Monthly Archives: April 2007

The Great Housework Debate

Malia pictureA couple of weeks ago, Ivy had a brief post about how she was trying to write a Home-Ec 101 post on getting your husband to help with the housework. It really is a conundrum of problem. Division of household duties is high on the list of problems that couples experience. I perused three Internet articles about it and while all three articles had good things to say and great advice to dole out. I still sat there wondering exactly how I could “get” David to help me out more with housework.

Housework has always been an issue between me and David. There has never been a time in our marriage, before or after children, that housework has not presented some sort of obstacle or hurdle for us to overcome. The only time in our relationship that housework has not been an issue was before marriage when we physically did not live under the same roof! It’s ongoing struggle.

Through the years, though, I have learned a few things:

1. Nagging is bad, asking is good: There is a difference between nagging and asking. An on-line article from ParentCenter.com, “Ending the Chore Wars – how to get your mate to help on the home front” by Gail O’Connor, says this about nagging:

Be firm, but resist nagging. “Nagging isn’t very assertive — it’s humiliating to the person doing the nagging and annoying to the person being nagged,”

While I feel that I don’t often nag, I do have a hard time asking. This is because from my perspective, requesting help with housework brings up two issues for me.

  • The first one is that I don’t want to feel like I’m his mother. I’m already the mother of two children and I “request” their assistance with things around the house on a daily basis. Whenever I ask for David’s help, I often feel as though I’m having to “parent” him into helping me. However, I have learned (though I have a hard time internalizing it) that David does not hear my requests for help as being “mothered”, he just wants to know what it is I want/need help with. I prefer him to ask me what I want done. To me that shows he not only cares about my needs and concerns but that he also cares about our home. But I now know, that if I really want his help, I must be the one to do the asking.
  • The second is that it hurts my pride to admit needing help. In the deep, dark corners of my brain I want to be SuperMom/Wife. I want to be able to do it all and do it all very well. I’m the stay-at-home parent, I have ALL day to get these things done. I secretly fear that David is going to think of me as lazy or a slacker if I ask him to do something that I feel I could have/should have accomplished during the day.

2. Don’t bribe with sexual favors: While it’s true that women often feel more amorous towards their husbands if said husbands help pick up the slack around the house, it’s never a good idea to bribe them with sex. (My comment at Ivy’s, if you clicked on that link, was a joke y’all!) In the end, you’ll both just feel manipulated. It cheapens that intimacy between you as a couple when you start using sex like currency.

3. Let him know you appreciate his help: I’m really bad about this one. The struggle in my head is twofold. I do a lot of thankless tasks around the house, why should he expect gratitude? But…how much would I like to be thanked for what I do? Women’s FAQ Blog of Daily News, Articles and Media says this in their post entitled, “How to Get Your Husband to Help Around the House“:

Clearly, when our husbands help us around the house, we can interpret that as a sign of love, which, in turn, helps us find them more attractive. But here’s the catch. When our husbands help, they typically want to know that their work is appreciated. While we are likely to see their contribution as a natural part of their marital duty, they are more likely to see it as a special favor that they are doing for us. This can be a tough concept for liberated women like us to accept. (emphasis mine)

Basically, a little gratitude goes a long way.

4. Give him time to relax when he gets home from work: While I’m working all day at home doing “my job”, he works ALL day at a very demanding job and when he gets home, he needs to relax. At PioneerThinking.com, Edel Jarboe writes an article called, “Sweat Equity” and says:

Don’t launch into a list of things to do as soon as the your mate walks in the door. Give him time to unwind from one job before he has to tackle another one. In other words, take your mate’s feelings into account. If he’s just settled down to watch his favorite television show, he is not going to be too receptive to your cleaning requests.

I know it may sound obvious and and you’re sitting there saying, “Well, Duh!” but I find that it easy to forget this small but important fact.

