How do I get my husband to take care of his own shit? My husband is a hard working, caring person who is totally disorganized. Initially, it seemed easier to me to just do things for him than to wait forever to him to do them himself. This plan has backfired and now he does nothing that involves an interaction with a third party. He will not call the pizza or Chinese take out order in, he will not return any reply to his own juror summons, and most recently, he will not call the center for disease control.
Last week he was harassing my poor, innocent, cat named Jack. Jack tired of my husband and bit him ever so slightly on the wrist. His wrist swelled up terribly and the infection started travelling up my husband’s arm. Eventually, he had to seek medical attention and he named Jack the perp of this domestic cat bite. The Dr. gave him antibiotics, and he is fine. I’m sure my husband had some disgusting construction crud on his arm that cause the worsening infection and my cat is totally innocent. Eight days ago my husband was supposed to call our vet and have Jack’s records sent to the center for disease control to clear Jack’s name. Today he calls me at work and asks me to do it because he has spotty cell service where he is. Do I take care of his shit AGAIN or do I risk my dear cat being confiscated because of his negligence?
First order of business: save the poor cat.
Second order of business: stop the bullshit.
I’ve long wondered why a man who can manage tens of millions of dollars, oversee a staff of forty, or supervise the construction of an entire building cannot manage to find his own keys. For a time, I reluctantly bought into that whole hunter/gatherer farce, but now I know the truth: men act this way because we allow them to.
Admit it…part of you feels a little gratified when you locate the sunglasses, answer the juror summons, or send his mom flowers on her birthday. It makes the fact that he needs you concrete. Let’s banish those thoughts and feelings. He married you and loves you and needs you for a variety of reasons, none of which is the fact that you’re a goddam bloodhound or his social director.
We have the same conversation in this house about thirty times a day. “Look with your hands, not just your eyes.” If you can really commit to not helping him physically, your life will be so much better. You can help him mentally with sympathy. You can acknowledge his frustration, but you can NOT stop what you’re doing and go help him. He’ll learn if there are consequences. He’ll be late for work because he couldn’t find his brown belt. He’ll spend a night in jail because he skipped jury duty. He’ll have to eat wilted celery from the back of the crisper drawer because he won’t order a pizza. And slowly but surely, he’ll start to take care of himself. You just have to steel yourself; there will be whining and door slamming. Just tolerate it, and repeat to yourself, over and over, “I am not his mother. I am not his mother.”