Everyone does it in the beginning. It’s the ones that realize it’s not worth it that fair the best in the end. Keeping score is a dangerous, time consuming way to turn your marriage into a war zone.
The best advice we were given shortly after we became parents was, “If you are truly a team, then it doesn’t matter who did what when.” In the moment, we vowed that we would never be those people that yelled out, “I got the last one!” or “You just had a guys night!” But when you are sleep deprived and crazed from a busy schedule it is so easy to start ticking off how many times you changed a diaper or the fact that you were the last one to unload the dishwasher so it clearly isn’t your turn AGAIN!
It took a lot of work and several huge arguments for us to realize that keeping score was just putting us at odds. By keeping score we were declaring that someone must be the winner and the other person was most definitely the loser. Keeping score meant that I had my mental checklist of what I did and was ready to fire it off whenever I felt that life just wasn’t fair. My husband and I began using these lists to point out faults in each other. Saying things like, “Well, since I vacuumed yesterday, you should be the one to…(insert ridiculous chore here).”
We finally sat down one day and realized that if we were going to survive life together, we had to start thinking as a team. Who cares how stuff gets done, as long as it’s getting done. Isn’t that what’s most important? You wouldn’t leave your kid stranded at practice just because you were the last one to do pick up. Just like you wouldn’t leave the baby in a poop-filled diaper just because you changed the last one.
In sports, you don’t send a catcher out to be the pitcher. Same thing applies at home! We play to our strengths. We both love sleeping in on Saturday mornings. For Phil, sleeping in means waking up at 7:30 a.m. For me, I’d rather sleep until lunch! So, he gets up with the kids and makes breakfast. He doesn’t grudge me my sleep in time, he realized it would be ridiculous for me to wake up to feed the kids if he’s already awake. Not to mention, I’d be one cranky mommy. When it comes to puking kids, that’s where I come in.Daddy doesn’t do puke! He can’t smell it, look at it, or clean it up. I don’t get irritated when our kids get sick and I have to deal with it…I clean it up. Quickly!
Sometimes there are days where I just can’t even. When he sees that, he steps up like a superhero! There are times where we each want to go out with friends…it’s a mental health break. Everyone needs that. Think about how much more relaxing a night out with friends would be, if you didn’t have it thrown back in your face later. Life is hard already, scorekeeping is just one more thing to do that none of us have time for.
Leave the score keeping to the pros!