My husband is allergic to our vacuum. We never had any official allergy testing done, but every time I asked him to vacuum, he’d shudder like I do when I have too much dairy and quickly leave the room. So, I assumed an allergy.
Obviously, I wasn’t going to make him vacuum if we’d need to invest in trunks full of EpiPens. So I started doing all the womanly type things like cooking and cleaning (excluding tasks like sewing and scrubbing the toilet), and my husband did all the manly type things like fixing cars and spitting (excluding tasks like fixing cars and spitting). Until recently.
In the beginning of our relationship, I set the tone for the days to come. That was me: the one with the feather duster (sans French Maid outfit). I was the one cleaning. Yes, I’d ask him to vacuum for me here and there, and even though he always gave me a pleasant, “Sure!” his time frame was not always my time frame. My time frame revolves around the current epoch.
At some point I stopped asking because I simply couldn’t stand the dust bunnies multiplying on the floor like, well, rabbits. Admittedly, I did find his lack of cleaning initiative slightly annoying. It’s not like I’d decided to run a bed and breakfast with my husband as my only client. I’m a fair-minded gal (who likes to use the word “gal”), and I was hoping that our tasks would be divided up equally. This was never really the case.
Even though it was something I brought up repeatedly, it never changed. I was annoyed. I was bothered. I cleaned the whole house to distract me. That’s when the rationalizations set in: Since I was the one who had a hard time starting my day with an unmade bed, I guess it was okay that I was the only one that did something about it.
So I did. For a time.
Then, everything changed.
I had a baby.
I suppose the politically correct thing to say these days is we had a baby, but I was the one they sawed in half to get the baby out, so I’m taking all the credit for this one. After the baby, something about me changed. Besides my smallish breasts now resembling 1990s Pamela Anderson’s, and my baby-less bump jiggling like Jell-O as I walked, my brain became all-baby all-the-time.
I stopped seeing the unmade bed and the dust bunnies. The phrase, “Will you please vacuum?” was replaced by, “I need some more sleep.” I simply didn’t care about all the household things that once had occupied my thoughts. I didn’t care who was doing them. I was too sleep-deprived to think about anything other than sleep, and our baby. (And maybe “Game of Thrones.”)
That’s when my husband stepped up and stepped in. These days my loving spouse does all of my womanly jobs as well as all of his manly jobs. My husband rescued his family from the dust bunny hoard. He cleans, he organizes, he vacuums, all while our dog must still be folding our laundry.
Three years later, my man is still taking care of us, while I’m still saying things like, “I need more sleep.” But here’s the best part: He does all the cleaning without me even asking! Maybe the tables have turned and it’s his turn to care. Or maybe he can’t stand the dog hair and baby spit-up sitting on the floor – or on me. Or maybe, just maybe, I nabbed a keeper.
I do know one thing about having a baby – it changes a person. And besides opening our hearts to a degree we never thought possible, it also made my husband crack open the vacuum. Having a baby changed the cleaning dynamic in our relationship. I’m alright with it.
Now, if I could only get him to cook.