November 11, 2007

Sunday Timeline

6:45 a.m.
  • Entire family wakes up within 3 minutes of each other.
  • Swistle nurses Henry.
  • Paul checks his email, then sits on the couch with the children.
  • Twins gradually leak through their diapers, which is what happens if they aren't changed immediately after awakening. But how many times can Swistle tell Paul about this, considering she has told him so many times already? It is getting embarrassing. She will just change the twins herself after she finishes nursing Henry. After all, that is what she would do on a weekday if Paul were at work. It's just a little extra laundry, no big deal. Besides, it's good that he's spending time with the kids.

7:15 a.m.
  • Henry finishes nursing.
  • Swistle stands up.
  • Paul stands up. Paul says, "Well! Guess I'll take a shower!"
  • It would make a lot more sense if Paul would shower while the baby was nursing, since then he'd be all ready now and Swistle could get in the shower. Swistle could have said something about this earlier, but Swistle has explained this so many times. How can she explain it without Paul feeling like she thinks he's the village idiot? It would also make sense for Swistle to shower now while Paul handles some morning chores, but Paul is always so crabby if he tries to do things before he showers, so she will just let it go.
  • Paul showers.
  • Swistle feeds the four non-nursing children breakfast.
  • Swistle takes out the trash, into which Paul has dumped something rotten. She should leave it for him to take out, but he would take it out exactly as is: a whole bag, 7/8ths empty, tied up and tossed out the door. Swistle has the super-human intelligence required to realize it's more efficient to add the contents of other trash cans to the bag, especially trash cans that will need to be emptied today anyway, such as the diaper pail which perpetually needs emptying, even more so when Paul doesn't roll up the stinky diapers before dropping them in there. Swistle remembers that stupid "baby-and-me" class instructor who told one mother that she should be sure to praise her husband for changing his own child's diapers, and to be grateful he even does it. Are the fathers receiving similar instructions about praising their wives, and are we all to be so very grateful that the mothers are willing to change diapers? Please.
  • Swistle packs the diaper bags for errands.
  • Paul is still taking a shower. Swistle and her mom are leaving to go on errands soon, so this is not a good time for one of these long, luxurious showers. But Swistle has mentioned this so many Sundays in a row! How can she mention it again without it sounded like boring naggy wife? She will just have to take a short shower to make up the time.
  • Swistle unloads the dish rack.
  • Swistle gets a load of laundry out of the dryer and folds it and puts it away.
  • Swistle gets Edward changed and dressed.
  • Swistle gets Henry changed and dressed.
  • Swistle tells Rob and William to clear their dishes and sends them to get dressed.
  • Swistle builds a sailing vessel, discovers the New World, settles it, harvests a crop of corn, and returns home with a boatload of gold and spices.
  • Paul gets out of the shower.

7:50 a.m.
  • Paul starts to get dressed. He starts sighing at the children because they're "not letting him get DRESSED!" (They're following him and asking him questions.) His tone implies to Swistle that he thinks Swistle should be keeping the children away from him, but it is hard to know which things Swistle is "picking up on" and which things Swistle is "totally imagining."
  • Paul takes Elizabeth downstairs to get her dressed. (Later Swistle will discover that Elizabeth has (1) uncombed hair, (2) no shoes, and (3) a short-sleeved shirt in November.) Having Paul downstairs makes it tricky for Swistle to take a shower, because she'd have to leave Edward unattended and Edward is the kind of toddler who dumps a box of cereal onto the carpet and sits there eating some and grinding the rest under his feet. Swistle tells Rob to watch Edward.

8:00 a.m.
  • Swistle heads for the shower. She first has to remove Paul's book, which has been left hanging on the shower bar. Why do they have to have the same "consideration for others" conversation so many times, particularly about taking unnecessarily long showers (READING in the shower, for god's sake) when Swistle has to be somewhere, not to mention how it means the woman he supposedly loves more than any other in the whole world ends up with tepid water? If she explains this AGAIN, she will sound as if she thinks Paul is a child, not a grown man who can understand things and remember them later. And probably he doesn't love her, either, since he doesn't care if she gets enough hot water.
  • Henry fusses. Paul doesn't seem to notice. The fussing makes it difficult for Swistle not to feel tense and rushed, and also as if nothing gets done unless she does it.

