Our friends laugh out loud when they see my husband Jeff and me play Rock-Paper-Scissors in parenting situations. The rules are time-honored: we play the best of three rounds, the winner may not gloat, and the loser must do the assigned task without too much griping. After all, he/she lost it fair and square. We have been settling dirty tasks this way for years.
When we were dating and before kids, these decisions and tasks were more of the “I-want-pizza-you-want-Mexican-which-is-it” vintage, the “who-has-to-grab-the next-round-from-the-fridge” debate, and of course, ever-important decisions about movies and TV shows.
And of course as it does with every aspect of our previously-cool lives, parenthood forever changed how we structured Rock-Paper-Scissors. After having our first baby, we would use RPS for diaper changes, retrieving objects from the car (usually the diaper bag we were too lazy to bring in), which of us would heat up the bottle/baby food/chicken nuggets, and who had to put the baby to bed while we had friends over.
And then we had more kids, and RPS, while it could still work in some situations, evolved rapidly into the “Would You Rather” game, parenting style. Do you remember this game from junior high? We would ask each other inane questions of which horrible or awesome thing we would rather do? For example, would you rather slide down a razor blade into a bucket of lemon juice or remove your fingernails with pliers? Would you rather kiss Screech from Saved by the Bell or Steve Urkel from Family Matters? Clearly earth-shattering revelations came from tweens’ creative imaginations in the Would You Rather game on afternoon bus rides.
So now, in our mid-thirties and the parents of three young children, Jeff and I still play the Would You Rather game, albeit in parenting form. Imagine a game show host/over-enthusiastic narrator asking us these questions.
Congratulations, Jeff and Carrie, you’re the next contestants on Would You Rather, the Parenting Edition! Come on down! Since you have three young kids, no task will ever be easy again. We’re going to ask you a series of questions. You will each take turns answering the questions first, rendering your spouse to do the less-appealing task you didn’t choose. Maybe you’ll even be nice, and take the crappier task for yourself? Let’s play!
- Jeff, would you rather clean ketchup off every available surface in the kitchen or give three kids a bath?
- Carrie, would you rather cook dinner at home and clean it all up or risk going out to eat, knowing that you are going to spend money and be the exiled-to-the-car parent if any kid melts down? (Trick question: your youngest skipped his nap today!)
- Jeff, would you rather mop your stupid white tile floor or sort, fold, and put away four loads of laundry?
- Carrie, would you rather bathe and groom your dog and cat or organize your kids’ playroom, making sure all small pieces of every toy, game, and puzzle are returned to their proper bins?
- Jeff, would you rather mow the yard or take all the kids shopping for shoes?
- Carrie, would you rather go grocery shopping with all the kids or stay at home with the kids while Jeff gets to go out in public by himself and goes grocery shopping?
- Bonus question: Would you rather take a nap yourself or allow your spouse to take a nap? Napping together is impossible, as the kids will most likely break something or put a hole in the wall.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Do you play this game with your partners, too? I think there’s the real possibility of a successful game show in here somewhere.