The domestic glass ceiling

I see that Bitch PhD thought much more highly of the Hirshman article than I did

In particular, she picked up on Hirshman’s statement that:

"The answer I discovered — an answer neither feminist leaders nor women themselves want to face — is that while the public world has changed, albeit imperfectly, to accommodate women among the elite, private lives have hardly budged. The real glass ceiling is at home."

I think it’s an overstatement to say that "private lives have hardly budged" — even setting aside the relatively small number of reverse traditional families, most people would agree that fathers today (at least those who are married to their children’s mother) are more involved with their kids’ lives than in our parents’ generation.  But certainly domestic tasks are far from equally divided.

I think Hirshman is totally off-base in thinking that increasing women’s earnings will automatically lead to men doing more housework.  Already, about 1/3 of married women earn more than their husbands, but it doesn’t seem to have set off any huge changes in the division of domestic labor.  I’ve written before about stay-at-home dads and housework, and argued that "two basic cultural assumptions — that housework is the responsibility of the SAH parent, and that housework is the women’s responsibility — conflict.  So there’s no default position about who does what, and everything is up for negotiation." 

I don’t remember the source right now, but I’m sure I’ve read something that said that the graph of the relationship between the share of family income brought in by women and the amount of the housework they do is u-shaped — men who bring in a very small share of the income do less housework than men who bring in about half.  My guess would be that some low-earning or unemployed men feel that their masculinity is threatened by their low earnings and therefore are more resistant to doing traditionally female tasks.  (I have a hold at the library for a new book called Bringing Home the Bacon: Making Marriage Work When She Makes More Money; I’ll be interested in their take on this issue.)   

Bitch offers the following advice: "be willing to be a bitch about housework."  In particular, she suggests:

"My advice is, go ahead and do what needs to be done. But let him know what you are doing every goddamn step of the way, and let him know that it pisses you off. "I’ve just gotten home from work, it’s nice to see you’re home earlier than I am. Before I take off my coat, I’ll put your shoes away for you, shall I? Oh, and I’ll pick up your coat from the floor and hang it up. Okay, now I can take off my own coat and hang it up right away, instead of dropping it on the floor for someone else to pick up later. I see there’s no dinner started, I’ll just get on that shall I? First, though, I’ll clear the mail off the dining room table where you seem to have dropped it when you walked in the door. I’ll file it over here where it belongs. Ok, now I’m going to go into the kitchen to get a sponge to wipe off the table, which I see hasn’t been wiped since breakfast–I guess you didn’t have a chance to do that yet, since you had to sit down and read the paper first, right? Wow, now that I’m in the kitchen, I see that before I can start dinner I have to load the dishwasher, but before I can do that I have to unload it…."

Oh my god would that drive me insane.  Either as the person doing it, or as the target of it.  I’d rather live in squalor — or by myself — than have that kind of running monologue. I might win the battle over the chores, but I can’t imagine my relationship surviving it.  As I’ve written before, I’d rather pick up T’s socks than sulk about them all day.  (Although, honor requires me to note that T’s gotten much better about moving them to the hamper since he read that post.)

Yes, I want the house to be clean enough that I’m not embarassed to have people over.  But I don’t want to live like a perpetual houseguest either, afraid that if I leave something out for five minutes someone’s going to resentfully start cleaning up after me.   And I don’t think it’s fair to expect my partner to clean on my schedule or to do it exactly the way I would.

I honestly don’t know what’s going to break through the domestic glass ceiling.  I used to think that it just was going to take time, that of course the younger generation would adopt a more equitable distribution of labor.  I don’t see that happening.  But I do think these conversations — these virtual consciousness raising sessions — contribute to the change.

28 Responses to “The domestic glass ceiling”

  1. CGG Says:

    Your comment about men with less income doing less house work was interesting. A good friend of mine’s marriage is almost exactly like this. Her husband has been mostly unemployed for the past 6 years of their 10 year marriage. She is the primary source of income, the housekeeper, and amazingly enough still does more of the child rearing. For a long time my friend dit alot of what Bitch PHD is suggesting when it came to housework. It didn’t get him to pick up a mop, nor did it help their already troubled marriage.

