Things in the Smith household have been running smoothly for quite some time now and I couldn’t be happier. And in the interest of science I felt I needed to pass along my findings from the ‘household experiment’ I was conducting. I have found the best tool at getting the appreciation and recognition needed to prevent any feelings of neglect or resentment. It all stems from enjoying some ‘female bonding’…
I was talking with a friend who was griping that all she wanted was a ‘thank you’ from her husband for taking on the responsibility of being the breadwinner of the family, she felt that he didn’t really appreciate the amount of stress that added to her load. Hearing her talk about how unappreciated she felt made me really take stock of my situation and do some serious damage control. Yes all I really wanted was for Tarzan to really realize what all I did for him and our family on a daily basis, but how could I expect him to take that step when I was unwilling to do the same.
What is it that makes saying ‘thank you’ so hard? All this time I was getting some sort of sick pleasure in knowing that I could do all the chores around the house, cook all the meals, get Cheetah ready for the next day, take care of the animals, and have some down time for myself. Why? To prove I don’t ‘need him’, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Wasn’t that the whole reason why I married him?? Not because I needed someone to help me live my life but because I WANTED him there, in my life, so why wasn’t I letting him be present in our life we had built together? Was the way he folded clothes, spiced supper, walked the dog, or cleaned the house really that important? No. What was/is important is that he DOES fold the laundry, cook supper, clean the house, and love Cheetah and I wholeheartedly.
That night I sat down beside Tarzan on the couch and held his hand, I looked into his eyes and smiled. I went on to tell him how much I valued the stress and worry that went along with being the breadwinner and how I knew I would never be able to understand what it’s like being in his shoes every day but that I appreciated him getting up every morning and going to work…for us and for our life. I wanted him to know how much it really means to know that someone is that invested in Cheetah and I, and that he makes his choice every day to work so that we can buy food, clothes, books, cds, and go on trips. He then went on to say how easy it was when I was there to make sure food was on the table, clothes were clean, the house was clean, and that he could count on me to help with Cheetah.
I really went about this whole ‘experiment’ in the wrong way. I didn’t need to find ways to trick him into doing chores or make a point (at his expense) so that he learns to do things on his own…I need to say ‘thank you’. What a difference two little words can make.