5. And finally the three “C’s” of any good relationship – communication, communication, communication: Don’t assume your husband can read your mind and know that the reason you’re standing at the kitchen sink, heavily sighing every 30 seconds is because you think he should be the one doing the dishes. After all you cooked the meal, right? He should help with clean-up. Again from Edel Jarboe:

If your partner really is doing what he can around the house, ease up a little. Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather spend the little time you have together pleasantly, rather than fighting about whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher? In other words, make sure you and your mate are clear about each other’s housework expectations. This is the key to housework harmony.

Communicating about housework is not easy. In fact, as I’ve tried to write this post, David and I have been trying to communicate about it via instant messaging. We apparently have some really strong feelings about it and still, after almost twelve years of marriage, don’t see eye to eye on the issue. I want to know if he’s willing to help out, he wants to keep priorities straight.

I guess it will always be, “The Great Housework Debate” for us.

Note: regarding these posts about marriage, please see my Disclaimer

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Vick is nothing but a Dog?

David pictureMichael Vick is in the news again today because of something someone else did in a house he happens to own in Virginia.  Vick’s cousin, Davon Boddie, lives in the house and was sufficiently suspected of involvement in drug activity that police executed a search warrant on the house (and later arrested him elsewhere) only to find dogs that were “injured and emaciated” and dog fighting-related items.

However, the news story leads the reader to presume that Michael Vick is somehow directly linked to the original drug investigation by lack of reference in the first paragraph (I confirmed this bias by asking Malia about the story…all she knew was something about drugs and injured dogs found at Vick’s house) and then quotes PETA members as saying that Arthur Blank, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons, should fire Michael Vick if the dogs are found to have been involved in fighting and suspend him while there is an investigation.  Did you notice anything there?  NOT that Vick himself is involved in dog fighting, simply that the dogs found in a house he happens to own were allegedly used in fighting.  Apparently every landlord is now liable for any tenant activity.  The article then finished by recounting every misstep that Vick has made over the last few years.

In a follow-up article, Vick states that family members have taken advantage of his generosity, he nevers visits the property, and was upset at the incident.  Again, PETA insists that he had to know about it and is responsible, insinuating that to feed the animals (not that they noticed that the dogs were EMACIATED) would take a large sum of money (money only an NFL QB could supply, wink wink).  Not only that, but now sports columnists are saying that Vick should take better care of his affairs.  For goodness sake he was fishing in a private pond (the HORROR!!) without permission and he didn’t show up for a flight to take him to participate in a congressional function where he would be HONORED for his work with kids (what a sicko to miss that, he couldn’t really care about kids to miss hanging out with those turkeys).  Not to mention he flipped the bird at the fans in New Orleans last season AND had a water bottle seized by “officials” at the Miami airport that reportedly smelled of marijuana, not that there was any evidence except some TSA agent’s nose.

What is wrong with this picture?  This is character assassination for something he is not even directly linked to on top of innuendo evidence that he is just a person of questionable character.  SERIOUSLY!?!  How horrible to not be honored for working with kids (some might call that humility) or for FISHING!! (some might call that boring).  If he is that lacking in character he must have known something about what his cousin was doing three states away?   And must have no moral fiber whatsoever for having a water bottle with a “secret compartment”(ooooooo, that could only be used for drugs).  And he gave some girl VD.  And he has cornrows.  And he’s related to his brother.  And he left college early because he is greedy.  And occasionally he wears baggy pants.  And…

What ever happened to calmly weighing the evidence and determining a verdict after sober deliberations?  “Why reasonable people go stark raving mad when anything involving a Negro comes up, is something I don’t pretend to understand.”–Atticus Finch 

ETA 7/19/07:  My stand has not changed even with an indictment against Vick.  While the feds have a 95% conviction rate once they indict, it is still my opinion that Vick has been dragged through the mud unnecessarily.  While my gut tells me that I will have to edit this again or write a new one referring to this post at some point talking about how Vick is truly as dirty as everyone thought he was all along, excuse me while I don’t jump all the way there quite yet.

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He Said/She Said: Innocence

Welcome to the first installment of “He Said/She Said”. This is where we write independently about a subject and then post the results here.

