Archive for the ‘Division of Labor’ Category

This week’s guest post by Kristen Leighton. Check out Kristen’s blog at kcleighton.com.  Kristen is a wife, mother, writer, blogger,  yoga teacher, and a bad girl who bakes.

 

Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution. –Mae West

Something went terribly wrong for me the day I began washing a man’s underpants—I became invisible.  I went from sexy to shabby in eight seconds flat.  Was I really a raggedy-ass version of my former self?  I sure hope not, none-the-less, that’s how it felt.

I’m no expert on the subject of marriage, but it seems, from my observations of the species “husband” that the marriage certificate is like a big old “gotcha”—a license to fart, belch, watch too much TV, and play too much golf.  The husband reverts back to life at home with mom—no concern as to how the meal gets to the dinner table or how the clean boxers end up back in his dresser.  My apologies to the husbands out there who do laundry and cook.  I married one who doesn’t and I’m pretty sure he’s not the only one.

The problem—as I see it now—was not that I said “I do” and my husband morphed into someone I didn’t recognize, but that I morphed into someone I didn’t recognize.  The solution after fourteen years—speak up or get divorced.  It was as simple and as complicated as that.

I started with the real obvious stuff, for example, we teach our son to say please and thank-you, perhaps you should lead by example and say:  Thanks for dinner it was great (even if you don’t mean it…..sometimes you have to fake it until you make it).

Then I moved on:  On date night, which doesn’t happen often enough in my opinion, I don’t want to talk about your job, our child, or sports which, basically, without a great deal of effort would leave us sitting in the restaurant staring at our dinner plates in silence like those little old elderly people you see eating and not talking, like they’re all talked out after forty or fifty years together.  Anything worth having is worth working for.

When you track dirt in from outside or make a mess shelling peanuts in the living room while watching some stupid-ass sporting event and it causes me more work in my day to clean it up—apologize.  A little I’m sorry goes a long way to making me feel better about having to wait on you and pick up after you.

And, last, but certainly not least:  When you want to make love, don’t honk my left breast and think it’s going to turn me on like a car engine.  I need to be kissed, talked to, and romanced.

Ladies, I’m here to tell you it’s an easy problem to fix.  Men are not like us (no shit) they tend to get over things and get on with life without holding a grudge.  Tell them how you feel.

Husbands, have you thanked, kissed, sweet-talked, and romanced your wife today?  Turn off your computer and get too it.  You won’t be sorry!

Have you been married for 10 or more years?  What do you do to keep the love alive?

 

A recently retired husband puttering around the house is a good thing, right?  It’s true that the aggravating errands for which I am responsible have been cut in half, but I envisioned that all the aggravating chores might be cut in half, given that I’ve been burdened with both the lion’s and lioness’ share of household upkeep for many years.

Silly me, I fantasized gliding across the wood floors in my house without the disgusting grit and crunch that comes four or five days post-vacuum, after we’ve walked around, our pets have shed, and the groceries and other junk have been dragged in from the alternately dusty or muddy outside.  The detritus build-up becomes intolerable by day seven post-vacuum.  Ideally the vacuum fairies would come daily, but reasonably I figured that we could move from a once-a-week vacuum up to a twice-a-week vacuum up, because there were two potential vacuumers at home now.

When my husband asked what chores he might do on a rainy day, I suggested ‘Well, you could vacuum.’

To which he replied ‘Oh, I don’t want to take that away from you!  I know you love vacuuming.’

Seriously?

He thinks I like (worse—love!) vacuuming?

How could I love dragging a canister around, emptying the crap, listening to the noise, catching the cord, unplugging the cord, moving the furniture out, moving it back, hauling the beast up the stairs?  Do I like (no—love!) knowing that the hour I’m burning is really wasted time—it’s not like once you do it then you don’t have to do it again.  The second you stop someone starts dropping pieces of crap all over the place.

Seriously?  I like vacuuming?  He doesn’t get it.

What I like (love, even) isn’t vacuuming. It’s when it’s done and it’s vacuum-ed.

Huge difference.

This week’s guest blogger is Sheila. Thank you so much for your post!!!!

Why is it that I feel like it’s my job, my responsibility, to make his lunch for work every evening? I make his lunch even when I don’t feel like making it, but I do it just the same. I do complain…… to myself.

The worst is when there are no leftovers to take; that means making a couple of sandwiches, hate making sandwiches, especially peanut butter and jelly or marshmallow. Takes too much time I feel. Leftovers are easy: just throw them in a container and that’s it! Done!

Today I told him during a text to enjoy his lunch. I received a text back that stated, “Yeah, lunch that I made by the way. Well lunch that I put in a bowl lol.”  Yes, I forgot to make his lunch and now he is trying to lay the guilt trip on me.

Did it work?

Yup.

I sent a text back apologizing for not making it and forgetting. But it should be okay if I forget!  Just Make it yourself and don’t lay the guilt trip on me! After all, I do it 99% of the time.

~Charlotte

On their wedding night, the young bride approached her new husband and asked for $20.00 for their first lovemaking encounter. In his highly aroused state, her husband readily agreed.