  2. LizardBreath Says:

    I think Hirshman is totally off-base in thinking that increasing women’s earnings will automatically lead to men doing more housework.
    I’m an anecdote, rather than data, but it’s worked for me. My husband works out of our home, and I work very long hours in an office. Our housework split is inequitable — he does well more than half — but it works pretty well for both of us.
    The u-shaped distribution you’re talking about sounds as though it would be a function of resentment or depression on the man’s part. Wouldn’t you think that in the absence of such relationship problems (which can’t be inevitable, and which would seems to be less likely the more conventional a higher or equal earning wife is), that my experience would be likely to be more common?

  3. LizardBreath Says:

    Drat, the first paragraph above was meant to be italicized to show that it was a quote.

  4. The MOM Says:

    While I don’t think we’ve broken through the domestic glass ceiling yet, I do think that we’ve made incredible progress just in the last 20-30 years. The proportion of housework — and especially child rearing — that our husbands do, compared to what our fathers did, is light years ahead. I know that if I cook, my husband will do dishes. He’ll do laundry and I’ll fold and put it away (eventually). Now, I can’t speak for the balance of housework in households with lower wage-earning men, but I would still posit that they are doing more than their counterparts in the 1970s. So, I believe it’s a continuum, and one where we are seeing gradual (some would say glacial) improvement.

  5. chip Says:

    I just did a post on my own situation, we both work, I make significantly more than my wife, but due to her time inflexibility at work and stress, I’ve been doing all cooking and laundry and most of other household stuff.
    When I was full time at home, with zero income, I did do all of the household chores; when she was home full time she did. Now that we’re both working it is negotiated in the sense that stress and time levels at work are the most important things. Since her job is high in those levels now where mine is low, I’ve been doing the household stuff since she started back to work about 3-4 years ago.
    My wife is a teacher — in Hirshman’s terms probably a traitor to feminism because she used to be in a high-powered high-income career in financial industry but hated what it was doing to her soul and her life — so in the summer when she’s not teaching this balance changes, and we probably do equal shares overall (though she hates doing laundry and I don’t mind so I probably do more laundry in summer too, while she takes on more of the cooking). I am more tolerant of clutter and dirty stuff than my wife, but knowing how much it bugs her I do make an effort to keep the sink clear of dishes and try to see to other things like that.
    I also was surprised at Bitch’s admiration for Hirshman’s article. And her bitching strategy on housework is I think the wrong approach. It’s like with kids/teenagers, the wrong approach to get them to do things is to constantly nag and bitch and complain. You have to come up with much more constructive approaches. Like how about having a serious talk about why it’s so important to you, which it bothers you, etc. If you respect your partner you take that approach rather than what I see as a non-constructive approach of constant criticism.
    What will break through the glass ceiling at home? Boys see their dads take on their share or more of domestic work, not because they are nagged and bitched into it, but because they discuss with their partners and do it because they recognize that it’s right. It’s all about the modeling. ANd I don’t think what Hirshman and Bitch are calling for will get us there.

  6. bj Says:

    I think the only way that the domestic ceiling will be broken is if those doing the work demand it, and make it happen (I really don’t know what the state could do about it). And, as long as there’s a “domestic glass ceiling” there will be a workplace one (though that doesn’t preclude other causes for the public ceiling). I’m somewhat wary of the calls for workplace accommodations whose goal appears to be to allow women to do a greater share of domestic labor.
    I agree with Chip that the ceiling will be broken by boys seeing their fathers doing work. My husband was raised by his father (no mother), and he is very involved in domestic labor (it would be fair to say that it is now equally divided, with lots of outside help, though before children, he did more than I did). I believe he never internalized the concept that domestic labor was woman’s work.
    I disagree with those of you who cite the u-shaped curve as an argument against Hirshman’s advice to marry “down.” Her suggestion presumes a voluntary division of earning potential. I’d suggest that the reason behind the u-shaped curve is that the men on the lower end are not chosing their lower earning potential. It’s resulted from circumstances outside their control, and they resent it. Hirshman suggesting marrying a man who knows he’s going to earn less than you, not one who has been laid off from the job you both had.
    Again, as others point out, the flaw in Hirshman’s argument is the refusal to accept that some people chose domestic labor, and get fullfilment from it, and that perhaps the majority of those people are women.
    bj

