Angry Moms

19178313I read an interesting article in Parenting Magazine a couple weeks back, and I decided right then to discuss it on my blog! The article’s called “Mad at Dad,” and it appeared in their February 2009 School Years issue.

Here’s an excerpt:

These are the kinds of things we see parodied on TV sitcoms, where bumbling husbands get laughs for feeding the kids frosting sandwiches and sending them to school in scuba gear. These are the kinds of things we moan and groan about when we get together with our other mom friends, often playing our irritations for laughs. Honestly though, it’s not that funny. None of us signed up to live in a sitcom. [Emphasis mine.]

The article goes on to share the results of a survey of over 1,000 mothers. The results surprised me. I honestly thought my frustration was a rarity. I assumed most families were trucking happily along, that in this day and age most dads were doing their fair share to bring about a happy home. Based on the results, there are a lot of guys who are doing it right. However, more moms than I thought are angry. And now that I know I’m not alone, I want to talk about it.

Here are some of the mom statistics (of the 1,000+ women surveyed):

  • 46% get irate with their husbands once a week or more.
  • 44% say dads don’t notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids. (This figure jumps to 54% for moms with 3 or more kids.)
  • 40% say their husbands seem clueless about the best way to take care of kids.
  • 31% say their husbands don’t help with the chores.
  • 33% say their husbands aren’t shouldering equal responsibility.
  • 50% say their husbands get more time for themselves.
  • 60% don’t tell their friends what they’re going through.

Okay people, here’s the deal. Rather than let this become a bashfest (and it very easily could–with me as the ringleader), what I really want is perspective. This is 2009! I thought we were past this whole “Me man, me drink beer; you woman, you barefoot, make baby and sandwiches” thing!*

This is what I want to know:

  • Men, seriously. Do you* really not notice these things? If the answer is an honest no, hasn’t your wife mentioned them? If so, why aren’t you doing anything about it?
  • Perhaps men* believe this is what women were “meant” to do, so we should just suck it up and do it. But if we’re really meant to be satisfied with this, why aren’t we? More importantly, does it matter to you that we aren’t satisfied?
  • Maybe men* believe they’ve done their share at the office. But … we work too, whether it’s in the office or at home with the kids! Let’s be real here!

I’m just not buying the assertion that because I’m a woman, I have some special perspective on parenting and household duties. Men are intelligent, strong, able-bodied… What’s the deal? Is this stuff really that confusing?

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it. Ladies, some of you may disagree, but here it is:

Men, we need you. We need your strength, but we also need your tenderness and concern. We need to see a side of you that nobody else sees. We need to know you care, and we need to see your care in your actions. When we’re overwhelmed with the kids, the house, the job, et cetera, we need you to show us we’re not alone. We need you to share the load; we’re not meant to carry it by ourselves. And when we’re feeling upset, we don’t need a bouquet! Flowers can’t possibly compare to a man with a mop in his hand. (Unless he has already mopped.)

Thoughts? Perspectives? Opinions?

*DISCLAIMER: I know, I know. This isn’t directed at all men. More than that, the statistics only represent one side of the story. Further, these are the women’s perspectives, not necessarily reality. Finally, the statistics make it clear that these feelings aren’t shared by all women. So if this doesn’t apply to you, go in peace!

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12 thoughts on “Angry Moms

  1. Nikki says:

    You know how when your husband yells “Honey, where is the …”, and you tell him exactly where it is, and he yells back “I don’t see it!”, and you go to where he is standing looking right at it, right where you said it’d be? This happens so often in my house (with husband and son) I have determined they cannot be lying. My theory is that what I call “male-genes” in their brains interfere with information being received from their eyes. The result is they have sight, but REALLY cannot see! Jesus even affirmed this possibility when he said “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” So I stopped getting mad about them not seeing it; I just go put my hand on it and that makes scales fall from their eyes (another female superpower).

    Male-genes interfere with men’s vision of the house too. So now I only get upset about undone housework if I ask my husband to take care of a specific task, and he doesn’t. To his credit, once I use my superpower to help him see the task at hand, he gets it done.

    BTW I think the phrase “at hand” has its roots somewhere in observing the female superpower to remove male-gene scales by touching or pointing to items and tasks men cannot see. Just a theory.

  2. Tracie says:

    Hahahahah!

    I went and looked up the scripture in Isaiah to see if God specifically said “men” are the ones who see and don’t perceive. I thought for sure he did! But … he said people. It was the same with Jesus, he said “they.”

    But Jesus DID say he speaks to them in parables because they can’t perceive … maybe we should tell our husbands and sons short stories to get them to understand! LOL!

    I have considered this male gene thing you speak of. I really am going to have to have God remove some scales from my eyes because … well, seeing it, I do not perceive it; though hearing, I do not hear it or understand!

  3. Rob says:

    Speaking as a Dad who loves spending time with his kids, and likes to cook dinner every night, I take articles like this from a magazine supposedly about “parenting” with a huge grain of salt. Maybe those numbers and percentages are accurate, but all the same, I don’t like the feeling of being generalized like this by magazines that supposedly know something about parenting.

