I 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!