops!

  • Louise

    June 19, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Putting the older child to bed. When I was puking all over the place for the first half of my second pregnancy my husband took that one over for me, and he still does it because now she prefers it (I get the Glare of Death when I try putting her to bed now), and heck, I deal with her all day, the least he can do is get her in her crib at night.
    And he takes care of the trash. And that chore is Never Going To Be Mine Again.

  • Kate

    June 24, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    I’ve gotten back all my household chores, but I teach 4th grade and was heavily pregnant for much of the school year. My kids just got into the habit of doing everything for me…picking up things I dropped, getting things from across the classroom for me, bringing me chairs out to recess, etc.. Then I came back from maternity leave, and they were just so in the habit and they LIKED helping so much that I just kind of…let them keep it all up.

  • Nicole

    June 25, 2009 at 11:43 am

    He carries the laundry upstairs and will often wash it on weekends. In fact, he’ll do most things I ask, without complaint (except cooking and washing the dishes – but he’ll eat and dry them :)). Especially when I’m trapped on the sofa with a ravenous 5 week old.