Men! They Just Don’t Get It!

(To all three of the men who read my blog: You are not included in this rant. I have a feeling, especially since you follow my blog, that you are among the enlightened few. And a special note to LLCoolJoe – I apologize in advance for this sexist slant. But I’ve had it up to here!)

Yesterday, I was trying to catch up on my blog reading. I came across this, featured on Nap’s blog, Naptime Writing:

Now, Nap had a lot to say about it. She was annoyed. And you can read all about it here. I watched the ad and thought, “Yeah, but it’s still funny.” So I re-read her post and thought, wait, she’s right. It’s backward. Stereotypical. (Which makes the title of this post all the more amusing.) But my husband is still going to love it.

And he did. He thought it was hilarious.

And then I quizzed him.

Me: So, as a parent, what does the dad do?

Him: Has tea parties with his daughter?

Me: Correct. Now, what does the mom do?

Him: pays the bills, kisses the boo-boos, bakes for the bake sale…

Me: Right. Everything else.

Him: You gotta remember. This is marketing. They’re marketing this minivan to MOMS. Moms who think they do it all.

Me: THINK they do it all?!

Him: Yeah. (All smug and shit. Oops. Sorry. Now I’m starting to talk like a rapper. Word!)

That’s where the discussion ended. I wasn’t going to get into it with him. Because, it’s not news to me. My husband thinks HE does it all, too.

We live a very traditional, stereotypical existence. We even joke about blue jobs and pink jobs. And frankly, I like it that way. I like the way I clean a bathroom compared to him (using actual cleaning products). Or doing the laundry (separating colors). Or cooking (as opposed to opening a can of pinto beans, pouring it over rice and calling it supper.) It works for us.

And oh-so-fortunately, he works outside the home, and I’m able to “stay home.” Which translates to: work (unpaid) at his office one or two days a week, be available for the kids at any hour of the day and run day-to-day household things. 

My husband works very hard. He puts in 10-12 hour days. He’s not afraid to work weekends. I’m so very proud of how he has built up his business. He yields success that many others in his field never attain.

But he doesn’t get it.

He has never bathed the boys. I can count on one hand how many times he’s supervised a shower. Wait, make that one finger. The very first time he ever “watched” the boys alone was when they were 3 and 4 years old. And when I came home he said, “That wasn’t so bad,” and the house looked as if a tornado had blown through. On the weekends, my husband’s threshold for patience ends about 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon. “I can’t get anything done,” he says, sending the boys off to watch TV.

Yes, when we added kids to the mix my workload increased to infinity and beyond! My husband’s extra chores? Not so much.

In Nap’s rant she says that even in 50/50 marriages it abruptly switches to 90/10 once the kids are born. I wholeheartedly agree. It might not be 90/10 in OUR household. More like 80/20. But it’s not my husband’s version of 60/40.

No. Freakin’. Way.

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31 Comments

Filed under All In A Day's Work, Hey! That Reminds Me!, Motherhood, Soapbox

31 responses to “Men! They Just Don’t Get It!

  1. THANK YOU THANK YOU! I have a draft in my inbox for the longest time about this. I haven’t posted it since, well, most of the blogs I visited somehow made me believe that I am the only one feeling like this. That somehow it is MY fault since I “tolerated” this behavior. I am an “enabler” so it is MY fault. I stopped complaining to people a long time ago because I started to believe it. So, thank you.

  2. I am confused. Sincerely. I would like a big discussion regarding this. It scares me. We will enter the kid zone in the next year or 2 and I think it is something he and I should talk more about now.

    So WHY does the division happen this way? You said he works 10-12 hours….so is it time? Or are many women unable to relinquish control of how “it” is done. IT = Bathroom cleaned, diaper changed, bath taken, meal prepared….What happens when the mom says “your turn” and walks away?

    So interesting!

    • It would be great if you have this discussion before kids. I suppose in our case, because he puts in long hours he feels he deserves a break, to not have more responsibilites when he gets home, or he deserves his weekends “off.” But a mom is never off. We can’t just walk away and say, “I’ll deal with this on Monday when I get back to work.”

