Monday, January 11, 2010

His & Hers

Okay, today I have to ask you all a question. It has zero to do with books and everything to do with being married. Yesterday, my husband went out to the kitchen to do something--I don't even remember what now--but while he was out there he started to clean. Do the dishes, wipe down the counters, put things away. I immediately went into defensive mode. It's so strange for me when someone else does something that I feel I should be doing. I can't let it go either!

The thing is, he was just there and decided to do it. No big deal, right? So, why do I start to feel like I'm suddenly not measuring up as a wife? In our marriage we've always had a very clear idea of who does what. And both of us are comfortable with that. And it's not even like he does the manly things and I do the womanly things. In fact, he's the cook around here. I clean up afterwards. I hate to cook and generally he hates to clean. So, it's a match made in heaven really. But yesterday, when he started doing MY dishes, I nearly flipped out. Not because he was doing them wrong, not because he was in the way and certainly not because he was complaining about the mess. It just felt like *I* was laying down on the job or something. It's a completely ridiculous way to feel and I should just be happy that he chose to help out. Actually, I AM happy. But it still feels strange when he does something that I consider one of my jobs.

Is this just me or do you feel that way too? I think this might be a control thing. I tend to be a control freak when it comes to certain things. Like, I'd hate if someone else did my laundry. In fact, my kids and I were joking about hiring a cleaning service. Why were we joking about? Well, because my daughters both said, 'mom, you'd only clean before she got here, so she wouldn't have so much to do!' Too true! LOL Sad when your kids know you THAT well! Even though I know it'd be great to have someone coming in once a week to do the big things around here, I know in my heart that I'd never truly be okay with it. Mostly because I'd feel like I was somehow slacking.

I know that part of this is how I was raised. My mom was big on all of us kids learning to do laundry, dishes, mop floors and cook. Laziness was not an option. I'm thankful she taught us to fend for ourselves! I guess my question to you is, do you hate it when someone else does something to help you out (simply out of kindness) because you somehow feel as if YOU should have taken care of it instead?

I hate that this makes me seem ungrateful. I truly am grateful to have a husband willing to do MORE this his share. Please don't get me wrong there! But in my heart I'm hoping that if he does it again, I'll be able to simply smile and say thanks, then go sit and relax. Relaxing while someone else is working though? Um...never been good at that! LOL


Regina Carlysle said...

Ummm are we twins or something? I swear. One night my husband brought a broom into the master bath and started sweeping the floor. I bristled. I immediately took his actions as his way of saying the floor wasn't clean enough to suit him. I got a tad snippy and he looked HUH???? He explained he was only trying to help. JEEZ. Why was I so defensive about it???? My kids used to get so frustrated because they would clear the table every night after dinner and load the dishwasher. I always sneaked back into the kitchen later to rearrange things in the dishwasher. I liked my cups and glasses in a certain place. The plates lined up just SO. Weird. At first, it pissed them off when they'd see what I'd done and then later they just laughed about it.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Well, that's never happened to me. LOL. My hubby will do things if I ask, but he's not the type to just go in there and start doing the dishes or sweeping the floor so I'm not sure how I'd react. I could be the same way but it would probably be after I came out of my bout of shock. ROFL.

I will say though that like Reg mentioned I am kind of picky about how things are done. Like some times my mom or MIL will do the dishes to help when they are here and I am like Regina and rearranging how they loaded them.

Laurann Dohner said...

You guys make me feel so sloppy! LOL. I used to be a clean freak but after having 2 more kids, a year and a half apart with 2 older kids... I eased back a lot on cleaning. A LOT. My hubby pitches in often, cooks a few nights a week, lets me sleep in on the weekends so I can write all night, and he will do the dishes on the weekend once, sometimes twice and I'm thrilled! LOL. I guess I got tired of fighting a losing battle with my home and decided until they are a little older... I won't let a bit of a mess...mess with me. (I almost died and was sick for a year so that might have helped me go from Mrs. Clean to Mrs. Laid back...) If he does something and I feel guilty he did it because I knew I should have gotten on it faster... LOL... I do something nice for him. Back massage or um... yeah. Just something nice for him. LOL.

