Me: Why can't you just put them in the hamper right away, instead of dropping them on the floor?Slightly dramatized for effect, and Kevin says that when he's quiet like that, he's just thinking, but still, that's pretty much how the conversation goes. It's as if we're having two entirely different conversations about the same subject -- somehow, we think about this in really different ways. Part of it, I think, is that the mess barely registers for him -- he notices it once in a while, but mostly, it's just not on his mental radar when he's busy thinking about other, admittedly more important, things. Whereas I can't seem to turn the mess off -- it's always there, blinking a bright red light in my head, making it damnably difficult to concentrate on my own more important things...
Kev: When I'm already strapped for time, and wanting to work, cleaning up slightly messy clothes just doesn't occur to me.
Me: But if you put it away right away, then it's actually less work overall -- because you don't have to later sort out the piles of clothes on the floor, figuring out which ones are really dirty and need washing, which can be worn once or twice more before washing, and which, inexplicably, are completely clean but somehow ended up on the floor anyway...
Kev: It just doesn't seem like a priority.
Me: Plus, if you do it right away, then the floor is clean! All the time! Whereas if you wait and do it all a week later, you've had to deal with one, two, three, four, five, six, seven days of a dirty floor. Seven times as much mess, plus more work! All because you didn't just put the clothes in the hamper (or on the bed rail if they can be worn once or twice more) right away, when you were taking them off. It's not like you have to go to another room! The hamper is right there! Right next to where you stand when you take off your clothes!
Kev: [blank stare, as if he literally cannot understand what I'm talking about. He may just be stunned by the number of exclamation points that have entered the conversation. Or by my sudden striking resemblance to my mother.]
I don't think we're likely to change the way either of us actually think. So we're trying to address these issues in other ways. You'd think, fifteen years into a relationship, that we'd have the laundry issue sorted out, at least, but it was never that big a deal before; we had enough time to handle it, albeit inefficiently. It took having a kid to really crunch our time enough that we've had to start dealing with these lurking frustrations.
So far, on the revised cleaning front -- Kev's done a good job with the nightly dishes. It's my job to empty the dishwasher whenever it's full (a task neither of us likes), so he always has room to load whatever will fit in, and then handwash the rest. I've asked him to add wiping down the counters and cleaning the stovetop to his nightly routine; we'll see how that goes. He volunteered to do a load of laundry at night too, but that turns out not to work because the machine is right next to Kavi's room and wakes her up. The alternating weeks of responsibility for groceries / cooking worked for a few weeks, and then houseguests really threw it off. Hopefully we'll be able to pick it up again; it was nice while it lasted.
We're thinking of adding something like three hours of Sunday afternoon housework time. Start the laundry at 4, take turns watching Kavi as much as needed while we clean the bathrooms, take out the trash, do whatever other random tasks have accumulated. Kev's a little dubious, but I'm optimistic. We didn't do it this Sunday, though, because I had that cooking class, which ran late, and he watched Kavi all through it, so needed a break afterwards. And then this coming Sunday, I have workshop from 2-5 at Jeanie's. Next Sunday is the Kriti planning meeting. Hmm...maybe we need to try this on Saturday instead. :-) We'll see how it goes.
I think I've always had this fantasy that we'd just naturally do the things we notice and it'd divide evenly between us both and neither of us would feel overburdened and we'd never have to discuss housework. But that's just crazy talk, I fear. Is it just us? Or do the rest of you have to divide up household tasks so concretely too?