How have you learned to accept something you don’t like?  The Daily Post asks you to note something you don’t like and then tells you to accept it.  I suspect many married women of my generation don’t like the way husbands help around the house, but have accepted it to the point of doing more than their fair share.

My idea as a working Mom( all Mom’s are working Moms but some of us work at more than being a Mom) was that the cook should never be required to wash dishes.   David agreed.

When we were foster parents and then when my birth kids were older, the kids had that job. I also had a dinner helper–table setter, salad maker–it was the coveted job in the house as it meant you were excused from the rotation through washing dishes; it was also a sign you had earned all your allowance the week before.

Now that it is just David and me, so I am left with David.  He is more than willing to help, but he also sees no need to wash dishes or clean the kitchen until the sink is full, there are no clean dishes, silverware, or pots, and no counter space left in all the kitchen.  David’s way of helping means I am left with three choices:  cook around the mess until he cleans, make a fuss so he cleans on my time, do it myself. I opt most of the time to do myself.

Don’t  like it.  Mostly, I do the cleaning because frankly, I don’t like waiting for the mood to strike and I don’t like making a fuss.  What acceptance means to me is knowing your choices and knowing that you are making a choice to accept or not. So I know there will usually be some angst about keeping the kitchen clean.  Therefore, sometimes I accept it as my job, sometimes I accept a dirtier than I like kitchen, and sometimes I fuss and fume.  There are rewards in each decision.  It is what it is.

When I do the cleaning, the kitchen is cleaned the way I like it.  Liking it done our way is why many of us end up doing the dishes or something else we don’t would like another do.  Can hear  my wise if difficult mother saying, “If you want it done your way, do it.”

When I wait or fuss, David does it and that is nice.  He did tonight without my fussing.

When I fuss, he reforms for three or four days, but it is my least preferred option.

Accepting has other benefits.  I feel freer to refusing to help him.  Used to help empty the trash or run the vacuum cleaner, not now. His laundry is his laundry.  The car up keep is his, I won’t even put gas in it–don’t like self-service gas and don’t know where full service pumps can be found.  The bill paying is his.

Finally, acceptance mainly keeps  me from exercising martyr-rights although I can go there on occasion also.

Staying strong tip:   Acceptance is an important emotional fitness tool.  And as noted above it is a decision.  Not always, however an easy decision.  Here are a few things I have found that help me:

  1. A calming  slogan.  Mine is  “It’s all all right.”  That is a Buddhist slogan and reminds me that it isn’t all about me.
  2. Rating scales help.  The world is full of many more things to grouse about than who cleans up after dinner.  And in our relationship, it is a small thing in the over measure of what matters.
  3. My training as a therapist is also helps; it has lead to a  philosophy of forgiveness.  As the saying goes “To understand all is to forgive all.”  (That is attributed to many people the first I knew of was Thomas Aquinas.)
  4. The belief  “We do the best we can.”  Not meaning the best is always  good enough; sometimes the best someone can do is abuse.  then the  abuse must be stopped.  But stopping abuse does that does not mean hating the person.  Each of us is a product  of what we have been given during our lives and what we can do sometimes not a choice; some choice is possible, however, and exercisng as much choice as possible is part of acceptance.

What helps you accept what you don’t like?

Stay strong.  Share, care, work for peace for all.

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