Dear Couples Counselor:
I asked my kids to do chores and they balked at it. I expected my wife to back me up like I back her up. She ignored it. I wonder if they do chores when I am not home. I wonder if she would really do all the work to avoid asking them to do it. I value chores. I value having them contribute and get a good work ethic and pull their own weight. I would have them do a ton more around the house. When I suggest it, though, it is not met with any enthusiasm.
She tells me she wants me to lead, then does not have my back or sabotages it. I wonder if she simply does not want to be the bad guy. I think to myself if you want me to lead, you need to follow or go along with it or talk about what you want.
So today, she is with the boys while I am at work. She asks my son to do a chore 10 minutes before I leave. She had just asked me, “What area of the house do you want them to do?” I answered and she either did not hear me or did not agree, so she told them to do dusting.
First, why are you asking me what I want them to do? I jump to the negative conclusion that she does not want to tell them what to do, she’d rather I be the heavy. I don’t own the process if I am not giving the chore or am not handed the baton. You and I have not discussed the process and it is not clear what we want him to do.
They have never done dusting. As I was preparing to go to work, he asked me a question about dusting- where to dust. I told him around the baseboards, which he proceeded to do with huffing and puffing. He was not dusting in a way that would contain the dust, which bothered me. Since he has similar allergies to me, I thought dusting was not a good chore and he began having a stuffy nose. As I was leaving, I suggested she help him figure out how to do it. She became angry with me and said, “I thought you were helping him with it!”
I was asked what chore and she overrode it. She gave him a chore to do and did not prepare him for it, then thinks I was somehow in charge? I don’t get that! Again, She assigned her choice of chore and walked away from it and now I am at fault for not showing him how to do it?