Every once in a while, when reading or listening to expert advice, a little nugget stays with you. For me – it was this bit of Love & Logic telling me to NOT take on my children’s problems. Guess what? It works for husbands too.
Here’s what happened…
A couple months back, I found myself dealing with a clogged toilet. Not a big deal – little hands often grab a bit too much fluff for wiping. But what was a big deal, is that my husband was out of town.
I called him because I couldn’t find the plunger…anywhere.
Turns out, he was keeping it stored waaaaaaaaay in the back of a garage shelf behind a mountain of crap vs. anywhere accessible. Let’s just say our phone conversation wasn’t the politest.
So, I finally have the plunger in hand and hit the toilet – only to have the plunger base “flip” like a blown-out umbrella and spray toilet water all over my clothing and face.
There just aren’t words to express the rage that went through my body in that moment. But somehow, the toilet got unplugged.
In my follow-up phone call with my husband, I offered to go buy a new, better plunger. His response: It wasn’t the plunger – it was user error.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?
How I responded…
My natural inclination (which in my case, is typically wrong) was to get into a rip-roaring fight with my husband long distance via phone and text.
I knew that my goal would be to prove that I was right, the plunger was crap (ha), and we needed a new one. I also suspected – based on his initial reaction – that his goal would be to prove that I spend money that doesn’t need to be spent, and the plunger is just fine.
I’m not sure if it was the horror of being covered in dirty toilet water or the Love & Logic CD I’d been listening to kicking in – but I didn’t send that first nasty text. I got in the shower.
And in that shower, I got more than clean – I got clarity: It was no longer my problem. The toilet was unplugged. The crappy plunger was in a place we could both find it the next time it was needed.
Fast forward to this morning…
Hallelujah – the toilet got clogged last night!
My daughter confessed to blowing her nose in toilet paper and putting it in the toilet, then wiping and putting it in the toilet, then cleaning the sink with toilet paper and putting it in the toilet – all before flushing.
I tried to hide my excitement as I told my husband that the toilet was clogged and he needed to use the plunger. Here’s how the conversation went:
“You can’t find it?” He asked.
“No, I know where it is, but the last time I used it I thought it was a terrible plunger and you just said I was using it wrong – so I thought I’d let you do it,” I calmly replied.
He went to unplug the toilet…AND…
The plunger base “flipped” like a blown-out umbrella and sprayed toilet water all over HIS clothing and face.
I wanted to jump up and down, and yell “IN YO’ FACE!!! HAHAHAHAHA.”
But I refrained.
Instead, I tried to hide my smile and empathize with the experience as he explained that this style plunger wouldn’t work without more water in the toilet and he’d need to go to the store to buy a different plunger today.
Omgosh – Are you “ROFL” with me?!?
Now – I’m sure there’s a little more than Love & Logic at play here (maybe I have a little passive aggression also going on) – but to recap their advice:
- Don’t make it your problem: He doesn’t want a new plunger, he can plunge the toilet.
- Allow them to experience natural consequences: Crappy plunger sprays face with toilet water.
- Empathize with those natural consequences: Don’t yell “IN YO’ FACE!”
- Let them figure out their solution: It was his decision alone to go and buy a new plunger.
Love & Logic man…it works on kids and husbands. But don’t tell them!
Much Love, Heather
PS – Because I’ve written about Love & Logic a few times, you might be wondering if I have some sort of relationship with them…I do not. I just LOVE their advice. It works for me so I want to share it with anyone else looking for answers to this crazy gig called parenting (or in this case – life!).
(originally posted on LifesETC.com 1/23/17)