The Problem With Asking

This morning I am feeling spent; physically and mentally exhausted. On a nightly basis, I am woken up by children. Multiple. We have four. We, my spouse and I, chose to have four children. We made that conscious choice together. However, it is I who gets woken up for breastfeeding, nightmares, bedwetting, snuggles, vomit, fevers… and very early wake ups when they can’t go back to sleep. I am going on 9 years of this. I am tired.

On top of this, I am frustrated. There is a sink full of dishes. Clean clothes are piled on the couch, and dirty laundry baskets are overflowing. I have spent my days digging a hole so that we can repair a crack in our house foundation. I am sore. There is dirt scattered throughout the house, and caked in the bathtub from a mud fight. A card game is scattered on the floor.

I texted my husband, “what what do I have to do to get you to do things in the house?” He was awake shortly after I was this morning. I have asked him numerous times to do the dishes in the mornings. Still, I have to ask. I am very tired of having to ask.

No one asks me to wash their clothes. I do it. No one asks me to change their sheets. No one asks me to do the dishes. Clean the cat boxes. Feed and water our animals. Cook the meal. School the children. Sweep the floors. Put away the laundry. Mow the yard. Check the basement for leaks. I do these things and more.

I am asked to read stories. To find shoes, socks, keys, wallets, clean clothes. I am asked to make phone calls. I am asked to take kids out to eat. I am asked to remember groceries. I am asked to fix snacks. I am asked so many extra things, and usually I do them.

When I don’t do things, no one else does them. There are complaints and meltdowns.

I hear this same tale from many, so many stay at home parents. Or others tell me, “just ask for help.” Cue me wanting to punch someone, and taking a deep breath. Asking is another to-do. I am raising children to participate in life skills and contributions, as we all are. When we have a partner who is not keeping up, or seen as willing participants of these necessary duties… how does that affect these lessons? How does it affect the well-being of the family unit? Think about this for a second.

I do believe that we should be able to ask for help. I believe it is a healthy ability to have, and promotes healthy interactions amongst people. However, there is also something to be said about initiative. In the home, I feel that this shows mutual care for our living space and for the family. The same can be said for roommates, adult children/teens, whatever the relationships are. Asking for help should not be the default for shared household responsibilities.