  3. This is funny. I’ve never seen this before, but it’s hilarious. I don’t even think about the whole issue, I can’t get past a white family doing a rap video. It works.

    As for the “real issue” here. Yeah, I don’t talk about it either. No point. Hey, we’re just so much more competent than the men. If they COULD do it, maybe they WOULD. We just got the skilz, yo. Word.

  4. I absolutely LOVE that video. I think it’s hilarious. I didn’t even think about the issue that you raise here. Perhaps it is because I am lucky to not have that problem. My husband and I both work outside of the home, and we both do chores and take care of the kids. I would say it is 60/40 on my side. Hubby would probably say 60/40 on his side, so I guess that pretty much makes us 50/50! :-)

  5. I really wonder what it will be like for me and my husband when we have children. We have role reversal in that he does pretty much all the household stuff. Obviously, the can’t give birth so things will have to change…but I wonder how?

  6. unabridgedgirl

    I can’t say how it is, as I am not married. I can say from an outsider’s point of view that I agree with you. :)

  7. Hi Jane – At my house, I’m at home during the day, but in the mornings, evenings, and on weekends, my husband and I split the chores (kid-related and kid-unrelated) pretty evenly. I know that isn’t the case among a lot of my friends online and offline and that fact makes me feel guilty sometimes – like I should be picking up more of the responsibilities because I’m the at-home parent most of the time. That in itself gives me some idea of how wacky my own sense of guilt is.

    • Herein lies the difference…and I don’t *mind* our difference as much as I mind not acknowledging that there IS a difference. And stop feeing guilty. Feel fortunate that you have a partner that chips in on the weekend, or in the evenings and mornings. You deserve a break, too. My weekends rarely feel like weekends – ’cause I’m still shouldering all of the house/meal/etc. responsibilities.

  8. I totally agree, like Mckenzie, as an outsider. I wouldn’t mind it so much myself if it was appreciated, you know? But if it’s taken for granted… Boy, that’d piss me off.

  9. AMEN.

    They don’t get it, and unfortunately…history has proven they probably never will. :p

  10. Man…so dead on. I can’t seem to make my husband get it. While he acknowledges that I do work hard and take care of everything–EVERYTHING–he still won’t admit that my job as a SAHM is still as hard as his job. But his job is only 5 days a week–period. (The fact that he chooses to look at work emails on his days off is his own fault.) The job of a mom is 24-7 no matter what. I better stop before I start ranting…

  11. Ohhhh, man. And what we really need is 100/100…
    My husband and I both hold full-time jobs, and right now I do more hands-on parenting because after work, he’s building our house. In many ways, we divvy it up well, but when it comes to packing things for a day out, or establishing a bedtime routine, it’s ALL me, baby.

  12. My husband hosts a mean tea party. But he’s also primary kid-bather, a daily chore for which I would gladly do all the laundry and dishes and cooking to avoid. And, ironically, he practically spit-shines a bathroom (too many years living in a fraternity house). =>

  13. My brother thought his marriage was 50/50, and that it stayed the same after the twins. Then he spent 12 days home from work when the babies were about 9 months old. And he got so shell shocked, and kept saying, “Oh my god. I don’t know how you do this!” She got worried after a few days that he’d crack.
    All those who feel this division or who fear it, read The Mask of Motherhood. Studies and stats show how much more men do than a generation ago, and how little that still is. Even when both parents are home, Dads get hungry and they eat. Moms get hungry and they fix something for the whole family, address the kids’ needs, and eat in between requests and parenting and mopping up messes, metaphorical and otherwise.
    Go to a restaurant or store and watch. Kids say, “Mom?” and get an answer. They say, “Dad? Dad?Dad. Dad! Hey, Dad…”
    Maybe it’s biological, maybe it’s socialized. But it’s annoying and demeaning.

  14. I had not seen this video.

    It certainly varies in every household. Ours is non-traditional in a sense that I change more diapers in a day, play more at the playground, and give more baths than my father did in his lifetime. I don’t hold any anger at my dad–just different times and different expectations.

