I’m in an ongoing battle with my husband right now. Except he doesn’t know it. I’m keeping score in my head, you see.
I cooked and did the dishes, plus I did the laundry so he should put it away.
I got up with the kids this morning so it’s his turn to entertain the bored four-year-old.
I did the meal planning and bought groceries and emptied the dishwasher. Then I spent three hours with a fussy baby this afternoon. He’s cooking tonight. And doing the dishes.
Does anyone else do this? It’s all in my head and totally counterproductive and I know it. I used to end up consumed by bitterness, so at least now I’m aware of it and how useless an exercise it is. But I still do it.
It’s like I have a mental scoreboard with two columns — Things He Did and Things I Did — and I’m constantly aware of which side has more points. Except here’s the thing: In my own head, it’s always mine that does. It’s like my brain is stuck thinking I do more on a day-to-day basis in the home-and family-department even though that’s not really the case. Sure, I feel like I’m carrying a heavy load (don’t we all?) and it’s very easy to become woe-is-me about it, especially with a new baby who’s still up two or three times a night to be fed. When the tiredness catches up with me and all I can think of is that I’ve been up several times a night for the last almost 120 nights and will be up in the night for who knows how many more, my brain defaults to I don’t get enough sleep so he has to do EVERYTHING ELSE. And not only is that not terribly productive, it’s not even practical.
I’m blessed to be married to a guy who totally pulls his own weight. More, sometimes. He’s totally hands-on with the kids and is generally the default parent for the aforementioned four-year-old. (This is partly because I’m the default parent for the new baby and partly because he’s WAY better with the four-year-old than I am. You know that saying about not being there the day they handed out patience? That’s me.) My husband is a better cook than I am and he can tidy a house like he has a mess-averse mother-in-law with her finger on the doorbell. (He doesn’t.) Plus, he’s totally handy and he does ALL the boy jobs.
So now what I do is catch myself tallying the score and make myself stop. I think about all the things he HAS done and check in with my tired-o-meter to see if maybe I need to start forcing myself to go to bed a little earlier. Because what’s the point of keeping score? Rationally, I know those columns are actually pretty equal. Sure, a lot of my responsibility happens to fall at 3 a.m., but that’s just for now. He’s the one who unclogs the drains.
In the end I actually don’t think this is a battle with my husband. I think it’s a battle with myself. And no matter what the scoreboard says, as long as I’m playing I’m definitely not winning.