Over the weekend, I came to an extremely upsetting realization.
I am, quite possibly, the worst wife in all of Minnesota.
Allow me to explain.
Scott and I have never followed the traditional gender roles in terms of keeping a household. I’m tasked with more of the “business” duties — managing the finances, booking travel, paying bills, completing paperwork and tracking our investments. In contrast, my husband takes care of all the cooking and cleaning. I’ve long since decided not to feel bad about the food thing for two reasons:
1. Scott loves to cook. His idea of a fun time is making pasta from scratch and whipping up a home-made vinaigrette dressing to adorn his organic broccoli stem slaw. He even dreams of opening his own Neopolitan-style pizza restaurant one day.
2. I’m actually a pretty good cook — but Scott turns his nose up at everything I make. When I informed him I would be preparing my made from scratch biscuits and gravy for company one weekend, he demanded I drive to the meat locker and pick up various animal parts so I could grind my own sausage. Ummm…do I look like a girl who knows how to grind sausage??
(The answer is no.)
As far as the cleaning goes, it’s not that I don’t do any cleaning at all…it’s just that I’m more of a surface cleaner. You know…making the bed, arranging throw pillows, decluttering the entry table and making sure all the dirty underwear is safely inside the hampers before company arrives.
Or, as Scott likes to say, I “hide all of the crap in a closet somewhere and light a scented candle.”
(His description may be slightly more accurate than I’d care to admit.)
Scott, on the other hand, is a deep cleaner and intense organizer. He’ll spend hours scouring the bathtub, polishing the kitchen floors and vacuuming with more intensity than a starving anteater. And my husband never just “shoves crap into a closet”…he alphabetizes it, assigns it a color code and slaps a meticulously penned label on it. (That’s the part where I come in. While he might be able to create an efficient storage system for twelve different types of hair ties, his handwriting looks like it came from a drunken chicken with a benign palsy.)
So just to recap, Scott handles the cooking and cleaning, in addition to all the more manly jobs like yard work, vehicle maintenance and anything involving a hand tool.
I log-in to the banking website to pay our mortgage, lend my beautiful handwriting to a few labels, and light candles ’til I’m blue in the face.
Clearly, Scott’s getting the short end of the stick in this scenario.
And so, when he demanded I dust the entire house, clean all of the bathrooms, and organize my surprisingly large fitness DVD collection over the weekend, I could hardly say “no”.
Also…I had spent the last twelve hours watching back-to-back episodes of Sons of Anarchy…the time had come to to lug my fat behind out of bed, shake the popcorn debris from my sweaty sports bra, and prove I was actually a contributing member of society.
Also? It was an excuse to wear a fun, vintage-housewife inspired bandana.
What? When SAMCRO is in the middle of a battle with the drug cartel and Clay Morrow is shooting everyone in sight, there’s simply no time for washing hair!
Meanwhile, Scott tackled some man’s work — aka, cooking meth in the garage.
Alright, fine. He was just installing insulation before it gets any colder in ‘Sota. But does he not look strikingly similar to Jesse Pinkman in this photo? I can practically hear him uttering “b****” in a raspy, deadbeat voice each time I look at this.
But back to the great indoors. After spending nearly two hours dusting every last surface of our home and organizing my fitness tubing by length, thickness and color, I found myself knee-deep in cleaning our downstairs bathroom.
For the first time in…well…let’s just say a long time.
As I scrubbed the toilet with all my strength, my signature “I’m cleaning now” candle flickering softly in the background, I was overcome with a deep, deep sense of shame. The bowl of our commode was condemnable. How had I let it get this bad? Why did I continue to choose Netflix over my household duties? And why didn’t Scott ever complain about it?
I took a deep breath, and resolved to do better. The wife who merely makes beds, arranges throw pillows and hides dirty underwear was about to get serious. I was going to pitch in more. Make friends with Lysol and Pledge. Reclaim some of the wifely duties I had so selfishly piled on to Scott’s ever-growing to-do list.
I’m proud to say that I sanitized those toilets to the point of spotlessness. I spent and additional three hours completing various other “assignments” and finished it all off with a fresh-baked batch of oatmeal raisin cookies.
And I didn’t even burn them.
(Or eat them all in secret while Scott worked in the garage.)
My change in attitude is less about gender stereotypes and more about pulling my own weight around here. Scott works tirelessly to keep our home in order, and it’s time I started keeping up my end of the bargain.
But here’s the thing: I’m not sure I’m ready to commit a full eight hours of housework each weekend. While yesterday’s deep cleaning session was much-needed, I’d much rather spend the majority of my Sunday going to brunch and pretending I understand the game of football.
Enter, “The Cleaning Schedule of Wifely-ness“!
Essentially, I’m trying to break up chores throughout the week. It will keep the house clean enough to avoid embarrassing situations like this, while also freeing up my schedule for more pressing matters such as learning music video dance routines off YouTube and teaching Penny to bark with a southern accent. Priorities, people. Priorities.
Here’s my first draft of the new plan. (And yes, there will be color coded vintage housewife bandanas for every day of the week.)
The Cleaning Schedule of Wifely-ness
- Make beds
- Laundry (as needed)
- 10 minute clutter clean up
- Sort mail
Vacuum and sweep house
- Scrub kitchen sink
- Wipe down kitchen cabinets and appliances
- Clean windows/mirrors
- Organize desk
- Clean bathrooms (Scott doesn’t work Fridays–so yes, bathrooms on Fridays was absolutely strategic.)
- Reorganize closet
- Whatever Scott tells me to do
- Wash bedding
- Bake treats without burning them and/or eating them all in secret
- Whatever Scott tells me to do
Seems doable, right? I’m going to give it a run for the next few weeks and see how it goes. I’m also not filling Scott in on the new regimen — hopefully he’ll notice all on his own that I’m making an effort to no longer be the worst wife in all of Minnesota. Maybe he’ll even buy me presents or something!
Do you guys use a cleaning schedule to keep the house continuously tidy? Wear cute bandanas in an attempt to trick yourself into enjoying the mopping process? Any tips to help a sister out? Something tells me I probably forgot to include some fairly important chores on my calendar.