  7. chip Says:

    As I was thinking about my response I realized that it’s also important for daughters to see their dads doing this housework, because then our daughters will have specific expectations of the kind of guy they’re going to want to have as a life partner.

  8. Kai Jones Says:

    To get an unwilling partner to do housework, the best advice I’ve ever heard was from my therapist: figure out a way to make it their problem. If your husband won’t take out the trash, bag it up and leave it in his car–then it’s his problem to deal with and it’s out of your way. If he won’t pick up his socks, have a locked box of everything you pick up that is out of place–then it’s his problem to get his socks from you when he needs them, and they’re out of your way.

  9. Jennifer Says:

    I agree with Bitch that the domestic glass ceiling was a real issue, but I disagree with both Hirshman and Bitch’s solutions to it. But chip’s modelling good behaviours solution is an extraordinary long term solution if you look at today’s division of labour – sure it’s better than it was a generation ago, but at that rate of change we must have a few centuries ago.
    I don’t have a good answer, but I don’t think we should be complacent about the home front. Sure, the world of work needs fixing, but fixing the home front will make men as well as women more focussed on fixing the work front.

  10. Ailurophile Says:

    If you are a woman who wants a husband who will pull his weight where domestic and emotional issues are concerned, I believe it’s extremely important not to “marry down” so much as marry a man who is conscientious, good-hearted, and who really does love you and wants your marriage to work and not just on his terms.
    I think a problem with some of the “he doesn’t do housework or help with the kids” situations is, alas, a lack of basic goodwill and caringness. There are people who basically consider their spouses replaceable = “if s/he leaves, oh well, I can always find someone else” and if you’re in a marriage to one of these people, welcome to always being on the begging end.
    Don’t ever ever marry someone who makes you beg for basic consideration.

  11. Beanie Baby Says:

    After reading this I remembered that in studies I’ve seen, men typically do 30% of the housework including traditionally masculine outdoor chores like yardwork and automobile maintenance. This 30% figure held mostly steady regardless of the division of family income–if he earned more, if she earned more, if he was in fact unemployed. So I agree with you–marrying down is a piss-poor solution to the problem. I know of way too many couples where the woman earns all or almost all the money and does ALL of the housework and childcare–not most–all.
    Besides which, a) it’s demeaning to select a life partner on the basis of their lack of economic independence so you can expect to use them as a cleaning service, and b) considering men earn more on average than women do, this leaves a large segment of the female population without anyone to marry, because there is no one down the economic ladder from them. I suppose Hirschman feels they should remain single.

  12. magikmama Says:

