I have put my finger on the two areas of household upkeep that drive me the most nuts. This was quite a task, as there are so many to choose from, and of course there is the area of "Things I do that no one really notices, and then they carelessly mess it up again within seconds, making my life feel like a pointless wearying dismal struggle towards death," which is its own thing and too large to call "an area."
The first area is "Anything where I am the only one who does it, ever." The toilet springs to mind. Has anyone but me cleaned a toilet in this household in the last seventeen years? No.
It doesn't matter if it's FAIR or not. For example, Paul could very well feel the same way about me and lawn-mowing. Well, except that I HAVE mowed the lawn periodically. Let me think if I can think of some other example of something he ALWAYS does and I NEVER do. Well, I'm sure there are things, and what I mean is that it wouldn't even matter if he were doing a larger share of housework, or doing plenty of things I never do, I'm STILL crabby about tasks that are ALWAYS mine, as if unbreakably declared so by a deity thousands of years ago.
Nor does it matter if I could have asked someone else to do it, or could have trained the children to do it. If anything, those points make it worse: now it's not only my job to do it, it's my fault if I haven't explicitly told anyone that I don't want exclusive rights to cleaning the toilet. Must I do that for each individual task in life? "Hear ye, hear ye, I have NOT claimed all printer-refilling duties for this office!" "Attention, colleagues! I did not dibs the rights to inspect every empty coffee pot! Please feel free to sometimes make more coffee yourself!" What a waste of time. No, this is why we are already equipped with empathy and brains.
I'm NOT talking about areas where we've agreed that I should be the only one to handle something, such as the checkbook (DO NOT TOUCH IT, HISSSSSSSSS!!!). Or where we can agree it doesn't really NEED to be done but I would like it done anyway, and/or where the task affects only me. For example, if I'm the only one sorting books by how old I was when I first read them, or if I'm the only one who puts the socks in the drawer in color groups, or if I'm the only one who drinks the coffee, I think we can agree it's not right for me to demand everyone else follow/maintain my system. I can demand that they not SCREW UP my system, but I can't reasonably demand that they follow it, or that they agree with me that the pipes under the sink really need to be polished weekly and that we all need to work on that as a family. Which is why I used the toilet as the example: I think we can all agree that that is a non-optional task, and also that all household members are contributing to the necessity of the task-doing, as well as benefiting from the results. It doesn't matter if I'm the only one who cares if the toilet is clean: it still needs to be cleaned, and it's still everyone's responsibility.
The second area is "Anything that is left aside, apparently for me to handle, but without comment." An especially soiled item of clothing, left wordlessly on top of the washing machine. A bowl/pan that will need scrubbing, left wordlessly in the sink before someone leaves for work all day (i.e., so there is no room here for "Oh, it just needed to soak, and I was going to scrub it myself"). A throw rug that had a Dead Rodent Gift on it, left outside on the steps---presumably to be hosed off or disinfected or something? I don't know, but it's been sitting out there in the rain and sun for several days, because the fact of it being there has awakened a stubborn streak known as "Oh, did you expect ME to handle that? How ODD."
This is true EVEN WHEN a comment would have done nothing but result in an exasperated reply from me to just LEAVE it for me, I'M the expert in that, just let ME do it. YES, the end result is the same in regards to who will do the work. NO, the end results are not the same in regards to whose torment is being imagined.
And it is ESPECIALLY true if something is partially done, in a way that indicates that the person starting the task has a specific plan for dealing with the task but would like ME to carry out those plans. For example, if I had been the one to find the Dead Rodent Gift on a rug, I would have dealt with that problem in-house, using cleaning supplies well-suited to the task. If someone feels the task needs to be dealt with outdoors, then he or she may certainly do it that way. But it is a different story if someone drags the rug outside and then thinks they've done their share and it's up to me to complete it. Oh, I can keep stepping right over that rug, bub.
It's also especially true in cases where someone's wordlessness on the subject has left me at a distinct disadvantage. If someone had TOLD me about the very soiled item of clothing, I would have done an immediate vigorous pre-rinse, followed by a soak in a stain treatment. But now it's been 24 hours, and I am facing despair and failure because of someone else's PRESUMPTIOUS WORDLESSNESS.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...