This scenario was repeated each time they made love, for more than 40 years, with him thinking that it was a cute way for her to afford new clothes and other incidentals that she needed.

Arriving home around noon one day, she was surprised to find her husband in a very drunken state.
During the next few minutes, he explained that his employer was going through a process of corporate downsizing, and he had been let go. It was unlikely that, at the age of 59, he’d be able to find another position that paid anywhere near what he’d been earning, and therefore, they were financially ruined.

Calmly, his wife handed him a bank book which showed more than forty years of steady deposits and interest totaling nearly $1 million. Then she showed him certificates of deposits issued by the bank which were worth over $2 million, and informed him that they were one of the largest depositors in the bank.

She explained that for more than three decades she had ‘charged him for sex, these holdings had multiplied and these were the results of her savings and investments.

Faced with evidence of cash and investments worth over $3 million, her husband was so astounded he could barely speak, but finally he found his voice and blurted out,
‘If I’d had any idea what you were doing,
I would have given you all my business!’

That’s when she shot him.

You know, sometimes, men just don’t know when
To keep their mouths shut.

My husband received a sweater for Christmas from his mother. He was happy about this because for once, it was a sweater that fit him that he didn’t hate. Also, he was happy that his mother had bought him the correct size, but I digress…

Anyway, a few weeks later he said to me, “My mother said to make sure that you don’t put that sweater in the dryer, but I told her you already knew that, right?”

Well, I guess the expression (bewilderment? distress? horror?) on my face told him all he needed to know. My first thought was, of course, what sweater? Once I located it in my memory bank (no easy task, I’ll have you know), I really didn’t know. Had I put it in the dryer? Had it even been put into the wash yet?

You have to understand: I am often in a kind of fugue state when I am tossing clothing to and fro, trying to get it washed, dried, folded, and put away, often in the wee hours, or in little snippets of time throughout the day.

“Um, I think I did, sorry,” I finally admitted.

Well, he was mad for a few days. I offered to get him a new shirt, since I really did sort of owe him one, didn’t I? He was not appeased, but eventually, life settled back down.

About a week later, as I distributing the stacks of laundry to their rightful owners to be put away, he said, “You didn’t put it through the dryer again, did you?” full of disbelief. Well, I’m ashamed to admit it, but of course I did!

You may well be wondering: What the hell was I thinking?

In the end, I did order him a new LL Bean shirt, confident that if I did manage to shrink their unshrinkable, Wicked Good flannel shirt, that at least they would replace it for free.

So, when I finished working for the day, I got home to find my husband had gone to bed already. He was often in bed when I finished work but usually was watching something on TV, waiting for me to get home. On this night, however, although the TV was on, to the Bruins game, no less, he was turned over on his side, facing away from the TV, asleep.

For the record, he disputes this fact.

Anyway, I went to the kitchen and started collecting wayward plates and cups from the table and sink and putting them in the dishwasher. As I passed by the oven, I noticed that it was still on from dinner time. I shut it. No harm done.

The next morning, I mentioned in passing to said husband, “When I got home last night, the oven was still on so I shut it.”

“Oh, thanks,” he said. “No big deal,” I replied. Case closed. I thought.

Several hours later, he asked, “So you found the oven on this morning when you got up?”

“No,” I said, ‘it was on last night. I shut it off.”

“Why didn’t you say that?” he said. “You should have been more clear!”

Apparently he had been beating himself up for this for the entire morning, thinking the oven had been on all night.

I never said that.

My bad.


On the very rare occasions when my husband empties the dishwasher, I feel  frustrated rather than assisted. He always (as in “every time”) leaves something – or a couple somethings – out, claiming he doesn’t know where the item goes.

Now, after all these years in the same kitchen, how is it that he doesn’t know that the gadgets go in the gadget drawer, or that certain bowls nest in each other in the cabinet? These are not secrets and these items don’t get moved around. They’ve been in the same place—usually the place he got them. There is nothing worse than disturbing the pleasant view of the bare smooth lines of the kitchen counter. An uncluttered counter affords infinite possibilities (a really involved meal on a whim?) and simple, pleasurable orderliness in the most important room in the house. Is that too much to ask?

So, on the surface, my issue is with stuff being piled everywhere, a condition I call “Crap Creep,” which infects every flat surface that happens to be near my husband. If there’s a table next to the bed, it will become infected with detritus from his pocket that could stay there for months. And he can open a letter and leave it there—wherever—for weeks on end. And no job is completely done, ever: the windows are painted but not scraped, the grass is mowed by not edged, and the dishwasher is empty….but not quite.

Maybe the problem is that an uncompleted project nags at me, preventing me from moving on, cracking a smile, or listening to someone—never mind sleeping. Maybe I’m jealous that my husband can just move along with life, regardless of what isn’t finished and surfaces are cluttered. Then again, I may be reading too much into my husband’s basic tendencies to get bored with projects and move on, unconcerned.

Maybe I simply like smooth surfaces.