The other night the baby made a colossal mess on the floor during dinner time. I'd had a full day of child-chasing and nose-cleaning, etc. Hubby had a full day (or was it a three-quarter day?) of work. I asked him to clean up the mess.
Him: Why do I have to clean it up?
Me: I've been cleaning up messes all day, all week in fact. You can't clean up one mess?
Him: That doesn't count because I wasn't here.
Me: (bewildered) What?!
Him: You can't count that against me because it's not like I was here. I was working.
Me: It's not counting against you. That's just stupid.
Him: (Gives me a look.)
Me: I just want some time where I'm not cleaning up the kids' mess. Just like you want to have one day when you're not lifting patients into the ambulance.
He was all huffy with me after that for calling him stupid. I admit, I was wrong to say that. But really, how else would you describe his argument? Him not being home to help me during the day is supposed to be grounds for him not to help me once he does get home? What? That doesn't even begin to make any sense.
And it's not like he never helps with the kids. He changes diapers. He feeds them meals. He takes a turn holding them when we're together at a barbeque and I want to eat. He'll even help do laundry if I phrase my request just right. ("Honey, can you put the wet clothes in the dryer for me?")
But when it comes to cleaning big messes, he suddenly gets all weird on me. Sure, he'll grab a towel when a drink gets spilled, but macaroni and cornbread? Nope, not if he can help it.
I know, I really do know, that he is tired at the end of the day. It's hard work, lifting heavy dialysis patients onto their stretchers and into the ambulance. I want him to have some down time. I try not to make unreasonable demands.
But you know what? I want some down time, too. I want my one day not to have to have to clean up urine, or snot, or rejected food. And I want to not be upbraided for wanting it.