David pictureI try to keep in mind at all times that the goal of parenting is the successful launch of a complete, whole, well-adjusted, self-sufficient adult ready to take on the world as much as any young adult can.  Admittedly, the maturation process continues long after the “adult” has left home.  But, in general, they should at least be able to think for themselves and cope with situations in an adult manner once they are no longer in “the nest”.  I understand this is a process from the parents’* perspective of slowly letting go: allowing more rope, allowing more freedom, widening that safety net until that “one day” all protection is gone.

In an ideal world, there is a period of innocence that allows a child to just be a child: without worry, without the awful knowledge of reality, without the pain of experience.  The 1997 movie “Life is Beautiful” is a great example of this ideal of innocence.  If you will recall (and if you can’t recall or never saw the movie, it is worth the rental), the father constantly played a game with his son to mask the reality of living in a German concentration camp.  Essentially, the father was protecting the innocence of his young son by witholding information, even about the horrible reality that surrounded them and that the child witnessed with his own eyes.

Having a nearly 7-year old, we are approaching one of those transition times in rearing children.  In very real ways, our daughter is slowly losing that innocence that defines young childhood.  She is exposed to information from which we can not protect her and some that we are allowing her to experience based on her age and maturity level.  It is interesting to observe other families and the levels to which they expose or allow their children to have access to information/experiences.  For example, we don’t have cable, we don’t allow JBelle to watch the news (not that she is terribly interested) or most primetime television, or to get on the internet.  Some might call us overprotective.  I prefer to look at it as protecting something precious that one can never get back. 

If the goal in raising her is to form a well-rounded adult, naivete (at launch) is a deficiency rather than a virtue.  I understand that and will do everything in my power to help her be a well-informed and experienced young adult.  However, at 6, almost 7, she is still worthy of having the luxury of innocence.  The realities of life will be there when she is ready, but for now, she is still a little girl and I am going to do everything I can to make sure she gets the chance to be just that.  

*I understand that a child does not always have two parents and that innocence for millions, if not billions of people, must seem like a fantasty.  However, as I write in this blog, it will always be from my experience/idealism.  Therefore, if you choose to get offended by the words I use or the manner in which I write, good.  My hope is that you would rather enjoy my different (or tired, old, re-treaded, ignorant) opinions.  Truly, without hope or idealism, what’s the point?

Malia pictureOn Monday, April 16th, JBelle stayed after school with her teacher and a few other classmates for a special “playdate” of sorts. It turned out to be very good timing for us as our world forever changed earlier that day with the tragic events at Virginia Tech. At the time JBelle would have normally been returning home, I had a tear streaked face and had just agreed to being interviewed for NewsChannel5. After the interview (sans tear streaked face – I had time to clean-up before they arrived), we headed to JBelle’s school to get her and then went to dinner. We never told her what happened that day and we didn’t plan on telling her either.

How do explain something like that to a first grader? Especially when you have trouble comprehending the evil and horror of it all yourself. I’m a big proponent of letting kids just be kids. Children don’t need to be weighed down with heavy emotional baggage or with adult responsibilities. Innocence is so fleeting and so easily lost.

The attempted assassination of President Reagan happened when I was in first grade. I don’t remember how I found out about it, I just remember knowing that it happened. I was reassured that he would be okay and that the man who had shot him had been arrested. At seven years old, that was all I needed to know.

A couple of days after the tragedy at Virginia Tech, JBelle came home from school and asked me if I knew why the flags were being flown at half staff. I told her that I did and I asked her if she knew why. She told me because some college students in Virginia got shot and died. My heart broke a little when she said that, I’d hoped to shield her from it all. But looking back on it, she’s close to the same age that I was when Reagan was shot. While the two events are quite different on a scale of violence and loss, she had learned the basic facts and that was all she needed to know. A couple days after that she asked me if college students at Virginia Tech were still being shot. Again, my heart broke a little hearing her ask that question. I assured her that no, no one was being shot at anymore.

