Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When a reality show becomes my reality

Even though I enjoy watching reality shows like How Clean Is Your House? and Trading Spouses, I know that these reality shows are NOT reality. They are just shows for entertainment. ALL TV shows are meant for entertainment, and not to document actual reality. I am well aware that the people participating in these shows are coached by the producers to say things and act a certain way. (C'mon, people. Reality is not REALLY all that interesting enough for TV!) I still like to watch them, because, with shows like Nanny 911, there is still some takeaway value to be had. There is still some THING about these shows that make me think or get me motivated.

That said, I need to back up a little bit. Last night, while my hubby and I were chatting, he noted how I was not being very communicative and not responding to a text he sent and asked me what was wrong. If I was mad at him and if something was bothering me.

At first, I just shrugged it all off, like I normally do. I said I was just grouchy from the heat (which is true!!) and also busy with housework. But then, I just let it all out. I decided to just speak my mind and tell him what has been nagging at me lately: The fact that he spends all day watching TV or playing computer games while I'm doing the housework. How he promises to help out with the housework before he leaves for work or after he gets home, but he never does. How I felt unappreciated by him because he complains about the housework or how it was never "good enough." And how I felt like the MAID....and I didn't like that feeling.

I told him this is why I hardly do anything on the weekends when he's home all day. I pretty much relegate everything to HIM on weekends, but even then, he does nothing. No dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting. He will bathe the children and put them to bed (he doesn't get to do that M-F because he works at night), but not much else. Then on Monday, when it's my "shift" again, I have a whole crapload of mess to clean up from the weekend.

I also wanted to tell him that I don't even feel like his wife anymore, because of things going on between us, but decided to save THAT argument for another time.

He told me he refuses to do any work in this heat (yet I have to???) and that he is just tired.

Well, despite his excuses, I was glad to get that off my chest. I wanted to tell him that for some time but just never said anything. I AM sick and tired of being the maid in this family. And being taken for granted. That probably adds to my grouchiness these days.

Well, today, I was watching Wife Swap. Hubby decided he wanted to watch TV, too, then whined about why I was watching this show. I gave him "the look" and told him, "I want to watch this show." (I normally only get to watch ONE TV program a day!) Then he just sat there and watched it, too.

And something weird happened. On the show, one of the wives in the swap was named Dawn...and she is in the same boat I am in! (Or was, actually.) Doing all the housework while her husband didn't lift a finger. Granted, her husband worked a full-time job, but he could still at least clear the dinner table or do the dishes after dinner. The thing blocking him from helping?? The tired idea that the housework is "women's work." Even the wife was saying it's the woman's job to do the housework while the man works outside of the home.

My opinion? Bullcrap!

I am TIRED of these couples with these REALLY outdated ideas that a woman's place is in the home. Marriage is a PARTNERSHIP and it's not the man doing this or the woman doing that. EVERYONE in the family should help out. EVERYONE participates. It's not "you do this and I do that." EVERYBODY DOES EVERYTHING! If somebody sees trash on the floor, pick it up! If there's a dirty cup on the counter, put it in the sink! Don't wait around for a "woman" to do it.

That's opinion, anyway.

And I was sitting there, stewing over that. I was also stewing over how this poor woman had to work TWO full-time jobs (one as a mom and one as a medical transcriptionist) and STILL be expected to do all of the housework AND survive on 4 hours of sleep each night???!

That picture was ALL wrong and I thought the wife was nuts to put ALL of that weight on herself. I think that sometimes, women are just too hard on themselves.

First of all, if she's a full-time mom, she should NOT be expected to also work a full-time job. That is just craziness. Even though she works from home, it's chaotic trying to balance the two. You're either a stay-at-home mom with traditional ideas or a work-at-home mom with MODERN ideas that include a bit of help and childcare! (Oh, but it's a double-edged sword. If you are JUST a stay-at-home mom who does not work at all and relies on the husband to support the family, then society decides to call that wife "lazy" and a "moocher." Gotta love all of those negative stereotypes traditionalists like to pile onto women.)

Anyway, while I was sitting on the couch, stewing over ALL of that, I noticed that huibby was not so disinterested in the show anymore. In fact, he seemed to be paying a bit of attention to how that life mirrored our life (though I do not work a full-time job). It was strange how Dawn said she felt like a maid...and how I said those same words just last night. And how she said she didn't feel appreciated as a wife. And how I said that I didn't feel appreciated, either. (I kinda left out that whole "wife" part.)

