Eclectic Muddlehood

How's this for a perplexing beginning? I am a great many things, but none of them are me. At least not in my entirety. This is the little corner where I attempt to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts as I muddle through being a wife, a mother and a woman... among other things.

Location: Virginia, United States

Here, in no particular order, is a short list of my parts from the mundane to the pretentious, some or all of which may surface in future attempts to work on the whole: wife, mother, doula, childbirth educator, writer, yoga student, homeschooler, amature organic gardner, kitchen witch, all-around foodie, spiritual truth-seeker, daughter, clutter-bug, complusive list maker, bibliophile, homemaker, friend, homebirth/natural birth advocate, impulse shopper, wine snob, knitter, artist, lover, sensuist, and email junkie (There may be more later, but that's it for now.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My Perpetual Dilemma

Just as any good sized rant about one's spouse should commence, let me begin by giving the standard disclaimer- I love my husband, wouldn't trade him for anyone else under any circumstances. But before I start extolling his virtues too extensively, I have to say that every since the evening I gave birth to our first child two and a half years ago, I have been faced with a perpetual husband-related dilemma that I still have yet to find a satisfying solution to and sadly, I don't anticipate adding the twins to the mix will help me muddle through it any better.

My husband works himself very hard to earn his paycheck because he has very particular ideas about what he wants to be able to provide for his wife and children both in the present moment and in the future. I acknowledge and understand this. It also occasionally drives me absolutely batty! Because of the monumental effort he puts forth during the day working out of the house, he has these periods of absolute inactivity when he is home where I have to straight up pester him to get even the least bit of help from him with our daughter or basic chores. Some days I am more patient than others with this situation. Some days I am perfectly content to be the devoted homemaker and I even encourage him to have a beer and relax while I finish dinner and get the laundry going. But there are other days.....

Thoughts like would it kill you to put your own lunch dishes in the dishwasher? or who did your laundry for you before we were married? pervade my mind while I enviously watch him sprawl out on the bedroom floor for a snooze at 6 or 7pm in the evening. Here's where I start to rationalize (or in other words, where I start to argue with myself like a crazed schizophrenic). He has a short list of specific chores he almost always does: take out the trash and recycling, clean the cats' litter boxes, feed and water the cats & fish at night and make breakfast on Saturday and Sunday mornings. He has the occasional "handy-man" chore that comes up: unclog the toilet, change the lightbulb, rebalance the washer and things like that. Heaven forbid he do much else without my asking him directly or without being awarded some sort of above-and-beyond type medal. Is this perspective of mine fair? Maybe, maybe not. And maybe it would drive me quite so nuts if he wouldn't come home occasionally and complain about the state of the house in an accusatory tone that makes me feel like he's still convinced I'm hiding the stereotypical Bon-Bons in the house somewhere and living this pampered life of unemployed luxury while he's slaving at work all day. If he thinks the living room carpet is too dirty, then don't complain to the lady simultaneously growing two little human beings in her body, chasing the potty-training toddler, and telepathically monitoring the status of dinner from the laundry room while sorting his socks and underwear. Just get out the stinkin' vacuum and do it. It would take less time and I'd dare say less effort. And it might even encourage his exhausted wife to put out more often!

So what do I do about this? Just when I get to the point where I am about to freak out at him over the fifth passive aggressive sigh he just heaved while casting a disapproving look around our cluttered bedroom, I manage to rationalize my way back to a Zen-like state of denial. Counter-thoughts like but he gets up so early every morning... and he's on his feet all day because he loves us so much squelch the subterranean housewife rage that had been gurgling in the back of my throat only seconds before. I do, however, still feel inclined to gently remind him that my skills as a homemaker are not bound to improve with the addition of two newborns to the mix this summer and until I find a better solution to this issue or we win the lottery and hire a maid, this will have to do as I continue to contemplate this perpetual dilemma that currently presents me with the urge to hug my husband and kick him in the shins all at the same time.


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