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Big Dude has been helping out around the house more as of late. Instead of milking this phenomenon for all it’s worth, I am having my own guilty freak out reaction that goes something like this:

For more than 10 years, I have begged, pleaded, cajoled, shamed and/or threatened my husband into helping out around the house with chores such as taking out the trash.

(I despise taking out the trash, specifically dragging the cans to the curb on pickup day.  Don’t ask me why this particular chore annoys me so much because I have no answer.)

All of a sudden — and I can’t even pinpoint the day — Big Dude started doing things around the house.

On his own.

Without being asked.

He’s been doing dishes, putting dishes away, even folding laundry. Just this morning, I came down the hallway, made the right into the kitchen, and found Big Dude putting the finishing touches on Little Dude’s lunch.

Do I stand in the hallway and beam lovingly at my husband, giving thanks for him and the five extra minutes he just saved me (hey, which I can use to shave my legs!)? Nope, not me. I, in all of my Guilty Glory, feel guilty that I’m not the one that made Little Dude’s lunch. I feel guilty that I’m not the one who emptied the dishwasher.

After years of preaching equal participation in household duties, I should be throwing a party now that Big Dude seems to have heard my pleas. I should at least go shave my legs with those extra five minutes. But instead, I find myself wanting to pitch in and help with whatever task he is doing. If he’s emptying the dishwasher, then I help empty the dishwasher because even though he’s finally participating in chores around the house, when I seem him emptying the dishwasher, I feel like I am not pulling my own weight.

Crazy, I know.**

Why can’t I just sit back and appreciate this new helpful side of Big Dude? It could leave just as mysteriously as it came, so I better appreciate it while it’s here, right?

Here’s my lovable husband shuffling from sink to cupboard as he waits for his morning caffeine to kick in, putting away last night’s dinner dishes to help out his wife. Then his wife comes in, hairy legs and all, and rushes to put away the rest of the dishes before he can.

It’s a sickness, I tell you. A sickness!

My brain ping-pongs back and forth inside my head:

Guilt Goddess:  No, I won’t interfere. I should let him finish with the dishes.
Me:  I really should help out. It’s only fair.
GG:  What’s fair is you cooked dinner and washed the dishes last night, it’s his turn now to put away the clean dishes this morning.
Me:  But I can’t just stand here and watch him put them away while I sip my coffee.
GG:  Yes you can.
Me:  Well I can, but I feel guilty.
GG:  Is he complaining?
Me:  No.
GG:  Are you annoyed, angry or resentful that he’s helping out?
Me:  No, I’m ecstatic.
GG:  Then if you feel guilty watching, don’t watch. Take your coffee in your bedroom and go about your morning.
Me:  Yes, ma’am.

Sigh. I wish either of us was motivated to do laundry. I bet I wouldn’t feel guilty if he sorted his own underwear and socks.

**BD thinks this entire line of thought is beyond hilarious.  He said if him helping out causes this much anxiety, he will happily go back to sitting on the couch.  Um, I didn’t ask for THAT.  I just need some time to adjust.  I’m hoping in a few weeks I’ll be the one on the couch watching TV and he’ll be in the kitchen making dinner.

A girl can dream, right?


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The Guilt Goddess

Giving guilt a voice one post at a time.

I am your average guilt-ridden mother of one (or 2, if I'm being honest and including my husband), trying to balance running my own business, running my household and now writing a blog. Someday I hope to have vanquished all of my myriad pangs of guilt and be living blissfully free from moment-to-moment. But, until that time, my guilt will live here.

Twitter: @guiltgoddess

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