I think there’s a common misperception that there exists such a thing as a “domestic goddess” who does it all herself, from icing 12 layer cakes for sick neighbours in a flash between cleaning the bathroom and bringing the kids to soccer practice, while cleaning out the garburator with her bare feet and pouring juice for her kids and a whiskey for her hard-working husband.
I have my doubts.
I think the secret is all in the delegation. Every household is different, but in every household the counterpart(s) to the domestic goddess should have their fair share of responsibilities too.
I have delegation pretty down pat, if I do say so myself. Of course, there’s always improvement to be made as I do still find myself doing the occasional dish…but soon my kids will be older and I will simply have to snap my fingers to get things done – right?
Delegation is all about deciding what you can (and will) do, and what can be better done by someone else. There are many things I can (and do) do, but there are certain areas where I am ok with admitting my weaknesses and am thankful to have Carl to lean on.
For example, patience. It takes a lot of patience to spend all day with kids, so I expend the majority of my patience there. Carl’s patience, then, can be used in many other areas: sewing buttons back on, measuring and cutting lengths of string for Vacation Bible School, editing references in my papers for school, and dealing with me.
The garbage is another task I have chosen to delegate. Growing up, taking out the garbage was “a man’s job”, and, despite being the only man in a house of 6 women, my dear Dad never bothered to point out to us that it could just as easily be a woman’s job.
His minority government had to be very wise when it came to choosing his battles.
In my married life, garbage has been a bit of a bigger challenge in the delegation department, I must confess.
In Ottawa, I claimed fear of cockroaches kept me out of the smelly room housing the garbage chute (shockingly, this fear was very much based in fact – ew.) In our current home, it’s a bit of a hike to the garbage can. So, the main excuse around here is that I can’t leave the kids, it being such a long walk away from them and it being hard to carry one and corral the other in a busy parking lot while loaded down with garbage that needs to be launched well above my head to make it into the bin.
This may sound like a weak excuse to you – Carl thought so too and decided to test me out. I frequently do my part by emptying the garbages, and depositing them immediately in front of the door outside to be noticed whenever he returns home from work or volleyball. Annoyed by this persistent pile of garbage welcoming him regularly, Carl decided to leave it undisposed and see if I would do it in the morning. Fortuitously, he happened to choose a night when the bag contained all manner of delicious smelling bones, and the animals were thrilled.
You can guess who wasn’t cleaning that up.
If you guessed that, you can probably also guess who stopped ignoring the garbage bags in front of the door.
We’ve yet to live in a house where we were responsible for taking garbage out on a scheduled day, so things might get a little shaky when we move again next month, but I have confidence I’ll get it straightened out with one jaunty trip to the curb in a scanty lingerie he didn’t want his parents (who’ll be living in the basement suite) to see.
My delegation skills are evident in so many areas, really. Consider bathtime – one carelessly dumped bucket of water over Gemma’s head and she never wanted me to do it again.
When it comes to barbecuing, I simply resort to childish, foot-stamping refusal, a successful tactic only when the task is something he actually wants to do anyway, so he can smile and shake his head indulgently.
There are so many other examples, from cleaning out vacuums to replacing batteries to scouring the bath tiles. What are the tasks you like to delegate? I could use some more ideas to keep my helpers busy…
Of course, I may be working on my BA in psychology and have him all figured out, but Carl has his Masters in psychology so I’m sure my ploys aren’t fooling him. Still, I appreciate that he goes along with it; I have been particularly blessed in the patient, giving husband department, and I think he knew before he married me that my being impossible was what he liked about me…he likes a challenge, and I would never want him to think I’m easy ;).