Free time: a chance to kick back and relax. Maybe I’ll start a hobby. Or catch up with a good book. Oh wait—I know—I’ll enjoy some me time.
Ha. Fat chance.
As a mom with a full-time job, who also, at the age of 50, decided to pursue a master’s degree (I know, what was I thinking?) my “free” time is reserved for errands and chores. It’s a never-ending cycle. Each week I plan the meals and comb through Pinterest trying to find a new way to cook chicken. Finally, I make a list and head off to the grocery store (or two or three).
Once food shopping is done, it’s time to clean. I wouldn’t say I’m the greatest housekeeper but we try to keep things tidy and clean(ish). The late Joan Rivers had a great line about cleaning, she said, “I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes and six months later you have to start all over again.” Well, all hail Joan because you can eat off of my kitchen floor, but only because there are crumbs from last night’s dinner still there.
Beyond the kitchen there are sheets to change, bathrooms to clean and carpets to be vacuumed.
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Then it’s time to start chopping, seasoning and baking so that during the week our dinners are somewhat made, and I can hopefully avoid the daily 4 p.m. text from my husband that says “Dinner?”
Am I whining? Probably. But I don’t do these errands and chores for money or glory; I do them because they have to get done. That said I’d be lying if I told you that my family doesn’t help because they do.
My 15-year-old believes we had him just so we would have someone to boss around and clean up after us (um yeah). My husband believes that he does much more than I do around the house and some days he may be right.
But can you tell me why, whenever my husband does something around the house he either leaves a clue—like leaving the kitchen chairs on the table to show that he’s swept the floor—or escorts me to the newly organized drawers to see how clean they are. Of course, it’s not enough just to notice it, I have to tell him what a great job he’s done as if I were the only person in the house who needed clean floors or organized drawers.
I hate to say it but I think it has something to do with the whole men never growing up thing.
Did you ever notice in college football how all the helmets have little stickers? It’s pretty funny if you think about it. Here are these 200-300-pound men who are motivated by the same reward system they had in kindergarten. But hey, if it works who am I to question it.
Of course I can hear all the men out there and I know what they’re saying. All they want is a little acknowledgement, a little appreciation. After all, is that really asking too much?
No, actually it isn’t, after all that’s all any of us really want.
So honey, thank you. I love and appreciate all that you do.
Now here’s a gold star, feel free to go and stick it somewhere.
A longer version of this piece originally appeared in Cobb Life Magazine.