Monday, January 27, 2014

Mom Is Tired Of Being Cinderella, Seeks Respect From Husband And Children

Dear Tazi:

My husband has the annoying habit of leaving dirty dishes all over the house. He also leaves his laundry on the floor (as opposed to throwing it in the laundry hamper three feet away), his shoes in the living room, and the toilet seat in the raised position. In short, he lives like a pig and expects me to clean up after him, like I have nothing else to do after I get home from work!

I would not mind this so much if our two sons were not starting to take after him, tripling the mess that I have to pick up and teaching the boys bad habits in the process. Whatever I say to them in reprimand is met with the response, "But Daddy does it!". I have asked my husband to try, and he says he will and things get better for a few days or even a few months...but then he will backslide and the mess returns.

I am worn out and I can't stand it! I never thought my life would amount to this! I never had to do housework growing up, and was always told that if I married well I would not have to start because I would be able to afford a maid. In college, I used to make fun of my feminist friends, calling them "shrews" but I look at them now and their husbands are equal partners in their marriages - something I wish I had. I swallowed my pride and asked one of my feminist friends for advice and she told me that it's not about feminism, it's about "respect" and that I need to demand some. I thought I was. How do I enforce the changes I want so see?

Cinderella In Reverse

Dear Cinderella In Reverse:

Your feminist friends are kinda sorta right - their success at home is not about feminism, it's about respect, which is what feminism at its core is all about - respecting a woman as you would a man. It seems that you are upset not about the dirty laundry on the floor and the toilet seat being left up, but by the disrespect behind these actions. Your husband and your sons refuse to make even the smallest effort on their part which in turn results in a large effort being made on your part, and it is not fair.

I suggest that you stop making the effort to make their lives perfect because it is resulting in your life being miserable. The next time your husband leaves his laundry on the floor, remind him that if it is not in the laundry hamper it will not be washed. Then, follow through by not washing that which is on the floor. As soon as he runs out of clean shirts he will learn that his poor behavior has consequences. (Since this will not work with the children I suggest you train them to do their own laundry. It is not a difficult chore; I know seven year olds that do it! Old enough to give lip means old enough to do chores!).

At my house shoes left out in the middle of the living room are fair game for me to barf in, so this does not happen very often.

No; just the ones left laying out!

If you don't have a cat who barfs in shoes you could make errant shoes disappear to a place only you know, never to be seen again without the promise that they will be put away next time; a second offense could result in a treasure hunt for the shoes. For children, I recommend a docking of allowance to drive the point home quickly.

As for the dirty dishes...I am not cool with the idea of leaving them there for the offender to put them in the sink/dishwasher because this could lead to a bug problem. I suggest you reverse roles with your husband and tel him that from now on it will be his job to do the dishes - all of the dishes, which will include picking up those that have been left around the house. Explain to your husband that you do not want to make his life miserable; you only want him to offer you the kind of respect that he himself would like to receive. Remember that nobody can take advantage of you unless you let them.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with Bachelors degrees in Communications and in Gender and Women's Studies. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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