How many times have you had this conversation?
Woman: “Honey can you please ________” (you can fill in almost any activity)
a few hours go by..
Woman: “Honey did you forget to _________” (aforementioned activity)
Man: “Nope, I didn’t forget”
more time passes
Woman: “Honey, you said you were gonna ________” (same incomplete task)
Man: “I told you, I’ll get to it”
It’s at these moments, which are far too frequent, that I’d like to channel some Calvin & Hobbes and give my hubby A Swift Kick In The Butt…
I mentioned last week that women tend to do stuff when it needs to be done and men tend to add-it-to-the-list-for-doing-at-a-later-time. I also wrote a post about Hubby’s Selective Listening where I shared an example of hubby’s inability to hear me when I try to talk to him about tasks. In that post I also surmised that perhaps men do indeed listen, but that the male concept of timelines is misaligned with a woman’s concept of an appropriate project completion schedule.
The challenge of course is the male definition of “a later time”. This could, on occasion, mean at the end of the tv show or it could possibly mean after dinner. If you’re lucky, it does indeed mean sometime this week but it could, under some circumstances, mean, perhaps I’ll get to it this year and if not I’ll shoot for before I die. A man’s underlying intentions are good.. he does indeed plan on doing it, he just can’t mentally commit to when.
It’s this last possibility that sometimes causes the biggest issues. Because in true male form, most men don’t ever verbally communicate the mental timeline they’ve assigned to the activity. They’ve just committed to doing it eventually and a woman has assigned it her own timeline. Problem #1 — rarely do these schedules overlap!
I’d like to share another example not from my dear hubby… but from my dear dad (because after all, he too is a man, and has typical male tendencies!)
When I was in 4th grade I wrote a report on the first Space Shuttle. I wrote to NASA & I spent hours scouring encyclopedias. And, I’m proud to say that I won a school wide competition for the best report – the grand prize was a model of the Space Shuttle… a model that needed to be assembled from scratch.
When I asked my dad to help me with this project he replied “Sure”. I waited a few weeks.. “Dad, you said you would help me”. He replied.. “I will, but I’m a little busy, let’s do it over the summer”. Summer came & went. The new school year arrived. “Dad, did you forget about the space shuttle”. He replied “No, I didn’t forget, let’s do it over Spring Break”. And so on… and so on. I’m sure you can imagine where I’m going here.. or, maybe you can’t. Let’s just say that I am 38 this year and this space shuttle is sitting in pieces, in the original box, in a closet, in my basement. And, on occasion, when my mom is complaining that my day hasn’t completed a project, I very nicely mention that I still have one of my Dad’s incomplete projects at my house…. some 28 years later!
This story is not to bash my dad… but it has become a family joke now – every time we talk about project to-do lists. And, it illustrates the example of male timelines! And as for my dear hubby, well let’s just say that he has a few “space shuttles” of his own around our house.
I’m sure many of you have the similar lists of incomplete projects.. some of them are placed on your “immediate list” (taking out the trash or putting laundry away) and some on the “short term list” (things like cleaning up the garage or sealing the deck). Although “short term” for a woman might mean 1-2 months and “short term” for a man could mean 6-12 months. The big issue arises when men start to move your “immediate” tasks to their “short term” list.
Those are the days where the battle of will begins. Just how high can the dishes pile up in the sink? Just how long can he go without clean underwear? Just how many days can he take a shower without any soap? The problem however is that when you’re battling with a man over things like these, he will almost always win. Because to be honest, he’s actually not bothered by any of them and the only one annoyed is you!
And, I’m sorry to say men…. But, those are the days where we become nags….. and, good God how can you blame us?????????