I imagine the questions will continue to come as her brain, little by little, processes the information. I know I can’t protect her from everything but I’ll try my best to answer the questions as honestly as I can without sacrificing the innocence of her young mind.

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Filed under by DB, by Malia, He Said/She Said, kids & family

Something else

Malia pictureI’m tired of the “Lockdown” post being the one on top. I’m also a little tired of seeing my own face here but there’s a very good reason for that. David was out of town all week, just got back last night after the kids were in bed. I barely gave him time to check his e-mail, let alone write a blog post ;) This morning as I helped JBelle get ready for school and as David got ready to go into the office, it just felt so right with all four of being together again. The kids are definitely happier now that he’s home again. I guess I would be too if I had a stark raving lunatic for a mother. David is definitely the calm for the storm of Hurricane Malia.

Did I have a rough week? What makes you ask that?

In retrospect, the week wasn’t all that bad. But I’m still very, very, very glad to have my husband home again.

And I’m really excited about tonight’s Friday pizza & movie night. I found the original Freaky Friday on DVD at the library a couple of days ago! (I’ve seen the remake but I don’t think it’s entirely appropriate for JBelle to see.) Plus, I’m making homemade pizza and maybe even a couple calzones for me and David.

TGIF!!

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Lockdown

Malia pictureWhat you don’t want to see in front of your child’s school:

Lots of police cars.

What you don’t want to be told when you try to enter the school:

The school is in lockdown.

What you don’t want to find out when you get home and watch the noonday news:

Possibly kidnapping.

I was just there (what a roll I’m on) at JBelle’s school so I know that everything is okay. I know that JBelle is fine because The GMan and I just had lunch with her. Most of the kids at her school really don’t even know what happened. The police and the administration and the teachers are handling it very well (hmmm…reminds me our previous post). Yes, the school was put into lockdown but when I left, all had returned to “normal” or about as normal as school gets when it’s crawling with police officers! While at the school, I heard that an unidentified, red-haired man had gained unauthorized access to the school building. When I left the school building there were several news cameras set up across from the street. Thankfully they were not allowed to approach the school because I was in no mood to give any interviews! I found out on the news about the attempted kidnapping.

I have to say, I felt amazingly calm the entire time. I figured that if something really, really bad had happened, I wouldn’t even have been able to get close to the school. The officers were very professional and had a very good handle on the situation. The school’s administrators were calm and professional and I felt that since they were letting me and other parents into the school, they knew that the children were all safe.

Still…in light of last week’s events…I kind of have the shaky feeling again.

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Filed under by Malia, JBelle, kids & family

Petition

alt va tech ribbonTomorrow, a petition in support of Virginia Tech President Steger and Police Chief Flinchum will be delievered to the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and to Governer Kaine. There’s still time today to sign the petition. You don’t have to be directly associated with the school to show your support. As of last night the petition had over 32,000 “signatures”. Here’s the text of the petition:

To Governor Timothy M. Kaine and members of the Board of Visitors of Virginia Tech:

We, the undersigned students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Virginia Tech, fully support the decisions made and the actions taken by President Charles W. Steger, Virginia Tech Police Chief Wendell Flinchum, the Virginia Tech administration, and members of law enforcement in response to the shootings at West Ambler-Johnston and Norris Halls on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University on Monday, April 16, 2007.

We feel that these individuals and groups, especially Dr. Steger and Chief Flinchum, have borne the brunt of unwarranted criticism by members of the media.

We understand that they did their best to make life and death decisions with limited information, and that they acted in the best interests of the students, faculty, and staff of Virginia Tech.

We support Dr. Charles Steger and Wendell Flinchum, and we want them to continue to serve Virginia Tech.

If you’d like to sign this before they close signatures (at 4:16 PM EDT today), please go here: http://www.wesupportvt.com/

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probably only funny to me

Malia pictureI read all my blogs through Google Reader and I have them set up into folders/categories. In my “Nashville is Talking” folder the blogs, Shoot The Moose and Sitting Still appear respectively.

