War is brewing in our house  –  on one side my husband and I stand and on the other side stands our two children.  At one time Drew was on the  side of  the children, but my guess is he likes our bed too much and has since joined me!  Seriously the war is about all the work that has to be done in this house.  I’ve always been a hard worker and I apply that hard work ethic at work and at home.   The hard work thing hasn’t paid off because at times my children sit while I do all the work.  It’s getting better because I’ve decided no more as I’m exhausted and  burnt out.  My husband gets how exhausted I am and in fairness to him he works permanent grave yard shift so I do understand why he’s exhausted all the time too.   We no longer let our children get out of work, putting their clothes away or cleaning up their room – we make them complete their chores even if means standing over the top of them.  Yes, we yell and scream and get into ridiculous arguments but come on this is our future generation they have to know how to take care of themselves and the environment around them – isn’t this generation that’s going to save the world?  Drew and I have noticed that the boys have their backs up about picking up or doing anything that either doesn’t belong to them or they didn’t make the mess to begin with.  Here’s an example of a conversation with one of my boys while tidying up and organizing their room.  “Matthew, pick up those dirty socks and put them in the laundry basket”.  “No mom, those aren’t my socks.”   “Matthew, the laundry basket is two feet away from you, pick up the socks and put them away.”  No mom, I refuse to pick up anything that belongs to Brendan, I’m not doing it.”  “Matthew, pick up those bloody socks before I come over there, if I come over there and pick up those  socks you are going to be banned from everything you enjoy.”   Shaking his head, “mmm, no mom, I’m not picking up his socks.”  I take a step toward him and he quickly  bends down and picks up the socks and angrily throws them into the washing basket.   Blows my mind, I spend my whole life picking up what other people drop, or cleaning up other people’s messes and my child can’t pick up a pair of socks off the ground because the socks belong to his brother.

So the other night my son, Brendan, goes upstairs to shower and I remind him to dry down the walls of the shower and hang up all the towels.   I took a quick run up there to make sure all the work was completed before he headed to bed because if he didn’t dry the walls he was coming back to finish the job properly.  He did a good job cleaning up the bathroom until I looked over at the toilet; it wasn’t flushed and  full of crap!  Brendan was brushing his teeth at the sink and I said to him, “Brendan you forgot to flush the toilet.”  He stops brushing his teeth and says “not mine, that was Matthew.”    I said  “I don’t care who took a crap in this toilet, flush the toilet.”  “No, it’s not mine.”   “What is it with the two of you with the not mine line, I spent several years wiping both of your asses and not once did I say it’s not my ass.”  “I have flushed and wiped my fair share of shit and guess what, it wasn’t mine but I did it regardless – so buddy flush that toilet and don’t let me hear you say not mine again.”  He stared at me for a few seconds and I saw the look in his eyes, just a flash but something registered like maybe I got through  to that teenager brain of his for just a second.  The very next day I asked Brendan to pick up a dish off of the table and he said “not mine.”  So much for our future generation cleaning up our environment and saving the world.  The word of the next generation, “not mine.” My question is, then whose world is it?


The big day for my husband and I was April 18, 1998 and it was a great day.  Just before I got married my mother had some advice for me.  She said “whatever you do don’t pick up the hammer.”   “What, don’t pick up the hammer, that’s your advice mom.”  “What the hell does that mean?”  Mom then went on to tell me, don’t do the jobs that are his jobs, don’t paint a wall, don’t hammer a nail to hang a picture, don’t wallpaper, don’t shovel the driveway, don’t mow the lawn and whatever you do, don’t take out the garbage.   I was a little confused because my mother did all those things.  “Mom you did all those things and you taught me to be an independent woman and if you want something done do it yourself.”  “Well, she said, I was wrong and I was stupid, don’t do it, if you take these things on they become your job.”  Of course I didn’t take her advice, which is fairly stupid of me, because everyone knows that moms know best.   I’ve picked up the hammer more times than I can count.   I’ve mowed the lawn, I’ve hung the picture, I’ve shovelled the driveway, I hate wallpaper so I’ve never wallpapered a wall.  Have these jobs become my job, no, but mom was right, I’ve shown some talent in some areas and my hubbie knows I can do it.  Would I have been better off pretending I couldn’t do it and he would have jumped to the challenge to make sure all of these things were done in an efficient manner!   Ha, in your dreams, I’d still be waiting..  I like independence so it’s not a bad thing that I just go ahead and complete a job, plus both of us work and two hands are better than one.  I like to think we share the work in the house.  However,  I have found myself either cleaning, de-cluttering or even painting well after midnight while everyone else in bed.  It’s then I hear my mother saying, “don’t pick up the hammer.”  The don’t pick up the hammer line applies to many more things than just hammering a nail into the wall.  For instance this morning, I decided I wanted to vacuum, very normal thing to do and should be an easy task.  My husband has a bad habit of dropping his clothes on the ground with the intent to pick everything up the next morning.  Of course that doesn’t happen and the next day’s clothes end up on yesterday’s clothes and then the next day’s clothes end up on top of two day’s worth and so on, so on…  As you can imagine this can mean a pretty big pile of clothes on the ground on his side of the bed, which really pisses me off but in my head I hear another word of advice my mother gave me, “pick your fights.”   Well the clothes thing drives me nuts, but really it’s a heap of clothes not worth the fight.  Back to this morning, I wanted to vacuum, but I couldn’t vacuum our room because of the pile of clothes on his side of the room.  Like the good wife that I am, I sorted through the clothes and put the dirty ones in the wash and folded the rest and placed them on the chair that I purposely put there as a temporary clothes storage.    He prefers the floor because he seems to miss that chair day in and day out.  After I folded for a few minutes, check out the results below, now imagine all those clothes in a heaped pile on the floor.


The whole time I was folding and putting his clothes on the chair, I kept hearing my mother’s voice, “don’t pick up the hammer”  Well I picked up the hammer on this one because I wanted to vacuum.  Life is about compromise isn’t it?  Later on I noticed that my husband had taken the clothes off the chair and had them sorted on our bed.  I know he’ll put them away at some point today.  My mother’s advice “pick your fights” so true, not worth it, he’s putting the clothes away and not one bad word between us.  For the record, I’ve stopped putting the garbage out…