Thursday, July 5, 2012

No Apologies

I've mentioned that I'm reading the book (along with Hubby) Happily Married with Kids.  It's a secular book, but most of it is good (because unlike Mr. Kay's crap it's actually written by a 25 year practicing clinician).

Anyways...the author points out that women work 225 percent (yes, percent) more than men do when it comes to child rearing and housework.  And SAHMs deserve to have someone come in and help periodically (either cleaning or watching the kids) in order to keep the marriage relationship affloat.  But most SAHMs won't admit that.  Instead we tend to get angry when our husbands won't help or demand more out of us (can't you pick up the dry cleaning instead, Honey?) and grow resentful.

But I'll say it.  I make no apologies for putting my husband to work when he is home.  None.

The way I see it, my sole parenting/house hold running job starts when he leaves and ends when he gets home.  After that it's a joint job.

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who sees her husband playing World of War Craft or watching Sports Center all night and thinks "Gee, I wish I could do that." proceeded by visions of flying frying pans.  Yet, most won't say anything.

But I unapologetically say it loud and proud.  This is your house too and these are your children.  You don't get a break until I do.

This has led to some problems.  My husband gets upset should I check my e-mail yet he spends an hour every day doing his business and playing games.  So I told him to get over himself.  He agreed that it isn't exactly fair of him.

I'm not looking for fair, but I do think that he should be more involved.  Our visions of what family life are clouded a bit.

Let's see why:  My parents share duties jointly.  My mother begins meals; my father finishes them.  My mother loads the dishwasher and runs it.  My dad empties it.  Etc.  It's been this way my entire life.  And it works for them.

My in-laws have a different marriage.  They share duties along more traditional fault lines.  They also divvy up jobs rather than start and finish them together.  My MIL cooks and cleans the dishes.  My FIL works in the garden.  It's not that it's wrong or "oh, how backwards for them".  It's just different, but the point is that it works for them.

Each marriage has it's own rhythm and our parents found there's.  Hubby and I haven't hit our groove.  And the fact that it will likely change makes it harder on Hubby.

My vision for our marriage is somewhere in the middle.  I would hate to ask my husband to finish a meal because he's never been good at following my directions.  It's not that he's "stupid" as the anonymous commenter seems to think I think.  It's that I'm artistic and I use very vague terms like "oh, just add a pinch.  And you'll know it's done when it's thickened."  My husband needs concrete terms.  He literally will go looking for the measuring spoon marked "pinch" (and yes, I know there are ones) and ask me to come over and tell him if that's what thickened looks like.

This doesn't work for me.  If I have to babysit the person cooking the meal (other than maybe teaching them, which I think Hubby's just a lost cause because he hates cooking in the first place), I'd rather just do it myself.

But I'm not going to cook and clean up.  Especially since my husband's level of neat is completely different than mine.

I've read another book once that basically said that you should split your duties on your strengths.  And let's face it, I'm a total slob.  Even when I was single I could disgust my boyfriends.  Why Hubby married a slob when he's a total neat freak is beyond me.  Maybe he thought I would change.  That would be a no.

So the way I see it and how I've told him numerous times is that cleaning is his strength.  If he wants it done a certain way, then he has to do it.

So lately he's been doing the dishes.

The problem arises when it comes to our children.  I could care less if HB runs around the house covered in ketchup.  I may grab a wet rag and swipe is face a couple times and change his shirt, but usually Hubby finds him covered in ketchup with a dirty shirt.  Call CPS on me.

Hubby on the other hand will grab our toddler immediately after HB is done eating and shove him kicking and screaming over to the sink and force him to wash up.  Meanwhile the toddler, knowing that I'm a pansy about cleanliness, screams out for me to come rescue him.  So naturally, Hubby who doesn't like dealing with child conflicts and selfishly admits that he wants Knee on a schedule so he (Hubby) can sleep, acquiesces to me and demands that I clean up HB.  But I tell him I'm still trying to eat dinner and frankly I don't care so why do I have to do it.

Or conversely, Hubby sits down for dinner and when HB gets up tells me that I'm in charge of cleaning him up.  But I don't immediately run over to where he's playing and drag him over to the sink, so I receive a stink eye, sigh, and or lecture about my least favorite subject.

And this happens every night.  And if it isn't HB, I get put in charge of Knee.  I just dust him off and put him on the floor.  Hubby gives him a mini bath.

Maybe Hubby will get the message.  If you want change, you're going to have to do yourself.  It isn't always going to be fair.  I make no apologies.  This is the level of work that I put in and if he wants it different, then he can do it himself.  Unfortunately, I think Hubby's ideal is leaning more toward a traditional path where I'm totally in charge of the children or where things are divvied up.  Sorry, dear.  Cleanliness is not my strength.  I gave up asking you to cook ages ago in lo of you reheating left overs and ordering take out.  You'll eventually give up too.

BTW: called the doctor.  Sonogram came back normal.  Have to wait another month for additional blood work and depending on that will finally get a referral.  Love bureaucratic red tape.

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