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May 05, 2010


Jen Edmondson

OMG! BULLSEYE! YOU so hit every nerve like a perfectly-sharpened, finely-shot arrow! This is such a great rant that we ALL want to make!! Kudos to your being able to get it down on (virtual) paper....do you mind if I re-post? I love this....any know many of my friends will too!! And yes,I look at bedtime as a deadline......my husband doesn't seem to know where any clocks are in our house, so he cannot even begin to fathom bedtime deadlines! Great job, I dont feel so alone in my frenzied confusion of "Household Manager/Mom" responsibilities.


There is something so gratifying about hearing someone else rant the rant that is in my head. I think part of the reason for the finish line is that it represents the starting point for our downtime. My downtime is short because my sleep time comes early because my wake up time is early because, because, because... So, our frenzy to get it all done is intertwined with our frenzy to hurry up and relax!


This, right here, this is why I don't mind (nay, even enjoy) that DH is gone 4 nights out of 7 each and every week. Because surely in there you forgot to mention the ensuing "discussion" about why there isn't a hot meal on the table or why you didn't pick up the dog poop or empty the trash just yet or any one of a bajillion other things. I've always said I prefer when he's gone b/c at least I know it's all me all the time. When he's home, there's this illusion of help, but he's got his own agenda and timeframes and they seldom match up with mine!

Of course having said that, this week he's gone a 5th night and it might very well be my undoing.

The thing with helpers, I believe, is it's only helpful if there's nothing that absolutely has to be done by any deadline at all. And that's with any helpers. The first three mornings this week I made M an egg/cheese/bagel sandwich for breakfast (cuz I rock like that). Today he made his own before I got downstairs. And he added a smoothie for drinking. For some reason all I could focus on was that now I need to scrape egg off the stove, wipe up the smoothie spills, throw out the empty juice container, etc etc. None of those things would have bothered me if I created them (because it's all part of making breakfast. Today I had the work without the act and apparently that bugs me!).


Always nice to hear I'm not alone, don't you think? :) @Kristy you said it - "illusion of help, but he's got his own agenda and timeframes and they seldom match up with mine!" - that's true with mom, too. One of the reasons it's not crazy cooking with her anymore is that she has realized that it's my THING, and she just completely reverts to being told what to do (and happily does it, since she's never felt confident in the kitchen she says, which is so interesting seeing as how I learned how to cook from her!)

I agree, @Maeve, totally! Downtime almost needs it's own schedule item on the calendar!

@Jen - share and share away. I've come to appreciate the power of your social network! I'm using my blog as an outlet for writing, but also to test out some things that I'd like to include in a book some day, so the more people who DON'T actually know me but read this and either love or hate it, the better. I'd rather they loved it, but I'd take either. ;)


I can relate 100%! I can manage completely fine for 48 hours while DH is on duty at the fire dept and then as soon as he comes home I am suddenly overwhelmed by all that needs to get done. Once he walks through the door the reality is "you don't have to do it alone!" and everything shifts.
I have to admit that as far as husbands go I totally scored. This guy will do anything and is always pitching in without me telling him what needs to get done. I turn around and he is doing laundry or dishes etc.
It is a funny phenomenon for sure!

Kate Handel

OMG I am laughing out loud and can totally relate...my mom just left on Tues after visiting for 6 weeks. Thank you for articulating it so perfectly, as now I know I'm not the only one who feels this way!


Agreed agreed - and yes, Jen, thanks for forwarding...I sometimes feel bad that I can't wait for Monday to come, or that my life moves with a little more ease when my husband is away on that week long business trip. You really summed it all up. Instead of being helpful, I sometimes feel he is just one more kid to clean up after. In fact, I refuse to do housework Thursday through Sunday night, because he will be home to mess it up! And you are so right - thinking that now he is finally home, I can relax a little, get a little help with it all. But it just never works out that way. Nice work!!


Karen, I have so much to say about this that I could go on for pages and pages...but mostly I'm just thinking, "YES!" and nodding furiously. I think it's so difficult to add another "functional" adult to an evening routine that's already in process because the group that's been at home has developed a rhythm, and the person coming in is moving at a different pace, adjusting to the home environment after being outside (and I've had demanding stressful jobs and remember all too well how hard it is to come home and try to meet someone else's needs when you're wiped out, so I have some sympathy).

This little dance, though, is the reason I fear I'll never be able to go back to work full time and keep my sanity. We've sort of created a monster in our family wherein I manage almost every domestic task - which means that there are all kinds of things that happen here that go completely under DH's radar. He's not much help because, honestly, he doesn't even know what tasks need to be finished most of the time. I reminded him the other night that our 5 year old still needs an adult to help her brush her teeth, and he was shocked. Sigh.

As usual, K, well said. Thanks for expressing what so many of us are clearly thinking.

Jen Guerrero

Oh, Karen. You are singing my song. Many hands make light work... if they are helping hands. If they have the same goal as you. I was trying to figure out why on the days that my husband is home, is the house a mess? I had thought it was because I took more time to relax, spend time with him, let things go a bit because it was Saturday, etc. It's not true. He is my 4th child. Leaving his glass on the window ledge, opening mail and leaving the empty envelopes on the counter, leaving his shoes right in the middle of the rug at the front door (so you can't close the door or enter or exit said doorway without stepping or tripping over his shoes), etc. It's just what it is with the kids. We had an agreement about me taking full responsibility for caring for all household duties once I had the boys and stayed home, because I was not working (well, not earning money at least). That was something I brought up to him 8 years ago. Well, I work full time now and there have been no adjustments made to divide up the household responsibilities.

His reasoning (I'm sure) is that I have more time because I work from home. I'm trying to make it clear that I WORK from home. And I'm busy. And I can't make a point and leave things to pile up for him to see how he's not helping or how much stuff piles up due to his non-help because my home is my place of business, and it has to stay clean and tidy. And... he'd never notice anyway. And then there's the whole issue of my tendency to micromanage, and I'd probably check how he did with his household contributions, which makes it just quicker and less stressful for me to do it myself. In all honesty, though, the only thing I've ever asked him to do is clean up after himself and put his dirty workclothes in one pile (ANYWHERE - just in one place) so I can easily find them. Is that too much to ask?


Teglene's given me a lot to think about/write about with this particular bit:

"as soon as he comes home I am suddenly overwhelmed by all that needs to get done. Once he walks through the door the reality is "you don't have to do it alone!" and everything shifts."

I've got to get my thoughts in order, but there's something particularly meaningful there (and perhaps less likely to piss off aforementioned husband...which was not my intent at all. The only little mini-rant in there was about softball practice extending my day - I hate being out until 7:30 when I have that 8/8:30 deadline for bed! Theirs, not mine, I'm a night owl...she says as she types at 12:30 am for a change...)

But anyway - stay tuned!

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