Imagine this. You tell your husband early in the day, that you and the girls are planning to go out that night. You have the house picked up, dinner ready before you leave, and the kids tuckered out from swimming, because you’re being over considerate of his feelings and a freakin’ awesome wife to boot. “Oh he’s worked all day. He doesn’t want to come home and have to watch the kids. I get it. I’ll make it as easy as possible for him.” And you do. So you go out for a few hours, and come back, fully expecting to walk into a house at least as decent as you left it, only to find it’s not decent at all!
Plates left on the table. Food in the high chair and on the tray. Cat litter on the bathroom floor. (nothing irritates me more than stepping on cat litter with bare feet) Dishes in the sink. Clothes strewn all over the floor. You name it! I literally even found a set of keys in the BATH TUB. I could’ve left my kids at home by themselves and I would’ve come back to the same mess. You’re imagining my reality.
I don’t write this to bash my husband. In fact, I have learned over these years, that he really doesn’t do it intentionally. He legitimately is exhausted and those things aren’t his job, so they it’s not apparent to him that i’m going to walk into my personal hell. He doesn’t think about me walking in the door and seeing a mess. I don’t know that he really thinks about it much at all, but if he does, most likely, it’s that he watched the kids while I was out, bathed them, and put them to bed successfully. I know that sounds so simple, but some men are just that; SIMPLE. I have totally had the attitude before that he owed me more, and it really just wasn’t helpful at all. It was more than just a bad attitude, it was like a threat to leave. Do I really want to leave my husband over a mess? No. I really don’t. It’s kinda nice having someone provide for me while I sit at home and take care of the kids. There are times that I forget what a blessing that really is. I still have to remind myself that I prefer this over the alternative.
I’m writing this because I know that there are lots and lots and LOTS of you in this same situation. I used to work a part time job and a lot of times I would come home to the exact scenario I just described. It was hard to get off work and then come home and do housework. It wasn’t fair honestly, but it’s all in how you deal with the problem. Cutting men down and griping them out like they’re a teenager is not going to accomplish much. If it does, it’s not likely to last, and it will do more damage than good.
Instead, consider these 5 things:
They can’t read your mind
I know they say this all the time. “Well I can’t read your mind!” but then it’s like a catch 22, because if you WERE to tell them what was on your mind, you would still be in the same mad boat! But seriously…. My husband doesn’t know that when I walk in the door, all I see is the fifty million macaroni noodles everywhere and that it’s taking everything in me not to blow a gasket because I left the house clean and now it’s DIRTY and this was supposed to be my NIGHT OFF!!!! Cue hyperventilation. He doesn’t realize that I want to die when I walk in the bathroom and step on cat litter and it’s all I can do to not bellow out cuss words. All he thinks is, “The kids are in bed. No one will be awake when she gets home. Mission accomplished. Wow i’m husband of the year! She is SOOOOO LUCKY!”
Approach them gently
I have been way more successful in getting what I want, by taking a different approach than I have in the past. It’s so easy to immediately start griping when you feel that you’re under appreciated. It should be obvious to them why you’re mad, right? Take a step back and know that… they’re men…and nothing is obvious to them. Instead of storming into the bedroom or living room or wherever he is and giving him, “I’m going to kill you” eyes, try just simply telling him the truth NICELY. “Hey I feel under appreciated. I left the house clean for you and I came home to a disaster. It really means a lot to me when you pick up after the kids. It makes me feel like you understand that I deserve a much needed break.” I know this is so much easier said than done because #1 – you’re mad and considering divorce, and #2 – we would naturally do that for our husbands without being asked.. We know how it is to come home to a messy house and almost regret going out in the first place, because we never truly get a night off from our jobs. You can also tell him that. “I feel like I never get a night off.” As long as your husband isn’t totally ridiculous, he will probably understand that. Disclaimer – these tips will not work for totally ridiculous husbands. I don’t think anything will!
Don’t compare them to other husbands
This one is a BIG one. I’m guilty as sin for doing this. “Well her husband helps her after dinner, so why can’t you?!” “Her husband notices that there’s a mess on the floor, and he cleans it up.” “Her husband…” “Her husband…” “Her husband…” You say, as you violently sweep the floor. These things, when being said, usually aren’t intentional blows, but that’s how they come across and it’s not okay. Man, it’s so NOT okay. Because guess what? HE isn’t HER husband! He wasn’t raised by the same family. We have to understand that the way our husbands grew up, have a lot to do with how they act today. If your husband was raised by a man who worked all the time and just relaxed in his recliner when he got home, there’s a pretty good chance that your husband has adopted that same habit. It’s literally natural to him because that’s what he saw his dad do. Instead of comparing him to others, which will never get you anywhere, try gently asking him when you need help with something. It’s worked well in my experience. But the trick is to ASK and ask GENTLY. They react better when they feel like they have a choice. I mean obviously they don’t but the trick is to make them THINK they do.
Set the bar low
Expectations that we put on our spouse are usually set a bit too high. Again, this probably has to do a lot with raising. If you were raised with a dad who could fix everything, and you marry someone who can’t fix anything, you might find that expecting him to fix something is asking a bit too much.What’s awesome is when you were raised with a dad who couldn’t fix anything (besides computers) but you end up marrying a handy-man! (and just in case he ever reads this… – Sorry Dad..) I expect a lot from myself on certain things, so it’s hard for me to not expect that same standard from my husband. But I have found a lot of peace in learning to not expect so much. I have also found that I am capable of doing a lot more than I thought I was. I used to depend on my husband to put together the cribs or to fix the vacuum. I usually had to wait on him to get home from work or to just get around to it when I needed something like that done. Well I got tired of waiting and just went and edumacated myself on YouTube. Who knew you didn’t have to be a man to put together a crib? I mean i’m basically a rocket scientist now.
Be still and Pray
This one is like a free space. I know some of you are rolling your eyes at this and probably don’t want to even keep reading, but alas! You’ve almost reached the end, so just keep reading! Prayer is one of those things that you don’t really want to do because you can’t see the immediate effects. As Americans, we want instant gratification, and prayer is more like future gratification. Not as fun at first, extremely satisfying in the long run! The best thing to compare it to would be e-mail vs. snail mail. You sign up for a newsletter or an e-book and get it instantly in your inbox. Well that was satisfying but now i’m bored again. Everyone knows snail mail is better anyways. Waiting on something in the mail is so fun! Especially when it finally gets to you. So just think of prayer as a package in the mail, that you’ll receive eventually, and when you do, it’ll be nothing short of terrific! When my husband and I are fighting about something, saying a prayer that we’ll find the solution sooner than later, has been a handy little tool for me. It really does work like magic. Try it. You’ll like it.
Y’all.. I’ve been married for almost nine years. We have four kids. So I know like..a lot about mawwiage. I’d like to think of myself as a black belt in this whole “Being a good wife even when you don’t wanna be” thing. Go. Heed my advice and be wise, grasshopper.