SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Monday, Mar. 19, 2012 @ 10:33 am
Keeping Score



I do more than him. I've been doing more than him for four years now.

When I went to school, I worked part time to contribute to rent, groceries, and the truck. When my classes didn't start until noon, I got up at 8 and did laundry and vacuuming before leaving for school. When I was in school, he cooked dinner and I always washed the dishes. And then I finished the laundry, cleaned the bathroom, and changed the sheets. When I was in school, he'd take me out for dinner, have two more drinks than me, and pay the bill with our joint credit card.

Now, when he goes to school, he sleeps in. He leaves a mess in the bathroom and kitchen every morning. He doesn't work part time and contributes nothing to the expenses. I pay the joint credit card bill with my money. In the morning, I go out to start up the car, scrape the windows, shovel the driveway, and take out the garbage while he rushes to make coffee because he pressed snooze fourteen million times. I plan meals for the week. I cook dinner while he does 'homework' on his laptop. I clear the table, load the dishwasher, and wash the pots and pans. Then I put in a load of laundry. Then I clean the litter box. Did I mention that I was at work all day?

On Friday night we had a pile of people over for dinner and drinks. In the morning, he left to go to school to do work. I did two loads of dishes in the dishwasher, washed the glasses by hand. I did two loads of laundry. I took all of the recycling to the recycling depot (which I hate doing alone), and had to deal with empties that he put into the bin without rinsing (huge pet peeve). I washed the Pathfiner. I took out all of the garbages in the house. I then made bread pudding with all of the bread chunks left over from the spinach dip. Then I made falafels and cut up all the veggies and washed all of the dishes from this. The kitchen was spotless, dinner ready for the table.

And then he waltzes into the kitchen annoucing that he's going to make tzatziki. Out comes the cheese cloth, the sieve, the food processor. He dirties every bowl and leaves cucumber peel on the cutting board. He messes up the recipe, blames me, shoves it in the fridge, and goes to sulk on his laptop. The kitchen is a disaster. I put dinner on the table and we eat. I do a quick little tidy - put away our dishes, put away the leftovers - and leave his mess for him to clean up.

I sit down on the couch to read my book.

"Can you come help me clean up the kitchen?"

I think about the mess (his) and about what I've done the whole day (clean) and say, "No, I don't feel like doing it right now. I'll do it in the morning."

Wrong answer.

He blows up calling me selfish and childish. That he's tired too, but we should just 'work together' to get it cleaned up.

Selfish? Really? I made dinner every night for as many back as I can remember. And did the dishes every time. And the one night I don't feel like cleaning up, I get called selfish?

At that point, my anger really does render me selfish and childish. I begin rattling off all of the things that I did that day, including filling his coffee cup like a waitress while he was 'working' on his laptop. And then I really add insult by bringing up the fact that I paid for my own birthday present because it ended up on the joint credit card.

I've tried to find ways to even the score. I set a chore schedule in December, which worked for precisely one week. His initials are not listed once for any chore in 2012. See? My scorecard is not imaginary.

How do I stop doing this? I know that this is destructive to our relationship. I know that I should be selfless.

Last night, we're in bed, and he's playing a game on his phone. I poke him and try to talk to him, and he keeps playing. I try again and nothing. So I roll over and put my pillow over my head and ask him if he will turn out the light.

Here we go again.

The argument boils up, I say I'm still upset from him calling me selfish, and he says, "Well you were." And then I'm irate, and I take my pillow and slam a few doors and set up camp on the couch.

It's always the same argument. He says that I don't pay him enough attention. I retort by saying that maybe I'd feel like paying him more attention if I weren't so busy washing dishes, which, by the way, makes my hands crack and bleed if he hadn't noticed. He calls me childish. I start reciting the score card.

How do we move ahead from this? Is there a way out of this? Is there a way out of this that doesn't leave me feeling like a pushover?

The 'second shift' is omnipresent, how do other women cope?


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