About two weeks ago, Parenting.com posted an article suggesting that 46% of wives get mad at their husbands at least once a week. (We like to be quick with the current events here on Full Time, All The Time. Sorry, Robyn!) Angella posted her own response over at Committed: The Ties That Bond. (Apparently they actually are caught up on current events over there.)
According to Angella, she is not “mad at dad”. While Angella’s satisfaction with her husband didn’t shock me (after all, they have her write the marriage blog), I didn’t expect the number of commenters who agreed with her.
It seems my friends and I are the only women wanting to shake the snot out of our husbands on a regular basis. (Well, me, my friends, and the other ladies in that 46 percentile.) But even that’s not what surprised me the most about Angella’s post.
What got me thinking was one comment in particular by reader, SKL:
What if all moms, married or not, went into the deal expecting to be 100% responsible for the kids and the housework? Then they would be so appreciative of every tiny thing their husbands did in those areas.
As you can imagine, the responses to that comment were passionate and all over the board. Modern women don’t like to be told that they should expect to do it all.
But does she have a point? Would those of us who fall into that 46% be happier if we’d just learn to stop expecting anything from our husbands? Or is that a load of pre-feminist crap?
My instinct is to err on the side of load of crap.
Why in the heck should I be expected to handle working, parenting and all of the household duties? Why should I have to lower my standards simply because he refuses to comply to them? Why, if someone has to pick up the slack in this happy little compromise, does it have to be me? Why should I have to be the bigger person and suck it up?
Suffice it to say, my instincts are a little… er… self centered.
Of course I don’t want to lower my standards or expectations! Life would be much easier if he (and my boss, and my clients and my kids and also the government, while we’re at it) would just do exactly what I expected of them exactly the way I expect it to be done. Right?
But life doesn’t work that way. And at work, or with the kids (and certainly with the government), I’ve learned to adjust. I’ve learned to take stock of my wants and compare them to realities. I’ve mastered the fine art of choosing my battles and building a compromise. I know when to push and when to pull back and, most importantly, when to let it go.
I think, just maybe, SKL may have had the beginnings of a point in her comment.
To an extent.
I’m never going to advocate that I - or anyone in any kind of partnership - simply accepts the fact that they are equipped and therefore expected to shoulder 100% of major responsibilities like parenting. Or housework, for that matter. Especially if you both work outside the home. Ignoring your own needs in an effort to keep the peace is a recipe for disaster. And martyrdom is highly overrated.
However - if you find you keep fighting about the same things over and over and over again, maybe it’s time to stop and ask if it’s worth it.
Does it really matter if he leaves clean clothes in a basket to get ridiculously wrinkly? Would it kill you to accept that you have to point out that when there is pee on the bathroom floor, someone has to clean it up? I mean, yes, in a perfect world urine puddles would bother everyone. But isn’t being married to someone who mops up when they are asked a pretty good consolation prize?
Maybe the answer to becoming part of the 54% of women who aren’t pissed off all the time is to just… let it go.
Photo by Spud.