Friday, February 24, 2006

Counting My Blessings

Jen, of MUBAR fame, recently posted on Literary Mama about "Wifely Duties," and that got me thinking (and a little frightened for a lot of women out there).

Ian does not expect a lot from me as the stay at home parent in our lives. He does not expect me to cook fancy meals, to dress pretty, to take dancing lessons, to keep the house spotless, or to do routine maintenance on the household appliances. He does not want me to wash his truck in my bathing suit, or get breast augmentation (like I need it anyways). The things he does bug me about, loosing a little weight etc. are things that he knows preoccupy my mind anyways, and to be honest, I know that he doesnt care that I am a little fat, he wants me to be happy with myself, and he wants me to be healthy.

So the fact that I feel guilty about the house being a mess, about the dishes not getting done, about not being a perfect and beautiful wife...where does that come from? I feel guilty asking him to take out the garbage when he gets home from work (though not guilty enough not to ask him). I worry constantly that he thinks all I do is sit around all day eating popcorn. You see, I have never, ever been a tidy person. I'm much better now than I used to be...but if you come over to my house you will not see the spotlessness that my mothers house used to be. The floors need to be cleaned, things need to be put away, toys are scattered from one end of the house to the other. Cooking a supper that doesn't come in a package is a big deal to me. I get frazzled and overwhelmed by the mess, and unless I'm feeling incredibly manic, it doesn't get cleaned up.

While I do think that I do a lot around the house, I also have to admit that I am incredibly lazy. When Mary is napping and I could be doing things around the house, more often than not I find myself sitting on the couch reading a book, in the bath, having a nap, or playing on the computer. The things that need to get done do get done, the dishes are washed, the bathroom is clean( clean can you keep your bathroom with a great big hole in the drywall anyways?), Mary is fed, watered, and entertained. I just can't help but feel I should be doing more.


Goody said...

OMG. I just went and read that article.

Who are these people? What level of imaturity prompts a married couple to take division of labour to such anal, micro-managed extremes? Is it just a control issue? Can't get their own shit together and feel justified imposing it on the spouse?

If the marriages last long enough, all these people who have ideas regarding "his job, her job" might wake one day to find their spouse unemployed, ill, disabled. What then? I mean, that would certainly cut into the dance lessons-but really, will their marriages survive the death of their childish ideas if circumstances change? Do the relationships have anything grounded in reality going for them?

So, you're no housekeeper. I'd guess Ian knew that when he married you. Imagine that-a couple in love got married without a list of "duties" to be performed.

I have to go now and organise the closets, wash the Volvo and squeeze my fat arse into a spandex dress before hubby gets home. He beats me if I don't have supper on the table promtly at 5.

Simon said...

The content of that article aside, the concerns you have about being a stay at home mom are prevalent in most households. I know that my wife and I do our best to ensure that there's a relatively even distribution of chores and responsibilities.

Always a tough juggling act though.

tomama said...

Thanks for the mention Jen. Thoughtful piece. I also choose just about everything else over domestic goddessness but also feel a little guilty when tumbleweeds of dog hair roll past my children.

Anne R. Key said...

It's a damn good thing you're not married to me, Missy. I have Janet trained perfectly to anticipate my every whim, and if she doesn't? WHACK! I get a big dose of reality right upside the head.

It's very enlightening.