Friday, July 7, 2017

Two Words

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Mad because of toothpaste and toilet seat lids? Think again.

You are volunteering for a women’s charity. Today one lady tells you about her exhaustion and frustration. She feels all the housework, social activities and kids care are on her shoulders, and all her husband ever does is hang out on the couch, play with his phone and expect her to take care of everything. What are you telling her?

It was submitted by: 

oh boy was I the right person for this one 


I am fairly certain if any woman comes to me describing a scenario in which their partner is pulling less than 50% of the labor, both physical and emotional, my brain will be in such a swirl of variations of the word fuck that I will at least be momentarily speechless trying to sort through to find just the right iteration for the extreme fuckery going down at their house

Two more words will probably filter through the f bombs.

Dump. Him.

To me, nothing else really needs to be said, but it’s a much more complex issue than those two words make it seem.

For the longest time, marriage was more or less a business arrangement. Wealthier people arranged marriages that benefited each family. Kings and queens rarely loved one another taking a spouse that would create a needed relationship with another kingdom/country or arranging marriages for their children which would do the same. Average folks needed one person to work and one person to tend to the home and children, and in the vast majority of societies, the responsibilities were split with men working outside farming, or, after industrialization, outside the home and women tending the home. It made sense with women needing time to recover after children and being responsible for breastfeeding children. Women’s labor was never as valued as men’s nor were women treated as equals. But that proved to be a mistake in wars that sent increasing numbers of men off to fight and in need of a larger labor force to supply demand for both soldiers abroad and civilians at home. It was women that worked the factories to meet those needs—the same women still at home taking care of everything that needed doing. Women have fought for the right to vote, the right to own property and work, to study whatever they chose wherever they chose to do it, to exist in this world as more than homemakers and objects to be owned and used. The idea of equality between genders has caused a lot of bloodshed with women powering through anyway knowing how worthy we were of those rights.

We’re still fighting for the ability to exist in spaces without being paid less, to get where we need to go without being hounded on the street, to be believed instead of seen as hysterical, to be partners not caretakers for our partners, and to be appreciated for everything we do, and this situation is still far too common in families today. Women are doing 40% more of the household chores, are less likely to be able to engage in sports or hobbies on any given day, and spend twice as much time physically caring for children on any given day. And, at least in American, most people still feel like that’s the way it should be regardless of who works and how much. Even if both partners are working full time, even though more and more women are the breadwinners for their families, people still generally believe that chores, children, and emotional labor belongs almost solely to women. But why?

Splitting household chores is one of the top factors in whether a couple rates their marriage or relationship a happy one or not. Top 3. More than half of people rate splitting chores as very important to succeeding in a relationship. The less balance there is when it comes to responsibilities the more problematic a person might rate their marriage.

Women run households. They make budgets, plan meals, notice the things the family needs, make schedules, learn, delegate. Women are almost always working to better their households or at least maintain them far more than their male counterparts *even when household chores are evenly split.

I would tell this woman that she does even more than either of them realize, and that if she wants her marriage to work long-term, if she can still envision her happily ever after with this person through the haze of resentment and stress this imbalance has caused, then the first step is counseling. They’re in a pattern, a cycle of sorts. They’re locked in, and it won’t be easy to break through it without help to deconstruct the pattern and take out the parts that don’t work anymore. Simply delegating chores more often without discussing why they’re locked in this pattern in the first place could create more resentment on his side and is honestly where the “nag” trope comes in for women—asking repeatedly for the help they need while their male counterparts feel entitled to more free time and freedom from the workload.

I would absolutely tell her everything she is feeling is valid, that there is absolutely no reason why she should shoulder the brunt of the work while her husband lounges even if he is the sole income earner. Sure, that means the workload is trickier to evenly divide, but that division should still be equal. Child care should always be equal. The emotional, invisible labor should be equal.

And if he refuses counseling?

Boy, bye.

Fucking dump him.

Here are some resources on some of these issues:


Here are the rest of the submissions. Enjoy!

Baking In A Tornado

Cognitive Script

The Blogging 911

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

Simply Shannon

Southern Belle Charm

Never Ever Give Up Hope

The Angrivated Mom

Not That Sarah Michelle

Bookworm in the Kitchen

Part-time Working Hockey Mom


  1. As soon as I finished the assignments for this month's post and saw what prompt you ended up with I swear I saw your head exploding in my mind.
    I remember when we were first married I was sick and the laundry desperately needed to be done. Hubs said "you're sick, forget about the laundry". I thought he was so supportive, that he would do the laundry. Turned out what he meant was "you're sick, forget about the laundry, it'll still be there when you're better." We've come a long way since then, but only because that kind of thing got discussed early on.

  2. great prompt you got. I hear where you are coming from, but what if she cant afford to live without his income? what if she cant find work or child care. I know this is the 2nd year I am down to half time work, not by choice. My poor husband is working full time and umpires after work. He's exhausted and lounges around the house on his off time and I allow for it.

    I do all the housework, chores, and cooking. I feel it's only fair. I know this is far different than what the woman is compalinign about, but often it's not always an easy answer. Sometiems there are too many shades of gray.

    I agree counseling is vital, and helping each to understand each other's point of view and how to help each other.

    1. I did mention that if he is the only one that works, more will have to be done to analyze what an even split looks like, but obviously it isnt what they have at the present. There is NEVER a time when the emotional labor and child care should belong solely to one partner, and as the resources I attached show, it results in failure. So should she just ride that train until it crashes because he works more if he does? Nah. Not anymore. Women used to have to stay. We no longer do.

      Once upon a time, I couldn't afford my divorce when I was student, homemaker, and breadwinner in my marriage among other titles. It was scary, but I made it. Why did I need to shoulder the burden of taking care of another adult on top of what I was already doing? Nothing is ever as easy as just leaving, but it can absolutely be done, and I would never, ever tell a woman to be someone's handmaid just to keep a little more money flowing in. We aren't living in the 50s no matter how many old white men in government want to drag us back there.

      I think your answer probably stems from your own guilt about not making as much money, and if you are fine with your division of labor at home, that's you. Obviously in this scenario and many others, women arent fine shouldering the lion's share of labor, and that's who my response is aimed at.

  3. The emotional labor is what gets to me. Honestly, we cal all see that the trash needs to be taken out, why am I the one who needs to mention it??? I'm talking to you too, kids!!

    1. Exactly. And it goes so unnoticed and unappreciated. That's the part that really gets me.

  4. I loved it when I read your prompt. There was never a more perfect prompt for a person. I agree totally. I have been married for 26 years this year. He works outside of the home and I work from home and we would never have made it if we didn't share the workload. There are things I do mostly like cook and him taking the garbage out, but I take it out if it needs done and he does laundry and cleans toilets, oh and NEVER leaves the seat up so I let him live.

  5. I am a peacemaker and have always believed that choosing your battles makes a huge difference in a relationship. I learned to dwell on the positives and let the others work themselves out and they always did. Basically I raised my kids on my own, home schooled them, ran a business from my home and my husband was on the road 3 weeks out of every month. It was tough but I have no regrets.

  6. In my marriage I did everything and it was expected. Now I'm alone and do everything. The difference? Less stress. IF I enter another permanent relationship this will be seriously discussed.

  7. In this situation, it shouldn't be allowed. In mine? Well things change. I do it all. By myself. I am exhausted, worn out, in over my head here. Yet watching him struggle to do some of the things he never had to think about before? Well, I can't take that heartbreak.