05 Mar
I Can Bring Home The Bacon But Please Don’t Make Me Fry It Up In A Pan!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My fiancée makes great food, and she cooks for us almost every night. We both work the same number of hours, but she cooks because she gets home earlier. I feel bad about letting her take on all the responsibility of food management, especially since I feel exhausted at the end of the day and I figure she must too.

I asked my father about it, but he’s quite old-fashioned and, though he’s supportive of me generally, he said I shouldn’t interfere with “women’s work.”

I don’t even know how to bring up the topic with her, and I’m a terrible cook. What should I do?

Signed,
No Chef Boyardee

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Dear No Chef,

It’s a good thing you’ve put a ring on it because, frankly, I was considering divorcing my husband just to pursue your kitchen-handy fiancée! I think my spouse may have had the same thought. For some reason he’s tired of the toasted cheese sandwiches I know how to make. Like those somehow get old after 18 years together? He’s very high maintenance!

Also, while I’m sure your father has a lot of good advice in other areas, I’m not confident “it’s women’s work” is a good motto to follow. Does Gordon Ramsey know that cooking is “women’s work”? I’m not really sure you want to anger a guy who’s been quoted as saying: “I have a very assertive way. It’s wake up, move your ass, or piss off home.”

Now, as for your lack of culinary know-how, it’s possible to make up for this inadequacy in other ways, like cleaning the bathroom. Properly. You know, by using ACTUAL cleaning fluid and NOT your wife’s toothbrush. Take it from my husband, that’s the quickest way to find yourself sharing a 1-bedroom apartment with 8 other guys, one of whom goes by the name of Cooter and doesn’t believe in store bought liquor.

But without sitting down with your gal and talking it out, it’s hard to know what her wish list may contain. Perhaps, she’d prefer you to wash the dishes or mop the floor or give the cat a haircut? Having this discussion will give the two of you much needed practice for the many and varied conversations (both heated and not) that are a huge part of marriage and your next 20+ years together.

Good Luck!

Tonya, TMH

14 Responses to “I Can Bring Home The Bacon But Please Don’t Make Me Fry It Up In A Pan!”

03.05.12#1

Comment by Brett Minor.

I agree. This actually seems like a very small problem. Just ask her. You discussions will be over much more important issues in the future. If this actually is that difficult to talk about, you might want to reconsider your engagement.

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03.05.12#2

Comment by elissameck.

Agreed – talk about it. In my house I do the cooking and my husband does the dishes (including pots & pans and wiping the kitchen and dining table down). While my side is a bit more time consuming, I still prefer to do the cooking and have someone else clean up!
When we moved in together neither of us could cook. But I decided to learn…and he suffered through many miserable meals along the way. But he preferred not to try his hand in the kitchen…so it was an agreed upon divvying of tasks.
We also hired weekly maid – so no one has to clean the bathroom!

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03.05.12#3

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

I love cooking myself and find it is relaxing after a hard day’s work. It’s very sweet of you to think that, as she’s working (for cooking is undoubtedly a kind of work) for you both, you should do something in exchange.
Ask her what she would actually prefer: your cleaning the kitchen afterwards, or other house chores she likes less. This way things should balance each other.
Bon appétit! ;-)

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03.05.12#4

Comment by StephanieG.

Kudos to you for recognizing that your lady works hard all day and is probably tired at night. While my husband refers to the kitchen as “the room where we keep the food,” I would really prefer that he pitch in a bit more.

It helps me so much when he handles the simple things without being asked – empty the dishwasher, set the table, put things in the fridge after dinner.

I cannot imagine how much better my life would be if he would just see things from your perspective and make an effort to help out more. Your fiance is a lucky lady, and I hope she appreciates you!!

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03.05.12#5

Comment by Wendi.

She’d tell you if she didn’t want to do it any longer. Trust me on that.

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03.05.12#6

Comment by Annie.

Neither my husband nor I could cook when we got married so he made a deal with me – he’d find recipes we thought we’d like then he’d do the grocery shopping and dishes if I cooked. 18 years later, I can cook and he’s still doing the other 2 things. LOVE this man!!

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03.05.12#7

Comment by Marinka.

Thank you for reminding everyone about giving the cat a haircut. So often with busy schedules that falls by the wayside.

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Wendi Reply:

Is that a euphemism?

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03.05.12#8

Comment by N and Em's mom.

I give you lots of credit for realizing that dad’s advice is going to get you in trouble. I know that everyone throws out counseling, but it is really nice to have someone who is neutral help facilitate dialogue. You’ve already asked the Mouthy Houswives for counsel; think about more counseling because SOME of the norms that you grew up with are going to hurt your relationship with your fiancee starting with why you don’t know how to ask her a simple question.

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03.05.12#9

Comment by Kelly.

I recently heard someone say that so many of the problems in a marriage (or any relationship) come from “unspoken expectations.”[My friend realized that she felt frustrated that her husband never cleaned up the garage, even though most of the stuff in there was her's and their kid's. She realized she expected him to clean it up because that's what her father did. Once she recognized the "unspoken expectation," they talked about it and reached a resolution.] It would be wise for the two of you to talk about those unspoken expectations and open an ongoing dialogue where both feel free to raise those “how are we going to handle this” issues of diving household chores, managing finances, and pretty much everything else in your relationship. If you establish those good communication patterns now, you’ll save yourself a world of misunderstandings and arguments. Good for you for recognizing the problem and asking the question!

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Kelly Reply:

*dividing household chores

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03.05.12#10

Comment by Plano Mom.

I hate grocery shopping. Husband loves to window shop at the grocery store. Husband buys the groceries. I cook. Sometimes I clean too, often we both do it. Works wonderfully at my house. Now if we could work out sweeping and mopping the floors, we’d be set for life.

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03.05.12#11

Comment by Ken.

I think the key word in your question is fiancée. I say enjoy it while it lasts. Unless you plan on never moving past engagement, you won’t have to worry about this much longer.

And let me just say for my wife, who is probably reading this, I am only talking about this poor guy’s situation. This does not apply to us. Your giving is endless. :)

In seriousness, take the advice. Talk about it. Find an equitable exchange (and by equitable I mean slightly skewed in your fiancée’s favor of course). Otherwise she is rightfully going to get pissed at some point. You can avoid that by talking about now. And come off like a champ for thinking about her feelings before she has to point it out.

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03.05.12#12

Comment by Mary.

Definitely talk about it. And how nice would it be to have your male partner actually be concerned that you may be too tired after work to cook. It seems to me that too often we assume our partner can read our mind. NOT! Finding out how she feels and also telling her how you feel will teach you both a lot. Who knows, she may be sick of cooking or maybe she likes the control.

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