Dishwasher-phobia

Hubby had an exciting announcement to make the other day. Brace yourselves, it’s really worth waiting for this one…

‘I don’t like doing ironing during the week,’ he informed me, during a ‘put-upon partner’ lament about his lack of work shirts and why more hadn’t been washed, hung up and basically draped over the ironing board for him in preparation for some steam-filled action in front of Sunday’s ‘must-watch’ football match.

This week it actually featured his own team too which makes a change. Of course they threw away a two goal lead, causing much muttering and gnashing of teeth, but what do you expect if you support West Ham?!

Don’t worry, I of course calmly explained that no one ‘likes’ ironing – even neat freaks such as myself – regardless of what day of the week it is.

The difference is of course that while men expect a gold medal, or at least some sort of badge of honour and a beer, if they help out with humdrum household tasks at weekends (or whenever) we harassed mums expect (and get) nothing in return for juggling a million different menial tasks a day.

It’s just assumed that when something needs rinsing, washing, fetching or filing we’ll do it. Yes that’s right because we’re female.

It’s the unwritten rule of family life that no one ever tells you. Your body has gone to wrack and ruin pushing out a few children, so now you get to celebrate by washing up for the next two decades!

Take this constantly manic freelance journalist and copywriter for example.

While hubby would never need factor sock washing, hoovering or doing the weekly supermarket shop into his working day, I’m just expected to do it. Yes that’s right, because I’m female.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s great at picking the odd thing up on his way home, but when it comes to all those little ‘invisible’ chores that keep family life ticking over, you guessed it it’s down to you. That’s right, because you’re female.

One of my best mum friends summed up the whole sorry scenario very well this week. Apparently her other half is suffering from a serious case of dishwasher-phobia. You’ve probably come across it – the chronic inability to put anything actually inside the machine, just in its vague vicinity.

Hubby does it with his clothes at night. They don’t get hung up, rather slung over the sofa. Clearly they plan to walk back to the wardrobe by themselves.

Now, as I said, I’m pretty lucky that hubby is a fairly ‘new-age man’ – in the sense that he chips in a lot of the time – but I do still wonder what would happen if I went on strike for a few days.

Would he realise that empty loo rolls need to actually be thrown away, and replaced, for example?

The trouble is that my fear of dirt and chaos means I’d crack within hours of course, which is his psychological warfare weapon.

But I’m still not ironing any bloody shirts…

Parenting Wars: Battle of the Sexes

There’s a ‘fun’ little game hubby and I never seem to tire of. In fact we often seem to play several rounds in any given day.

You might be familiar with it yourself? It’s what I like to call the ‘my life is harder’ game. Yes, that’s the one.

You know where you’ve barely had a minute to sit down all day, have been dreaming of supping even a semi-lukewarm beverage, and then the moment you’ve finally got the rug rats into bed your other half calls to say he hasn’t had the chance to eat since breakfast and what’s for dinner.

You then proceed to mutter to yourself as you stomp around the kitchen wondering exactly how many tea rounds there were in the office today, whether he enjoyed having time to read something other than the back of a baby food pouch on his commute and cursing the fact there’s bloody football on the telly. Again.

Of course you choose not to recall the fact that hubby had to trudge to work in the pouring rain, that you did get to catch up with a friend (if that’s what you can call a snatched conversation as you try to rescue various offspring from the bacteria-soaked ball pit at soft play) and that other half is babysitting at the weekend so you can go out for a drink.

But that’s a given with parental bickering – especially of the mid-week, getting really knackered now variety – isn’t it? The whole point is that on particularly sleep-deprived, vomit-fuelled days your life is DEFINITELY harder than theirs.

Several bones of contention spring to mind at this point. All of which my mum friends would sincerely back me up on. I know because I’ve done my ‘mum market research’, otherwise known as having a good old bitch over coffee!

Firstly who wrote the rule that as a mum you’re the one person in the family who is never allowed to get sick? Or, if someone actually acknowledges that you have a slight sniffle – usually full-blown flu – as mum you are not entitled to a single snippet of sympathy.

No, your job is simply to get on with it. Or ‘man up’ as hubby so charitably described it the other day.

This when I was recovering from a sickness bug that would proceed to take down everyone we know while coping with both kids and he headed out for a poker night. Hmm, yes he did pay for that one. Mostly with hangover + screaming baby = tough, deal with it sunshine!

Second, the dad misconception that when you meet up with friends, with numerous offspring in tow, that a lovely ‘relaxing’ time is had by all, consuming vast quantities of afternoon tea and debating the news of the day.

To be fair hubby does admit his mistakes here when faced with a coffee shop and a plethora of small people at the weekend, but it’s all conveniently forgotten by Monday.

Third, since when did I say that I was happy to become some kind of housekeeper, chef, dry cleaner and professional ironer? Oh that’s right, it was allegedly a given when I got the first bun in the oven. Having been a career girl since my early 20s it’s only natural that the majority of household tasks should all fall to me.

After all who doesn’t love washing other peoples’ pants and cleaning up poo?!

Yes I like things neat and tidy. Doesn’t mean I clean the kitchen floor for kicks.

Anyway, I realise I sound rather bitter and twisted here. But hey it’s the end of the week and I had three hours sleep last night.

The good thing about the ‘my life is harder’ game is that it usually ends in laughter and an admission that ‘sorry, I’m being a bit of a dick.’ And bickering – of the largely good-natured variety – keeps you both on your toes.

Just don’t expect me to iron you a shirt okay?!