August 29, 2011

The Shame Will Come

Yesterday I tricked my husband. I'm not proud of it* but we have to do what we have to do.

I was having one of those weekends - you know, the kind when you have to take all three kids to the supermarket and clean up a weeks' worth of mess and do five loads of laundry and entertain other people's children and go to swimming lessons and pack for a school camp and attend a four-year-old's birthday party. And I couldn't face doing all of them alone.

I had to offload some of the work to my husband. Meaning, give him one chore and do the rest myself. As per normal.

Now, to be fair, The Architect does work on a Saturday, so he only gets one day of rest. But seeing as I get none days of rest, I do not feel guilty asking him to do something to help ease my burden.

So I gave him a choice. He could take three year old Boo to her swimming lesson at 8.30am, or he could take her to a Spiderman-themed birthday party at 10am.

Our conversation went a little like this:

Architect: Which activity will allow me the most time to engage with our daughter? Which do you feel will be the more bonding experience for us? Which would you consider, as a parent, to be the most personally fulfilling? Which would Boo prefer me to attend?

Ha! Are you kidding? The conversation went nothing like that. In fact, it went exactly like this:

Architect: How long is swimming? How long is the party?

Me: Swimming is only half an hour, the party is two hours.

Architect: Can I drop Boo at swimming or do I have to stay?

Me: You have to stay.

Architect: Can I drop Boo at the party or do I have to stay?

Me: You have to stay.

Architect: Do I have to talk to people at the party?

Me: No, you can sit in a corner on your own. YES YOU HAVE TO TALK TO PEOPLE. What, you want the other parents to think that Boo has a mute, psychopathic father?

Architect: I don't like talking to people.

Me: Yeah, I've noticed that.

Architect: Do I have to talk to people at swimming?

Me: No, you just have to make sure Boo doesn't drown.

Architect: Okay, I'll take swimming.

I got Boo dressed in her tiny little swimsuit and waited for my husband to come down the stairs. At 8.20am, the time he needed to leave, he walked out of the bedroom, said "Come on Boo! Let's go swimming!", grabbed our daughter's hand, and headed out the door.

"Um... you may want to take towels?" I suggested.

He turned around and the slightest hint of abashment crossed his face. He took a towel from the linen closet and headed back out again. "Okay Boo! We're going!"

"Just wanted to check you have your swimsuit on?" I called out.

"What do you mean my swimsuit on?" he asked. "I'm not getting in the water!"

I may have looked a little triumphant. "Oh yes you are," I told him. "It's a parent-child swimming group. And if you don't get your swimsuit on you're going to be swimming in your undies. Not that there's anything wrong with that..."

My husband shot me a wounded look. "You tricked me!" he said. "You didn't say I had to get in the water!"

"Really?" I asked. "Sorry, must have forgot." And he ran upstairs and got changed.

The Architect and Boo had a wonderful time at swimming, getting into gross, overheated water with a bunch of very young children with teeny weeny bladders. Lucky them.

And then I took Boo to a lovely party at which she was entertained by a delightful Spiderman (in a skin-tight suit, for those interested...), and I got to sit in the sun drinking coffee and eating hotdogs and cake, chatting to other mums and dads and generally not being in chlorinated, urinated water.

And if I used a little trickery to get there, well, I'll think about that over the laundry this evening. I'm sure the shame will come eventually.

*actually I'm extremely proud of it


  1. You are a smart lady Ms Sackville. I would rather die then swim in kid piss xx

  2. LOL! Will be filing this one away for future years. I LOATHE swimming, let alone adding kids' pee. Love it! :)

  3. God. Damn. Gold. Beyond impressed, actually.

  4. LOVE IT! Well done for getting him to follow through with the actual lesson :))

  5. Brilliant.....but maybe it's just me but everytime someone comments "gold" or "golden" my thoughts just go back to that swimming pool......

  6. Oh I think this makes a lovely bonding WEEKLY event for dad and daughter... :)

  7. Nice work! So it's not just my husband that impersonates a mute psychopath when in public then?

  8. It takes no trickery or convincing to get the dads to take the kiddies swimming at our swim school - the swimming teacher is smokin' HOT!

  9. Husbands own fault for not knowing the ins and outs of child entertainment. Feel no guilt, just feel superior.

  10. Brilliant.  I may or may not have used similar tactics in the past (but I do love fairy bread and I can't swim).

  11. Ah, swimming lessons. The kid piss never bothered me- that's what the chlorine is for, after all- but oh, those moments when someone shrieked "Code Brown!" and we all leapt for dry land in terror. Gives another meaning to the term "Floaties", really...

  12. Sackville, you are a devious woman.  I am ashamed to admit, I know you. The Architect deserves our undying admiration, for allowing himself to be conned in this way......

  13. The shame will never come. I congratulate you on your success. I wish I had more of the same but, alas and alack, I am destined to be the parent who always loses that battle. Any more tips on successful "negotiation" appreciated.

  14. Duly noted for when I am faced with a similar predicament - and I agree, its not lying, its just a slight case of leaving out some truths to questions that were never asked!

  15. jenny @ let the children playAugust 29, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    I like your style :)

  16. I would engage in any and all manner of trickery to avoid the swimming. In fact I am dreading having to get back in the water with my second-born. Possibly just wait until I have another baby and then I can offload all three of them onto a teacher in a private lesson and avoid the hideous water entirely. And I will proudly say yes, I had my third child to avoid having to get into the damn water.

  17. I reckon that's a bloody good reason.

  18. Excellent point and excellent advice.

  19. I think it is karma for not trying to helpout equally.....he needs to suck it However, he wont fall for it next time, u will need to develop a different approach strategy.

  20. Bless you, Sackville. Gold.

  21. I loved this!  I used to get my husband into the wee-infested (and other unmentionbles....) waters of the local pool too!

  22. I don't think I could pretend for even a second to be ashamed. Such trickery is an art, that we are obligated to pass on to our daughters. In fact, Joel and I had this exact conversation the other night where he confessed to being slightly relieved I didn't have a girl, when I was doing such a good job of raising (brainwashing) our sons!

  23. Well this is the first time i've read your blog!!
    And have great big tears from laughter running down my face! Oh how funny and true this story is!!

  24. So tricking husbands is a serial problem I see.As a dad i do like choices and know it infuriates the heck out of my wife.I came here via Marks website,if he likes you , i should too.

  25. As a dad I know there will be more and more choices so the chances of me remembering outcomes are very limited. Its like the shell game for fathers.


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