Questions to help spouses bridge the communication gap
By Heather Rigby
May 19, 2011
My husband always asks how my day went. And he really wants to know. He’s nice like that. As we slowly push the girls around in the stroller, he shares what went right during his day at the office, and I share funny things the kids said. On bad days we vent stresses and offer support and advice.
But lately I can’t help wondering if when I mention that my day was sort of stressful, he mentally thinks, “Yeah, my days are like that too.” Because I really don’t think that our days have the same sort of stresses.
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.
My favorite was the one about the coworker picking lint out of her belly button. Depending upon how hot she was, my husband might enjoy that one.
My husband had the fortunate experience of staying at home with all three children a year ago so that I could attend a workshop. It was hard for me to be away. I was exhausted at the end of each day. He was exhausted by the middle of the first day and it didn't end. He had a whole new appreciation for what I do. That appreciation seems to have only lasted a couple of weeks, though. I think it's time for me to attend another workshop!
Thanks to Heather Rigby for the laughs today. I needed that.