Thursday, July 30, 2015

Confessions of an Unconventional Wife

I'll be honest, this probably isn't going to go over very well.  You've been reading my blog for a while now, enjoying our time together and then I turn around and pull the rug out from under you.  Now everything I've ever said is going to questioned, second-guessed and analyzed.  I feel horrible.  I formally and humbly apologize for misleading you this entire time but I have a confession to make,  I'm a completely unconventional wife.

You know when you have those conversations with your friends about how annoying it is that your husband leaves his socks all over the bedroom floor?  Or how he simply can't take the extra ounce of effort to move the dirty fork from the counter to the dishwasher?  Or how about when he needs reminding every single week when it is trash day, though it has been Tuesday and Friday for all of eternity?  Sound familiar?  I know, I can completely your husband.

Growing up with parents that didn't put very much emphasis on cleaning or keeping the house tidy typically makes for a sloppy child.  No one made their beds, there was no dusting.  Our sink was always full of dishes.  Our house was only as clean as it needed to be to get by. When I first started dating my husband, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. I told him about the idea for this post, he said, "Make sure you mention the apartment you had in Manhattan with your sister." I didn't know what he was talking about so I inquired further.  I was informed that when my husband visited my apartment for the first time, he was reminded of the episode of Friends when Ross goes on a date with a really hot girl and later discovers that her apartment is undate-ably, disgustingly, filthy.  In my defense, 1) we are talking about two sister that were raised by the same cleaning minimalist hippies and 2) we shared a one bedroom apartment in the West Village and 3) my room was in the kitchen. Insert joke about the convenience of late night snacking. 

I know what everyone is thinking right now.  "You blog about organizing.  What changed?  How did you go from a life long slob to lover of all things structured?"  Well, this isn't just story of a messy girl without a clue.  We must remember that every "husband" needs a "wife" and my husband is totally "the wife".  I'm sure he is going to love me for saying that but it hard to argue with the facts.  My husband-wife is as Type A as you can get.  He also grew up in a family where, due to his MS diagnoses, his dad stayed at home and his mom went to work.  He watched his dad do a lot of the cooking and cleaning and his mom bring home the bacon.  

Which is why, I believe, most weekends you will find my husband-wife dusting the house, cleaning the bathroom, replacing the air fresheners and doing yard work. He also used to cook all our meals until our work schedules changed, I was home hours before him and was forced to learn how to cook.  My dear husband-wife took me under his wing and showed me the way.  At first I wouldn't contribute much to our household, because as most of the husbands out there know, any time I tried to do something around the house, I "didn't do it right" or I didn't do it quick enough and eventually he would just end up doing it for me.   

I am proud to report that, thanks mostly to my husband, I now know how to make the bed, clean up after a meal, pick up my clothes and pay attention to things like trash days.  If it wasn't for him I probably would never have figured out a way to channel all my love for structure into something beyond coloring squares on graph paper.  That being said, we will always have slightly skewed roles from the norm in our household.  For example, we will always do our own laundry because he is admittedly afraid I'll ruin his clothes.  He will always do the dusting because the messy child in me still doesn't see and/or isn't bothered by dust.  I organize, he cleans.

Even though I've often felt like a slacker compared to my energizer bunny of a husband, I love the standards we are setting for our daughters.  My husband is one of the most engaged and helpful spouses and dads I know.  And I like to think that because of this, our daughter's expectations of the partners they seek out later in life will be effected.  They will look for someone to support them and share life's workload, instead of falling into the stereotypical roles of the "caregiver wife" and the "financially providing husband".  Not that there is anything wrong with having these roles, it just shouldn't be the role you are forced into based on your gender.  And I'll tell you what, this unconventional wife could not be happier that she found her fantastically unconventional husband.

I'm sure I'm not the only wife-husband out there.  Have the traditional roles in your family been tossed on their head?  I'd love to hear your story. 

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