10x Engineer's Guide to Homemaking
10x engineers are real. I live with one. When he was a teen, he built a camp in the middle of a forest every summer, and then lived in it with a few dozen kids for a whole month. These days he may come up with an idea, then launch it two weeks later on hundreds of millions of sites. If you need to be sure that something gets done, this man can get stuff done like nobody else.
Some of my husband’s skills look like pure magic to me. But there are other things he finds more challenging than I do. The exact same traits that make him capable of shipping a whole project before another team calls their brainstorming meeting also make it difficult for him to close the kitchen cabinets, put a new bin liner after taking out the trash, or do training exercises with our dog on their daily walk together. He hates all the boring and repetitive things that can’t be automated away.
Husband and I might have different opinions on whether closing the cabinets is in fact necessary, but we both strongly agree that training our dog is something worth spending time on. If she was just a little bit more polite, inviting and meeting people would get orders of magnitude easier. Despite my husband’s best efforts, a robot shooting dog snacks all around our living room is not enough.
My husband is a natural born pioneer. Or maybe it was the years he spent as a Boy Scout that made him so. Either way, he thrives in situations where you need to act fast and build something out of nothing. This doesn’t happen often in our city apartment, but when we’re traveling in our RV his logistics and organizing skills really get to shine. It’s reassuring to think that whatever natural or manmade disaster comes our way, he’s already thought of and prepared for at least 10 different ways to handle it.
The thing about pioneers though is that they’re more comfortable than the rest of us with non-essential stuff left undone. Otherwise they wouldn’t be pioneers! You can’t build a hut out of nothing in the middle of a forest if it’s absolutely crucial that you take a bubble bath every day or that you have all sorts of kitchen utensils always available at hand.
Is it possible to teach a 10x engineer to care about all the little details? I’m not sure, but it could actually make him worse at what he does. It is precisely because my husband doesn’t care much about little details that allows him to move fast and build amazing things.
Paying attention to details comes to me naturally, and in the past I’d sometimes get upset with my husband when he left the cabinet doors opened or his clothes all around the house. Now I understand that he genuinely doesn’t mind, so if I’d rather live in a place where things are neatly organized and our dog gets enough of dedicated training time and attention, I’d better take responsibility for these things myself.
I wish I had some actual advice for people like my husband to get better at homemaking, but given how many of them don’t really mind sleeping on the floor, I don’t think it would really make a big difference to them. The best advice I can have right now is:
Build a house (while everyone else only begins to sharpen their tools).
Find a lovely spouse who will turn it into a home.
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One of my clients once said that, he only builds the house because he found his wife, otherwise he'd just be livin' in a cort or somethin'.
I have one of those! (10x engineers who can't close the cupboard doors)