8:10 a.m.
  • Swistle is drying off and putting up her hair, and she can hear that Paul is impatient with the children already. How can that be, when he has NOTHING TO DO? Swistle makes an unpleasant expression and wears away a little more of her tooth enamel.

8:20 a.m.
  • Paul asks what still needs to be done. He seems to expect to be praised for realizing that things need to be done in the mornings. Does he not realize that 1 hour and 35 minutes of work have already taken place?
  • Swistle replies that all that is left to do is nursing the baby, and doing last-minute diaper checks, and putting on coats, and none of that can be done right now except the nursing, and would Paul like to do that?
  • Swistle should leave it at that, but she cannot. Instead she explains to Paul again how it works best if they MESH their routines for maximum efficiency and fairness. That is, instead of Swistle working while Paul gazes into space, and then Paul doing something for himself while Swistle works, and then Swistle working while Paul does something else for himself, and then Paul asking what work still needs to be done when it's all been done, it works best if Paul works too, in a way compatible with Swistle's work. Yes, Swistle CAN do it all herself, since she DOES do so on weekdays, but the agreement was that when they are BOTH home they SPLIT the work, since otherwise Paul has a weekend and Swistle does not.
  • Paul agrees. Yes, he remembers this. But he says, what was he supposed to do? He only just now finished getting ready, and everything's done!

8:25 a.m.
  • Swistle goes to Target and spends a lot of money.


AndreAnna said...

I hope you spent enough! I run around like a chicken without a head with one toddler and a very doting helpful husband. I can't imagine a house of 5 and Paul. You should apply for sainthood for not ripping off his daddy buttons and carrying them in a jar. Call the Pope, it's Sunday. I think he's free.

Nellyru said...

The exact same sentiment occurs here on a weekly basis. Sometimes I just have to look at my husband and wonder: Are you really that fucking stupid, or are you just as asshole? And which one of those things would be better?? Surely there are men out there that are neither stupid nor a jackass...but then I read your blog (and usually a bunch of comments as well) and decide maybe there are not. We've all just got to make the best of what we've got. Hmph.

samantha jo campen said...

I am a firm beliver that all wives need a Wife. Because husbands just don't cut it.

I was getting tense FOR you.

Honestly, this is one of my biggest fears once we have the baby--my husband will contine to space out or just 'not notice' what needs to be done, so therefor I have to always TELL him. But that's nagging! And I don't want to be like that. But I ALSO really don't want to have to do 99.9% of EVERYTHING myself.

Yeah. I need a wife.

d e v a n said...

I feel you. I hope you spent a lot of money at Target. It takes a lot of money to erase that seething-under-the-surface resentment. (i wish I didn't know that, but I do.)

Black Sheeped said...

Again: how does one READ in the SHOWER? Doesn't the book get all wet? And what? Who reads in the shower? It just doesn't make any sense!

I know I've read before that he does this, but you have blown my mind all over again.

Reading! In the shower!

Tina G said...

Oh Swistle! You are an amazing woman to be able to write about this topic so the third person, no less. I laughed out loud- because YES, the same stuff happens here. That meshing philosophy of yours is what women understand, and men just don't. I also can do just about EVERYTHING that needs to get done and then build a sailing vessel, discover new lands, plant crops and such in the time it takes for my husband to exercise....and then he still needs to shower after that. UGH.

Type (little) a said...

Subtract 4 kids and this is my life. Except I build a rocketship and colonize MARS while my husband is getting ready.

Which is all he EVER has to do, and we are always late. God, I WISH he would shower first.

jen said...

ahh, retail therapy. Every time T does this to me I tell him it's going to cost him.. literally! I hope you got lots and lots of cool stuff.

Omaha Mama said...


What I'm impressed with is how efficient you are. I'm not nearly so efficient.

My Hubs reads the paper every Sunday morning, after sleeping an hour and a half longer than the rest of us. We all just go about our business as if he weren't even there. Sometimes it's just better that way (and possible if there are only two small people to attend to).

Farrell said...

OHmygod girl you were just what I needed right now. You are FUNNY. And also: thank you again for making me happy again that I am SINGLE.

Farrell said...

