Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Household chores

So I've probably mentioned this before, but I do a majority of the chores in our household. Mr. Dawkter leaves in the very early hours of the morning and usually doesn't get home until after 6:00 (at the earliest), and since I am really only working part time, it just makes sense. I selfishly want to spend time with Mr. D when he is home, rather than having him work on chores and whatnot. I also must admit that I prefer to all the financial stuff, simply because I don't know if I could trust my husband to take care of it. And as for the cooking, cleaning, and everything else, I kind of enjoy it because I have the time.

Of course if I was working full time, things would be very different. Mr. D and I would be sharing chores a little more equally. It's kind of fine line because I don't want my husband to think he gets a free pass because he is a resident, but at the same time, for right now I don't mind doing the chores and would prefer to do them so that I can spend time with him when he is home. That is, as long as he remains appreciative. As of right now, he asks what he can help with as soon as he comes home from work, and what he can do when he has a day off. I make sure to let him know that there will be times in the future when he will be sharing more of the household chores, because it will happen, either if I go to work full time, or when we have children.

I never want Mr. D to think that because he has a "hard job" he doesn't have to do his share of the chores. After all, single residents manage to somehow do their laundry, grocery shop and get their bills paid. I'm a wife, not a maid/chef/personal assistant.

One evening about a month into residency, Mr. Dawkter came home from a long day of work and and asked me if I had watered the grass. He had asked me the night before to water the grass because the weather had been particularly warm and the grass was getting dry. The conversation went something like this:

Mr.D: Did you water the grass?
Me: No, I didn't get to it today.
Mr. D: But I asked you to water the grass (spoken in a scolding tone).
Me: Excuuuuuuuuuse me? I do the grocery shopping. I cook. I clean. I do the dishes. I do the laundry. I pay the bills. I do everything, around here, and I didn't get to watering the grass today. Do you think I sit around and eat bon bons all day? It's the freaking grass, I'll get to it tomorrow.
Mr. D: (pause)
Me: Who do you think you are? This is not the hospital, and I am not your nurse.
Mr. D: You're right... I'm sorry. I guess I am just used to asking for things to get done, and at work I get really frustrated when they don't get done.
Me: Well this is NOT the hospital, and I am not your freaking nurse.... and I certainly hope you don't talk to the nurses like that anyway, because I sure as hell wouldn't do what you asked if you spoke to me like that.

I never expected anything like that to come out of my sweet husband's mouth. Which is why I am watching him closely to make sure he doesn't develop a superiority complex as a result of residency. Luckily, Mr. D learned a few things from that experience. One of which is that you don't talk to people like that in order to get things done. He has also become a lot more gracious about all the work I do around the house. So far we haven't had any repeat occurrences, (and we laugh about it now). But then again, he knows that he'll be eating canned food and doing his own laundry if he ever makes a comment like that again!


  1. It's funny how residency can change them... they get this rough around the edges thing going on and it isn't pretty :(
    Glad you set him straight!! You deserve all the praise in the world for the crazy road you two have set out on!

  2. Hilarious post!!! I do most of the stuff around here too -- especially with Jake gone on away rotations this 4th year. I remind him on the phone how much I am "taking care for him on the home front while he's having adventures around." :-) He does pause and thank me after he realizes how much we spouses do for the home.

    P.S. That conversation was true to form...thanks for the honesty!!!

  3. My husband's only in his 2nd year or med school so he definitely has a lot more time than yours, but I can understand how you feel. My hubby is going to med school for US and OUR family. That's HIS job and he works really hard. To me, MY job is taking care of us on the other end. Main priority being carrying our baby for another couple of weeks.

    Sometimes I deliberately don't put the dishes away because I don't want him to think I'll just automatically do everything. (Of course all of this was before the end of my pregnancy... now, I physically CANNOT do most household chores because I feel so run down and uncomfortable.) I'm thankful my husband has time now to help out tremendously.

    I just can't imagine how it's going to be when the baby is born. I, like you, want to get chores done so I can spend time with my hubby when he gets home. But with a baby, there's not going to be time for everything. I don't want him to do chores when he gets home--I want him to spend time with his daughter (and me!), but at the same time, I can't do it all, all the time.

    But back to you, I guess it's kind of good you and your husband had that conversation because now he can appreciate you more, and understand both of your expectations.

  4. You are amazing. I have to admit I'm not very good about doing the chores around the house alone. I don't like to make excuses but I tend to get home from work after Russ does. So by the time I get home, take care of the dog, make dinner and clean up there is no part of me that feels like doing any cleaning at all.
    I know it would be easier to do some chores every night (my mother tells me this weekly), I'm just settling for doing it on Saturday/Sunday mornings for now.
    Glad your hubby realized how he spoke with you was NOT ok! I'm proud of you for standing up for yourself and helping him realize there are ways to speak to someone and get things done without being demanding!

  5. He is only in MS2 and I work full-time...but I already am expected to do almost everything. I thought that was how I wanted it...but I forgot that I don't want it that way until I don't spend 40 hours a week working and 5 commuting. As soon as I stopped feeling guilty for making him clean up after himself, he started doing it willingly. Basically...I created the monster (a monster that was very good at taking care of himself before I came around) I bet he got unknowingly comfortable with you doing everything...good for you for putting him right back in his place!! I'm taking notes.

  6. So good of you to be able to say that to him! You're right that single residents also have to get those things done. I'll have to use that line with my husband law student. We're all in it together!

  7. You are my hero for this! I feel the exact same way, and I have to admit - I've had my fair share of grouchiness at the burden residency places on me to do so much. Blech.

    I love when you said, "I'm a wife, not a maid/chef/personal assistant."

    And not a nurse, either. A marriage is a partnership, not a boss/employee situation!

    Anyway, go you!

  8. I agree with Keely. I created a monster by not expecting him to have ANY responsibilities during MSI. Now MSIII schedule is so much easier and he still uses the "I have to study" excuse. But I am learning how to negotiate and get what I want without whining... Ugh.

    Anyway, hilarious post. :)

  9. Ha! I love this. Especially the fact that you don't take crap from him. It's easy, in marriage, to fall into roles. It got to the point during our first year of marriage where I was doing literally everything, while I was in law school! Hello, I needed to study. But, I was the wife. So, despite the fact that he was perfectly capable of doing laundry and feeding himself and doing his own dishes, all of a sudden, I was doing it all. I just stopped. I studied when I needed to and told him to fold his own damn underpants. It got the point across (albeit in a really primative way, ha!) and we both pull our share now.

    This is a great post :)


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