But… I want to do things that MATTER

In the three weeks since I had knee surgery, I’ve seen and heard some amazing things around my house.  My favorite phrase so far has to “but… I want to do things that MATTER.”

It came from one of the three males that live in the house, but you’ll have to keep reading to find out who said it.

things that matter

I’ve been amazed to see that my kids actually CAN do laundry.  Without prompting, they’ve loaded the washing machine, put the soap in, and started it before school.  After school, they’ve moved wet clothes to the dryer and started the dryer.

All clean clothes have been piled in heaps.

I’ve been thrilled to see that my kids actually CAN do dishes.  Without prompting, they’ve unloaded the dishwasher and attempted to reload it.

All the random objects just get left on the counters.

I’ve been delighted to see that my kids actually CAN cook.  In this case, cooking is loosely defined as grabbing a bag of stuff from the freezer and dumping in the crockpot.  But they can even turn the crockpot on for me (after plugging it in), so I think it counts.

All the food in the freezer has been eaten.

It’s been three weeks.

If you’re keeping score, you know that while everyone in the house has clean clothing and has been reasonably well fed, that’s the limit of what the males managed to do.

The house is filthy.  There is clean laundry everywhere.  The hunting gear is in the entry hall (the one place I said it could NOT stay).  Every surface is covered with papers, dirty cups, random wrappers, Legos, and socks.

(Please note that MY laundry is put away.  My little square of space is tidy.  My bathroom counter is clean.  I do have SOME standards.  I just don’t have the stamina or flexibility to clean the whole freaking house.)

Men’s Group is tomorrow.

At our house.

They were here three weeks ago on the night before my surgery.

This weekend, I mentioned to my husband that we MIGHT need a little team huddle around getting the house picked up.

Him:  Oooh.  Good idea.  I’ve got a list of things that need to be done around the house.

Me:  I do too.  Let’s compare lists.

You can guess what was on my list.  Laundry, dishes, dust, trash, and toilet scrubbing.  I had a bonus goal of someone actually going to the grocery store with a full list.

His list was quite different.  It involved bathroom tile, fixing some copper pipe thingy, a small welding project, pool chemicals, and a beer run.  His bonus goal involved his cross bow.

Excuse me while I go pound my head against the wall.

As I was gently trying to explain to my husband why we needed to work on MY list, he got this hurt puppy look on his face and he said those magic words.

Him:  But I want to do things that matter.

I don’t think the words were all the way to my ears before he started on damage control.

Him:  I mean… laundry and dishes are important too. But they have to be done again tomorrow. I want to work on something that stays DONE.  I want permanent progress.

Me:  Welcome to my world.  Ninety nine percent of the stuff I do each day has to be done again tomorrow.

Silence.

Long awkward silence.

Cricket chirping silence.

Him:  Oh.

Until that moment, I don’t think he’d ever seen it that way. There was just this shocked look on his face as I left the room.

(While some things on my list DID get this done this weekend, the welding project got some love.  I guess we compromised.)

It’s Monday.  I have roughly 36 hours until Men’s group descends upon my house.  If I don’t sleep between now and then I might just get it all done.

I ended the conversation by taking my grandmother’s advice.  She always told me “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  

What would you have done?

how am i supposed to respond

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. Okay..first off..You stated it is a MEN’S GROUP that is coming to your house. They obviously do not care about the small finer details like we do when it comes to clean house. If they did, they would do a far better job of being tidy.
    Trust me when I say, that once it gets bad enough, they will jump in and clean a house far better than you imagined possible. I know my husband and boys can detail clean this house better than I can (because they can move the furniture around and reach those taller places than I can.) You’re already starting to see progress and how much they are helping out.

    Let God show you some things on this journey. Please take time to heal, which it doesn’t sound like you’re wanting to do. Three weeks is a long ways from six weeks (the requested time frame on your heal time.)

    I’m an outsider looking in, and reading your posts from a different angle than your living this. I know I’m probably making you want to scream at me. :) (At least that’s what I was wanting to do when some of the same advise was given to me.)

    • Typing as I sit on ice in pt: according to pt, they are ready to discharge me. I can do their minimal set of stuff. They can fix flexibility and some strength issues. They can’t give me the stamina or endurance I need to raise my kids.

      I am sooooo tempted to not tell hubby when I finish pt. I know that would be wrong, but I am tempted.

      I love the progress I’ve seen in my kids. They are becoming more no matter how mobile I might feel, I will continue to hold back as long as I can. I want to give those new habits time to grow.

      Today I’ve decided I will handle the grocery store. It’s the one thing i can’t outsource easily. I’ve realized I need to give my husband time to clean house tonight before I jump in.

      Tomorrow I don’t have pt. I can get a few surfaces cleared and just not worry about the rest.

  2. Hire someone to clean your house. If anyone complains about the spending of money just say, “I want to do things that matter too.” Sometimes people can’t understand the value of what you do until they have to do it themselves or pay to have it done.

  3. Laugh. (I did, and 3 years from now you will, too.)
    Seriously, I understand your frustration. I was the same way when I had my first child, but with my second child I *chose* to take a 3 week break and just take care of myself and baby. It was the best thing I ever did; it helped change my prespective so I could see that I was making my life far more difficult that I wanted it to be. I was able to see that I was not doing the truely important (relationships) because I was so busy doing the urgent (clean house, food on table).
    Been preaching to myself this week: Being kind is more important than having my own way.
    Hope it helps stop some of my impatience! Because truely, water and bread dough on the floor won’t matter 10 years from now!
    Good luck.
    Oh, and I’ve been reading “if I have to tell you one more time” by amy mccready. Threat might be a book

    • I’ll add it to my (very long) reading list – thanks. :)

      I managed grocery shopping yesterday. I went to Costco to restock all the essential school lunch stuff and paper goods. Then I went to the produce market for fresh vegetables and such. When I got home, I realized I’d forgotten some essentials (like eggs and milk) and had to make a 3rd trip to the store.

      I went to bed at about 4:30 yesterday. I fell asleep before my husband was even home. He fed the kids corn dogs and brought me a smoothie to drink in bed. When I limped to the kitchen this morning, he’d done the dishes, taken out the trash, and cleaned the cat litter box. I can BARELY walk today because I over did it yesterday. I’ll get most embarrassing stuff cleaned up and that’s about all I can manage. Since there’s not much else I can do, it’s going to have to be enough.

  4. I meant to say “that might be a book to add to your reading list”. :)

  5. Great Post Susan, I love the way you explain things.

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