Every year I entertain an internal debate as to whether or not I should remind my husband that Mother’s Day is coming up or wait and see if he remembers on his own.
I picture this conversation:
Maguire: When is Mother’s Day this year?
It’s evil, yes, but I can’t help but be mindful of my store of “You owe me one” moments. I’ve been cashing them in a lot lately, what with the month in front of the toilet and the periodic energy droughts that wrack my pregnant body. I need there to be some substance behind the “Oh no you d’int” looks I throw my husband’s way when he mentions that this is his third day without clean underwear.
Maguire is an only child and came into our marriage with little to no experience in the “consideration” department. He was the kind of guy to eat the last cookie every time. The kind of guy to open the new bag of snacks you bought, you thinking they would last a couple of weeks, and eat them all in one sitting. Maybe he would put the bag back in the cupboard with some crumbs. You know, for you.
It is safe to say that the majority of our arguments begin with “What exactly did you think would happen?” or “What did you think I would say?” All simply different versions of “Did you even think of me?”
Notice how all of those exclamations include a running theme? The word “think.”
As an only child to a doting mother, Maguire functions as most men do, with his existence hovering single-mindedly somewhere near the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid.
This is human nature. Base human instincts. Men are nothing if not instinctual.
As it turns out, there is no Holiday Instinct. No “I wonder if she needs a break instinct.” At least not naturally, that is. After more than eight years of marriage, the “I wonder if she needs a break” bit can certainly be a learned response.
A learned response in the face of a wife’s outstretched claw-like hands and deranged face as she whirls around to lurch at you when you ask “While you are hanging around today, do you think you could iron my shirts and take care of these dishes?” Because, you know, I do a lot of just hanging around.
But husbands are not the only ones that could use a little work on their learned responses. Maguire is teaching me that.
In response to the multitude of ways that I ask him “Did you even think of me?” we have finally boiled our understanding of his responses down to, “No, but I would if you asked me to.”
In reaction to my “Why can’t you be more considerate?!” Maguire tells me, “I would be if you reminded me to be.”
You can imagine how I take this. Lots of “It doesn’t count as being considerate if you are told to be considerate! That’s not being considerate, that’s just following orders.”
You know the logic. Picture Jennifer Aniston’s “I want you to want to do the dishes.” to Vince Vaughn’s “Why would I want to do dishes?” in The Break-up. Vince’s point is that, in the end, he’ll do the dishes if she asks him to. And isn’t that what she wants? Explaining what Jennifer actually wants is not only mind-melting but also something that most women understand and empathize with.
But yeah, there are clean dishes ultimately involved. So what if we have to tell them the bottom line? This is what I keep asking myself.
On Mother’s Day, what I ultimately want is a break. And to be acknowledged. And to be pampered. And maybe half a dozen other things, all of which revolve around my not being asked to do any work around the house, pretty much. What I don’t actually need is for my husband to suddenly become psychic (his frequent claim as to what I clearly must want because how else was he supposed to know it was our anniversary?!) and begin acting considerate.
Maguire, today I’m going to tell you what I want and I’m going to let it count when you do it. Not because it was a surprise or because you thought of it all on your own. Nah. Because I’m the mom and moms know what really counts in the end.
Today is Mother’s Day. Now, um, surprise me. I’ll tell you how.
PS- Hot red beans and rice! I'm the Southern Mama Blogger of the Week for Mother's Day over at Southern Living Magazine. Yes, that Southern Living. The one on every southern mama's coffee table and in every well-equipped guest bath! Now then, since a dream of mine is to write for them, ya'll please go over and tell them that they didn't drop the cheese ball when they chose me. And Happy Mother's Day!