    My personal solution to the domestic chore issue (which includes but is not limited to: housework, yardwork, car maintenance, personal care of children, meal planning and cooking, scheduling, remembering all of this and keeping track of how it is going, bill paying, check book balancing, tax paying, receipt checking, and keeping tabs on family members) was spending a month in a mental institution.
    My husband prior to that had always been very good about doing the 50% of housework thing, sometimes even more, but he never did the keeping track of what needed to be done parts. And he never understood when I complained that I simply didn’t have the mental energy to do it all by myself – he thought he was already doing more than his share!
    My being completely removed from the picture to be supported on for an entire month made him utterly responsible for, the first time in his life, being aware of what needed to be done. I think the truly, AHA! moment for him was when he forgot his own mother’s birthday, and actually got upset with me during the visit that day for not reminding him. WHILE I WAS IN A MENTAL HOSPITAL. FOR A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN.
    I pointed out to him the complete absurdity of that viewpoint. #1: It’s his OWN GODDAMN MOTHER. #2: He’s an adult, get’s paid better than me, and is constantly telling me how he does just as much of the keeping track of things than me. #3: Hello? I’m in a mental institution!!!
    Of course, he was completely mortified, especially since I told his mother about the whole thing. I wouldn’t say that he is yet completely pulling his weight, but he does do at least 30% of the thinking/planning/scheduling/remembering chores now. I no longer have to remind him when it’s his week to take out the trash/do the dishes/wash laundry etc. He’s also completely taken over keeping track of his family events, and calling his relatives to check on them.
    I am still pretty much the one who remembers that we all have to go to the doctor at least once a year, twice for the dentist, and that he works the last weekend of every, bloody, single month. Double argh. Also that stuff like deoderant and toilet paper should be contemplated when making a grocery list.
    But I’ll take 30% and recognition for how much work it is over a complete ignorance of the existance of the task any day.

  13. AB Says:

    I think how well Bitch’s advice will work depends on the sort of guy that you live with. I mean, most people would agree that nagging won’t work if the guy really and truly doesn’t agree in the first place that it’s his responsibility, or is not particularly interested in being responsible for half the work. I think her advice was aimed more at the situation where your partner believes in equal division of labor, so the “sitting down and having a serious conversation” will lead, every single time, to him nodding and agreeing he needs to do more and it’s not your job just because you have ovaries and of course he should be pulling his full weight.
    Then doesn’t, because he just “doesn’t notice” that the toilet hasn’t been cleaned in 3 weeks and is starting to reek. Or he just never thinks to strip the sheets and throw them in with his laundry, because he never really considered it before.
    In that case–where the guy agrees with you that he should do more but seems to have a wee bit of myopia–I think her solution works great. It’s just a strategy for making the invisible, visible. (Kind of like magikmama, but hopefully with less of the stress of being in a mental institution! I hope everything resolved for the better with you…)

  14. amy Says:

    I solved the problem in part by separating. (There were other factors involved.) Less to worry about now, less to clean. Still a lot of work, but since I’m not picking up after another adult, I’m much less resentful. My husband’s over every evening, though, and now he’s much more considerate about keeping the place nice. He’s the one who does the toy roundup at night & insists on our daughter’s helping; doesn’t strew his stuff about; does the bulk of kitchen-cleaning before he goes. Sets the table without being asked. Does the odd load of laundry, even though it’s not his. Could be seen as best-behavior, but neither of us is anxious to move back in together soon, and it’s been going on for six months.
    Very feminist guy, btw. Also very depressed and from a family that lives in cat hair, so that likely had something to do with it, but again, I noticed, he didn’t, so guess who did the work.
    A couple of years ago, when we had more money, I solved it by hiring cleaning people. Took part of the cost from his monthly allowance (we each get WAM from joint). Up to him, mop or pay; I didn’t care so long as I didn’t have to do it.

  15. Karen Says:

    It’s February, I know, but I just googled my way into this post and LOL through many of the responses,, especially magikmama’s solution of spending a month in a mental hospital, which sounds like a sane approach to gettng your spouse to do his share! I’m new to blogging, looking for links, just joined womenbloggers and have a site for an anthology I’ve co-edited: WHY I’M STILL MARRIED: WOMEN WRITE THEIR HEARTS OUT ABOUT LOVE, LOSS, SEX, AND WHO DOES THE DISHES. Hello! I’m gonna post some of you dynamite women on my site.