Omig I love your readers. I have been saying I need a wife for I don't even know how long!

Misguided Mommy said...

after that day you better have spent A! LOT! of money.

i wont tell you how my hubs got up this morn, swept and mopped, cleaned the kitchen, helped me clean the closets, took me to sams club and walmart, unloaded all the groceries, and then left me alone to eat ice cream while he did the laundry and put fresh sheet son our sons bed..dont worry its only cuz i'm super preggo

coffee stained laura said...

omg I so so so feel for you.

this piece was particularly priceless:
- Swistle builds a sailing vessel, discovers the New World, settles it, harvests a crop of corn, and returns home with a boatload of gold and spices.
- Paul gets out of the shower.

I was laughing and crying for you at the same time!

The one thing I decided regarding my weekends is that I am off duty until husband starts helping. I don't cook, I let dishes pile in the sink, I don't take out the trash and I don't do laundry. Husband eventually catches on that he actually has to contribute something if the gears are going to turn. If daughter starts to whine that she's hungry, I tell her to go ask daddy. It took a while, but he now gets it. That's not to say he doesn't have his selfish moments... there's still work to be done!

I advise that like the tv writers, next weekend you should go on strike! Aside from nursing Henry, tell Paul that it will be his responsibility to do EVERYTHING else regarding the kids, cooking, cleaning and laundry. Hopefully he will then realize what it takes to get your house running every day and choose to chip in more. You deserve the help!!!

Poppy said...

Ah yes, payback costs A LOT of money.

Men...they are so dense. I agree with need a wife. If not a new wife and big stick to prod your hubby with !

Cari said...

Okay, seriously, what were you doing in my house today?

In some (very small) way it makes me feel 'better' (as in "if someone is pulling out my fingernails it'd be nice to have company") that I'm not alone...

amber said...

OH MY. Not only does he READ in the SHOWER (which to me is totally bizarre - are these books plastic-covered?) but he does it while you need help with the chores. Heh. For me, this would equal divorce in very short order. Which is perhaps why I am not married. I applaud your patience, and also wonder where you acquired such superhuman amounts.

caley said...

Oh my. You are HILARIOUS. And I totally feel your pain. I hope the shopping trip to Target was a good and expensive one.

My husband, too, acts like he deserves praise merely for taking a momentary break from His World to ask what needs to be done in Our World. My answer is always: I don't have someone sitting here, spelling out for me every single little thing that needs to be done; why must I do that for you? You have eyes- you can see all those dishes in the sink just the same as me. You have a nose- you can smell that the kid needs to be changed just the same as me. For the love of god, WHY OH WHY is he not capable of just helping out without me making even more work for myself spelling out exactly what needs to be done, and how to do it, in excessive detail??? WHY?

I envy your ability to write about this kind of stuff with such humor. When I say it, it just sounds whiny. You are one funny and patient woman.

Family Adventure said...

I hope you spent a bundle! Argh! You have superhuman patience. Seriously. I would not have lasted much past the twins leaking their diapers.

Reading in the shower?!


Emblita said...

Wow Swistle, how utterly annoying that he doesn't just do what needs to be done. How about next weekend, you just take Henry and leave him at home with the rest of the kids and a long list of chores.
Also, this makes me appreciate my hubby... who does laundry, dishes, cleans and takes care of Askur every day while I work.

JMH said...

Every year, I go away for 2-3 days for a work conference. My husband has to be "me" while I am gone. That means HE is in charge of getting the kids up, fed, dressed and off to school / preschool/ babysitter AND ballet classes after school. I used to leave detailed notes for him but one day I had an epiphany. He is NOT a babysitter...he is their FATHER. He is also a PARENT and he will just have to fend for himself. After all, no one wrote out a detailed plan for ME!!

I love this work conference :)

nikki said...

I think it's just a man thing. Both the hubby and I work, but when we come home, he acts too worn out and I take care of most stuff. Either that or I get 10 things done to his 2.

MrsGrumpy said...

Does he laminate the pages of the book before he brings it in the shower? It used to irk me that people would praise husbands for "babysitting" their own offspring. My mother in law used to say,"Oh, is Leonard babysitting today..?" and I would say,"No, Leonard is being a Dad to his kids..." He often would do some small, odd job (think cleaning the stove top) and expect high praise for weeks afterward and/or wonder why I couldn't do that on a daily basis. Although,now, I do realize how many things he did do... and I feel a lot guilty.

