Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My husband is smart. He is so smart that he has three bachelor degrees in different fields, a master’s degree in another field, and most recently an MD. He is a math wiz, a politics smartypants, and (to top it all off) an amazing cook.
Yet somehow in all of his multi-talented greatness, he does not know how to follow directions. Here are a few examples:
“Honey, on the way home, please pick up two gallons of 1% milk.” He brings home one gallon of whole.
“Please save this beer for me. I want to drink it after the kids are asleep.” While I’m bathing them, he pops it open and downs it. (For the record, that one got ugly. It was a vanilla porter.)
“I put some clothes on our daughter’s bed. Please help her get dressed.” Five minutes later he asks what I want her to wear.
“It is really important to me that you not thaw raw chicken wings by taking them out of the package and soaking them in the sink.” He’s a doctor! Hasn’t he heard of salmonella??? He never remembers.
I just don’t understand. Is it possible that he is so smart that he can’t follow simple directions? He can’t be that smart. He thinks it’s funny to grab my boobs and yell, “Honk honk!” And when I point out to him that he didn’t listen correctly, he apologizes profusely. Short of writing down everything I want him to do on a post-it, is there any way I can get through to him?
Maybe I’m the Smart One
Dear Smart One,
So let me understand this. Your husband could actually save your life in a medical emergency, he can likely do your taxes and he’s an amazing chef! But you’re upset that he’s bringing home whole milk or forgetting that you left out clothes for your daughter on the bed?! Girl, you know you can’t find everything in one man. Not possible. And you are doing pretty well.
There are a certain number of people that are academically brilliant but challenged enormously by the basics of life. Take my mother for example. She has a bunch of degrees, including a PhD and a Master’s in Social Work that she got at the age of 68. Yet, this very same woman has a license plate on her car that at this very moment is upside down. True story.
Your husband is probably unlikely to change much in this area. But it’s worth talking to him about. It sounds like he’s not a great listener and maybe that’s making you feel unheard and unimportant. Because when he drinks your favorite beer or doesn’t take the time to get the milk you want that can make you feel like he doesn’t value you or value what you have to say. Perhaps just sharing this with him might motivate him to pay more attention.
But keep your expectations low and know that there are some things that one will truly never understand. For example, when my husband goes to the grocery store he always forgets one item, despite my constant pleas to just cross things off this list. Or how come he can drive to the same place 356 times and still not know how to get there. And my husband also does not understand that raw chicken is nasty and toxic. I almost put on a hazmat suit at Stop & Shop the other day when the chicken juice dripped on me. So I feel your torture.
But, most of these flaws I just try to accept, because my husband is a great guy and an amazing father. Somehow, you have to figure out a way to do the same. Because he can save your life! And cook you a kick ass meal! And that’s worth a lot.
However, there is one area where you must draw a line in the sand immediately. He must never again grab your boobs and yell, “Honk. honk.” No marriage can survive that.