The Chore of Doing Chores
I am going to be totally honest with you ladies. Guys don’t like doing chores. We don’t like dishes or laundry. We don’t like dusting or vacuuming. We don’t like cleaning toilets, whisking the couch, or making the bed. The best reason I come up with is that it’s tedious work that isn’t exciting to do and doesn’t give us any sense of accomplishment once completed. It’s boring, and even Mr. Army Wife, who does 90% of the chores in the house, will try to get out of them or take shortcuts if he can.
Women, for the most part, apparently feel very different about chores than men do. I am not going to say that you enjoy doing them, because let’s face it they aren’t exactly fun. But, I have seen my wife attack cleaning with such ferociousness that it would make those old TV housewives from the 50s and 60s jealous. She has her serious set of rubber gloves, her perfect sized cleaner carrying caddy, and her special set of cloths with different sizes and textures perfect for any job. I don’t wear gloves, use one, maybe two cleaners, and one rag and a few paper towels. It works and I don’t mess with it.
Their is a real divide between men and women when it comes to the issue of chores, and for the most part, I am sorry to say, the divide is the fault of the ladies. (Don’t throw the feather duster at me.) It truly is your issue, because for the most part, who is the one that does the complaining about what is clean and what isn’t? Who is the one who tells the other they are doing it wrong? Who is the one that usually gives up trying to get the other to do anything at all and just does it themselves? The answer is the women. Men usually don’t complain about the house being a mess (exception – you can’t see the floor.) Men almost never tell women they are scrubbing the toilet in the wrong way. And if a man sees a pile of laundry that has been their for a week even though he has expressed that he needs his jeans washed, he certainly isn’t going to do it himself. Chances are he will just wear them dirty or buy a new pair of jeans. The problem here clearly lies with the women.
So, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Here are 5 things you need to know about men’s attitudes toward doing chores. Do with them what you want, but know that we aren’t going to change simply because you want us too. We are capable of becoming better house workers, (I am living proof) but it will take specific things to get us there. Here are the specifics.
- We aren’t mind readers. If you want something done, you need to tell us exactly what it is. We will do the dishes if you ask us to do the dishes. We will do laundry if you tell us that the laundry needs to be done. We might even clean the toilets if you ask us to do so, but we won’t do anything at all unless you look us in the eyes and ask us to do it. Better yet, write it down, put it directly in our hands, and go away so we have some time to complete it. IFor thousands of years men have been trying to read the minds of their woman and for years it has bitten us in the ASS! When it comes to things we really don’t want to do, we are not going to put ourselves out there by trying to read your minds. Nope, it ain’t gonna happen.
- We are going to do it our way. The insanity with which women believe there is only one correct way to clean the toilet must stop. Your way is not the only right way, so if you ask your man to do this most disgusting of jobs, and then go ballistic when he goes at it with a bottle of Windex Multisurface and a wash cloth. Then, once again, I say the problem is yours. We don’t care about why once cleaner is better than another. We don’t care that this rag is for wood and this one is for porcelain. We are going to clean the way that we were either taught in our own homes, or how we taught ourselves when we left home. If you don’t like it, either learn to let it go or just do it yourself.
- Cleanliness is not next to Godliness. I don’t know who told you that line or where you all got it, but it isn’t in the Bible. It isn’t in there. In fact, the only time I saw a woman doing chores was when Martha was telling Jesus to get Mary off her rump to help and Jesus told her to get on hers and start listening to him. (Luke 10:41, I am paraphrasing obviously.) While we can probably agree that there needs to be some level of cleaning to run an effective household, men are nowhere near as worried about the level of cleaning as that of their female counterparts. A few clothes on the floor, a few dishes in the sink and a few spots on the mirror does not constitute and disaster zone. Yet, some of you think that it does. There are other things more pressing, seriously.
- We don’t care about your special instruction laundry issues. If you have something that can’t be washed in a certain temperature of water, or can’t be dried with some other type of fabric, or can’t be place within a certain distance of a certain type of detergent, then there are two solutions. Don’t buy that article of clothing because it has WAY too many issues, or wash it yourself, because we will NEVER get it write. Men’s clothes have nothing about that are specific as far as laundering goes, and if they do, none of us have read the tag, nor do we care. Everything can go in together, and we really don’t care what towels do to our underwear. I have not once lost a pair of socks because they were washed with a red shirt. If your clothes have to be that special, we aren’t the ones to wash them. Leave us out of it.
- We will do a lot of things to get out of chores. There used to be a sitcom called Everybody Loves Raymond, in which Raymond, his wife Deborah and their family carried out different situations each week for the entertainment of millions. In one particular episode one of the men was asked to do something, and Ray told him to do it wrong so that he wouldn’t be asked again. It turns out that Ray had been doing chores wrong on purpose his whole marriage just so he wouldn’t have to do them anymore. He had learned that his wife wanted things done a particular way, and he didn’t want to do it that way. In his mind, it was better for their marriage if she just did it her way herself. While I don’t condone this behavior, I am not going to say that I haven’t done it. I have washed dishes with cold water. I have mixed whites and darks in the laundry. I used her loofa (what a stupid word) to clean the shower while I was in it. (I used body wash as the cleaner too.) This was all before I was Mr. Army Wife and it was my job. But, if I could think of a way to get out of chores I will. There ain’t nothing new in that.
So there it is ladies. If you want to have a man’s perspective on chores, this is it. If you want us to do them, tell us. But don’t tell us how to do them. Our level of clean probably is not your level of clean. Let it go or do it yourself. We don’t do special instructions. And finally, we are going to try and get out of them. Your best bet is to send us outside to wash the car or mow the yard.
I would like to say one final thing about this subject. For years I have watched couples and studied the marital dynamic. I have to say, that the things that ladies allow to become stressful parts of their lives borders on the ridiculous. I understand that you don’t want to live in squalor, but eventually everything will get done. When the house runs out of dishes, they will get washed. When there are no clean clothes, some will get washed. When the crusty residue from spit up toothpaste covers the sink, it will get cleaned. I am not going to say who is going to do it (ladies) but are these things really the stressors you want to be putting on your marriage? There are enough things trying to create a wedge between you and your spouse, this shouldn’t be one of them.
From a man’s perspective, a lot of what women make issues out of things that really aren’t issues. I have an expression. “You’re problem is not my problem, especially when it really isn’t a problem.” Certainly, I believe that my wife’s problems are my problems too, but I do not except the premise that just because she believes it is a problem that it actually is. Sorry, life just doesn’t work that way. It’s too short to constantly worry about a few plates being left in the sink or a few clothes being thrown on the floor. Let it go. Live life. Clean occasionally. But don’t let your world and especially your marriage revolve around how you want things done. You are seriously setting yourself up for disappointment.