Nowheymama said...

"Are the fathers receiving similar instructions about praising their wives, and are we all to be so very grateful that the mothers are willing to change diapers? Please."


"Swistle builds a sailing vessel, discovers the New World, settles it, harvests a crop of corn, and returns home with a boatload of gold and spices."


Anonymous said...

My mother-in-law JUST told me yesterday that I should say thank you when her son 'helped' with the baby (changing diapers) so he'd be more inclined to do it. Sheesh!

Tessie said...

I know about this, obviously.

Especially the part about the sowing and reaping of the maize whist the man of the house READS IN THE EFFING SHOWER.

The Wife said...

Seriously, Swistle, how do you NOT smack him? Or...something awful.

On the helpful side, I hate nagging. And I warned the Husband when we got married that I hated nagging so if he wanted a happy wife he was going to have to help without me asking 8 hojillion times. So the solution? I make a list of everything (seriously, everything--empty the cat box is on the list) that needs to be done and keep it in a central location (that doesn't change...I don't want that, "I looked for the list but couldn't find it so now I'm going to surf the net endlessly" crap). That way we both know everything that needs to be done. I tell him what I HATE to do and he generally starts with that. I try to keep my standards low and be grateful for whatever help I can get. It usually works. Excepting hormonal shifts when I become The Wife that is Impossible to Please.

the new girl said...

...a boatload of gold and spices.

I've loved you for a long time Swistle and this post here is an example of why.

I'm working on a post about how gooooood it must be to be the daddy.

CAQuincy said...

READING IN THE SHOWER?! Seriously, HOW does one DO that?

LOVE this post!

MY husband does not get up on weekends until at LEAST 11:00 (usually 12:00). Then he spends a few hours on the computer, then he goes and putters outside (at LEAST the yard work gets done), then comes in around 5:00, says "we are so boring, why don't we ever do anything?" Then he announces we're going to go somewhere, sits at the computer while I gather up myself and the three kids, and gets upset because we can't manage to get out the door within 10 minutes so that all the restaurants are filled up.

I remind myself every weekend that I KNEW he was like this when I married him. I made my bed, I lie in it. (And it never gets made as hubby is in it for hours and hours after I get up).

Jenny H. said...

Are you positive you are not recording things at my house? Because it seems to me I have heard that conversation, or one eerily similar, about a bajillion times.

And of course you don't want to sound all Bitchy McScreecherson, but for the love of god, how many times must you say the same thing over and over again?! Do we really sound like that teacher from Charlie Brown? Because that's what my husband claims. And yes, he was punished for that smartass remark!

It's a wonder we are not all stark-raving lunatics. But who has the time?!

Christine said...

Oh dear,
I'm so sorry, I feel like that all the time, I certainly don't have one, let alone five children.

But you, handle it all like a pro! Really, you're a marvel!

Katie said...

When did you sneak in my house? I didn't even hear you come in!

Yesterday I was in the car, with it running, kid dressed, bathed, myself dressed, bathed, dog fed and let out, kitchen chores done.....waiting for my husband to emerge, refreshed from the bathroom after reading and surfing the net. PLEASE.

I love the quote about tooth enamel. So true, Swistle!!!

Alice said...

i'm sort of scared to get ever get married specifically for this reason.

Mommy Daisy said...

Once again, Swistle, I think this proves how well you have things pulled together. You're awesome.

And the not-helpful-needs-praise-husband is the spitting image of mine. So, I'm sure you know by now that you are not alone. I think it makes me feel better too.

For these reasons you mentioned...weekends suck!

Shannon said...

I think they actually think they are helping, too. I know Jeff does.

Vicky said...

I hate when husbands don't notice things need to be done. Do they think the house and kids magically get clean? Ugghh.

Marie Green said...

Thank goodness for Target therapy!

It is a mother's curse, I think, to be the ONLY one that can get everyone ready. David too spends the entire morning on just himself, meanwhile I've fed, changed, dressed, and done hair on 4 people! And I'm the woman! Shouldn't it take longer for ME to get ready? Since when do the MEN spend more time grooming?

