I ruined the end of a perfectly good date night on Saturday with a fight about a piece of thread on the floor.

Just as we were leaving for our night out, the boys said they wanted to spend the night at a neighbor friend’s house. But they clearly had some details to work out, so I told them to text me later and tell me what they decided. I checked my phone during intermission and saw a text that said, “we are all spending the night.” That meant we were free! We could stay out later and would be returning to an empty house.

When we finally got in the car to head home, we were both shocked that it was almost 11PM. I went to make my coffee for the next morning and realized the sink was still full of dishes and there was a pan full of macaroni and cheese on the stove.

“Someone didn’t put the leftover mac & cheese in the fridge,” I yelled out to Jeff.

“Oh, that was me” he said.

“And the dishes…?” I asked, knowing the answer. The sink was literally overflowing with dishes. Not necessarily dishes that required hand washing, but dishes that needed to be moved to the dishwasher.

I couldn’t do them; it was too late and I was too tired. I left it—all of it, including the now ruined mac & cheese—for the morning.

I was mad.

We both head upstairs and I start the argument by harping on the dishes. See, I had been out most of the day with a friend; Jeff was home with the boys. Indeed, he was doing laundry and did make a quick run to Kroger for me to pick up about 10 items. But, other than that, he was home.

“I didn’t have time. I was really busy today.”

I couldn’t let it go. He was insistent that his day was crazy busy but I knew what he had to do (and had done) that day and it just wasn’t adding up that he wouldn’t have three minutes to move dishes to the dishwasher after cleaning up breakfast and lunch with the boys.

I continued to argue about it. He continued to defend himself. I continued to go over and over his day, quizzing him on just which part was too busy for the dishes. I really projected the, “I do way more than that on any given day. Somehow I manage to get it all done” vibe. Okay, maybe I didn’t just project that vibe—maybe I used words very similar to those to try to get my point across.

“Well, congratulations. But it’s not a competition,” he snapped back at me.

I wouldn’t –I couldn’t—let it go; I wasn’t done with it. Finally, he looked up and asked me why I was continuing to argue about this when he had already apologized.

Kidless night ruined.

I crawled in bed and gave it some thought as I drifted off. I realized the source of my frustration and anger actually happened a few days ago.

There had been a piece of thread on our bathroom floor. We have what we refer to as a “one-butt” master bathroom. I point out the size of the room only to illustrate the fact that anyone in the bathroom would have seen the thread on the floor. We have a natural colored tile on the floor and the thread was dark, almost like an army green. At one point, I thought it might be a long blade of grass but then decided that was next to impossible given the fact that it was February in Indiana.

I looked at it, and left it. I do these stupid things every once in a while…just to see…to see how long it takes someone else in the house to pick them up. I am always disappointed in the results.

About two days later, the thread was still there. “Oh, no worries, I got it” I said when he was close enough to hear and picked up the thread, tossing it in the trash.

We laughed and of course he made a joke out of it, saying he “saved it for me” because he knows how much I enjoy organizing and picking up things.

I laughed too, but there was a real point in there for me. A real sense of being under-appreciated and almost taken advantage of for my high need for keeping things organized and tidy.

The dishes were just like the thread: another thing that had been left for me.

I fell asleep and when I woke up in the morning, I apologized and told Jeff that I was angry because I feel under-appreciated. I pointed out how hard I work to keep things on track, organized and tidy around here and sometimes, I just want the same in return.

This got me thinking about our division of labor around the house. Here’s a pretty solid breakdown: Jeff

What’s the division of labor look like at your house? Do you feel your hard work is adequately acknowledged? Do you feel appreciated?

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2 Thoughts on “Division of Labor

  1. Amy Tobias on March 2, 2015 at 9:28 pm said:

    Love it!

    Single mom with fiancee not moved in yet.
    Here is mine:

    JAMES
    Lightbulbs
    Picture Hanging
    Garbage if he is here on Sunday.
    Always helps clean up dinner and kitchen.
    Moving heavy objects.

    ME
    Everything else

  2. Oh goodness, it’s eerie how similar how marriages and personal tendencies are. It’s like you were writing a scene from my own house! Have you ever read any of Gretchen Rubin’s books? One of the lightbulb moments I got from reading her stuff is that my personality dictates that I’m always in search of that “gold star.” I get validation from others telling me what a good job I’m doing – which is great when you work outside the home and get evaluations, feedback, raises and such. Not so great when you do the same thing, day in and day out at home. Compound that with the fact that, like you, I have a need for tidiness and organization that no one else in my household could possibly live up to, and about every 4 weeks I have a meltdown over my own personal green thread.

    I really enjoy your writing – thanks for sharing parenting and marriage stuff so honestly.

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