I read an article last week in the Globe and Mail, which really got me thinking. And to be honest it irked me a little bit. The article was about a married couple and their division of household chores. Although technically the household chores and responsibility for the children were divided equally, in essence this was not really the case. The wife was very eager to ‘re-do’ all of the chores that were assigned to her husband. Why? Not because she likes housework or gets some kind of joy in doing it, but because she did not feel her husband did a good enough job.
The article goes on to explain that the wife in the story had been brought up in a house where everything needed to be perfect. There was no room for error. Her home always had to be tidy. Her floors always had to be clean. And all her clothes needed to be folded ‘just so’.
Clearly, the division of labor and responsibility from one house to the next will vary. Especially if there are children involved, and the potential for mess and dirt will exponentially increases ten fold.
As a therapist, I see many issues which require deeper exploration here. But for our purposes right now, I will stick to one main issue:
Is it really fair to impose our expectations on our life partner and children? If we do, what are the possible repercussions long term?
So what is the lesson learned here? We all grow up in homes where there are expectations of our behavior, the amount we contribute to the housework, how we use our manners, etc. However, once we agree to share our lives with someone and have children, we must be willing to compromise. Not our basic beliefs, but more so our ability to give up some control and allow our spouses and our children to make their own mistakes, learn how to take care of themselves without being berated into doing it ‘our way’.
After all, who ever said that our way is always ‘the right way’?
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