Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Marital Bliss (part II): or How We Are NOT like Bert and Ernie

Watch the first few minutes of this video from sesame street:

My husband and I are just like this... except:

1) He doesn't remember his messes or even realize that he has made a mess.
2) Hence, he doesn't offer to get up and go clean it up.
3) Though I am used to it, I TOTALLY MIND!
5) When I get sufficiently irritated, I am NOT his friend.
*** oh, and I NEVER fall asleep first

First, let me put this into perspective: Hubby is not ALL that messy. I realize that I don't have all that much to complain about. I have a great husband. I am sure I am overlooking ALL of the many things he does for me and ALL of the many things I love about him to obsess pettily over a few of his teensy-tinsy faults. But I am a master nagger and I won't be happy until he is perfect... is that too much to ask?

With that said. . . to my constant annoyance, I am faced with scenes like these every single day of my petty, nagging existence:

The baking cup from the cupcake he had for breakfast... abandoned by the sink. Every wrapper he removes is left on the counter. Everything he opens is left open.

Every day when he watches TV, he piles up all the pillows, blankets and miscellaneous riff-raff in some insane attempt to "get comfortable"... and then never returns anything to the original position.

Any article of clothing he removes is dropped, draped, or thrown over the nearest piece of furniture... like the kitchen chair seen here. If I don't pick it up or mention it, it could stay here for days.

Almost every time he comes in the house he tracks in mud. Or he'll roll around in the grass with the kids and then they all come in and start "shedding". Guess who sweeps it up?

It is true: these offenses take 2 seconds to clean up. But why should they be MY 2 seconds? I already clean up after myself (obviously) and two small kids. I don't WANT to clean up after anyone else.

When or if I mention it he does one of two things:

1) Claims that I am over-reacting and that it is "not that big a deal."

2) Claims that he was going to clean it up later.

I know I have ridiculously high standards, but "later" in his "language" always means "waaaaaay later--like next week or maybe never" and that is just not soon enough for me.

oh, AND IT IS A BIG DEAL!!! (obviously)

Part of the problem is "cultural." He grew up in Chile where they really don't believe in giving kids household responsibilities like we do: "They are only kids once--let them sleep, let them play..." (Yeah, that'll prepare them for real life). It is also much much more common to have a "nana": someone who comes and cleans and cooks and helps with the kids. My husband didn't grow up making his own bed, scrubbing bathrooms, or washing dishes.

Here, in the U.S., learning to pick up after yourself is part of a child's formation, part of what we call "good manners". Call me biased, but I kind of think that is the way it should be.

I have asked him, numerous times, to be better at picking up after himself. Apparently that request is too broad and leads to vagaries in interpretation. It took me about a year of "nagging" to get him to take his ginormous morning-milk-mug back to the sink, rather than leaving it on the credenza in the living room. He finally does it... but his new-found habit does NOT apply to wine glasses, juice cups, or beer bottles.

In many ways, this is just a funny blog rant. But, seriously I don't know how many more ways I can ask him or how much more nagging it will take until he gets it. I have friends in similar boats who have just decided to "suck it up" to promote household harmony. I am all for harmony, but have never been one for just "sucking it up."

Should I just be glad I have a decent husband and overlook his inability to put anything back where it belongs?

Or til death do I nag?

I am thinking til the death...

I'll have to post about my invitation be a guest on Rachel Ray about "Why women nag."


bernthis said...

suck it up. Look at the big picture. Being a single mom is horrendous, I'm sorry but it's true. Trust me, I'm single b/c I did not respect my ex and he clearly loved his mother as much as me and in too similar a way.

I know it's tough, I know but just imagine being out there dating again. Trust me, suck it up.

moseyalong said...

Living with someone's sweet idiosyncrasies? No problem. Living with the fact that they clear their throat loudly and frequently and always leave their glass on the sink instead of putting in the dishwasher? A harder pill to swallow.
I have had to walk outside the house swallowing down my annoyance and rage more than once.

But yes, breathe in deeply and then let gooooooo. In the grand scheme of things, life's pretty sweet with 'em, right?

(p.s. stress-causing kids versus stress-relieving - it's still about 70/30 over here in favor of stress-causing!!)

Danielle said...

There must be millions of women out there who struggle with the same thing, myself included, but my husbands really not that bad. I love the "evidence" photos. Don't we all wish we had proof of the offense in an argument?