ME: Where’s the coffee pot?
WIFE: Probably still in the dishwasher.
ME: Oh, you didn’t empty it?
WIFE: (takes deep breath, puts knife down) No, I didn’t empty it. I’m not doing that anymore.
ME: Ohhhhh, I get it. I’m home all day, so during those little precious nuggets of free time, I should just go ahead and take care of ALL the chores, right?
WIFE: Well, yeah. It’s kind of your job.
Ouch. The truth does so sting. The delivery could have been a bit more ego-sensitive, but have I mentioned before that her communication style is somewhat direct?
Despite my petulance, she is totally right. I could muster not one reason as to why SHE should have to be the one to empty the dishwasher in the morning. Not a one! Other than the same reason I list for not wanting to put the laundry away: I don’t like it.
Well, there are many parts of her job that she doesn’t like (just ask her), and I think that goes for pretty much every single person in the work force. It’s not supposed to be fun; it’s work. In fact, I probably have more fun per capita than the average employee, so I guess the least I could do is empty the f-ing dishwasher.
In our house, the division of labor has also been weighted more to my end. Neither one of us being a particular clean freak, we play an ongoing game of chicken with the vacuum. We double dog dare one another to scrub the bath tub. But ultimately, I have a lower tolerance for filth, which means I end up caving first.
The thing is, I’ve always done most of the cleaning, the cooking and the laundry. I mean, how the hell do you think I got this job, anyway? It’s all on my resume.
The difference is that while I did the laundry before, she put it away. I cooked, yes, but she did the dishes. I do most of the deep cleaning, but she dusts. And she straightens. She may not be clean, but she’s neat. There was some semblance of tit and tat.
When the kids started in with their whole existence thing, things got messy in every sense of the word. Lines got blurred, divisions of labor became subjective and more of ideas as opposed to actions. There is just so much more weight to be pulled that you don’t have time to really divvy it up. It’s no longer a question of what you are doing; it’s a question of HOW MANY things are you currently juggling?
One of the things I’ve always loved about my wife is that she calls me on my sh–. Sure, it’s easy to feel piled-upon as a parent; it is largely a thankless job. She is feeling exactly the same way, I’m sure. So instead of my woe-is-me “why do I have to do that, too?” attitude above, I’m trying to make it about “How can I help a little more?” Be a little more proactive; pick up a few extra toys. After all, we’re all in this together.