Thank you, to reader and commenter “Nancy” who wrote:
We just trade off [getting up with the kids]. He gets up on Saturdays and I get up on Sundays. Not as bad when you know what to expect I guess.
It’s almost too obvious, isn’t it? Of course we should take turns. Incontestably it would make our lives easier. Undeniably planning ahead is the way to go. And unfortunately it cannot happen since it would completely eliminate all of the quiet resentment that burns at the tender heart of my marriage.
“Have you ever considered some kind of chore chart or calendar?” the therapist asked us innocently. I shot Odie the look every husband would recognize and every wife reading right now can picture exactly.
“Would you like to answer the nice man’s question, Odie?”
The next thing we know, we’re in a Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn movie where I’m explaining to my husband that nobody wants to do the dishes!
From there, we go on to discover that Odie’s “love language” is “acts of service.” We didn’t talk about mine, but later that week at happy hour, I brought it up to my girlfriends and they simultaneously and in unison said, “words of praise.”
He wants me to rise from my Saturday and Sunday morning slumbers in order to let him sleep in because I love him, not because it’s my turn. We have a schedule for who cooks dinner and who picks the kids up from school, and it works great. I have frequently requested we make a schedule for the other chores and duties around the house. We’re still in the early negotiating stages, but I feel positive about the outcome. Although Odie and I have different feelings about how the housework and childcare duties should get parceled out, the therapist announced cheerfully that “these positions are reconcilable.”
There can be a schedule of assigned chores with room for spontaneity wherein I demonstrate my deep and abiding love by scrubbing toilets. Unscheduled. Not because I have to, but because I want to.
I am looking forward to when the girls are older and they can do all the chores. That’s how it works, right?