Laundry Basket Tale

On Sunday, while I was sitting in church, I was spending time thinking about my situation with my DH and the stress and anxiety that I have been feeling.

I was also thinking about my fears that we will grow old together but further and and further apart.

Then my mind drifted to the piles of laundry sitting on the kitchen table at home, and the fact that I spent all day Saturday helping with the move. Yet another one of my days for cleaning spent serving others.

Mostly… I was thinking about how to communicate all of this to my DH. He gets defensive the moment I open my mouth. His mother nagged him a lot growing up, and still does. I think a lot of his behaviour stems from that. It isn’t excusable and he must eventually learn to listen and communicate with me, but for now, this is the reality I have to work with.

I am going to credit this idea to the Almighty… but I thought… what if, when we get home today, I grab a laundry basket, and ask him to do an experiement with me and listen to what I see when I walk into the house. As I would go along narrating, I would plop “examples” into the basket and let him continue to carry this basket as I went along.

So… we got home and I asked DH to please humour me and go through an experiment with me. DH was immeadiately very hostile. Very hostile. But I put on my best Valley Girl and said, “Come on, and trust me just a bit [insert giggles here].”

We started in the back room. I said, “I feel like I have to do all the washing of the laundry on my own,” and plopped in a bottle of laundry detergent.

“I feel like I have to dry all the clothes, and fold all the clothes, and put away all the clothes,” and I plopped in a box of dryer sheets, clothes pegs, and the iron.

“I feel like I do all of the grocery shopping (my pantry is in the back room),” and I plopped in a container of coffee grind.

The next room in the tour was the kitchen. “I feel like I do all the cooking, I feel like I do all the dishes, washing, drying, and putting away. I feel like I do all the organizing of the kitchen. I feel like I do all the religious stuff in this family. I feel like I do all the entertaining in this family. I feel like I do all the discipline in this family.”

In went a pot, the dish tub, some various containers, the Family Bible, a board game, and a parenting book.

Also, he had left a lot of things lying around in the kitchen that morning (this is typical of his behaviour)… so I popped those into the basket saying, “I feel like I have to continual spend my day picking up after you… and the kids (and popped in a few mittens).”

We then went to the hallway, and the computer room. In the computer room I popped in a book on Personal Finances (I have to manage and do our budget and this time I did say, “You fight me on this tooth and nail and yet throw a fit if I don’t do it.”). I also threw in a bunch of tools, and said, “I feel like I have to do the minor and sometimes major repairs around here.”

I found the tarp for the camper, “I feel like I have to manage the fun stuff and the recreational stuff.”

I got to the school room and was really nice and only put in the grade Eleven Algebra book, “I feel like in order to make things work and the children get the education we want them to have… I have the sole responsibility for their schooling.”

At this point DH refused to go another step. He had been pretty hostile to start… and at this point said I was now insulting him.

My response was, “this is not a comment as to what I think about you or anything… This is me trying to help you see how I feel and what I see when I walk into our home. I am not commenting on what I think you should or shouldn’t do. But when you tell me to sit with you, or to not be so up tight, I need you to remember that I am walking around, carrying something like that basket. Then I have to try and reach into that basket and pull just one thing out, while balancing the rest.

When something like DD’s broken arm occurs… please give me a little grace… it is as if that basket dropped and I have to scramble around picking up all the pieces and add a few more.

When you take away days from me by insisting we do things on Saturday on your shedule and I don’t have help dealing with the things that I feel are important and on my mind… I can’t enjoy the day… and that basket of stuff slips a little and I am left feeling like an acrobat who is juggling plates and is about to drop the lot. Until I have a chance to get things feeling tighter, my emotions are going to be on that cutting edge… It isn’t an excuse, but an explantation why I am sometimes so very close to crying or yelling all the time.”

His immeadiate response was to walk away. About 20 mins later, he came and loaded the dishwasher while I was working on lunch and folding laundry.
[Posted first: October 23, 2006]

Two more times yesterday I spent time “talking at him.” And the last talk last night seemed to be a very good talk. I’ll let you know if there are going to be any more changes.

One thing… I ended up coming away having promised to make sure supper is ready by 4:45 pm daily… As I sit here I have to sigh a bit… yet another promise for me to have to keep with little real past proof that he will carry his end of the bargin.

I pray that things will start moving in his heart soon!

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