Warning: This post may “meander” a bit. This topic riles me up.
I am a busy person. I have a full-time job, a husband, and two daughters at home. We also have two dogs who take some of my time. Additionally, I suffer from periodic bouts of Major Depressive Disorder, I’m a Type 2 diabetic, and I have fibromyalgia. Between being busy and dealing with my health problems, I’m often exhausted.
David and the girls tell me that I do too much and that I should take care of myself. Oh, if it were only that simple!
It is quite rare that I ask for help, both personally and professionally. It’s not that I think I’m the only one capable of doing things. It’s more a matter of it being easier (and quicker) to do things myself. In my personal life, it’s also because when I do ask for help with something, I get the distinct feeling that I’m bothering the person by having the audacity to ask them to handle a chore/task.
One of the bad things about this, beyond being the person doing “everything” while everyone else sits around, is that I eventually grow resentful of being the only busy person in my house. This happens once every couple of months, and it manifests itself in my being overly critical about things that have nothing to do with why I’m upset.
For example, instead of telling Elizabeth (teenage daughter) that I am upset about her leaving a sink full of dirty dishes (recurring conversation), I nitpick her about the way she holds her fork or if she’s breathing too loudly at the dinner table (not really, but you get the idea). Instead of telling David that I need him to help to keep our bedroom clean, I snap at him for playing a video game.
I know that David and my oldest daughter both have jobs (neither is full-time; David works 72 hours every 2 weeks and my daughter’s job is approximately 20 to 25 hours a week). I know that Elizabeth attends high school through distance learning, but she’s done by 2:00 p.m. each day and (evidenced by her grades and teacher emails) does no homework once school is done for the day.
However, unlike everyone else in my household whose job/school lasts anywhere from 3 to 8 hours a day, 3 to 5 days a week, I have two full-time jobs. I have the “day” job that provides my paycheck (upon which my entire household depends), Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. I also have my “night/weekend” job of being the cook/maid/laundress/taxi service/etc. This job is Sunday through Saturday, 5 to 12 hours a day. When you couple this with my health issues, you can see why I’m routinely exhausted.
Over the years, I’ve tried multiple ways to get the people in my household to contribute without me having to give out constant reminders (I don’t like being a nag). I have periodic family meetings to remind everyone that they need to contribute. I send occasional text messages to my daughters, specifying what I expect them to have done by the time I come home from work. I’ve left hand-written notes on the bathroom mirror. I’ve tried tying something they want to something I expect them to do. These efforts do not always work, and even when they do, the response I receive is often rude.
I don’t expect people to do cartwheels and backflips when I ask them to do something. However, I do expect that they do what I ask without sarcastic comments, complaints, yelling at me, etc. I realize that doing the dishes isn’t fun. I know that my husband doesn’t WANT to perform a household maintenance item on his day off. I get this. But – do my kids and husband think that I love doing things for everyone when it’s MY day off? How would they feel if I was rude to them when they asked me to do something for them?
Over the last couple of months, I’ve asked each family member to take care of a chore/task. Each time, I’ve been met with sarcasm, rudeness, and attitude:
I noticed that one of the tires on my car was flat when I was getting ready to go to work. I asked my husband if he could fill it for me. This didn’t require him to leave the house; we have a machine that hooks up to the outlet in my car. I would have done it myself, but I didn’t know how to hook up the machine. Given all that I do for everyone (including HIM), I didn’t think it would be a big deal for him to help (beyond the fact that the last time he used the machine, it took less than 10 minutes). WRONG! He gave this huge, heavy sigh, and mumbled under his breath about how tired he was.
I asked my older daughter to load the dishwasher. Instead of doing what I asked, she told me that the dirty dishes weren’t hers. Does she remember that she lives in my home rent-free and that I also pay for her cell phone? She did them, but I was subjected to her attitude.
Elizabeth goes through dishes and cups as if we have a cleaning fairy. Her motto should be, “Never dirty one dish when you can dirty a dish, bowl, and two cups.” I try to NOT ask her to do anything because she gives the most attitude of all when I ask her to do a chore (yes, this is bad parenting, but that’s for another blog post). However, she is getting ready to return to in-person school and wants me to buy her new clothes. I figured that the least she could do to “earn” a new wardrobe is to load her own dishes into the dishwasher. Apparently, I was out of line! I asked her to load HER dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and she yelled at me. She said that she was “sick” of being the only one to load dishes and that she did it three days in a row the previous week (before that, it had been at least two weeks since she loaded a single dish into the dishwasher). She conveniently forgot that she asked to earn money for a trip she was going on with her best friend’s family and that she received $40 for doing three loads of dishes. I wish I got paid to do my own dishes!
With the rudeness, sarcasm, and attitude I receive when I ask for help, I tend to do everything myself. And they wonder why I’m always so tired and grumpy! It’s easier for me to do things myself and simmer in my own resentment than it is to be yelled at for having the audacity to ask for help.