And then he says, “It’s just laundry, it’s not like it takes any skill…”

First, I’m on Studio 5 this morning at eleven here in Utah on KSL TV. I think they’ve got me scheduled for two segments, so be on guard. We’re talking about marriage, and since mine is still functioning, and I’m totally opinionated, I get to represent the universal modern day wife. Or Something. If nothing else, watch to see how huge I’ve gotten in the past month.

Secondly, I’m going to be at Women’s Conference down at BYU tomorrow and Friday. If you’re there and want to grab some dinner, Elisa (Motherboard) and I are now arranging a Come-Eat-At-The-Caffeteria-Where-We-Don’t-Have-To-Tip get together for any and all bloggers who’d like to hook up with us. So far, there will be two of us. Come and make it three! We’ll meet at five on Thursday evening outside the Wilk Ballroom on the couches at the top of the stairs. I’ll be the one who looks nine months pregnant. Seriously.

Here’s this week’s Regarding Annie Column. (Also available any time simply by clicking my face over there.)

“So last night my husband said The Wrong Thing.

In case you haven’t lived in a house with other people in it, laundry is kind of a huge issue. It’s taken me 10 years to figure out how to successfully incorporate this necessary evil into my days — an evil, by the way, that multiplies right along with my posterity.

Recently I did a little reworking in our bedroom to find a better laundry place.
We have no walk-in closet, and over the years I’ve realized that if I hide it all away in a hamper, it won’t ever get done until I’m so far behind there’s no catch up. I prefer a quiet corner and a laundry basket/pile that speaks to me when I walk by. It says things like, “Wow, I sure hope you have clean underwear tomorrow,” and “How many days have you worn that T-shirt now?”
“I’m sick of seeing the laundry pile in our room,” Jason says last night. “We need some kind of a hamper.”

To most sane adults, this is a simple comment with a simply proposed solution.

But I’m not sane; I’m pregnant. What my pregnant mind heard was, “You stink at laundry, you have no control of this household and I want a new and better wife who’s younger and hotter and less pregnant than you.”

So what did I do? I entered into what we like to call a Gestational Out of Body Experience. I started to yell. And each time I yelled, I thought to myself, “Whoa, Sister, that was really loud and kind of rude, he was just making a suggestion …” and then I would defend myself to myself by yelling a little louder and getting a little snarkier.

Within about 10 minutes of said behavior, I’d managed to stir my slow to anger husband into, well, anger. And the second he got angry, I got all calm and listeny. Like I wasn’t that crazy woman accusing him of not appreciating me, or criticizing my life and my laundry schedule (a schedule which cannot function with a stupid hamper)
And that’s when he said it. Those fatal words that he casually tossed out, making me instantly want to rip his throat out.

“You know, you talk about housework like it’s a job that only you can do. It’s not like it takes any training, I could do it just as well as you tomorrow if I had to, it’s not like my job which takes actual skill.”

I got very quiet (for a second). It was one of those moments where I knew this disagreement was a hair’s breath away from a full-fledged, hammer throwing fight, or a truce with a bad aftertaste.

It was also one of those moments where my hormones hit a lull and I got smart.

I decided to let his comment go, because I am bigger than this laundry pile, and my knowledge goes deeper than a box of dryer sheets. And for all of the women out there who have made this a profession, I pity the man who has to step into our shoes, because them stilettos are freaking back breaking. Don’t you tell me that kind of footwear doesn’t take skill.

I hope, because I love him dearly, that he never has to crowd his big fat size eleven into one of my skinny little, four-inch-high, eight and a half’s. Now that would be the day.”


  1. Why do you spring the Studio 5 thing on us!! I will set my DVR now.

    I love you guys. We definitely need to convince our husbands that they would all like each other. Adam and Jason would get along swimmingly.

