April 21, 2008


Once again, I have the perfect set-up to rave about my husband. The internet makes it too easy, I swear.

John Hawkins found the most horrific article about why men don't do housework. Now there's room for complaining about my husband and his violent toothbrushing (the man brushes his teeth so hard that he sprays everywhere, showering the bathroom in white spots), which I have been known to gripe about on the phone with certain valley girls from Cali. But this article, it's just too much.

And yet everyone acts as if Jeremy deserves some kind of medal just for making a run to the supermarket. No one has ever suggested that I’m a heroine for doing the things every mother is expected to do. I admit that my husband helps out more than many men, but here’s another news flash: It isn’t because he’s such a fabulously enlightened being. Left to his own devices, he would doubtless park himself in front of the TV like some sitcom male-chauvinist couch potato while I did all the work. The reason Jeremy “helps” as much as he does (an offensive terminology that itself suggests who’s really being held responsible) is simple: He doesn’t have a choice.


OK, I'll say it. My husband does deserve a medal for helping me around the house. I do most of the housework, and I'm darned lazy at it. Right now I am blogging in the middle of the day with election coverage on the TV, and I just set down my crochet project to pick up the laptop. La-zy. I did do several loads of laundry earlier, cleaned out my husband's dresser drawers, took out the trash, weeded the front flowerbeds, and unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. But really, I still had time to watch two Laws & Orders, make a preemie hat, talk on the phone with Erin, my mom, and my mother-in-law, and eat several pieces of candy on the sofa. The fact that my husband helps make dinner, change the sheets, and load the dishwasher is indeed a sign of his sainthood. Because he woke up at 0430 this morning to spend more than 12 hours at work and then will come home to study for an economics final.

I'm the one who would doubtless park myself on the sofa all day, watching cop dramas and knitting to my heart's content. I clean up the house because I don't have a choice. It's my job since I don't have a job. And once he deploys, I won't have anyone around to shame me into doing housework. The house will probably be a disaster. Charlie sure ain't gonna pull his weight.

I'm lucky my husband puts up with piles of yarn, laundry, and dirty dishes at all. He could easily chew my butt for not working harder around the house while he's at work all week and getting his MBA on the weekends. But he doesn't care, as long as food's on the table and his socks are clean. And he'd have every right to ask me to do more. The oven needs cleaning, as do the windowsills.

I am the one who counts my blessings around here.

My husband is a dream.

Posted by: Sarah at 12:16 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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1 Lazy housewomen (I'm not a wife) of the world, unite!

Posted by: Anwyn at April 21, 2008 01:32 PM (dzxw9)

2 See...the funny thing is, if this woman changed the oil in their car, she would believe she deserved a medal and accolades too. However, she doesn't seem to think that Jeremy deserves any props for doing his chores...it's like she acts like he doesn't do ANYTHING in their relationship. I mean, does he maybe pack the car, when they go on a roadtrip? Book their travel plans? Hook up their new DVD player? Figure out the digital sprinkling system? I mean, there have got to be loads of things the guy is doing that she is too blind to see, because she "takes them for granted", just as he might be doing with her housekeeping...

Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at April 21, 2008 02:15 PM (U2RJu)

3 I've never wanted to have a wife who did not have her own career. I've always wanted to be in a marriage where we would each juggle our jobs, housework, the kids, everything. That being said, if one of the partners is not currently employed, then the other partner has every right to expect the vast majority of the housework to be done by that unemployed person. She may be right. She may contribute more to the relationship than her husband. However, it seems unlikely to me that if he works and she doesn't, and if he contributes (whether through intimidation or through generosity) around the house, that the disparity is so great to be worthy of a newspaper column telling the world how bad her husband is. It sounds to me that they need to get some counseling to get an outside perspective.

Posted by: Rob Howell at April 21, 2008 06:19 PM (eRTMi)

4 I am the housekeeper by default, too, for the same reason--I happen to be here. My frequent bouts with domestic laziness never gets comments either, like you, and also promotes the hubby to rock star status. Lucky for me, he has an immense amount of patience. The DH has his chores and I thank him every time he does them, just so he knows that I notice and appreciate that he does it in addition to working, taking online college courses, and now coaching little league. Rock stars, I tell you!

Posted by: Ann M. at April 22, 2008 11:07 AM (HFUBt)

5 As usual, the Bible has something to say here: "...for no man ever hated his own flesh." If my wife is doing nothing but chores all day and I don't lift a finger to help even though it's not my responsibility and my work/chores are done, then I know better than to go fondle her breasts and grab her rear and expect her to hop in the sack with me when she's finished (cuz women are so turned on by that, anyways). But if I go out of my way to regularly help, she knows it's not something I have to do but I do it because I value her as a wife and not as a maid. And quite often it means I get fondled while helping out. And being a man that IS a turn on. So I enjoy helping with 'her' chores for intrinsic as well as selfish reasons. And the end result is a happier and cleaner household.

Posted by: Lame-R at April 22, 2008 12:03 PM (nt98J)

6 I'm in agreement that she didn't go about this in the right way. I do, however, sense some exhaustion and frustration in her voice that I've felt myself from time to time. In my lifetime so far, I've been a stay-at-home mom who did 99.8% of everything around the house, even when my husband was home. And, just this week, I finished three years of law school in two years with two kids, a couple of dogs and a household as well. It is not fun to try and pull something like that off for the betterment of your family's bottom line only to realize you still have ALL your household responsibilities whether hubby's on vacation from work or what not. It's even harder after that same husband was deployed for a year and you singlehandedly kept a full-time job, ran the house, etc. and the kids were much younger. I know it isn't a peeing contest or that someone should be keeping score, but there has to be a balance of some kind agreeable to both or that frustration can turn to resentment and rot a marriage from the inside out.

Posted by: Guard Wife at April 23, 2008 05:26 AM (BslEQ)

7 I think the problem is Leslie Bennetts attitude and emasculation of her husband, rather than her irritation that he is not chipping in enough. Every family dynamic is different, and she may be run ragged by her job and kids and housework. She also lives in midtown Manhatten and has more than enough money to hire a maid two or three times a week. So she's also not the best example to set forth of a woman who is oppressed by her husband's lack of cleanliness, she's just the bitchiest example.

Posted by: airforcewife at April 23, 2008 10:02 AM (mIbWn)

8 I suddenly feel the need to give my husband a big hug when he walks through the door at whatever time today. (Rotation began this week) We both work long hours - yet mine are spent at home in front of a computer and his are spent training soldiers and defending our country. Somehow, he still comes home and sweeps, mops or does a load of laundry all without a harsh word, complaint or even a mumble. He doesn't do it because he has to, but because he wants to. We take pride in what we have and since WE earned it WE both take responsibility for keeping IT clean.

Posted by: Vonn at April 24, 2008 07:29 AM (gNLi0)

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