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Tuesday 19 June 2012

Conflict Management, or Do Men Do Housework?

There's not much I hate more than argument or conflict. You might say it's my Libran love of balance and harmony, or an introvert's dislike of offloading, but either way I'm not one of these people that can put forward my gripes in an apparently neutral and constructive manner. I try, oh dear me yes, I try. I'll run through little speeches in my head that sound reasoned and calm - yet when it comes to the crunch, 9 times out of 10 I am likely to burst into tears after I have sounded nagging and depressing (even to my own ears). Therefore, I'm likely to let things stew until they eventually explode in a weird irrational sulk (or tears, viz above). 

I'm explaining all this because essentially this blog post is an argument with my husband...Before you are all horrified that I'm washing my dirty linen behind his back, I have to state that my husband reads my blog, and I figured getting things down in a carefully thought-out manner might help get my current gripes off my chest. He often says that reading my blog is the best way for him to know what I'm thinking anyway. 

I think I've stated before that my husband works,  relatively long hours, exacerbated by an hour's commute every morning and every evening, often not returning until after the children are in bed. It is physically impossible for him to do housework, sort the children, cook meals, do shopping, laundry etc etc during this time. My rational mind understands this. Yet if I am completely honest, my irrational mind has recently become resentful that I not only have to do all these things but also hold down a full-time job, that, to be honest is currently looking quite unstable and therefore pretty stressful. The thing is, Mr Tin is very good if I ask him...it's the fact that I have to ask him in the first place that is getting me down.

There was a survey in the news around a year ago, undertaken by esure that stated that couples argue almost two and a half thousand times a year. I looked at this list of things and instantly felt better by how petty and insignificant they actually were (77 arguments a year about parking the car? 90 arguments about walking past stuff that is at the bottom of the stairs to be taken upstairs? Not closing cupboard doors, etc etc), and instantly felt better that "it's not just me". I'm sure my husband has plenty of little things that annoy him about me. (Leaving stuff ON TOP of the dishwasher instead of putting it straight in - yes, I've been known to do that, but he does it more... ;-p)

Does there come a point where we need to realise we are never going to change our partners? How long do we need to spend "educating" them in the things we want them to do (or stop doing)? At which point do we give them up as a lost cause and come to terms with the fact that some things just aren't going to change? Can you train men, or should I just get a dog; or would we then just argue about whose turn it is to walk it...?


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