Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Miscommunication 101

It's Tuesday and I'm currently pondering Lady Gaga's ubiquitous pantlessness, envying Obama's visit to the UK and wondering if I am too old to be wearing the shorts I'm wearing right now. In other news, I thought I'd share a little about marital bliss here in the Rieger household these days. Translation: I thought I'd share a few thoughts on how to miscommunicate with your spouse.

Last night between episodes of Modern Family on Hulu, Matt and I had a conversation of sorts about how he enjoys staying home on Saturdays to watch Sam, allowing me to venture out into the wide, wide world for a couple hours by my lonesome. I said that I appreciated that and then added that I also enjoyed letting him stay at home with Sam while I ran errands (which occasionally includes the mall) on Saturdays because I know that he doesn't get to be at home as much as I do AND he doesn't really enjoy errands or the mall. And then something happened that I don't understand. Somehow we got a little testy with one another and weren't really sure why. I think it had something to do with both of us thinking the other was undermining our sacrifices or perhaps we thought the other was inflating their sacrifices on our behalf. Hm. I'm still not sure that we have fully sorted out our miscommunication. There were apologies made, but I think there's still some lingering mild confusion.

In light of this conversation, I've realized that I've been a little jealous of Matt's freedom to trot off to the office where no one needs him to change their diaper or reprimand them for grinding cheerios into the carpet on a regular basis. I've had to be reminded lately that he's not heading off to Oz or Candyland or Target everyday. He's going to a desk where he answers phones and stares at a computer screen and deals with customers who, on occasion, are not as reasonable as one might expect.

Similarly to my misconceptions of his daily adventures at work, I think that he might be a little (or a lot) under-aware of what a day in the life of a stay-at-home mom entails. Sure, he's watched Sam for a few hours without me, but there's nothing like a full ten hour day of todder-watching to make you dream of sitting at a desk from 9 to 5.

So, in light of a situation that's ripe for miscommunication, I give you this list of questions for husbands to help them gauge (and perchance revere) the stress level of a stay-at-home mom on any given day. Thanks to my friend Glenn for sharing this with me, and now with you:

Stay-At-Home vs. Working Parents
Questions to help spouses bridge the communication gap
By Heather Rigby | May 19, 2011


When you decide to become a stay-at-home parent, you enter into a different realm — one ruled by illogical two-year-old dictators, school schedules, and choosing the correct color yogurt. As much as I can explain this to my husband, I don’t know that I’m getting through. Now I’ve done the next best thing: creating a list of questions that will help him and other office-bound parents gauge how (cough, cough) similar their days are to ours.

1.When you walked into work this morning and pleasantly greeted your co-worker Jim, was his first reaction to scream “NO! WANT JASON!" followed by an office supply being thrown at you?

2.Has a colleague ever climbed up on your lap while you were using your computer and slammed the keyboard with both fists until the up arrow no longer worked?

3.Do you have to lock yourself in the supply closet or bathroom on a regular basis in order to make phone calls?

4.Did you finish a complete thought at any time during the day?

5.When you went out to lunch with your fellow workers, did you have to pack a diaper/juice/extra outfit for them? Did you have to wipe their faces? Smile an apology and leave an extra tip for the waiter on their behalf?

6.When a co-worker needed you for something, did she sit at her desk with her head tilted back toward the ceiling and repeatedly scream “SEAN! SEEEEANNNN! SEAAAAAAN!” until you came to find him?

7.When you needed a specific colleague, did you search all over for him, only to finally find him giggling in the cabinet under the sink? Did you also find six pairs of your church shoes under there with him?

8.Have you had to come to an associate’s aid because she fell off her desk after trying to climb on top of it using a rolling chair?

9.When you reached for the report a co-worker was handing you, did he snatch them away at the last second and scream “MINE!” while shoving you backwards?

10.Does your colleague lift up her shirt and pick things out of her belly button every time she comes over to ask a question?

11.While you are using the restroom, do various co-workers come in the stall and ask you to settle a disagreement or open a packet of fruit snacks?

12.During a board meeting when everyone is present, do you notice a smell and then have to check all your colleagues’ pants to locate it? In fact, at ANY point in your day do you have to deal with another person's feces?

If the answer to most of these questions is no, it’s a safe bet to assume you’re in an office. That said, if your answer to most of these questions is yes, and you know you’re in an office, it’s safe to assume you might need a new job.

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