Ladies, stop. Just… stop. Stop telling me about how your partner doesn’t contribute as much as you’d like to the household chores.
I really don’t want to be the one to tell you that nobody cares. We really don’t. Most of us have the same problem. Most of us women are martyrs and we don’t voice our opinion about it at home. We suffer in silence hoping someone will pity us and help us. Then, we get together in secret and bash our significant others to one another and share stories about how they won’t help us out at home.
I don’t want my husband to do the cleaning, I just hate that it’s expected that I do it. There lies my problem. I’m a control freak. I hate cleaning and laundry but I don’t want anyone else to clean the house because it isn’t good enough for me. I don’t want anyone else to do the laundry because they could ruin the clothes. But I want everyone to know that I did it and that I did it alone. That nobody even offered to help.
This Mother’s Day, I was really down. As I was ironing his shirts for work the next day, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Really? He isn’t going to stop me from my usual cleaning, laundry, cooking and tending to my child today?” He didn’t.
I felt sorry for myself the whole day… I cried a bit.
Eight years ago, I married the man of my dreams. He was exactly what I was looking for. We had a son and then he split and we haven’t talked much since. I’ve spent a long time doing it all by myself. I’ve held all of the responsibilities that I have today.
One day, I met him, the one who doesn’t help me much around the house. We had our first date at a Starbucks and the rest is history. The first time I headed to the grocery store after we moved in together, I got my son ready and started to walk out of the door as usual when he said, “Just leave him with me”. I said, “Really? You’re ok with that?” The idea of going to the grocery store alone after all this time seemed like a distant dream. I often envied the women who could move around easily and not have a child hanging off of them while others silently (or sometimes vocally!), judged them. Just the idea of being able to think and plan and maneuver seemed like something I had lost, something I gave up when I decided to have a child. And being a single mom, I deserved to have to feel this way. I took him up on that offer and I went to the grocery store in peace. I actually cried when I got home. (I cry a lot).
Back to today. The number one complaint I hear from the ladies I know today is that their partner does not help them. They are exhausted. Some either have or have considered cheating because they have fantasies about other men. But what are they fantasizing about? A man in an apron making dinner and cleaning the house?
You have to ask yourself, what were you hoping for when you met your partner?
For example, when I was giggling in Starbucks on our first date and swooning over him, I, at no point had any of the following thoughts…
“I hope he’s the man who’s going help me clean my house 50/50”
“I hope he’ll take my son to the bowling alley while I get my hair done one day”
“I hope he’ll make dinner three nights a week, that’s only fair”
I can’t speak for him, but I really don’t think any of these thoughts went through is head…
“I hope she’s good at cleaning bathtubs”
“I hope that she’ll make dinner every night”
“I can’t wait to see her sweep the kitchen”
I think it went more like this for me:
“He’s so funny, I like that”
“He’s so charming; I hope that’s not an act”
“He seems so normal; hope he’s not an ax murderer”
“Should I offer to pay half?”
“I shouldn’t have worn these boots”
And his (possibly) went more like this:
“Sweet, a female, I like those”
“She should pay half, but I’m going to be a gentleman and pay for it, women dig that”
“Wonder when I can get her over to my place, if you know what I mean”
So here we are.
He didn’t change. He’s funny, charming and not an ax murderer. Yeah, I should have paid half.
After all of the fun of moving in together went away, I was looking at a man who sat around in his boxers watching TV most of the weekends and I was working all weekend to get the boy everything he needs, clean the house, get laundry done. He’d always done that! I’d always done that! NOTHING HAD CHANGED!
But I changed. I went from the fun loving woman I presented myself to be, back to the cleaning, cooking, soccer practice, karate practice, full time working machine I was before I met him.
There was one night in particular that I was cleaning the kitchen and he says, “take a break, come sit with me and watch this movie” Every bit of the woman in me screamed, in my head of course, “Why don’t you freaking help me so that we can watch a movie together, jerk!”
It hit me like a Swiffer Sweeper to the head — sharing the responsibilities is not the reason I fell for him.
I can’t measure how I feel about him based on how he helps me at home. He’s a good man. He’s a great male figure for my son. He has an accent like Matthew McConaughey. He makes me laugh. I love to put my head on his chest while we watch movies. We are partners. We are working for the same goals. He’ll be there for me when I need him, and I him. These are the measures of my happiness with him.
If you’re sick of the stereotype that women are responsible for cleaning, stop telling everyone that it is. Stop measuring your happiness on this. He isn’t, I can assure you, and THAT is the difference. THAT is why the commercials are aimed at women.
Stop letting this ruin your life. If it is you that is happy with a clean home, then keep it clean. You should. But don’t pull passive aggressive measures trying to get someone who may not be so interested to help you.