Out of all the stereotypes, why does David have to prove THIS ONE wrong? Why can't he be fast getting ready, so that I can fulfill my womanly duty of slowly applying make up? Instead, I'm slathering on my Superstay lip stuff while driving down the street.

Again, retail therapy rocks! =)

Penny said...

Oh, I know how this goes. My husband is the same, inefficient kind of person who asks after the fact what can be done - or sometimes, during the periods of time I am working and he is gazing into space, says something like, "I am wondering if I should ask you if something needs to be done." To which I have perfected my scowl.

bananafana said...

same thing in our house just with (way) fewer kids. most days I try to remind myself that my husband is oblivious and loves me and it isn't his fault that he is clueless. Other days I think too darn bad and that isn't my problem and how do you step on a juicebox and not notice and just leave it there? and then I want to throw something

bouncy said...

Kudos to you for not ripping his head off.

My husbands seems like yours. We don't have kids yet. Only dogs. My only hope is that the kids can vocalize their needs better than our dogs.

Shelly said...

I'm baffled by the reading in the shower bit. How does one go about that?

And seriously, how do you not kill him?

MaryB said...

I have not laughed that hard in weeks!!! Are your husband and my husband twins separated at birth, or are all men like this?

Often times, mine even has the audacity to behave this way and THEN tell me how I could do it better or more efficiently! Compound that kind of stupidity with the fact that he only lives here about 40-50% of the time and consequently has almost no idea how things in the house run and it makes for one seriously pissed off mama!

Phat Phannie said...

Oh, I feel for you, and I know you were frustrated, but dang, you sure had me in stitches!

First of all, READING IN THE SHOWER? Are you serious? Don't the pages get wet?

This scenario is so familiar. In my highly scientific study I've found that A. Women have a sense of urgency and consideration. B. Men do not.

It's the same throughout the world. If I so much as spend 20 minutes in the shower I feel like I've wasted time. That's not to say I don't ever relax, but READING?!!

Pann said...

Does he have attention deficit disorder?

Shelly Overlook said...

Like everyone else, I'm dying to know about reading in the shower. Geez, I am happy to have 5 uninterrupted minutes alone in the shower, the thought of having the luxury to read is incomprehensible.

Woman with a Hatchet said...


--Alice from the Dilbert comic

I don't know, Swistle. I'm thinking that a judicious application of cast iron skillet is called for here.

Think of it as an iron supplement. : )

Pann said...

I know I've felt the same burning resentment many a time.

Linda said...

Hilarious, Swistle! I was laughing so hard I cried and then my husband read it and laughed, too.

To reassure the unmarried commenters, I had "the talk" with my husband when we had kids. I explained that I did not want to be the only one to do everything and what sorts of things needed to be anticipated (shoes/coats on, diaper bag checked and repacked, etc) and he has been AWESOME! Yeah, he's not perfect, but he does the dishes a lot more than I do so it's a wash.

It helps that I work 24 hours every weekend so he had to learn how to do it all, too. It's a lot of pressure to be the only one in control! Target helps, though.

Stacie said...

If it weren't for the reading in the shower bit I'd SWEAR you were married to my husband. Honestly. It makes me so irritated to still have to give the man (who designs all these oh-so-complex IT systems all day long, or so he tells me, which must require some thinking skills) detailed directions. FIRST you put the bib on THEN you give the child yogurt. FIRST you put the shoes and coats on and THEN you let the children go outside.

Reading. In the shower. Insanity.

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I think this may be the best post I've ever read. My husband and Paul may very well be the same person.

I hope you spent a trainload at Target.

Also, reading in the shower? Is this possible?

desperate housewife said...

First of all- been there! I really identified with your total frustration at the "Swistle should be keeping the kids out of my way" implication in the husband's tone of voice! I HATE that!
But I really think all of this clueless, not knowing what needs to be done and in what order problem boils down to lack of practice for most men. I mean, I'm home all day, so I have the art of kitchen tidying and children readying down to a science most of the time. If I were to spend weekends only trying to help Jim at his office, I would probably spend much of the time being baffled and in the way.
NOT to say that the comparison is completely apt. Obviously, our home is not my "office," and obviously, any human being with half a brain should know that when a baby's diaper hasn't been changed in several hours and he's fussy, you maybe check the diaper! (Not that this has ever happened here...)
This comparison breaks down completely when it comes to moms who work out of the home just as many hours as their husband, though. In that case, they both should technically be on even playing ground, yet somehow it seems Mom is always the one who is left to organize everything and everyone.

