It's the small stuff

I Love My Stupid, Petty Fights With My Husband

My husband disapproves of my dishwasher loading technique; I can’t stand how he never puts his shorts away.

Originally Published: 
A husband disapproves of wife's dishwasher loading technique
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I love my husband. I actually believe that he is one of the greatest partners and fathers of all time. But we got our share just like everyone else. And although we always talk it out and work through the big stuff, we just can’t seem to help ourselves from a series of small, silent, and frankly kind of stupid battles with one another over the annoying everyday stuff. It’s unbelievably frustrating — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For instance: After my husband showers, he leaves his shorts hanging on the back of the bathroom door, despite the fact that I have asked him not to do this countless times because of my aversion to clutter. Once he has gone off to work, I grab them and put them on top of his bureau — a little silent signal of his mistake. Of course, I could fold them and put them back in the drawer or throw them in the laundry basket where they belong, but I don’t. Because at that moment, sending a message feels important. A little “I see what you did and I don’t like it. And also, eff you.” A kind of love note left just for him in a perfectly wrinkled ball on top of his dresser.

To be clear, it goes both ways. Take the dishwasher, and his silent disapproval of my loading techniques. Any time he gets involved (likely when I have already loaded a few dishes myself), he proceeds to rearrange everything into “more efficient” spots. And what do I do? I see his preferred placements and I quietly raise him two upside down cups, just to keep things interesting. All the while, no eye contact is made and no words are spoken — just a couple of people who care deeply for one another digging their heels in on tiny issues in order to exert some kind of control in the highly chaotic and unpredictable life that is parenting.

Like the trash, for example. God, I give him one job (OK, not really — but still!) and the follow-through really leaves something to be desired. Take the cardboard box breakdown: I assume he has a system, since he’s in charge of the entire trash stratosphere, and being the loving and considerate wife that I am, I don’t wanna mess with his mojo.

So when a box arrives (likely full of clothes for me that I don’t need, but that’s neither here nor there!), I simply take the items out and leave that box on the counter. From there, it’s his touchdown to run in. All he has to do is come home from work, see the box, break it down, take it into the basement, organize it into its respective trash pile, and then put the trash out weekly. Well, these boxes sit on the counter for days. They are in my way. Sure, I could so simply break them down myself and bring them to the basement. But I am a Gemini, and damned if I’m not gonna dig my heels in and die on this hill.

Thankfully though, we can usually laugh about it. Like last week, when we spent three days in a row moving the pickle jar around the fridge to our preferred placements, and then randomly on Friday at lunch a text with a pickle emoji showed up on my phone. Or every time I hide his hideously dumb navy blue vest to prevent him from wearing it but then he finds it and marches proudly down the stairs smiling at me from ear to ear.

Honestly, at this stage of life and parenting when exhaustion runs deep, sometimes the little talks can feel like just another chore. Sometimes, it just makes more sense to quietly do something in a way that is notable and proves a point, despite how immature and inefficient it might seem. I’m not saying I am proud of it, but it is what it is. So game on.

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.

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