  16. dave s Says:

    Very nice and LONG discussion of Hirshman’s book at
    http://imponderabilia.blogspot.com/2006/09/get-to-work-book-review.html

  17. Husband Says:

    I don’t know how to feel about this. I am frustrated about housework (who isn’t?).
    I agree with a lot of these posts, here is my situation. I work full time. My wife is SAH with out 3 kids. 2 school age and one in diapers. I realize kids is a huge amount of work and that is certainly a full time job for her. I do probably 30% of the housework, all the yardwork, (not counting cleaning up kids toys in the yard, she always does that… well once in a while). I do about 30 – 40% of the cooking… I like cooking. I think i do about 40% of shopping. Aside from that I do all the budgeting, bill paying, taxes, car stuff, banking etc etc. that is the state of things. the problem is my wife is completely irritated about housework and i hear about it all the time. the Bitching is driving me nuts. 80% of the time there is all the dishes from the entire day stacked up in the sink and on the counter at the kids bedtime. I don’t mind too much but the problem is when she goes out for an hour or something (and I’m with the kids} she come in and is then storming around the house for the next 24 hours because everything is not cleaned up. even when I do clean up she is very quick to simply complain about the quality (you left this pot, or these don’t go there, or “you didn’t sweep, part of cleaning the kitchen and dishes is sweeping!”)… honestly, am I out to lunch here? I feel like i do a lot, and responsible for a lot, and stressed from it appropriately. why the need to split chores out 50/50 in this scenario? she actually wants to set a time and a list and we then make sure these things are done. I think this is childish. I don’t feel she has the right to complain about her workload vs. mine, let alone complain about my quality of work. I don’t hassle her about things she has forgotten or left out. I know her day is long.

  18. amy Says:

    Yes, yes she does have the right to complain.
    Your job = 40-50 hours a week. While at work, you get to go pee in privacy at will, eat lunch, talk to adults, etc. You get two commutes daily in total privacy, and you work in an environment that’s been kept clean and nice for grownups, no?
    Her job = around 70-120 hours a week. In other words, she has at least two fulltime jobs. Not twenty fucking seconds go by before one kid or another needs something from her. The woman cannot take a leak with the bathroom door closed. I bet the school figures that since she’s a stay-home mom, she’s available for all kinds of volunteer work, too. — AND she’s doing 70% of the housework? I’d bitch at you too.
    Try it out, man. Take a week off from work, stay home, and let her go on vacation somewhere. See what you think. I bet you’ll pick up more housework after that. She’s doing a lot more work than you are.

  19. Elizabeth Says:

    Amy, you’re assuming that he’s not doing any of the childcare when he’s home. If they’re splitting childcare evenly when he’s not at work, and he’s really doing 30-40% of the cooking/cleaning, then I don’t think she’s got a lot of basis for complaint. If the kids are her responsibility unless she leaves the house for a while, then that’s the real problem.
    But whether she’s got a “right” to complain or not, it sounds like they’re both unhappy. And us playing Solomon won’t solve that.

  20. amy Says:

    Eh, I bet you’re underestimating her share, Elizabeth. Figure: She’s got the kids from, what, 6 am on, making breakfasts, packing lunches, reminding kids about things they need, getting kids dressed, while he’s getting ready for work — taking a nice shower, etc. When he comes home, he might play with them, but they’re still going to come to her for whatever they need, because a) she knows where it is and how to do it; b) that’s what they do all day. Meanwhile, she’s cooking most nights. I see this sort of thing play out in the homes of my SAH friends with multiple kids and “involved” husbands. The guys all feel free to wander off to the privacy of the study to take care of “something work-related” after spending some time with the kids, because, you know, the kids are the wife’s job. Many of the kids’ requests are met with “Ask your mother” — because, after all, she’s in charge of the kids, she knows what’s going on with them. So there’s really no letup for the mom.
    Same at night. If one of the 3 kids is up needing food or medicine or a bowl held while puking or is scared after a nightmare, or, or, who’s up? I bet she is, because he’s got to be fresh for work in the morning.
    Anyway, this is why I suggest he try it himself, and then decide whether or not she’s yelling at him for nothing.