  2. Oh my heck! My hubs would have had a stiletto sticking out of his neck for saying any such thing – this is why I leave him quite often for girl time – so he will think twice before telling me being home all day isnt a ‘job’!
    Proud of you for being the bigger person – something I have yet to learn!

  3. And here I am being angry at doing laundry for one person! But at least I know it takes skill, right?

    Have fun on Studio 5! I’ll be SO super close to you on Thursday at five, but I don’t think I can make it. Bummer.

  4. PS-have you been watching Biggest Loser this season?

  5. *Trying not snicker at the “bigger woman” line* ;D

    Do you read/know Steph @ Diapers and Divinity? She’s having a little get together Thursday at 6 at Goodwood in Orem. So maybe I’ll ditch the kids with the hubs, go to BYU, then goodwood.

  6. Ouch. That’s so disrespectful, I’m not sure I would’ve been able to calm myself down. Kudos.

  7. Say what? Um, yeah, my hubby would have had a slap mark across his face for saying that. How did you calm yourself down with that comment?

    Good luck on your show today! 🙂

  8. You are a better woman than I am! I have those same inner discussions/out of body experiences, only I’m NOT gestating. I admire (and envy) your self control.
    I will be watching you on Studio 5 today. Can’t wait!

  9. See, I wouldn’t have yelled at first, but the last comment would have had me throwing a punch.

  10. (Oh, and when will you GET to BYU? I’ll be at the bookstore for a signing 1:30-3:30–I’d love to see you and Motherboard before or after!)

  11. Not knowing what you said first, I can’t really evaluate his remarks objectively. But isn’t he sort of right? I mean, the big complaint of most intelligent women who choose to be homemakers is that much of the actual maintenance in that home is mindless, unstimulating drudgery.

    One of the biggest revelations I ever had was when my VT, after listening to me grouse about not being “fulfilled” by housework, told me, “We don’t do housework to stimulate our minds or to grow intellectually. We do it to prepare an environment where those other things can happen unimpeded.” See, she was a smart lady who also chose to be a homemaker.

    Certainly, many men would hate the mundane elements of life as a homemaker. And it’s true; we do have to learn how to manage time, space, money, and energy in order to do this job correctly. But I would hate to think that keeping the laundry under control or the bathrooms from becoming national security risks constituted the definition of my skill set. If I really believed that to be the case, I have to admit, I’d have a hard time advising my own daughters to make this choice.

    Thankfully, we know it’s more than that. We also know that, if we’ve made a conscious decision not to use a hamper, then we should damn well be respected for it!! 🙂

  12. Taking care of a home and family is not mindless, takes a good deal of skill, and is not drudgery. It’s all how you view the results. Homemaking is the ultimate career because every job out there is created to support it – advertising, real estate, engineers, government, security, health care, television, journalism, construction, etc. You have reason to take pride in the skill it takes to run a home and family. I often feel overwhelmed because what needs doing never ends and is constantly evolving. Neither homes or people never “stay done”. I have to constantly re-evaluate my strategies and perspective, as well as educating myself in too many subjects to count for me to be effective at what needs attention in my home and family.

    Hopefully everyone does their best at what they choose to do. Being the same as one another is not the point. We are different from the start and that is part of what makes life work. Variety. Society needs your husband’s skills just as they need yours. There is great power in believing in what you choose to do.

    You already know all of this though, don’t you? Pregnant hormones sometimes just take women for a ride. I’ve had the “out of body pregnant self” experience many times during my pregnancies. Come have a bagel with me and we’ll laugh about it.

  13. You are a much better woman than I. There would have been death in my house if my husband said that. House work/ management is hard enough without comments from the peanut gallery.

  14. I don’t have any beautiful words of wisdom to say, as many of the comments above. All I can think of is shaking my finger and saying “Oh No He Didn’t”…not very wise, I know.

    P.S. great job today on Studio 5! It was a fun surprise to see you on today.

    P.S.S. might make it to dinner tomorrow, my sister and I will be at the conference…we’ll just see how the kiddos hold up.