Leticia said...

Men can be so clueless. They need a list. You need to make Paul a list of things to do. And, then, I'm pretty sure you'll need to remind him to refer to such a list. You are hysterical.

Tracy said...

I didn't know you had a key to my house? That is exactly what happens at my house

melissa said...

OMG...this sounds EXACTLY like my husband's showering routine. It makes me crazy! And like you, how many times does it need to be said? I think all men share a brain...really.

MadMad said...

Hysterical, as always! I'm off to show this to MY own sack of worthlessness!

mom of the year said...

Reading in the shower? SERIOUSLY? Tell him he needs to find a new hobby, say like, reading while FOLDING LAUNDRY!

theflyingmum said...

I think next weekend Swistle should jump out of bed, grab Henry, head to the bathroom, start filling up the tub with warm sudsy water, sit down, start nursing Henry - and then they should take a nice, long bath together. Paul can take his luke-warm shower after Swistle and Henry are done. Yeah, I know it's a lovely little fantasy.

Sara said...


Gabe said...

I think this behavior is innate to most men. I work full time as a physician and it's invariably the male nurses who ask me "Need me to do anything, doc?" just as I've spent the last 5 minutes setting up my own suture kit/central line etc. Of course, I often feel this way in dealing with many of my male colleagues--I'm always the one who seems to find that item that is sitting on the counter in plain site yet cannot be found by any of them. Or cleaning up their crap around the workstation. I count myself lucky that my husband's mother seemed to have trained him much better than most as he is the stay at home parent--and if he chose to be as oblivious as some I think I'd kick his ass out of the house and make him go to work.
Sarah (not Gabe, too lazy to get out of the account)

Michele said...

I love this. Love it. I will be forwarding it to every mom I know today. Brilliant.

Reading. In the shower. Lovely.

minnie said...

ah. the telling dilemma. if you have to tell them then you've already had to spend all this mental energy figuring out what needs to be done. it's the curse of multi-tasking maybe. or maybe it's just the curse of actually being AWARE.

now, my question is, how do i raise my boy to be different?

Swistle said...

This is the best comment section EVAR. I only just read them today (yesterday and Sunday I was busy fretting about my SundryBuzz post), and I laughed and Laughed and LAUGHED.

The reading in the shower thing-- I DO NOT KNOW. I asked him if I could interview him for a little instructional on the topic, and he got all cold and huffy, so unless I get a wildlife cam and hide it in the shower stall, this remains a mystery.

I THINK that he stands there reading the book, until the hot water begins to fade. Then he quick washes. That's my theory.

I'm sure there were other questions I wanted to answer, but I was SO SURE I'd remember, I didn't take notes. And now, re-reading 60 comments? That would stop my heart. I can only do that much laughing once a day.

Amy said...

I think we might be married to the same man...

Sometimes I fantasize about having a different husband, and this new husband would be SO helpful and appreciative and in awe of my multitasking skills, but then I remember (and you and your commentors just reaffirmed) that they are basically all the same...

Was that mean? I didn't intend for it to be.

Me. said...

Not to give assvice or anything but thats exactly what I will do now. My hubby does zero around the house but I still have a suggestion. When swistle finishes feeding Henry she stands up and gives baby to Paul saying; honey could you burp him thanks, I'm going to shower, oh and when you are done please do (fill in blank)
Asking, nagging, reminding never works but plain on telling them to do something and leaving no room for argument works ... sometimes. If he starts to say something before you make it to the showe, just say; sorry really need a shower we'll talk later.
Have no suggestions about how to get him to do anything else, just how to get into the shower first.

mpotter said...

holy cats.
it won't matter to you, but:
i'm so friggin sorry!!!!!

i hope he reads your blog.
some men are more visual.

hope this weekend will be better.
and he needs to do dishes after thanksgiving! (w/ no dishwasher)