You said tonight that I was ‘narky’ when I answered the door to you. I was narky because I had to answer the door to you. Not because I didn’t want you to be home (often I can’t wait for you to be home so that I don’t feel quite so outnumbered). But because you couldn’t be bothered to search for the house key in your bag, so thought you would just knock instead.
Never mind that you had more than 90 minutes to locate your key. That’s more than 90 minutes to yourself and your own thoughts too. If only one of those thoughts was ‘I’m nearly home, better get my key out.’
Never mind that the time you get home coincides with the busiest time of my day (cooking for seven as standard combined placating two tired children). I don’t need to juggle any more balls. Even very easy, little ones, like letting you in.
Never mind that earlier in the day I had no choice but to struggle to find my own house key. Despite juggling Noodles on his reins pulling against me to go to the train station to wave off another train and hauling home three shopping bags stuffed with food. I would have loved for somebody to open the door for me then.
But if I ever knock, even if there’s somebody in, nobody ever comes to answer it. Because everyone assumes that I’ll be the one answering the door.
So, yes, I was narky.
Having to answer the door is just one of those little things that pepper my day with annoyance.
That you come back upstairs in the morning and eat breakfast in bed, which wakes me up. Which you do even if I’ve had a hideous night of yo-yoing between our bed and Noodles’ and I desperately need the extra minutes of sleep before my alarm goes off.
That you seem to believe the milk lives next to the kettle, rather than returning it to the fridge. Every time you make a cup of tea. You drink a lot of tea.
That you seem unable to wipe up those globs of toothpaste that you spill on the shelf above the sink. Even if I’ve just cleaned the bathroom.
That despite the laundry bin having separate sections you’ll just dump your clothes in it however so that I have to re-sort it before doing the washing.
That despite me cooking food for the whole family, you will only get dessert for yourself.
That your idea of ‘looking after the children’ is sitting in the same room on the iPad or at your laptop, just making sure the door is shut tight. I can still hear the yelling.
That you never hear the cat being sick in the night. (It’s always in the night and I know that we both pretend not to hear it). But even though you’re up first you will always leave it for me to clean up.
That even when you do something nice, like offering to make me a cocoa as I haul my shattered carcass into bed at a seriously unhip time, you’ll then forget and I’ll wait hours for the drink. And then you’ll leave the milk out.
So, yes, I get narky. The accumulation of all these little things that makes me feel that my time isn’t worthwhile. And you probably look around and wonder what I’ve done with my day. Wonder why I haven’t been more happy to answer the door to you, when I haven’t had a full eight hours of doing very important things in an office surrounded by a hellish commute. The answer is all these little things: the culmination of everybody’s little things eating into my hours and days.
I’m happy to do the lion’s share of the cooking, cleaning and childcare. As the stay-at-home partner it’s my role. But it doesn’t excuse laziness and selfishness. So I would be a happier wife if you would tend to your little things. If you let me sleep, put the milk away, wiped up spills (and every now and then the cat vomit), didn’t chuck your pants across the room into the laundry bin, engaged with your children and thought outside of yourself. If you found your key before reaching the front door. Maybe if all these little things happened more often than not then I’d be happy to open the door to you.
Yours with love,
Your narky Wife. x