I went for a run one Saturday morning, hoping to have a mind-clearing experience. Instead I was making a mental list of all the things I needed to do before we got out the door for our jam-packed Saturday, which included my daughter's basketball game, lunch with my sister and her family, then errands. I figured I should shower first, throw in a load of laundry, remind my daughter to bring her water bottle and change of clothes, make a list for the grocery store and vacuum. (We have two big, hairy dogs and vacuuming has to be done daily. It's the bane of my existence.)
So much for trying to reset myself, am I right?
Moms are experts at making mental lists when they are supposed to be relaxing. It's like a reflex.
When I walked through the door and saw my husband with the vacuum in his hand, (a rare sight) I went a little crazy. I gave him so much praise it was ridiculous. I could hear myself, and I didn't like the way it sounded. I decided it would be the last time I would thank him for doing housework because:
1. He doesn't ask or expect for praise.
When I would see him do something I had on my never-ending list of shit to do, I was overly thankful. He never asked me to thank him, nor did he feel like I needed to thank him. It was just my guilt that led me to say it, which is not what either of us want.
This is something I have done throughout our marriage, especially since our first child was born. I stayed home and he went off to work as usual. I felt I needed to do all the other things so he could relax after working hard all day. And if he did do the laundry or take out the garbage I would thank him. But that just meant I was the one working all the time so he could enjoy some down time. That didn't work for me then and especially doesn't work for me now.
I don't want my kids to grow up thinking when Daddy "does" Mommy's "job" he is a hero.
2. He doesn't thank me for doing housework.
And I don't expect him to, just as I don't thank him for being a stellar father. He doesn't need to be thanked for going to work anymore than I need to be thanked for dusting or being an amazing mother (which I am about 48 percent of the time). He is a hard worker and a dedicated parent and I notice and compliment him, but there is no thanks involved.
3. I don't like the tone it sets in our home.
When I thank my husband for running the vacuum or doing the dishes, it makes it seem like I am thanking him for doing my job, something only I am responsible for, and he has done me a huge favor. I don't want my kids to grow up thinking when Daddy "does" Mommy's "job" he is a hero. It should be a normal thing that is done without attention called to it.
4. I show my gratitude in other ways ...
... Like not losing my shit because I am overwhelmed with all the things that need to get done because it's not all on my plate, or being in a better mood because he noticed it needed to be done and just took control, or having the energy for more sex because not all the chores were left up to me. I think that is thanks enough.
I thank my husband for a lot of things. But seeing that something needs to be done in the house that we both live in and then doing it isn't one of them.