This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Playing Dear Abby

Often, the biggest challenge about writing this column is coming up with an idea. If I have some version of a minor crisis in my life, I have something to write about and the ideas flow.

Then, there are the weeks like this one where, alas, things are running smoothly. So that’s when I turn to you to give me ideas.

The most requested topic? Relationships. Everyone wants to know if theirs is normal. And what is normal?

Relationship stuff is a hot topic. Why? Because every single one of us is in some form of a relationship. From daily interactions that create mini-relationships to our major player relationships, these all dictate who we are, how we live, and almost every other facet of our being.

With that said, I’m going all “Dear Abby” on you for this column (and possibly future) and answering some questions people fired at me.

My disclaimer: I’m no relationship expert; far from it. But sometimes it helps to hear the thoughts of a third party who has no vested interest in the relationship and no allegiance to either side.

I am merely the third-party thought.

Question: At what point after you move in together is it OK to just come home after work, crack a beer, kick back and do absolutely nothing?

Signed, Needing to zone out

Dear Needing:

There’s no set timeline to be able to do this. It all comes from the comfort level you feel with your partner. Some people take months to get to this stage, whereas, others may be sporting sweatpants and stained T-shirts by the second weekend.

Ultimately, do what works for you. Maybe while you’re in the midst of cracking that beer open for yourself, you can pour your sweetie a glass of freshly, un-corked, cool Okanagan Gwertraminer. That should help take the pressure off you to do nothing more than reserve your spot on the couch for the night to power-watch Shameless on Netflix.

Here’s a thought. Maybe your sweetie is also longing for the same “do-nothing” kinda night after a long work day. Put it up for discussion. Just remember not to become complacent and boring in your pursuit of apres-work relaxation.

Plan for a couple of nights where you just go for an easy walk or a dinner out. Then, just let the rest of the week unfold as it will. Happy zoning!

Question: I’m a stay-at-home mom to young kids. My husband goes to work during the day. What are the rules when it comes to who does what for housework?

Signed, Sick of the Swiffer

Dear Sick:

Well that’s a loaded question as both sides have valid arguments. From my experience, I’m guessing you think your husband expects you to do the household chores because you’re “just staying at home all day watching the kids.”

I mean, how hard is that, right?

Except that it’s not about how hard it is (but for the record, it is an intense juggling act). It's about you needing a break from the every-day mundane. You need to feel like you can still have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around poop schedules and how effective the Mr. Clean sponge really is at removing permanent marker from the dog.

Your husband, on the other hand, thinks he needs a break from the demands of the client that’s never wrong and threatening to take to Twitter to prove it. Your husband has to be “on” from the second he steps foot into that workplace, and he can’t let his guard down till he walks back in the door of his own sanctuary.

You guys are both right in your own sense. He’s worked a full day with other people who get to shower without interruption every day and who don’t care about his home life.

You’ve also worked a full day monitoring the potty training schedule, driving on clogged roadways to get to the nearest play place full of other people’s screaming children and making sure the kids are eating more than goldfish crackers for meals.

So the division of chores can be a contentious subject among couples. You’re both doing a job that contributes to the good of your family.

I may be unpopular for saying this, but most general household chores should fall to you because you’re home during the day and that’s part of what being a homemaker is. Of course, there’ll be days where you get nothing done, but the good news is the chores will still be there waiting the next day.

For the record, I was a homemaker for the first seven or eights years of my kids' lives. I'm well aware of how much it takes to run a household day in and day out. I don't take what you're doing lightly.

Just remember to recharge and reward yourself with a night out with your friends. You’ve earned it, and your husband will appreciate the work it takes to run the household for those few hours without you. And … he may figure out how to get that permanent marker off the dog in the meantime.

If you too have a question you want a third-party answer to, send it my way. Thanks for reading.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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