In my previous life, I was the sole house manager. Because I worked much longer hours, often getting home at 7 or 8 pm, my husband would make his own dinner but always kindly left the dishes for me. He did nothing else in our home and very little in the yard. Doing chores by how he felt, not by what needed doing.

I took a job with a startup tech company in the '90s. As we rolled toward going public on the stock market, long hours were demanded of all employees. The potential to make a huge amount of money was there if I could dedicate 60 hours a week for about 2 years. Should the company be successful, my husband and I could retire — I was in my early 40’s and he was nearly 50.

Spoiler alert: the rich kid boss/owner got bored with the hard work and went dirt biking for weeks at a time, turning the company over to a newly hired COO who ran off all the employees and sunk the business. However, before he came on board our small staff was dedicated to creating a great company.

My husband was fine with me working 7 days a week for an undetermined period of time to finance his early retirement but his enthusiasm waned when I asked him to take responsibility of the household chores.

First, he told me what he would NEVER do: clean the bathroom (particularly toilets), dust — anything in any room, or wash floors (he’d vacuum but no mopping).

I don’t recall being able to pick and choose what household chores I’d been doing for the previous 20 years! I guess that is a privilege for only those with a penis.

After a prolonged fight over days about the housework he would and wouldn’t do, I took what I could get. Only I didn’t get much because he could never remember what he was supposed to do. With his limited chores, his only responsibilities were vacuuming, laundry, trash, and dishes. But, I had to leave a list ever weekend of the same items or he did nothing. Even with the list, he didn’t feel compelled to do most of the chores. If there was a movie he wanted to watch, a couple of items wouldn’t be done. If a friend wanted him to go somewhere, most of the list was ignored. Any weekly chore, such as vacuuming, that he didn’t get to on Saturday wouldn’t get done at all that week.

What little he did was not very helpful. Since he refused to mop floors, I had to. If he vacuumed Saturday morning, the floors would have to be vacuumed again so I could mop in the evening, and he refused to vacuum twice or to vacuum in the evening rather than the morning. I also had to dust and clean the bathroom. He may or may not have done laundry needed for the next day. The sink may or may not be full of dirty dishes. The trash cans may or may not be overflowing.

This was the beginning of the end of our marriage.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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