August 16, 2015
The trash can is full. He even scraped the plates into the trash last night and there the trash can sits. Full. Still.
This used to bug me so much! Do I have to tell him every time to take out the trash? He really doesn’t notice? Is he waiting on me to tell him when I want it taken out? I mean in my head here is the deal: the trash gets full, so it should be taken out. He knows it is his job. I know he sees the trash can, I just saw him throw something away. Why can’t he just take it out?
Here was our pattern. I call it the Negative Cycle of Trash:
This is literally what would happen every time the trash needed to be taken out. Afterwards we were both left feeling disrespected, disappointed, and a little further away from each other. Then I had an “ah ha” moment. I realized that there was no rule in our relationship in which he must be the one to take out the trash. Sure, I wanted him to. I mean, c’mon, I’m a lady. A lady doesn’t touch trash, right?
I realized that there is no reason he has to do this chore. I mean he is the only one working and provides a pretty good life for my children and me. Why can’t I take out the trash “for him” as an act of love and service and ultimately because I am the one that is bothered by a full trash can (apparently). So, I started taking out the trash myself.
First, I had to make sure my mind was right. I wasn’t doing this out of animosity or anger. It wasn’t to be passive aggressive or to get the credit. I was taking on this particular responsibility because it was going to be my chore, because I want to end the cycle, and because I want to have a good relationship with my husband, full of love and respect. So that was my reason number one for doing this:
#1 Serving my husband is a way to love him. I have no idea if he even notices that I’ve been taking out the trash, but I guarantee he notices that I’m not nagging him about the trash and that can only improve our relationship.
I have to admit, though, that this act is actually more selfish than it seems. You see, as a mother, I am non-stop taking care of little people, paying attention to them, and doing (almost) whatever they want. This brings me to my second reason that taking out the trash is a good idea:
#2 I get away from the kiddos. It is only about 2 seconds, but so what? I..Will..Take..It. I get to step outside, get a few seconds of peace, breathe in the fresh air, and prepare myself for the chaos that is sure to resume as soon as I re-enter. Also, my kids are always the cutest when they are welcoming me home, even from a two second trip to the trash can.
The last reason had to be something for my active self. I am always looking for ways to be active and so I came up with this reason:
#3 It’s a way to be more active. I get a few extra steps in my day (more benefit when I jog when it’s cold) and a small arm workout.
When I made this change I literally had to come up with this list of reasons because it was more motivation to help me truly change. If my motivations were to prove I didn’t need him (animosity) or to get him to notice I am doing his chore for him (passive aggressive) then this change never would have lasted. For that reason, I needed this list when I started taking out the trash. After just a few months of this new mindset I didn’t have to remind myself of all the benefits I just did it.
This mentality can pour over into other parts of my life too. Instead of relying on my husband I can do lots of things that help me to stay active: emptying all the trashcans throughout the house, mowing the lawn, brushing the dog, washing the car, cleaning out the car, re-arranging the furniture (well, small furniture), even pooper-scooping (yuck!).
If all these reasons aren’t motivation enough to start doing some of the “man” jobs around the house I’ll give you one more. I’m not sure at what point this happened but at least a while after I stopped asking (ok, nagging) my hubby to take out the trash, I noticed that he was beating me to it. Not only that, but he was emptying the other trashcans too, even remembering to get the diapers. I fully expected to never have the luxury of not taking out the trash again. I couldn’t believe how this flipped on me.
Disclaimer: I am married to a pretty awesome dude, so I don’t know if every man would do this but I guess my man wants to show me an occasional act of love by taking out the trash “for me.”
This story was my own experience. I did not discuss my change of heart with my husband when I went through it, nor when I was writing this blog. You see, it is easy in relationships to notice what the other person does wrong, which is where I was for the longest time. When I started looking at my own role, the role of helpless woman who was not supposed to touch trash, I realized how ridiculous I was in this whole scenario.
I hope this story of change in my relationship can help you in whatever situation you have going on in your life. Stop and take a look at your own role and whether or not you can change your own actions, thoughts, and feelings to break the negative cycle.
Still need motivation to do some of the traditional “man” jobs? Check out the calories you can burn through chores.
Have a great day!