We had a “come to Jesus” meeting about expectations in our house last Tuesday night. Remember this post from last Tuesday?
That very night (after my post was written and scheduled to publish the next morning), Larry and I had a calm (okay, not calm) discussion about whose job it is to do laundry. Which may or may not have been sparked by the pile of laundry sitting in front of the washer. Never mind that it had been sitting there for 2.2 days.
It may also have been prompted by the pizza we had for dinner. The pizza I ordered since the chicken never made it to the crockpot.
Before you get the impression that Larry has 1950’s-like expectations of a wife’s responsibilities, let me preface this.
In my workaholic days (like ages ago, but really only since February), Larry was the CEO, manager, and everyday-laborer of the Dalke household. When food was prepared in our kitchen, it was his doing at least 82% of the time; he kept up with Luke’s homework; and he did most of the laundry.
(The gift of a husband like this isn’t lost on me.)
I was perfectly content with this arrangement. Because I had no boundaries at all: I worked from the moment my eyelids lifted at 5:02 a.m. until I closed my laptop around midnight. Any family stuff (like dinner, baseball games, or laundry) happened if I could manage to be available. Granted, “available” didn’t always constitute mental presence. Meaning, I might actually be at the 1st grade Christmas party, but I was more likely to be spotted answering email than serving the second round of grapes and goldfish.
Sadly, that isn’t a loaded exaggeration. However, don’t get sucked into my mom-guilt here, because I’ve been given a perfect opportunity for sweet redemption. It’s like God carved out this wide open space, where I can breathe for the first time in years. So we’ve been turning this ship around little by little.
Unfortunately, sometimes I still think I’m the captain of that ship. And when I start to man the engine room, I tend to crank the motor up to 175-plus knots. (Look at me, all talking like I know something about nautical stuff. I don’t. I’m just making up a number that seems really fast.)
All this to say, when Larry walked in the door from work last Tuesday evening, he wasn’t exasperated because I failed to greet him at the door with his slippers and newspaper.
He was irritated because the “Amy-staying-at-home” thing was supposed to create a more healthy balance for all of us. The idea was that I would take on the domestic responsibilities which historically fell on Larry’s lap, and we would live a more sane lifestyle.
Prior to last Tuesday, several red flags of work addiction had been waving in my face for a week or so. And when my red flags converged with Larry’s compounding resentment (which had just angrily encountered a basket of unfolded t-shirts), well…it was sort of like the perfect storm and spontaneous combustion rolled into one.
Which is always a delightful way to round out an evening, isn’t it?
After the initial explosion of words (mine) and sharp sighs and mad looks (his), we settled into a constructive conversation. (Mostly because Larry is much better at being the first to say “I’m sorry” than I am. I’m working on that.)
He aired out his exasperation with The Chronic Laptop, especially when it stays lit well into Jimmy Kimmel.
And I told him that he can’t expect me to be a Domestic Diva, AND run a substantially profitable blog. (At which we both laughed hard, since the expenses for this endeavor are beating the income column by like 3,000% or something.)
And so we made up, and I promised to have his slippers at the door every evening when he brings home the bacon. It was all very Leave it to Beaver. (Except that it totally isn’t.)
Today, one week later, I did have taco soup on the stove when Larry got home. I even managed two loads of laundry, and finished the bulk of my writing before 7:00pm. And now we’re getting ready to watch Blacklist, which is my second favorite show, behind Scandal, and just ahead of Nashville. (Since that is totally relevant to this story.)
I guess we’ll file this post away in some marital conflict resolution file.
(That, or in the Jesus file. Because honestly. This housewife thing is a miracle.)
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