The Bloke: Battle of wills over tidying up duties.

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There’s an interesting battle unfolding in our house at the moment.

It’s a battle of wills between me and the Missus over tidying up duties.

She’s determined not to do any of it until after I’ve come home from work so I’m guilt-tripped into helping out.

I’m determined to guilt-trip her into doing it during the day so I don’t spend my evenings moping around with a duster in my hand once I’ve cooked my own dinner (I know – shocking, isn’t it?).

I’ve tried my best to set a precedent.

When I’m at home looking after the children I go to great lengths to make sure that the place is in reasonable nick.

The Lego is returned to the big green tub (although not until I’ve stepped on at least three pieces), the jigsaws are put back in their boxes and the general chaos of random toy parts, stickers and books is cleared away.

Sometimes the children even help. Usually though they’re glued to the Peppa Pig DVDs I have to put on to ensure they stay in the same spot for five minutes.

It’s the only way I can actually get something done without having to chase round the house after them.

I also try my best to make sure that dinner is underway before the Missus gets home – or at least come up with a plan as to what we’re going to have so I can then start making it.

When I’m at work, things are a bit different.

I arrive home (usually late) looking forward to returning to the bosom of a loving family.

Instead I’m greeted by tantrum-throwing toddlers who refuse to put their pyjamas on and scream when their milk isn’t at the required temperature and a grouchy wife who converses in grunts rather than actual words. “Any ideas for dinner?” being one of the few sentences I can make out.

This, I can just about cope with. It’s the tidying up that kills me.

The trains and bits of track have to be returned to their special box. The books scattered all over the floor have to be placed back in their piles. The foodstuffs from the toy kitchen must be located and then restored to their rightful place.

I suppose it could be worse. The twins of some friends of ours have a toy shop whose shelves have to be restocked with fruit, vegetables and assorted cans and boxes each night. Seriously, you couldn’t make it up.

To be fair I was given a night off the other day. The reason? It was my birthday.

Still, there are signs of a potential breakthrough.

“Do you know what your son said to me today?” asked the Missus the other night once we’d got them to bed.

“He said, ‘we need to tidy up or daddy will be cross’. Any idea where he’s got that from?”

“None at all,” I replied – and made a mental note to reward my son in some way the next day.


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