Maria said...

I totally get what your saying, if anyone even looks at the laundry like they are tempted to wash it...I loose it. I have a certain way of doing things and that is how I like it done. No matter how many times I explain my process, when someone else does it...they do it wrong! I'd rather do it myself. Same for dishses.

Anny Cook said...

Hmmm. I was like that until I had three kids under three and then a nervous breakdown. Nothing in life is that important. Let me repeat that. NOTHING IN LIFE IS THAT IMPORTANT.

My daughter and son-in-law live with us now with our two granddaughters. Since he's unemployed, he does the house stuff while I write. ALL of the house stuff. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, vacuuming, name it. How much does that bother me? ZERO, ZERO, ZERO.

My daughter has a management position in which she works long hours. When she comes home, the kids have done their homework, taken their showers, and if it's late enough have eaten supper.

Personally, I verrrrry happy to have two house hunks in the house.

Anne Rainey said...

Regina--You sound like me. It's so odd that I can't just sit back and appreciate the fact that he's willing to pitch in where needed. It was a nice thing to do, and yet it just made me feel like *I* was a bad housekeeper. And that's not at ALL the way he meant it!

Kelley--LOL! I hear ya!

Anne Rainey said...

Laurann--don't feel sloppy! I do what I can to this house, but I don't go crazy and I'm NOT a neat freak. My thought is that if it doesn't get done today, maybe I'll get to it tomorrow. If not...oh well. LOL

Anny--If that were me and my SIL did all that I'd sort of (the evil side of me) be a little bit sad when he does eventually get a job! LOL

flchen1 said...

Anne, I do occasionally feel that way. I think my reasons are probably different though--I'm admittedly not a great housekeeper or any of those typically "womanly" things, so I think that because of that, I tend to take his doing things as implying that I ought to be doing it, when in reality, that's often not even factoring into his thinking at all.

Anyway, THAT was a run-on kind of sentence!

And yes, as lame a housekeeper as I may be, I do tend to like things done a certain way. So I do tend to turn down people's kind offers to help load the dishwasher after a get-together and that sort of thing :)

Soooo, for me, it's probably less of a his/hers kind of thing, and more of an "I'm weird" kind of thing :D

Valerie Douglas/V. J. Devereaux said...

My BH does all the housework, all of it except the dishes, and sometimes even those if I'm hot on a story. I have guilt flashes, but he's better at it than I am.

My ex, on the other hand, would do it because he thought I didn't do it well enough. (Which gave me a complex) Or because he thought he could do it better. And sometimes because it annoyed him when I wrote.

I knew the guilt thing down to my toes.

I work a full-time day job so it's hard for me to find time to write, and to stay in the flow. David knows that this is my dream, he figures it will pay off for him in other ways. (grin) Sometimes it does.

Anne Rainey said...

fedora--I have never been good at the 'womanly' things. For the longest time I felt like I was lacking because I couldn't cook. It just seems like ALL women cook. It was only in the last few years that I realized my husband and kids love me just as I am,'s all good!! *grin*

Anne Rainey said...

Valerie--David sounds like a winner!!! Good for you! :)

Zina Lynch said...

I feel the same way about cleaning. I have 9 kids and have tried to teach them what your mother has taught you, it has stuck to some but not others. Sometimes when they ask what is for dinner I tell them to go forage they're old enought to make a sandwitch. Sometimes I tell them since they didn't do thier chores I don't have to do no clean clothes and no cooking. Chore's are not hard at my house, they have 1 chore besides thier room to do a day and they have that chore for a week at a time. When my husband was home he helped out by cooking a few times and it was nice, very nice. I don't have to worry about him cleaning he'd die before he lifted a finger cleaning, but I did enjoy the cooking. You know I find it funny that he will clean and do dishes where he is stationed now but here at home he will only cook a few times.

Connie Northrop said...

I would have killed for that! My take, call it a rare gift and enjoy it. Sorry