Needless to say, during the show, he got up to help me get lunch on the table. I was surprised by this sudden interest in helping me in the kitchen, but glad for it. I can only hope that show left a lasting impression on him. That he will SEE just where I'm coming from, and how I really feel about the way that things are.

And wouldn't you know it, today even my daughter decided to help out around the house, too. She ACTUALLY vacuumed! Hey, maybe these reality shows aren't all that bad after all.


Nancy said...

I guess watching that show had a good effect on him! Yay! I know the exact one you are talking about too, I've seen that one several times. It just amazed me that she could do that job for 8 hours and still run the whole house.
I dont know, my hubby does not help out much during the week and on the weekends I have to ask him to do things. Actually he doesnt mind housework, but I couldnt ever see him dusting on the weekends, he will vacuum something if I ask him or do dishes and he likes to cook meals on weekends so I figure thats a break for me. Honestly I cant see a person going to work every day and then coming home to housework. All I really expect is some obvious things, pick up after yourself, help put away laundry sometimes, straighten up the room you are in, that kind of stuff.
I dont do alot of housework on the weekends anyway, because something just BUGS me about me running around cleaning and him...laying there for hours on end. I dont like that. So housework on weekends is minimal for sure. He will pick up the slack if he runs out of clothes....then he will do laundry. LOL
And he is always willing to stop at the store on the way home and pick up stuff I need. I think thats a big help because I hate shopping its such a waste of time!!! ha ha
as men age they become more helpful I have found. I think its the reduction in testosterone.

Dawn Colclasure said...

Let's hope so, Nancy. :) And I think there was some kind of lasting effect. Today, he picked up the living room! Woot! And Jennifer....vacuumed, dusted and swept the floors. I started to wonder if I was in the wrong house! LOL I was just really amazed and it blew me away.

Even Jesse picks up his toys.

Now I'm glad I blogged about this. :)

Yes, that woman was doing WAY too much. It's just crazy. Motherhood is a fulltime job, and to also expect her to work ANOTHER fulltime job is just outrageous.

I am glad your hubby will help out in some ways. That's funny about the laundry! LOL My hubby is the same way, although he's given me a dirty look if he didn't have clean jeans to wear or clean socks. Sigh.

I think it's a matter of meeting each other halfway. And it seems like the two of you are doing that. :)

April said...

Very interesting. I have a situation where I write from home and I don't actually mind doing the laundry, dishes, taking care of the place, BUT I do mind when I'm expected to pick up after a 30 year old man. I don't care if you work 2 full-time jobs, you can take your own mug from the living room to the kitchen! My guy works a full-time job and comes home thinking he's a king. So this week on Monday when he did not take his mug to the kitchen, I left it. Tuesday, last night he had two mugs taking up space and only b/c they were in his way did he put them on the counter. He didn't even bother to remove the teabags from them. I'm considering just leaving them on the counter too. I might take care of the house, but I'm not his personal pick up service.
I don't even have kids yet and I feel like a mother. And when I have kids, I don't want his habits to be picked up by them "Oh, just leave it, April will get it."
I definitely don't get help on the weekends. The only thing he'll do is launder his work clothes.
He definitely likes to nit-pick about things though (the counter is crowded etc.)
I've seen men do dishes, without even being asked. Mine will only do it when he's super pissed at me. I refuse to do dishes 5 times a day, so they often pile up. If he doesn't like it, he can do them. His hands don't fall off when he walks in the door, I've checked ;)

Rant over, thank you :D

Dawn Colclasure said...

Hey, April. Don't sweat it. We ALL need to rant once in a while. That's what blogs are for! :)

I'm glad you put your foot down about that. Men act like they are SO CLUELESS about cleaning but they CAN learn how to clean. It's not that hard. They also seem to think that cleaning is a "woman's job." NOT TRUE!

And I have learned to be firm about getting some help around the house. Ever since I spoke up about it, I have gotten some help. I am NOT the only person who lives here and so it shouldn't be this way.

Like you, I REFUSE to do the dishes multiple times a day. That's ridiculous! And you're smart to be aware of how children would pick up on this kind of thing. Children learn by example, but they don't need this kind of example. They need to see TEAMWORK and not SLAVERY.