Sunday, January 09, 2011

Unappreciated in Louisiana

I strive to keep my blog a "complain free" zone. I really do. I want this place to be encouraging and a place to focus on how wonderful I believe life can be. And when I am feeling discontent or blue, I usually disappear for awhile because I feel that if I don't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. I try, people, I really do. If you sense a "but" coming on, you would be correct. Or in this case, a great big...


First things first. We are experiencing a wintery mix in Shreveport, Louisiana today. I made the grave mistake of not jumping on the bandwagon and heading out to the grocery store yesterday for bread, milk and flashlight batteries. Apparently, I was the last person in town who didn't purchase my eggs yesterday and they saved this last carton just for me, at Target. Thank the Lord. I don't how I could have survive without these eggs during the frigid hours ahead.
So now the stage is set. I braved the wet, sleety, snowy, windy weather for my family because as usual, there's NOTHING to eat in this house. My teenagers remind me of this frequently. Even after I've spent a small fortune at the store, apparently, there's still NOTHING to eat. Translation: We don't have any cookies, chips, ice cream, frozen pizzas, cereal, chocolate, pizza pockets, carbonated beverages, Little Debbies or the makings of s'mores.

While I'm at the grocery store, I received numerous texts and calls from the "teenagers" requesting the items listed above. Also a call from daughter number 2 requesting that I stop off at the bookstore where she's studying and leave her my debit card so she can fill up her car with gas. Because she's waited until she's on empty. And now her lack of planning constitutes an emergency on my part. Because she's SIXTEEN. And oh my God, Mom, why are you being so unreasonable? I load the groceries into the car, in the cold rain, cursing under my breath the whole time.

By the time I get home, I'm irritated and my husband, who's powers of perception are usually lacking, asks me what's wrong. I unload a month's worth of frustration. In a nutshell, I feel disrespected, overworked, ignored, unappreciated and virtually invisible. I feel like a live-in maid. I feel like a burnt-out Mom and wife. I feel like I want to get in my car and drive miles away for a week, no, a month and take care of no one but myself. I tell him that I would just like a little help around here. I say that it would be nice if he, or the girls would maybe empty the dishwasher sometimes or pick up their clothes or fold some laundry. It's the little things, I tell him, that would make a big difference for me. I'm tired of doing it all, I say. To which he replies,

"Stop doing it," he says.

"Stop doing what?"

"All that you do. Maybe then the girls, and even me, will appreciate you more."

Seriously? What was wrong with my solution? It seems to me, and correct me if you see a flaw in my reasoning, that his solution is the easy, lazy way out. Because he knows that I'm not able to "stop doing it". We would wallow in filth and hunger. And because I care about our home. I basically feel like he's saying that it's my problem. And NO ONE can help me. It's beyond their reach.

Anyone? Advice? Especially from the three or four men who read this blog?


Diahn said...

I think the solution may be somewhere in the middle. Do the things that you need to do to make your house a nice, liveable space, and neglect the rest. Do your laundry, fold YOUR laundry and put it away. Leave the rest. Keep the kitchen to your standards, but feel free to throw out any "junk" food they leave out without putting away. Even better - take their dirty dishes and place them neatly in the center of their beds, along with their dirty laundry and various hair styling products left in your way. If they like living that way so much, let them.

Close the doors to their rooms. Walk away. Pour a big glass of red and have a seat on your neat and tidy sofa and wait for the wailing.


As for the man...good luck with that. Kiss him on his little bald head and remind yourself of his stellar qualities. Ask him to get up and help you for 15 minutes. (that's the part I usually leave out, because HE SHOULD READ MY MIND, DAMMIT.) Fry him some chicken in reward...

Remember that they don't control your happiness...only you do...

Melinda Owens said...

Very wise advice, my friend. And very logical, almost "manlike". Someone else reminded me yesterday that only I control my happiness. Why do I need to be constantly reminded of this? I love the idea of the dirty dishes on the beds...wish I had the guts to actually do it!

Lisa said...

I agree completely with Diahn. And, you do have the guts to do it. If not the bed, try the dresser. Remind them that you are a team--if they don't want to do their part; that's their decision, but then they have no right to count on you for your part--including preparing their meals, or doing their laundry, or cleaning their space, or providing a debit card or cookies OR pudding :)

A. Troy Foster said...

Well I'm a little behind but I wanted to answer your call for a man's input--albeit a gay man--but here goes.

I'll expound on Diahn's advice. Doing your own chores and letting everyone else fend for themselves is a good start. You'll need something to do with the extra time you'll have. Come over to my house for a few evenings and I'll teach you how to knit. Knitting projects will become your new priority.

Once you've taken care of YOUR meals and YOUR laundry, prop YOUR ass on YOUR clean corner of YOUR couch; have your knitting project, a glass of wine and the TV remote readily accessible. Remember this all about you.

Keep in mind you will still be asked a lot of the same questions but you will have to come up with all new answers--for example:

teenager---"Hey Mom, what's for supper?"
you---"No thanks, I've eaten already."


husband---"Hey honey, I'm out of clean underwear."
you---"I have some clean panties you can borrow; look in the top drawer."

Make sure you answer without looking up or missing a stitch because what you are doing for YOURself is priority. Also be sure to use a pleasant voice and reassuring smile while at the same time allowing a seething bitchiness to bubble to the surface.

It may take some practice but I'm sure you can do it.

Good Luck!

Melinda Owens said...

Wow...all three of you should have your own talk show, or advice columns. what a great bunch of friends I have! Love you guys.

laura said...

I'm comming in way late on this, but I have another idea for dealing with Robert: Call his sisters and let US nag on him! :)

We'll gang up and throw him naked in the street again.

As for the kids, both girls are driving now right? Give each one half the grocery list and say "have at it"
Then give them the cookbook and tell them to fix supper.

P.S. I know for a fact that Robert knows how to cook and sort laundry, we taught him!

Melinda Owens said...


Thanks for the information...he's been fooling me! You know that trick...the one when men do chores horribly so we won't ask them to do them again? I'm on to you, Owens.