Earlier today, as I was perusing new posts, I read Shoot the Moose where Slartibarfast recounts the hazards of “somebody’s” marital activities. Then moved on to Sitting Still. The title of Nicole’s most recent post? Sex.

To steal from Busy Mom, my inner 12-year old boy was quite amused. But more amused by the fact that if you read the two blog titles together you get: Shoot the moose sitting still.

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random

Malia pictureI bought three cans of tuna at the grocery store today. I remember setting the cans, all three stacked together, on the check-out conveyor. When I got home and was unloading the groceries, I noticed that each can was in a different sack (with other items).

Peculiar.

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around the table

Malia pictureYes, it’s taken me a day or two to get around to posting this. And really, I don’t have a whole lot to add to what has already been written about the amazing evening of food, fellowship and fun at Mack’s cabin Saturday night. Ginger has pictures and great run down of the festivities (though you can know for sure that what happened at Mack’s stays at Mack’s!). Kat’s thoughts, as usual (you know I leach off of her brain, right?) express more eloquently than I ever could the significance of the evening. And Aunt B. expresses her genuine gratitude to all who participated – I can only add my genuine gratitude to Aunt B. for including me in the soiree and for “liking the heck” out of me as she so sweetly lauded Saturday evening. Right back at you girlfriend!

Of those in attendance I had already had the pleasure of making acquaintance friends with: BadBadIvy, KathyT., Kat, Aunt B., Ginger, Rachel, and Lynnster. AND Saraclark!! – I’m sorry I forgot to add you earlier, I kept counting on my fingers and coming up with the right number, or so I thought, but I knew I was missing someone and how could I forget you???

And now added to the blogging friendships are: Newscoma, Squirrel Queen, KateO, The Professor and nm.

Our evening would not have been nearly as heavenly if it had not been for our gracious host, Mack. My heartfelt gratitude for welcoming us into your cabin, around your table and not laughing (at least to our faces) at our attempts to four-wheel around your property!

It was an honor to break bread with such talented, beautiful, kind and funny women. I am blessed to call you friends and my world is richer for knowing you.

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Earth Day 2007

David pictureI know that admitting you even know when Earth Day is pegs you as a pinko-commie-greenie-weenie-liberal-bedwetter by many.  And if you actually do anything on that day to remotely promote the cause of the day just puts you in the hemp-wearing-pocket-composting-dreadlocked-hippie-biodiesel-making-nut that lives in a straw bale commune.  All that considered, I write this as my conservative appeal to my landscaping friend who thinks Earth Day is all about advancing the agenda of Al Gore and “freaks” that want to destroy the economy in the name of a couple of snails.

Admittedly, the environmental holastafarians have dominated the debate in recent years over the more mild-toned conservationists among us who simply want to leave the beauty this world has to offer to future generations.  At its very heart, conservation is about leaving some for somebody else (whether it is natural beauty or resources), using something until it can’t be used anymore or find someone who can (like handing down clothes, buying used), and when something is completely unusable, use the parts for something else (like, be an organ donor or find the nearest recycling facility for your metal, glass, paper, cardboard, etc.).

Conservation is not a new phenomenon, it used to be a way of life.  Ask anyone who lived through the depression and you will quickly find that an on-demand, disposable lifestyle is likely not the story they will tell.  The story you will hear is one of prudence, living sparingly, and maintaining proper stewardship over your resources and possessions so that they would serve you well for who knows how long.

I think those lessons of living simply in moderation, using only what you need, and doing so not for the sake of two snails but for the sake of future generations of humanity are conservative principles.  Conservative principles that have been abandoned politically because they appear too similar to a progressive agenda and in our dichotomous political climate, that gets you labeled as a pinko-greenie-weenie-liberal.  Conservatives, who have as a champion a President who began the US Forest Service and established the first National Parks, have all but forgotten that great legacy.  That is a great shame because we have lost that conservationist voice in the political debate.

I call on Conservatives to honestly talk with environmental holastafarians about conservation, sustainability, and alternative energy.  Earth Day should not be chastised as for “those people” but celebrated and adopted as a conservative day as well.  

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