  21. amy Says:

    Whoops. Forgot to say: Yes, I think a list is a very good idea. Clearly she sees things that need doing that you don’t, husband. And you don’t see them because she’s doing them. And she’s furious because the workload is really too much. She’s mad at you when you do the work in a half-assed way because it means that you haven’t really done it and now she’ll have to fix it. You’d feel exactly the same way if you got “help” at work that you had to redo half of. It’s one thing to fix the work a kid does while you’re teaching him to make a bed or wash dishes; it’s another when you have to fix a grown man’s work. She’s a busy woman and I’m sure she doesn’t have the time or energy for that on a chronic basis.
    Shouldn’t she be more forgiving? Sure — if you give her room for that. You can’t expect a woman stretched to the limit to keep on being sweet when you dump extra work on her, whether or not that’s what you meant to do. Sit down with her and work out a schedule so that she has time off, time away from you and the kids, time for some fun — and time that she won’t have to pay for by redoing the chores you said you’d do while she was away.
    Anyway — sit down, make the list. That was how I finally got my husband’s attention, btw, about just how much there was to do around here. I made a list of all the housework I did. He was stunned, had had no idea that there was that much to do. These places don’t run themselves, you know. It turned out he couldn’t keep up with his end of the work, so I (did some research and interviews, meaning more work, and) hired a cleaning person, and he paid for part of it out of his own money.

  22. Elizabeth Says:

    Eh, Amy, you’re projecting based on your experience, and I’m probably projecting based on mine — remember I’m in the working-for-pay role in my house. The bottom line is that as people who are only reading this on the internet, we don’t know if he’s doing a half-assed job (strategic incompetence) or if she’s micromanaging and creating unnecessary work. Both are possible. Moreover, even if we could go to their house and make our own assessments, it still wouldn’t matter, because it’s their perceptions that matter.
    But I agree that keeping a list is a good icebreaker for starting the conversation, although it’s not a magic wand.

  23. karen Says:

    Her job = around 70-120 hours a week. In other words, she has at least two fulltime jobs. Not twenty fucking seconds go by before one kid or another needs something from her. The woman cannot take a leak with the bathroom door closed. I bet the school figures that since she’s a stay-home mom, she’s available for all kinds of volunteer work, too. — AND she’s doing 70% of the housework? I’d bitch at you too.
    I think this is quite an exaggeration, given that two of the kids are school aged. And when you add in his 30% of the cooking and shopping, 30% of the housework, 100% of the yardwork, and 100% of the financial management of the household, it looks like his time commitment exceeds her actually.
    This is always a fascinating topic for me, because I stayed home for three years and just don’t understand how women can find running a home with multiple kids that complicated. Stifling and often boring? Sure — that’s why I went back to work, and maybe that’s the root of Husband’s wife’s discontent. But the idea that it’s somehow harder or more stressful or demanding than being a primary breadwinner floors me.

  24. amy Says:

    Elizabeth, I agree.
    Karen, it only takes one at home to take up the time. If you’re caring for a child still in diapers (meaning, I assume, under 3) and you’ve got 2 school-aged kids, you’ve got a minimum of a 14-hour day with the baby. That by itself is a 70-hour week. Then there’s whatever the two older kids need (time spent tonight on class snack and reading/responding to email from the principal, one hour after the kid fell asleep), plus night stuff.
    I’m custodial parent of a school-aged kid and breadwinner now, and I can tell you that both jobs combined are less work, and less stressful, than I found SAH infant/toddlercare was. It wasn’t just the fact that the work was boring & stifling to me; it was the nonstop nature of it. If I want to spend half an hours screwing around on the internet in the middle of working, fine, I can make it up at night. Salaried jobs, too, you can take a walk, take a break. Unless you’ve got a terrific napper, no such things exist with very young children.
    My friends with multiple children have all come to manage it gracefully, and they expect to have children hanging off of them every 37 seconds. But it wears. A lot. They tend to forget how much work they’re doing, so when they slide into depression, they kick themselves for it, they take it out on their husbands. You say, “Hello? Are you crazy? Of course you’re depressed, you haven’t had time to drink a whole cup of coffee in seven years! Look how you’re running around! Two kids have been in here noodging you since I started talking, asking for things that would sound mentally ill if they came from adults, and that one wants your boob! I think you’re doing terrific just depressed and not locked up gibbering somewhere.” Then it’s like they wake up for a second and laugh, and notice how much they do.

