Thursday, June 24, 2010

What do you say?

HP and I helped out at a community booth thing at the neighborhood park recently. At our booth we were handing out information, and homemade cookies. After several times I started to find it real funny that the parents wouldn't say "Thank you" when they took a cookie. Instead they'd turn to their child, who also had a cookie, and say "What do you say?" I started to wonder how old I have to be before I can say "What do you say?" when someone does something for me instead of "Thank you."

Last week Jinxie wrote about running a single household. Before she put it up she asked me if running a house by yourself was just as hard, if not harder, than doing it with someone.

My living space is more than twice what it was before. There are two bathrooms where there was just one. There are two living rooms where there was just one. The bedroom is bigger. My last apartment had four rooms (kitchen, living, bathroom, bedroom), and this house has eight. So vacuuming takes a little bit longer, but really once you're cleaning it's just as easy to clean a little more. Plus there's the whole yard thing now too that apartments don't have.

Cooking for one is actually harder than cooking for two. It's easier to cook for more people, which is why I actually cook more now than before. It takes the same number of pots to cook for both of us than it did to cook for just me. And again, if you are already washing one plate it's just that easy to clean one more.

Laundry is a bit more than before. We do five loads every two weeks instead of the three I did before. But again, the increase in effort isn't the same as the increase in tasks.

So what does all this have to do with saying "Thank you"? I lived completely on my own, no roommates, for over 7 years before I got married. I did every single household chore myself every single time it needed to be done. HP lived with male roommates for six of the last nine years since college, and from the stories he told that meant he did a lot more than just clean up after himself. We've both done everything that needed to be done.

While it might seem silly, we both say "Thank you" a whole lot now. Because every time he cleans up the dishes (which is more times than I do because I don't like dishes), I say "Thank you" because it means I won't have to do them later. Every time I go out and water the lawn (because plants are cool!) he says "Thank you" because it means he doesn't have to. I think one of the things we learned being single for so long was just how much it takes to run a house, and so we are both appreciative of what the other does.

The fact that he's at work today while I'm getting vacation laundry done doesn't mean I won't thank him when he gets home from work. Because he's earning money for our house means that's something less for me to worry about. And I'd bet the house that he'll thank me for doing laundry when he gets home because it means he didn't have to worry about it while he was at work. Being single I would've been wondering how many loads of laundry I could finish between getting home from work and needing to get to bed and when I'd manage to cook dinner somewhere in between.

Some older "knowing" couples have told us to "just wait" till he stops offering to help with the dishes or I stop taking out the trash. Just wait until we stop being appreciative of each other? I hope that never happens.


Jennifer said...

You do get used to the status quo after a while. At that point, remaining appreciative takes more of a conscious effort. It is a very good choice to make - thanking my husband for all he does for us is something that I make a point of doing regularly and I think it has made a substantial contribution to the health and happiness of our marriage. Everyone likes to have their efforts appreciated, right?

Saimi said...

Kids learn through example. If they hear their parents say "thank you" they'll say it.

My husband always thanks me for making dinner, never once did he tell the boys to say thank you but they grew up saying it because it's what they heard their dad say.

Funny how that works!

Nice post! Stopping by from MMB

Anonymous said...

I think it's easy to slip into not appreciating your spouse and starting to feel like one of you is doing all the household chores while the other loafs. I think that's how Satan destroys marriages. One tiny unappreciative step at a time.

This is a good reminder for any married couple to remember to appreciate each other.

Also my husband thanks me everytime I cook and because of his example my children thank me too. =)

Roxie said...

It's also important to remember to be appreciative of everyone in our lives, not just those we live with. That's something I could do better at.

TRS said...

I like this.

And I never thought about it before ... but yeah... parents should say thank you and set an example before they turn on the prompt. Silly now that you mention it.