Saturday, June 28, 2008

A housekeeping joke

I've decided to Do The Right Thing and read Babywise before commenting on it. It'll be painful, but I'd like to be able to address it head on, not simply based on excerpts and accounts of failure to thrive cases.

So, for today, I have a joke.

Q: How dirty does a toilet have to be for a man to clean it?
A: Dirty enough that a woman tells him to clean it.

Seriously, this was inspired by my own experience, which was echoed again and again in the comments at Ask Moxie regarding the splitting of household chores. Most people seem able to divide the tangible tasks fairly equitably. However, several women mentioned that they hate having to be the one to coordinate everything. I call it being the general of the household. A poster there called it having to be the Great Oz.

The point is, lots of women wind up de facto coordinator of all household tasks, from diapering the baby to planning the finances. In our house, my husband is willing to do pretty much any task I ask him to do. However, I have to ask him to do it right then - saying, "Can you do X by the end of the month" gets decidedly mixed results. And if I don't ask, it doesn't matter how filthy the house is, he will drift into the study and play computer games until he is summoned to do an assigned task. The other problem I have is that he will do it, but he often makes it very clear that he's not happy that I asked him to do it, sighing or rolling his eyes like a damned teenager. In his view, this is acceptable, as long as he complies with the request, since I couldn't possibly expect him to like doing it. Suffice it to say, I disagree.

So what's the answer? Can we great and powerful wizards of the home at least delegate some of the task delegation? Is is possible to say, "Honey, from now on, you're in charge of noticing when the bathroom needs cleaning"? I don't know. Maybe I'll try it and let you know how it works out.

(For the record, my husband does have regular chores that are all his, like doing our laundry every Sunday, and he's pretty good about doing it without reminding.)

No comments: