Monday, January 12, 2009

Use your words.

This morning, I returned from my 6 AM yoga class to find this:

Someone made my bed.

OK, it's not just my bed, it's our bed. But up until very recently, I was the only one who partook in the privilege of making it. Ever. This pissed me off, of course, as I'm sure it would most women who take on the lion's share of housework. Not that I'm one of those women. I'm actually really not. My husband makes dinner several nights a week and tends to notice the bathtub needs a good scrubbing before I do. But still, the bed. The bed!

This major injustice came to a head over the holidays when Bill had lots of time off work. After several days of waking up with Liam so he could sleep in and then spending the rest of the day ticked off that he expected me to make the bed he had abandoned, or giving in and making the bed with big, frustrated movements while sighing loud insinuations that went totally unheard, I started to lose it just slightly.

I mean, why couldn't he just make the bed himself? He slept in it too, didn't he? There could only be three possible reasons for his sloth like behavior:
  1. He has no respect for me and wants to make my life harder every chance he gets.
  2. He doesn't give a rat's ass if the bed is made or not.
  3. He tried to help a few times but I told him he did it wrong so he is staying the hell out of my way.*
I decided to confront him on it. Well, confront might be the wrong word. I decided to ask him for help in my most highly evolved, unemotional, "me statements" kind of way.

Like, "Babe, I was thinking? Maybe we could make a rule that the last person who gets up has to make the bed?"

"OK."

I left it at that, not going into the whole, because when the bed isn't made it makes me feel lazy and fat and like our house if falling down around us, bit. I even managed to leave out, when you don't help me with things like that it makes me feel like your hired servant and not your equal partner in marriage and that makes me feel sad and hateful. I just took his "OK" at face value and left it alone. I wasn't sure if anything would change or not but at least I didn't start a fight.

But things did change. Completely.

The next time he slept in, the bed was made before he left the room. And the next time, and the next time. When it was my turn to sleep in, I had to push myself to follow his good example instead of waiting until I was good and caffeinated to get around to it. I couldn't let him beat me at my own game!

As it turns out, the only reason he wasn't helping me is because I never asked him to. Well that and he didn't give a rat's ass if the bed was made or not and didn't want to hear from me how he was doing it wrong. But if I had approached the situation from either one of those angles, you better believe I would still be making the bed. It didn't have to be a big philosophical eruption about why or how the bed should be made; he just needed a straightforward, somewhat polite request.

Imagine how many years I wasted on telepathic expectations! I really did make an ASS out of U and ME.

Mr. Bird, AKA Baby Brother, enjoying the bed Billy made.

*A quick note about the right and wrong way to do things:

In Louise Hay's great book, You Can Heal Your Life, she uses the following quote when talking about stubborn people who are unable to be flexible in their thinking or see other points of view:
Virginia Satir, the brilliant family therapist, said that she did some "silly research" and found that there are more than 250 different ways to wash dishes, depending upon who is washing and the ingredients used. If we are stuck in believing there is only "one way," or "one viewpoint," then we are shutting out most of life.
So, let your husband make the bed! Or feed the kids or fold the towels. He might not do it exactly the way you would do it, but he certainly won't do it wrong. Just let it go, put him to work and spend your new found me time doing something other than breathing over his shoulder.

3 comments:

LClaire said...

Laughed out loud! We had this identical conversation like 2 days ago . . . bed's being made now here too . . . just no where near a neatly as yours :)

Courtney said...

Great post! This recovering control freak needed to hear that today.

Sandra Winfrey said...

Haha ... I'm a control freak, so I leave the bed making to me! But as for putting away dishes from the dish washer ... that is totally Brad's job (wish I didn't have to remind him to do it, and it just got done when the dishes were clean)!

Oh ... and I noticed your bed spread is white! Wow! That would have to be cleaned all the time. Kiddos are always spilling their chocolate milk in our bed!