The days are getting longer and the sunlight seems brighter, illuminating the filmy mess on my windows and heralding the arrival of spring. Winter leaves a mess inside and outside a home; a mess most men ignore. I look out the window and see a garden that needs tending, broken branches to collect, and a garage jam packed with lawn furniture waiting to be pulled out and hosed off. My husband looks out that same window and sees the arrival of golf season.
How can men be so oblivious to housework? They seem to notice when it’s dirty but they rarely ask how it gets cleaned or who it gets cleaned by, clearly preferring not to know. Most recently my husband commented on how dusty the house felt; said he could feel it when he breathed, then he looked at me expectantly, so I replied, “then why don’t you dust it?” (my breathing’s ok) He dropped the subject.
Later on I suggested we have our air ducts cleaned and he agreed. It hadn’t been done in years and this was a good project for him (after all, he brought up the dusty subject)….I had to remind him, several times, this was to be HIS project. (bet he was sorry he mentioned it at all) Now to his credit, he did shop around, got some quotes and called a local duct company to book a cleaning and once it was done he noted how much better the air quality felt. The only thing I noticed was the mess left at every duct opening, (funny he didn’t notice that) the mess I had to clean.
Like most women, I have a cleaning routine, and standards. I like my kitchen and bathrooms fresh, if for no one else but me. Men don’t seem to be as concerned about the cleanliness of their homes (or maybe that’s just their ploy to ensure they don’t have to do it?) Dust can gather on furniture, floors could stick to their shoes and laundry can be done on a ‘need to wear basis only’, unless it’s their golfwear….that’s a priority.
My husband and I have found our compromise. I do ‘most’ (ALL) of the indoor work, and he tends to the yard, but only after 18 holes of golf (that’s his compromise) Last week I spent a day cleaning floors and windows, a major undertaking, and once you start you can’t stop till the job is done. My husband returned home after his round and had lunch while reviewing his golf scores. Then he had to catch up on news in the markets (it’s very important he remain informed) after which he rested on his chaise (it’s been a busy morning) Eventually the noise of the vacuum cleaner disturbed his slumber enough that he had to get up (there’s just no getting any peace around here) and he headed outside to mow the lawn. (Yay!)
Satisfied I’d finally gotten him to do something around the house I tackled the closets. After about 15 minutes I noticed the lawn mower had stopped, so curious I stepped to the window to look outside and there he was lying in the hammock with his hat over his eyes, the lawn mower sitting in the middle of the lawn, mid stripe. (I would later learn that the sun was too hot at that particular time and he felt it prudent to cease all physical activity lest he succumb to heat stroke) I give up.
Maybe men have the right idea. Maybe women are too anal about cleanliness. Men seem to find more time for relaxation than we do and they don’t stress the untidiness of their home. I love the feeling of cooking in my freshly cleaned kitchen, or showering in my disinfected bathroom, and that motivates me to want to clean. Even my showering routines are thorough; washing my hair twice, applying conditioner, and scrubbing every inch of my body to get that tingly clean feeling. My husband can shower, shave, and dry his hair in under 10 minutes (so how thorough can he be?) and he’s good with it.
I guess at the end of the day we have to take responsibility for the standards we set for ourselves and accept that the expectation of these standards will dictate our workload. I will continue to clean, celebrating the results, and rewarding myself with a luxuriously long hot shower afterwards, and my husband will always be content to exert himself minimally (unless it’s on a golf course) then hose himself down in the garage.
I guess it all comes down to standards.