Friday, August 20, 2004

How Do You Define "Help?"

A lot of people have given me advice on how to enjoy motherhood more; my parents, Kyle's parents, and of course, publications like Parents magazine or

The one piece of advice I read or hear everywhere is: Don't be a martyr. Ask for help, because you will just be stressed if you try to do everything yourself.

A corollary to this very good advice typically is: Learn to deal with the fact that your spouse won't do things the exact same way you do. Maybe they do things a little differently, but wouldn't you rather have the help than have them do nothing?

I can think of nothing more true. And quite honestly, I've never cared much how chores are done so long as they are done.

Anyone who has seen my average/on-the-sloppy-side housekeeping knows that I'm no neat freak.

But when people give me that advice about dealing with my spouse's "different" way of cleaning, I don't think they really understand quite how "different" Kyle's versions of things are.

I mean, when Parents magazine tells me to "ease up and let my hubby do the laundry- who cares if they don't fold it exactly right?" they make it sound as if a few wrinkled clothes would be the ONLY problem with Kyle doing the laundry.

I don't think they had in mind two FULL loads of completely sopping laundry removed from the dryer an hour too early that had to be spread all over the floor to dry for two days (last time I let him to the laundry... about five years ago).

I mean, doing things "differently" is all well and good- but people make it sound like Kyle (or a typical husband) makes the bed with iron-sharp creases and their nagging wife comes home and complains because they didn't do a French tuck under the pillows or something.

Give me a break! I'd be satisfied with all the pillows being on the bed and the sheet not being bunched in a huge pile underneath the comforter. Seriously, Kyle's idea of making the bed is spreading the top comforter and leaving everything else the way it is.

Kyle's idea of taking the trash out is taking the bag from the kitchen to the porch and not bothering to replace the liner.

Kyle's idea of mopping is taking a mop and swishing dirty water all over the floor- WITHOUT SWEEPING FIRST so the crumbs, pretzel bits and goldfish crackers just get moved around.

I mean, let's be honest- that's not "different"- it's just WRONG. I'm not saying I do everything right and I'm perfect and he has to do it exactly my way.

I'm saying that HUMANITY sweeps before mopping because otherwise it's not mopping. It's spilling water on the floor. It's a GIVEN. It's a CONSTANT, AN ALWAYS, it's not a choice. It's part of the job. Am I wrong? Am I crazy?

I have to say in Kyle's defense that he changes diapers like a champ with very little complaining, and does it like a pro. And last night, he did the dishes for me after dinner WITHOUT my asking (and it's hard even for him to screw up dishes- as long as they get wet they're pretty much gonna be clean).

I just want to know- AM I being picky? What is your position on sweeping before mopping- is that the way it's done or is that me being "so picky"?

I need an outsider's perspective.


Unknown said...

One of the hardest lessons for me when I got married was to learn to A: ask when I want him to do something (surprise he can't read my mind or my grumpy body language) and B: accept it when he does thing differently than me. I still don't fully grasp these subjects and HOW HARD IS IT TO PUT THE LINER IN THE TRASH CAN?

To answer your question you have to sweep before mopping and your explanation of how Kyle does chores make Bryan look like MR. CLEAN. Bryan is pretty awesome about being willing to cleaning. I'm figuring out a system. I let him to do the everyday picking up and what not and every now and then I come along and do the really deep cleaning. I'm hoping this works, we'll see.

B said...

scott and i have been having this same problem ever since we started living together. to answer your question, NO! you are not being picky.

however, this is kyle we're talking about...kyle, who bought a brand-new queen size mattress and boxspring, and then proceeded to sleep on top of it in a sleeping bag--no sheets or anything. kyle, who, when finished drinking a beverage on the couch, would holler for neil to come out of his room and take the can to the recycling bin for him. kyle, whose lifelong dream has been to have a recycling/garbage midget to stand-in for neil for the rest of his life. kyle, who lived for an entire year (that's right, 12 full months) with rotting cucumbers in the crisper in his fridge. kyle, who sat next to me in acoustic class reeking like bar and insisted that it is not physically possible to wash a coat and that i was crazy for suggesting he do so.

so, in closing--not to say, "i told you so," but you knew what you were getting into when you said "i do."

but rest assured, you're not alone--my household is having the same issues.

Anonymous said...

A quick question:

Do you all find that these boys who are unwilling/unable to clean take a certain pride in being incompetent? Generally speaking, I've found that to be the case, and it infuriates me more than the lack of cleaning skills. Why take pride in your inabilities?!


Nathan said...

amen sister finifrock - no one knows your pain more than myself (and possibly hultgren)...

artistanaya said...

Oh honey, you need to dump that zero and get yourself a hero! He doesn't respect you, not to mention that that britt girl knows a lot about him. I question their relationship, once you went to ISU!!!! He is a dog!!!!