Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Everyone Deserves a Thank-You for Doing the Laundry

From the outside, mine and Phillip's marriage might look pretty old school.

He works full-time, I stay at home. He's the handyman when something breaks, and I'm the one who knows the kids' shoe sizes and keeps them clothed. For the most part, he takes out the garbage and mows the lawn while I do the laundry and clean the bathrooms.

(Neither of us iron, though, and I'm 100% okay with that.)

Everyone Deserves a Thank-You for Doing the Laundry -- Real equality in a marriage is less about who does what and more about whether you're on the same team.  {posted @ Unremarkable FilesIn spite of how 1950s our domestic arrangement might sound, I see us as equal partners.

Not because we're doing all the same things, but because we're working together for the same goal: raising a family.

With us becoming a more enlightened society, I've seen a lot of equality-in-marriage articles like "My Husband: 5 Reasons I'm Not Lucky to Have Him" and "Why I'm Done Asking My Husband To Help Me Out" (mild language warning on this one) that might be missing the point.

I get what these people are saying: when Phillip and I are both just sitting around and a poopy diaper scent wafts through the air, it shouldn't automatically be my job to go sniff it out just because I'm the mom.

But then the articles somehow arrive at the conclusion that we should just stop thanking dads altogether, since parenting is already their job and nothing special.

Since when did doing your job, especially a job as hard and potentially dirty as parenting, become unworthy of praise?

If mom changes diapers all day without a thank-you but then dad gets praise for changing one on the weekend, something does need to change. But the answer isn't to stop thanking dad, it's to start thanking mom in equal measure.

But, as the articles point out, isn't it so sexist for a wife to thank her husband for doing an occasional load of laundry, as if he's doing her some kind of personal favor?

I don't think it is.

Because if we're really teammates in the joint effort of raising a family, then every time one of us contributes it is a personal favor to the other. One spouse doing a load of laundry means the other doesn't have to, and that deserves a thank-you.

I just can't agree with a mentality that says husbands and wives need to keep score of who does what in order to be equal.

As the stay-at-home one I'm the main caregiver, but I'll be the first to admit that plenty of nights, I'm drained and Phillip puts the kids (yes, all 5 of them) to bed by himself because I just can't do it.

He makes dinner on the nights when he comes home from work and I'm standing zombified in front of the fridge with a package of frozen ground beef and murmuring, "I don't know what to do with this."

Sometimes I just need to zone out and write for a little while and he's walking around in the background cleaning up the detritus of the day.

I'm glad he doesn't demand I put in my fair share all the time, and I try to do the same.

Part of marriage is picking up the other person's slack sometimes without a grudge because you're on the same team.

The other part is remembering to say "thank you" a whole heck of a lot.

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Katy said...

Nicely put. I'm all for just doing what needs to be done. I'm trying to teach my kids that when they fight over who dropped the pretzel we found on the floor. It doesn't matter. Just pick it up because we are all in this family together!

Sarah said...

Very well said. Our marriage is very 1950ish over here too. I stay at home, he goes to work. I do the grocery shopping, he pays the bills, etc.

Sarah Hynes said...

Agree with every part of this! Wonderfully put.

Jenny Evans said...


Jenny Evans said...

If that's what works for you, great! I think it's more important that you feel you're both in it together, however you divide up the responsibilities.

Chaun said...

I like what you just said in the comment "I think it's more important that you feel you're both in it together, however you divide up the responsibilities." it's not as much as the responsibilities so much as just working together towards that same family goal. However the chores fall in line to each person isn't terribly important. The work just needs to be done. :)

Also, favorite meme of late: "Women belong in the kitchen. Men belong in the kitchen. Everybody belongs in the kitchen. Kitchen has food." :)

Chaun said...

Oh gosh. So many grammar errors in that last comment and I can't edit it. Please know that I do have a somewhat functioning understanding of the English language, even if my fingers can't type it out. :)

Jenny Evans said...

Looks fine to me. I love your meme. Who doesn't like food?

Tubbs said...

This is so true. Part of being married is picking the other up when they're down and having their back :)

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes. So much yes to this post. Thank you for sharing this.

Rachel said...

Absolutely, with the whole saying "thank-you" thing. Of course I say thank you to people who are just doing their job? Who doesn't say "Thank you" when a waiter brings out your food, for example? I thank Angel for all sorts of stuff because I just think one ought to be a thankful person.

Jenny Evans said...

Especially when you're married to them! You'll both be a lot happier that way.

Handsfullmom said...

Yep. Well said

Michelle said...

100% yes. Everything you described sounds a lot like my relationship, too. I don't feel "less than" because I'm at home and no longer bringing money in. I'm doing just as hard of a job, and we're both doing what we need to do for the same goal.

Jenny Evans said...

Yes, I've never felt that it's anything other than "our" paycheck. After all, if it weren't for me there'd be a lot less of it because SOMEONE would have to take care of the kids during the day (and probably some of the household work and food prep would get outsourced, too.)

PurpleSlob said...

I love this!! Everyone does a better job with a better attitude when they're thanked!!

Leigh Ann said...

My husband took over bath time when I was pregnant with #3. Evenings were when my nausea hit, and I just could not do it. And it stuck!

PurpleSlob said...

Jenny, I just read the best article, and immediately thought of you. Try it! Might like it! lol

mumturnedmom said...

YES! I couldn't agree more! In our house we work together, and to our strengths, we're a team and we're certainly not competing (although we *may* occasionally try to win the 'most tired' competition!). I've read articles like the ones you mention and I find myself getting quite annoyed with them because I also think they miss the point... We should all be saying thank you x