Wife logic. Men and women have different brain structures and circuitry and operate in very different ways. Men do better at tasks that involve orientating objects in space (map-reading) and women have a better aptitude for languages (talking). Nowhere is this more obvious than in the storage of Tupperware. The internet is jam packed with helpful solutions to store your Tupperware neatly. However, these solutions are all wrong and this is because they have been created by people with brains like my wife’s. Let me Mansplain this:
Bad husband. I am not deliberately trying to be provocative when I highlight the differences between me and my wife; our quirks are just a fact of life and are what makes our relationship interesting. I don’t subscribe to the sexist claptrap found in self-help books like ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.’ My wife and I have similar careers, although I have spent a great deal more time deployed away from our home. I have been fairly selfish and work focused and she has ended up being almost solely responsible for bringing up the children. I have no excuse for that and I can’t complain about the life I signed up for when I joined the Army as I knew what I was letting myself in for. I could blame my childhood (my Mum still irons my Dad’s pants), but that would be a poor excuse. I am now just trying to be better than I have been.
Who wears the trousers? In our house it is very clear who wears the trousers. I do. Although she picks them out for me at Marks and Spencer. As the proud father of 2 daughters, I am the only male and I feel it’s important to be a good role model and stand up for my principles and fight for my right to have an opinion. Last year she wanted to get 2 Border-Collie puppies, but I am the man of the house. So now we have 2 Border-Collie puppies.
Babysitting. I try not to refer to it as babysitting anymore when I look after the children. I also don’t refer to housework as helping her out with the domestic administration. However, I still don’t pull my weight enough and it always takes me a bit of time to get back into the rhythm when I have been away, but I am trying to do better. One way we have tried to split the division of labour is by labelling tasks as ‘pink-jobs’ and ‘blue-jobs.’ Sexist, I hear you cry. But this has nothing to do with gender stereotypes, it’s just that we accept that we have different strengths and weaknesses.
Crisis management. We have had enough mishaps and catastrophes now to know how we will each react in a crisis situation. I am very calm (she says I go into slow motion). She races into action (I say she panics). We know this is how we behave now and I know I’ll get ordered about for a bit when things go wrong, but we use this to our advantage. She will react quickly and get multiple things done at once to coordinate all activity, whilst I will calmly deal with the point of crisis.
Mono-tasking. I am not very good at doing multiple things at home at the same time. I can usually be found by myself doing just one thing (probably a blue-job man-chore that I have been tasked with). The corollary of this is that my wife seems to be able to do 10 or 15 things at once and always has at least 1 child or dog with her. I am not even sure when the last time was that she managed to go for a wee by herself.
Strengths and weaknesses. There are areas where we disagree about who is better at a certain task. Cooking has become a blue-job; partly because I like doing it and partly because she believes that she knows better than the cook-book (she also doesn’t read any instruction booklets). Her sausage casserole is legendary (for the wrong reasons). There are also some areas that are hers, which I don’t understand, like the laundry. It all gets carefully put into separate baskets (kids, adults, uniforms etc) and washed separately, but then it all gets piled up on the bed and requires re-sorting before it is put away. And then there is the Tupperware….
Woman storage. My wife’s brain is clearly driven by a desire for everything to be tidied and stored away for neatness rather than utility. Much like the popular Tupperware storage ‘hacks’ found all over the internet, her pots will be stacked inside each other and stored separately to the lids. This means that every time I want to try and find something to put the kids healthy packed lunches in, I have to take out all the pots and all the lids and then try and marry them up. Quite often (like missing socks) there just won’t be a lid the right size, which will send me into a quiet rage and drives me crazy.
So what? I am sure I also commit the odd minor infraction that infuriates her just as much, although I am pretty well trained and I always put the seat back down when I have had a wee and I don’t often use the toilet when she’s having a candlelit bath. We are all part of a team in our house and we help each other. Like many of the teams I have worked with in my career, each member of the team has specific strengths and we divide our tasks up accordingly. It is what makes us different that makes us stronger. If one member of the team is struggling with a task or taking longer to complete it, then the other team members help out. That’s what being a family is, isn’t it?