At the risk of sounding like I’m setting us back after several decades of struggling for equality, I’m going to point out that even after all this time the management of the home is still largely the Real Woman’s realm. We are the ones to keep things buzzing along effectively and efficiently. Those of us with a husband or male partner who resides with us will quickly recognize that the exterior of the home, the yard, the mechanical and automotive areas are their world. Pretty much everything within the walls that falls under “daily activities and maintenance” is ours. Not necessarily by choice. They just don’t quite do it right.
Luckily, there are many men in our lives who are willing to occasionally step up to the plate and assist in some way with household chores. They will make valiant attempts to help us because we are frequently overwhelmed. We will also make valiant attempts to step aside and let them try. Some men, with direction, may actually be fairly good at it. However, try as they might, there are bound to be some ways they fall short. They get it almost right – but our standards are, for them, unattainably high.
One of the Real Women in my life has aptly named this phenomenon as the Case of Mr. Almost Done. The Mr. Almost Done’s of the world make some effort with chores but somehow miss the mark. Let’s take a look at a few examples of this character’s activities in his un-natural habitat:
- He scoops up the kitchen trash and takes it out. He does not replace the liner in the trash can. Almost Done.
- The helpful man offers to do the dinner dishes. He may get them all cleaned up or loaded into the dishwasher. However, the debris in the sink and the counter tops and the stove remain. Almost Done.
- He prepares the table for dinner. He sets out plates and napkins. He apparently assumes the family will eat and drink with their hands. Almost Done.
- He assists his child with certain homework questions. However, he fails to ask about the completion of other homework or does not sign appropriate forms. Almost Done.
- He gets the mail out of the mailbox. Then gets distracted and leaves it in the garage. Almost Done.
- The man offers to make dinner. He prepares the meat portion of the meal. There are no sides prepared. Almost Done.
- He may take a stab at preparing the children’s school lunches. Then leaves them out on the counter without refrigeration. Almost Done.
- If he remembers to get a new roll of toilet paper out, he will then prop the paper on top of the dispenser or on the back of the toilet. Almost Done.
As frustrating as it may seem, it is important that we not crush the spirit or the hopes of Mr. Almost Done. We need to simply realize that we will perennially need to follow after him to complete each task to our level of satisfaction, while complimenting him on his efforts and showing him our appreciation. We must do this for a few reasons:
- No matter how much training we invest, he will never get it completely right.
- He may pretend otherwise, but his heart is just not in it.
- Every little bit does help us. He is saving us at least 5 minutes with each task.
- Remember, we would frustrate the dickens out of him if we offered to help out in the garage. Luckily, we know better.
- Your son is a Mr. Almost Done in training – keep the encouragement coming.
- We will always feel needed.
And finally, and most importantly, we need to remember it could be worse. Because for every Mr. Almost Done out there, he has a cousin Never Done, a brother Won’t Do and a best friend Wait, Whut?