'Tis the season . . .
The other day I was having lunch with a friend. We were talking about how jam-packed, crazy BUSY we are. She has one night a week where her family isn't running. One day out of six that she can be home. One day out of six she can just BE with her kids and husband.
"You can be home one night a week to catch up on laundry and actually get groceries," I joked.
But . . . it's kind of not funny.
This friend of mine, as well as myself, we both work full time. So do our husbands. We have two kids fairly close in age. We own our homes. Our kids are active in extra curricular activities. We're frequently exhausted. And dare I say, we're frequently taken for granted.
I am quick to acknowledge that my husband is a very hard worker. He rarely sits still, he's always on the go. He works hard and has an impeccable work ethic. He's charismatic. He is a Jenga master when loading the dishwasher. He's the "fun" parent who DOES things. (I'm the quiet parent who believes in downtime.) He mows the lawn and blows snow out of our driveway, depending on the time of year. And because we live in Minnesota, it could be in the same week. My husband carries the health insurance at his job and lives to provide for his family (his words, not mine).
However, I don't believe my husband has ever cleaned the bathroom. Or bought a Christmas gift. Or mailed out Christmas cards. Or took our kids to get a nice outfit for church, and got shoes to match. Or made sure our neighbor got a meal when their baby was born. Or made sure we don't get overdrawn on our checking account. It's not that he doesn't WANT to do these things, he just doesn't see the NEED to.
This is the time of year, with Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, that women typically pick up the slack of the emotional to-do list. It's a thankless job, but it needs to be done. Perhaps we brought this on ourselves, making sure things are so organized and tidy. Maybe we feel like it gives us some control.
Or maybe we want to make sure our kids have bras and underwear and socks.
My son has school pictures coming up. He brought home an order form last week. If we order online, we get a free digital image. Um, I'm ALL about that. My daughter needs $17 to pay for bowling in gym class. My husband needs new tennis shoes. The dog apparently needs a new dog bed. The budget for next month should probably get penciled in. We need a new financial adviser and I have no idea where to start for that. There's no meal plan or grocery list started for next week, that's on my to-do list. I bought my sister a house-warming present that's sitting in our garage. I should really deliver it. Do I have a planner for 2018? Did I update our online planner so my husband can see it too? (Yes, I did.) It snowed yesterday. We need a new shovel for the deck. I need to mail a drawing prize to someone on my team. We carved pumpkins, check. Halloween decorations? Costumes? Candy? Pot luck at our house for friends that night? Good Lord, I need to start another list . . .
Sorry if that last paragraph gave you anxiety. But it's a prime example of the things I think about that my husband doesn't. Or if he does, he easily let's it go. Again, not because he's a jerk, his brain just doesn't work that way. Maybe because he trusts me to get it done. If, in a rare moment, I do complain and whine, it gets better for a few days but then slowly goes back to "normal".
There's this great comic (click here) that goes over this very point. The wife, juggling all things domestic, ends up getting overwhelmed, leading to the husband stating, "You should've asked for help." Them is fighting words! As women, we don't think we should HAVE to ask for help. You walked over that dirty sock for two weeks. I know you see it. Pick it up and put it in the laundry basket so I can start yet another load.
It probably sounds like I'm bitter. I'm really, truly not. (Well, maybe a smidge . . .) I'm grateful for a spouse that "gets me" and that our kids enjoy being around him. I'm grateful I HAVE a house to clean. What I'm not grateful for is being treated like a maid or in my words, "I'm not your beyotch." It seems like the more I clean (gratefully), the messier the house gets (ungratefully). If my kids are going to emulate one parent, why not the one who doesn't have to sweep and dust? That's just easier.
To all the moms and wives out there who feel taken for granted, I feel you. I wish you the best of luck on Christmas shopping, Thanksgiving hosting, birthday present finding, winter clothes purchasing, finding the ever invisible gloves and hats, and cooking nutritious meals so your kids don't starve or get scurvy.
I see you there, being awesome, and I give you a virtual high five.