    It’s like those AWFUL ads on TV, where the wife calls home to say she’ll be late to get home for dinner, and the dad needs to make dinner, and the dad in the commercial is, of course, so totally stupid he can’t even open a can of soup. Things like that drive me bonkers! 😛

    The other thing about Parenting magazine is that, the last time I leafed through an issue, it was packed with page after page of ads for pharmeseuticals. I think they just run articles like this in their magazines to make people feel awful and turn to drugs… 🙂

  4. Nikki says:

    Oh wise Berean, I’m sorry if I misled you to believe that scripture was really only about men. I was being facetious. 😛

  5. Tracie says:

    Nikki, no, you didn’t mislead! I was just wondering of my own volition!

    Rob, you are a gem! In any case, I’m a mom who often finds myself … angry. Much as I am wary of these kinds of magazines and the “advice” they offer, I do know that this has been an issue in my own life. So while it’s clear the statistics don’t represent everyone, they at least represent me–and maybe 400 or so other women! 😛 Thanks for commenting, I always enjoy your blog!

  6. holliswms says:

    Well Tracie, I knew when I read your post my wife would be the first to put me out there! But hey, it keeps me humble 🙂

    I am definitely guilty, at times, of the very stereotype this article talks about. I have no excuse. I know why I do it, and I work every day to try and get a little better.

    See, my dad got out of Poplarville, MS and supported his mother and 7 younger siblings by working non-stop. Growing up, 70 hour work weeks and extended trips were the norm. My dad loved me and my sister and demonstrated it primarily by provision. So while its no excuse, contributing to household stuff is a concerted effort because a lot of what my wife sees as “necessary” is not really a big deal to me. In my mind the consequences are not major (unless it causes her to really trip out!)and can totally be taken care of whenever we need to focus on them.

    However, especially in today’s environment, there are many families where fathers, and mothers, are struggling to provide in the areas of finance, security, and stability. These are things I can never take a day off from, nor do I ask for help with. I know thats not the family structure for everyone but it is for us. So thats where my perspective can sometime’s make it come off like “me man, you woman” but thats not my heart.

    As far as “having sight but not seeing”, take a look at Proverbs 4:25-27 and there you will find the “stereotypical” man’s greatest strength and weakness. I know in my house I typically dont move without purpose and therefore don’t get distracted by a mess here or dirt there. When I clean up or wash clothes or (fill in the blank) its because I made a decision at that time to do it. Now I have my exceptions to the rule because my wife can’t iron and before, during, and after she cooks I often provide hurricane relief to the kitchen, but other than that, I’m guilty!

    So please forgive us and try, hard as it may be, to equally focus on where we do contribute. Love your transparency as always Tracie!

  7. Carla says:

    Hi Tracie!

    Unfortunately I like you find myself very angry at my husband of almost 37 years. As we have gotten older, it certainly has NOT gotten any better. My husband in many respects is very into himself. He would not know a mop or a dishtowel if it hit him in the head. He seems to think that all he has to do is go to work and his responsibilities end there. It is very frustrating!

  8. Tracie says:

    Hollis, I love the Proverbs thing! I assume “remove your foot from evil” can be translated into “remove your foot from spilled applesauce” or “remove your foot from the pile of dirty laundry” or whatever else fits the bill! LOL! Dude, your transparency is always welcomed here.

    I’m trying–I’m really trying–to wrap my brain around this concept that men just see things differently than us. (Be patient with me!) Still, while there are some men who don’t see because they’re unaware, there are also some who just won’t see. Carla, does that feel like the case for you?

    I sometimes feel my husband is somewhere between Hollis, and Carla’s husband. The only thing I know for sure (besides that it has caused an anger issue for me) is that my anger hasn’t made any difference whatsoever. Continuing to be angry is only damaging me, and it ain’t gettin’ the dishes done.

    So I’m trying to understand a couple things. First, I recently gotten an eye-opening look at how important respect is to men. Learning to respect my husband unconditionally is a serious challenge to all I’ve ever learned or believed. There are days I am gungho determined, because I love him. There are other days I think he needs to earn it, and I have to work really (really) hard to stop that train of thought in its tracks.

    Second, I also just learned how men view providing for their families. Somehow (I just don’t get it), they really do see this as, like, the ultimate demonstration of love! Nonetheless, I’m stuck between that rock-and-hard-place of wanting to understand this, and wondering why he doesn’t seem to want to understand me in the same way… Not all men, just mine.

    (I’m sure I’m wrong. I’m sure he does want to understand me.)

  9. holliswms says:

    While Nikki has done a good job of training me to not throw my crazy way of thinking out there for everyone to see, I hope this clarifies my little perspective a bit.

    See I firmly believe we could sum up the fall in the garden, to some degree, as Eve’s misunderstanding of provision and Adam’s apathy of relationship. Its just something I believe I see as a biblical problem we still face today. There are always exceptions of course and it just my opinion.

    Glad you got my Proverbs joke 🙂 Now let me know if you got dizzy looking into my tangled thoughts and I promise I wont put them on your blog again! 😛

  10. Tracie says:

    I agree with you Hollis. I wish it wasn’t this way.

    You may provisionally continue to post comments on my blog, but I’ve got my eye on you! (jk)

  11. mindywimmer says:

    As long as my hubby doesn’t come home at the end of his work day, look at the house and ask, “what did you do today,” we get along great.

    I have talked to him about all the stuff that seems to get done magically by elves. Paying bills, running errands, shuttling kids, cleaning toilets, and such do not happen on their own. After our “talk” my hubby is getting awesome at coming home and finding things that did get done and thanking me. A simple thank you goes so far!

  12. Tracie says:

    LOL! That’s so true!

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