    • (Make that *four* men who read my blog!) Good for you! That said, my husband, too, does more than his dad did or my dad….just wish he’d recognize the 24/7 job *I* have.

  15. I am TERRIFIED of that shift to 90/10 (and trying to figure out how to prevent it). For a while, I’ve been pointing out to D how hard it is to ask him to do something that he doesn’t want to do (because when we have kids, that will be something I’ll have to ask him to do more of). I think part of the reason I didn’t think we were ready for kids (before other things happened this year) is because he sulks so much about those extras. Doesn’t make for an encouraging scene when you start contemplating the supervision children require …

    I laughed at the video, though.

  16. My husband is awesome…I mean A+ awesome…but he too still doesn’t get it!!

  17. I loved this video. Just loved it. I need to show it to my husband.

    My husband and I are partners and we know what needs to be done, and we do it. With kids, school, sports and full-time jobs it is impossible for us to survive without working as a team.

  18. Let me warn you that when retirement rolls around, only one of you gets to retire. You simply do all your regular stuff around him.

  19. Oh yeah. I. Do. It. All. And not by choice, like men would have us and the world believe. Everyone tells me I’m so lucky my ex pays the bills but every aspect of his life outside of work is taken care of.

  20. Umm, yeah, check it, yo!

    Cute video. Thanks for sharing. I seriously don’t know if that analysis would have occurred to me without you and that other blogger point it out. Good job on that. Very perceptive.

    Monday is my wife’s late day so it is my job to make dinner. This week she wanted my homemade mac and cheese. I got home from work Monday and just wasn’t in the mood. She came home, nothing was started and said, “Looks like we’re going out tonight.” Tuesday we tried again, same result.

    That’s when she said this: “Mood? What has mood to do with it? You cook when the necessity arises — no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the baliset. It’s not for cooking.” (Borrowed from Gurney Halleck in Dune.)

    Wednesday night I was in the mood and she had dinner on the table and didn’t have to do it herself.

    I don’t believe in gender roles. I swear. Yet somehow it breaks down about 70/30 in our house. I attribute that to my laziness and her wanting things to be done and to higher standards than what I’m willing to live with. My goal, however, is 50/50 or better because I love her, want her to be happy, and she deserves it. If I loved properly I’d give more than I received.

  21. I do damn near most of it. Silently and constantly and sometimes seethingly.

    And unlike my husband (who works hard and is an awesome dad but doesn’t do chores), when I take out the trash, I don’t announce it and expect to be praised for doing so.

    Great post!

    • LOL. You reminded me…..years ago, my husband saw his own dad in action (announcing his accomplishments like taking out the trash, etc.) My husband said, “I don’t do that, do I?” I was silent. I didn’t know how to break it to him that yes, he was just like his dad. So now, whenever he loads the dishwasher or some other chore he’ll say in an exaggerated voice, “I, uh, loaded the dishwasher today!” and then he’ll pat himself on the back and we crack up!

  22. Ok ok thanks I won’t read this post or the comments, but I’m grateful that you gave me a special shout out and that you are perceptive enough to know that I may well have found this upsetting!

  23. Oh, Jane. We’re in this together. Hell, I do the pink and blue roles. I take out the garbage and weed the yard. When I ask for a chore to be done (like take out the garbage because I had morning sickness and nearly hurled on the drive way), 9 times out of ten he doesn’t do it. If I forget something he’s asked me to do, he gets very upset. And I pay the bills even though I’m horrible at it. I just wish we played to our stregnths more, like he takes care of money and phone calls and I’ll deal with the kids.

  24. I have to slightly disagree. I think the amount of effort spent at home is definitely not 50:50, but at the same time, I think that saying I do all the bathes in the house negates the fact that his work outside the home provided all the water, energy to heat the water, soap, towels, home with bathtub. That deserves more than a 10% contribution. I think the time spent outside the home working to provide for me staying home with the kids full time is not being given its full value in contributing to the job of raising kids.

  25. Ummm, I think it is very funny. I like it. My girlfriend Marya will agree with you I think, but funny is funny.

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