Friday, May 22, 2009


***Note - I'd like to thank my sister Annie for making this post possible. Without her there to cut an paste, it would have remained in my email forever. To show my appreciation, I'm letting her choose the title, AND giving my permission for her to give herself a little link - because we all know she'd do it anyway. Thanks Annie.

Role reversals - aren't they fun? Is it bad that I've kind of enjoyed watching my husband be mom for the last four weeks? I can't really count those first two weeks, because back then (in my innocence) I was still coming home and picking up any and all slack, i.e., laundry, dinner, dishes, general cleaning, etc.

Then I got sick.

It was a Monday morning, and I felt awful. We're talking lay-in-bed-actually-sleeping-because-you-feel-too-rotten-to-do-anything-else. Just think of it - I stayed in bed until ONE O'CLOCK IN THE AFTERNOON.


Seriously. When is the last time you got to do that? (And if this is what always happens to you when you get sick because your husband is some kind of award-winning saint, we don't want to hear about it. Maybe later, but not right now. This is MY moment to shine!) As I lay there watching him take care of everything - and enjoying making comments like, "what are you fixing for dinner?" and "will you please go help L with his math now?" - I got to thinking.

How will he ever understand what it's like to be me if I keep being me? How can he appreciate what I'm doing if he doesn't ever do it? How can he know what it's like to work all day and then come home to a house full of people who strip out of their clothes as they walk through the door, leave a trail everywhere they go, and expect ME to pick it all up, AND make dinner, AND clean up after dinner, if I keep doing all of it as soon as I walk through the door? So I stopped. Tuesday came, I went to work, I came home from work, and I pretty much just hung around reading my book.

Now, in my husband's defense I have to say that he does pitch in around the house. He definitely has his stuff that he does - like mowing the lawn and home improvements/repairs (which are kind of constant at our house) - and he has assigned nightly tasks such as C and M's story, teeth brushing, bedtime, etc. He's also known to randomly do things like clean and organize my laundry room, or tackle the family room, and when he takes on the bathroom it's with boiling water and a toothbrush. (He was a Marine, remember?)

However. On a nightly basis, he generally remains completely unaware of what's going on around him as far as household maintenance goes. He'll play with the kids and let them sneak upstairs to watch movies with him (we have no TV, and movie watching is strictly for Friday-Sunday after school during the school year), but I have to say it rarely occurs to him to pick up toys, run a vacuum, help in the kitchen, or do anything related to laundry during the week.

Times are a changin'.

That first week of me doing nothing was a real eye opener. Even his usual daytime routine (which he does pretty well at during the day when he's home with the kids) suffered, due to several days of errand running. By Friday things were looking pretty bad, and I was still coming home saying obnoxious things like "Hey, what's for dinner?" It might sound heartless, but it was worth it. And kind of fun. As far as the husband goes, let's just say he noticed the difference between "helpful wife" and "oblivious, book-reading wife".

I must admit, however, that after that first week or so I put down the book and started picking up some of the slack. But overall, I think it's been a successful experiment. A few highlights:

I love how when he's the one keeping things clean, NO ONE is allowed to make a mess, and the kitchen is closed when he's done with it. Every time he says, "I JUST cleaned in here, what happened?!?" I get a thrill.

I love that he makes dinner. I never knew roast could get mushy, and I've never seen noodles boiled that long, but every time I sit down to a dad-meal it makes me smile. He can never say he doesn't know how to cook again. (And it's cute when he calls me all concerned, and says things like, "Was I supposed to turn the oven to 250? Oops, I turned it to 350. Is that okay?")

I'm amazed at how he can still block out jobs like the bathroom and laundry.

I love how every time I send him grocery shopping it's like Russian roulette. Let's just say we have some serious communication problems, and he is apparently completely unable to ask store personnel for assistance. (But Walmart really did stop selling my hair product, so he actually wasn't blind that time - I just haven't told him yet). (Do you think I have to?)

Overall, I think I just love him - employed or not.


Kelly said...

That's funny. Sometimes I'd love to do stuff like that to my husband...just so he gets what I actually do. But, I don't work and he is employed and let's face it, some days I actually do just sit around and read all day and try to get just enough done before he gets home so he doesn't actually think I've been loafing all day (which I probably have).

Machen family said...

While he's cooking or cleaning the floor, I hope you smack him on the behind and say "lookin' good".

Shauna said...

Hope you have a super weekend!
♥ HUGS ♥

Anonymous said...

Here is where I need to keep my mouth shut. (My hubby belongs in that Award-Winning Sainthood category.)

All I can say is, does he have a cute frilly apron to wear as part of this new lifestyle wardrobe? Just say the word....I'd be happy to oblige!

Melissa Bastow said...

So I had to have Dr's strict orders the last time I got to lay in bed. It was called, 'Pregnancy Bedrest.' I doubt I would have been allowed to do it, if it didn't involve the life of our child.

My husband made dinner tonight too - - it was called 'Chilli's take out.' But at least it tasted good.

Stephanie said...

He sounds like a great husband for you Jen, this made me smile...even though you were bedridden. :) Kevin and him are much alike in all these areas and maybe that's why I was smiling so much. Even as I sat down to the computer a little while ago, he made a snack for the kids and is now weed-whacking. Gotta love our husbands. :)

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

That is totally awesome. Love it. So great. And good for you.

Shelley said...

I'm having memories of the movie "Mr Mom". Fun stuff.

jane said...

first, i hope you are much much better. and second, i love this experiment! i will have to put it into action one day...

Claire said...

I consider this an international challenge. For research purposes only, of course, I shall conduct this experiment over here. I shall just feign illness, and see what happens. I'm not sure how the other half wil respond.
My thesis will be submitted on completion of this important experiment.

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

That is so awesome!!!! What a funny post! My hubby is hilarious and has to remind me of the chores he has done in the past week so I don't forget that he helps. And he wants my praise. It would be funny if he came home and I had a list for the whole week of everything I'd done too! haha!

Haynsy said...

We should have a telethon to get you a new PC.

I miss your regularity.

I mean your regular posts.

kanishk said...

I hope you smack him on the behind and say "lookin' good".

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