Monday, November 17, 2014

King Of The Castle Needs To Learn To Appreciate His Queen

Dear Tazi:

I read your letter about housework and unmade beds on Twitter and I knew that I had to write to you!

I am a stay-at-home-mom of three wonderful, active teen and pre-teen boys. This description alone should tell you what my house looks like most days, which is why I work very hard to keep up with all of the housework! I sweep and mop the tile floors daily, and vacuum every other day. The bathroom gets disinfected every day and gets a thorough scrubbing twice a week. I do at least one load of laundry a day, and iron for at least half an hour each day just to keep up with everything. This is on top of meal planning/cooking, grocery shopping, bill paying, and taxiing my sons to their various sports practices and games. Yes, my life is hectic but I would not trade it for anything. The one change I would make is in my husband's attitude.

"Frank" works in construction, and comes home every day dirty from head to toe. He works hard, so it is expected that he will sweat; which in turn makes the dirt, dust, and other debris of his job stick to his skin and clothing. The soles of his work-boots are equally filthy. When he comes home, he refuses to take off his dirty clothes and shoes in the mudroom (and putting on one of the bathrobes provided) before entering the house, claiming that it is his "hard work that pays for this house" and that he "should be allowed to enter it as a King enters his castle". He usually goes on to say that he doesn't know what I do all day that I can't find the time to clean up "a little dirt" that might get tracked in when he enters.

Tazi, he tracks in more than just "a little dirt". After he arrives home, there is a trail of it from the mudroom to the bedroom and then on to the bathroom where he showers. The house - that I spent a good part of the day keeping clean - looks like the Peanuts character PigPen just walked through it! All three of my sons know to take off their dirty shoes before walking in the house; and if their uniforms are muddy they take those off, too, and don a robe before entering. I did not have to do anything special to train them; they just realize that it is an exercise in common sense - and common courtesy - to take these few extra steps to respect all of my hard work. Do you have any ideas on how to get my husband to start towing this line?

Not A Scullery Maid

Dear Not A Scullery Maid:

Tell your husband that if he wishes to be treated like the "King" of the castle than he must learn to start respecting you as its Queen! Rather than lock him out of the house until he learns to follow the simple rule of leaving the dirt in the mudroom (which you could try, if all else fails), there is one thing that you could do: take a one week vacation from housework.

As difficult as this may be for you to do, a one week vacation from the cleaning, the laundry, the ironing, etc. will show your husband just what you do all day that he can't seem to notice. Tell your husband that while this is happening, you will be treating your self to the things you enjoy, but never have the time to do - like read a book, take a spa day, lunch with friends, visit your mother, or just take a nap in the middle of the day. Since you cannot completely abandon your family (your boys still need you), keep active with them by teaching them how to do a few simple chores, such as laundry and ironing and simple meal planning (trust me, their future wives will thank you!).

After a few days of this, your husband should start to notice that the cleanliness of the house (and his clothes) is deteriorating rather quickly. If he comments on this, remind him that you are on vacation but that you appreciate the fact that he is finally noticing what you do all day! If you would like, you can offer to end your vacation early if he promises to start using the mudroom for its designed purpose. Hopefully, this experiment will lead to a meaningful conversation between the two of you about appreciating the work that each of you do to keep your loving home running smoothly.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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