  25. urbanartiste Says:

    I think the main problem is the lack of respect for domestic duties. Being the primary breadwinner is also a major responsbility, but at least a great deal of respect comes along with it. Staying at home still connotates lack of ambition. The fact that women are raising the next generation should garner a hell of a lot more respect. One thing that shocked me after having my child was the fact that I was responsbile for another human being’s total well-being (nutrician, education, safety, etc.) These things are completely taken for granted, like it comes natural for all women. Women do work to help support the family and are still taking on the majority of domestic responsibilities. I don’t see men being held to the same standards.

  26. urbanartiste Says:

    This question popped up in my mind. If both parent’s work and the child gets sick, which parent is automatically assumed to take off from work? One can argue this is based on individual situations, but at the multitude of jobs I have had it usual is the mother that uses a sick day.

  27. Husband Says:

    Thanks for all the comments, I think definitely I will have to start a list then. at least, as said, it gets the conversation started. I do think, however, that Amy is exaggerating her view quite a lot, and probably based on her experience.
    I am not insensitive, I am actually an extremely sensitive person and I do understand that kids are a whole shitload of work.
    I work at home. In my home office. I don’t get to go out and have a long quiet commute. I don’t chat leisurely with co-workers all day. An no, my office is kept up by me, not a cleaning staff. I am there for breakfast and help a lot with that, often cooking it before she is even out of bed. I do a lot of childcare, not just an interpretation of childcare (i.e. 30 minutes wrestling with the boys then gone) but real childcare. I help them, I teach them, I change shitty diapers, and I am up almost every single night with the middle child who wakes up almost every single night and needs me to ‘go to his room’ to lay down so he can fall back asleep. The last time my oldest boy was up all night barfing, it was me who sat up next to him patting his back so he could feel calm and try to sleep. This does not make me a hero, it makes me a dad. My wife was/is busy with the baby. I get this.
    The point about ‘it not being done right’ and having to go back and re-do it is total BS. my standard of doing it right is not the same as hers, and that is that, this is where a little adult respect is needed. Even at work you respect an employee who didn’t do something right… but then again, I’m not her employee nor is she mine, so I think she should lump it in those cases. It’s not like I don’t see things that I would do different or I think is not correct… but i do not Nag for 45 minutes when I see it, I try to ignore it.
    I didn’t feel I had to go to this length of elaboration when I said I help with the kids, but obviously some people are too prejudiced to believe.
    anyhow, I am very unhappy and will have to take some action.
    Thanks for the replies.

  28. amy Says:

    Husband, the home office makes a big difference.
    I have to tell you, though, that I think you’d still do well to sit down and make that list. You might get some real surprises. My ex, too, changed diapers, did real childcare, stayed up with a barfing baby, and taught. He was (and is) an Involved Dad. However, he really had no idea just how much work there was to do in taking care of the kid and home — not until I wrote up The List. All he perceived was that he did a lot. And he did. He just wasn’t thinking of it in terms of percentage of real total. He assumed he knew, but when confronted with the list, he admitted he really hadn’t, and things changed.
    That may not be your scenario. The other thing to consider is that even if the split is equitable, there may be other reasons why your wife is on your ass. Postpartum depression comes to mind. So does the simple fact that living in the land of babies and kids nonstop can eat your mind. I have a friend with ‘too many [beautiful] children’ whom I see about weekly, and she greets me with this over-the-top gratitude, just because I’m adult company.
    So, you know. It could be she’s a nag; it could be she’s depressed; it could be she’s really doing far too much work. I’d check it out before getting unilateral.

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