  15. Oh I am going to Women’s Conference and would love to meet you and Motherboard. I am not sure if I can fit it in, but I will certainly look around for you. Thanks for telling us about this.

  16. Oh, this is heelarious. I lub it when your hub is NOT in Iraq. It’s so entertaining.

    I wish I didn’t have a wedding reception tomorrow so I could meet you and Motherboard. And go to Annette’s signing. But I will see you at the CBC!

  17. Dude can I relate to this Gestational Out Of Body Experience of which you speak. I have been experiencing them and they are cah-razy. (I just read your post to my husband and he nodded his head and said “You only notice these when they’re really bad. I’ve been having WAY more Gestational Out Of Body Experiences than you.” GENIUS.

  18. Sounds like a Keith comment 😉 Am I the only one who gets silently depressed when I finish a Costco-sized box of dryer sheets, knowing that I just did 256 loads of laundry?

  19. Yikes. Good for you for not throwing the hammer.

    I would totally be there for dinner at the Y if my 15 year old didn’t have his Grand Concert. Bummer.

  20. Wait til you hit menopause. The irrationality you feel makes you WISH someone would slap you and put everyone out of their misery. Finally, your children are sleeping all through the night (and morning, if you let them) and you wake up drenched in sweat several times a night. Or to pee. Or worrying. You go to the dr. and the answer to all your symptoms is old/fat/hormone therapy. Really.

    I’m an “introducer” for Women’s Conference — maybe I’ll make it up to the lounge. 🙂

  21. Of course you could just let him take over the laundry as it is no big deal for him. Last year I unexpectedly became seriously ill and was out of action for a long time. My husband had to take over everything, now he really appreciates me. He had no idea how long everything took, how much there was to do with laundry as it involves sorting, washing, ironing and putting away, he couldn’t even turn on the machines in the laundry without coming to me in bed to ask for intructions, he did not have a clue which piece of clothing belonged to which child. That was just the laundry. There was the cleaning, the cooking, the shopping and childcare too. Not an experiment anyone in our house wants to repeat. As my 11 year old daughter said, “Daddy is no good at being you”.

  22. Amen girl! If there was no skill involved than why can’t my husband do a load without ruining something????

  23. And yet my younger brother in law never did figure out on his own to move the dam for the soap in the washing machine. And so, since he was using powder and not liquid, after he did his laundry, there was a sopping wet disgusting powder block of soap left ove.r His clothes had no soap touching them for a couple of months.
    The job at least requires a little bit of sense!

  24. Oh man poor Jason;) I can not only imagine the shock on his face but then the anger and seeing you get so calm would of been hilarious. I love your column you make me laugh. Is Jason still breathing today? Hope you had fun at Studio 5.

  25. That is not exactly how it went down. It is not as bad as written in this post. Anne left out some important details, but her story sure got some of you riled up. The pen is mightier than the sword, I guess.

    Lets just say, I did not talk down to her at all when I said that, and it was taken out of context. I was talking in relation to the fact that if she dies tomorrow, I would be able to do the laundry and do the cleaning around the house, but if I died, she wouldn’t be able to do my job. It has nothing to do with skills. Yes, I know, I would not be able to do as good of a job as her obviously, but I am capable like many men.

    Trust me, I do more housework that most of your husbands.

  26. I love that your husband came and commented. The only time my husband comments is when he feels it necessary to “correct” the details.

    Trust me when I say “our recollection, taken out of context version” makes for a much better story!

    Love you girl!

  27. I hate laundry. I hate it so bad. I hate it worse than I hate the dentist. I hate it with a burning passion of 150,000 white hot suns. I hate it so much, we need a new word for hate because HATE just isn’t cutting it anymore. No, it doesn’t require skill. But it does require picking up dirty undies & no matter how you manipulate your hand you invariably grab it by the crotch. And it requires handling sweaty, stinky socks. Gag.

    I hate laundry. The end.