“You’re fired!” Those were not the words of an employer. In business, people usually have the good sense to cushion such announcements in euphemisms in the hopes that the employee doesn’t go postal. No, those words were uttered by my fearless husband.
He was not, thank goodness, firing me as his wife. He was terminating my services as his laundress. After months of wearing pink socks and having clothes come out of the wash “dirtier than when they went in” he had decided to do his own laundry. At least his own visible work-related laundry. You know, shirts, socks, and pants. I would still have the honor (yea me!) of washing his skanky underwear and stained, usually ancient, workout clothes.
Months later, I was also fired from mopping the kitchen floor. Evidently I was not making the floors shine to his liking. I thought wet-Swiffing was fine. Not in hubby’s book. Now, on Friday nights after work, he rolls up his sleeves and mops the kitchen.
I've also received a "Cease and Desist" or as it pertains to my dusting. Sir Spotless (one of the cleaner names I mutter underneath my breath when he criticizes my efforts at cleaning) said I “tickle” the dust. Woe is me! Once again, I’ve failed at something and he’s taken over.
Who’s the fool here?
I never intended to give him more work. I’m just not as, um, fastidious as he is. My sense of clean is a bit looser. I may be a home-maker, but I am not a house cleaner. I do, however, pick up around the house; if I didn’t, we’d be up to our tushies in dirt and clutter.
And, no, it’s not fair that the man valiantly works 50+ hours per week and then does much of the housekeeping, but remember: in his opinion, I wasn’t doing it up to his standards. He voluntarily took on the work; I did not ask him to.
I keep my living room quite clean and the bathrooms are tidy. I pester the kids to keep their rooms orderly (the 8-year old is on board; the 13-year old is, predictably, not). The kitchen is a constant struggle for me as is the den because those rooms are used more than any others. The playroom is supposed to be messy, right? I mean, it’s the kids’ domain. And yeah, my bedroom could use some help, but I am certainly NOT the embodiment of Charles Schultz’s Pig Pen.
Nor is my husband Felix Unger. The top of his bureau is cluttered and the front seat of his car is downright sloppy. To his credit, in light of our kids, he has relaxed his standards a bit.
But, alack and alas, there are still things I don’t do well (sniffle, sniffle). Of course when one of the kids vomits, I’m the one he calls. He’ll admit I’m a pro at getting rid of vomit stains (Well, what the hell am I supposed to do? Leave the vomit on the frickin’ wall?!). And when there’s a bug to kill and clean up, I’m your woman.
I just don’t do laundry, mop, or dust well. I could blame it on menopausal fatigue, but the truth is, I've always been this way. So my husband has chosen to take over, to do what I, apparently cannot. Hmmmmm……sometimes, it’s good to be fired.
Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Jersey Moms Blog on 7/17/10.