Saturday, February 26, 2005

Five Ways to Nag Your Husband Without Being a Nag

This message is for the wives. You know who you are. You've asked your husband fifteen times to pick up his dirty socks from the living room floor and each time he just walks right by them.

We've all been there.

Raise your hand.

Yes, me too. I became this parrot that repeated itself, constantly. "Pick up your socks." "It's garbage night, don't forget." "Have you fixed the kitchen counter yet?" "Did you remember to stop at the bank today?"


So, here's a little test. You may need to read this article if you:

A. Find yourself constantly reminding your husband to do things he hasn't gotten around to doing yet.

B. Count your husband as an additional child when someone asks how many children you have.

A while ago my answer to this little test would have been a resounding "YES!" Not anymore. Here's why. Oh, and I'll get back to the dirty socks story in a minute.

1. Use Positive Reinforcement

Be very vocal and forth willing with your praise. No matter how insignificant you may think his contributions are, pay tribute to him for each task.

Did he rinse his plate and put it in the dishwasher? Mention that you noticed and how happy that made you. Did he take his plate from the table to the kitchen? Another reason to praise him! Your husband loves you and wants to please you. But, he can't read your mind. If you show him what pleases you, he'll remember. And he'll do it again.

2. Use the Bartering System

Another easy way to help your husband with his list of chores is to exchange a chore for a chore. Work out a chore/task agreement that suits you both. Of course, neither one of you are going to willingly take on the chore of cleaning the bathroom or doing the laundry, so some sacrifices will have to be made. Use this to your advantage. For doing the laundry each week, you get one night off cooking. Even if you get to order a pizza. Don't break your budget.

Or, for keeping the vehicles in tip-top shape, hubby gets his favorite home-cooked meal. And, if that means using his mother's recipe, do it. It'd be worth it, wouldn't it? Besides, I bet if you modify the recipe just a little and add your special touch, you might even hear, "Gee, honey, this is better than my mom's!"

3. Keep a central "honey-do" list

This solution has really worked for me. I found a really cheap and easy way to keep track of the list of tasks I ask my husband to do. I bought one of those magnetic marker boards from a discount store. Then I put it in the one place that everyone visits every day - the refrigerator.

On this list, I put all the tasks I ask my husband to do. If I ask him to fix the kitchen drawer, it goes on the list. If I ask him to check the dryer vent, it goes on the list. He finds a sense of satisfaction in crossing off items once he's completed them and I find a sense of satisfaction that I don't have to nag him constantly about what to do. It's on the list and he sees it every time he opens the refrigerator.

4. Enlist technology's assistance

My husband uses his computer for everything. It turns on and off security lights, monitors servers, and even runs the lights and pumps on his saltwater aquariums.

So, why not let the computer remind him when a task needs to be done? This worked out well for both of us. We use Microsoft Outlook and all I have to do is send my husband a "task" notice with what I want him to do. I can set the reminder option to even remind him when it's due. I can also set recurring tasks. For instance, every Sunday night he receives a reminder that the trash needs to go out.

No longer do I nag my husband about what needs to be done. His computer does. Because of this handy touch of technology, he no longer complains to me about telling him what to do and when.

5. Find a Place for Everything and Make Sure Everything Has a Place

Do you get frustrated with pens everywhere or not being able to find one when you need to write down a message? Me too. I took a large mug and filled it with all the pens and pencils I could find. Then, I put it right next to the telephone in the kitchen. Then, I trailed everyone by the hand to view the marvel I created. Everyone "ohh'd and ahh'd" over my creation with only the slightest bit of sarcasm, however, I no longer have to hunt for a pen when I'm on the phone.

Simple Enough?

Each suggestion is simple and easy to implement. Before long you and your husband will find other things to talk about like "who told the kids they could stay the weekend at their friends" instead of racing around at 6 am to make sure the trash can is at the curb for pickup. Besides, lighten up. With the kids gone for the weekend, you have the house to yourself!

Now Back to the Sock Story

I've lost count of the number of times I've walked around the same pair of dirty socks in the middle of the hallway or bedroom floor. And, yes, I too, couldn't stand it anymore so I picked them up between my thumb and finger, holding them straight out in front of me as if I'd just picked up a dirty, smelly object. Oh, wait, I just did - my husband's dirty socks!

What did I do with them? I put them in the dirty clothes hamper of course! Was that the end of the dirty socks on the floor? Are you kidding? Of course not!

The very next day there'd be another pair of dirty socks. Just as if they'd sprouted from a tiny seed left by the other pair. Sometimes, if I'd ignore them, they'd multiply, but never in the same place. Oh no, those little demons were too smart to congregate in one place.

I'd find a pair next to the sofa in the living room. Then another next to the bed, on 'his' side, of course. They wouldn't dare try and sprout on my side.

Sometimes, I'd even find a pair in the kitchen. Don't ask me how they got there, I'm not sure I even want to know.

My solution for sprouting socks? I put hampers in easy reach where my husband changes clothes. And, if a sock or two happened to sprout in an unlikely area, I just pull them like weeds and put them in their respective hampers.

Come on, there's more to life than arguing about whose socks are on the floor, right?

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