With Workplace Help, Dads Would Step Up More

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

I spend a lot of time, here and elsewhere, defending the modern father -- particularly the young dad -- suggesting that fathers today are more engaged in family life and more willing to put work second. I draw on my own experiences, the experience of a network of other guys committed to work-family balance and a growing list of surveys and polls that suggest guys want more time with the kids.

But let me be honest: Neither I, nor the guys upon whose experience I draw, are particularly representative.

There remains a yawning gap between the picture of fatherhood that I like to paint and the reality on the ground. Yes, guys are doing more, but let's put this in perspective: Dads are averaging less than an hour a day of child-care (counting weekends). That's a heckuva lot better than 1965, when fathers only put in 2.5 hours a week, but it's not exactly ticker-tape parade time.

I have been vexed by the question of why dads haven't started doing more sooner, and I found an answer of sorts in the American Prospect essay by Kathleen Gerson that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Gerson suggests that young men today come into relationships with egalitarian ideals -- just like the surveys suggest -- but fall back into a "neotraditional arrangement" when they hit the modern realities of "rigid, time-demanding jobs and a dearth of child-care or family-leave options block the path to such a goal."

Basically, the spirit is willing, but the system is weak. There is a reasonable debate to be had about whether more "family-friendly" policies will just exacerbate gender gaps (because women will be more likely to use them at a cost of career advancement), but Gerson's theory, coupled with the refreshing idealism of young dads, suggests otherwise -- that dads are ready to step up to the plate, if only the workplace would allow for it.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  March 29, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Dads
Previous: Family in Crisis | Next: What Is Balance, Anyway?


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



If this is Thursday 3/29 column it is dated wrong and in the wrong place.

Posted by: cmac | March 29, 2007 7:22 AM

CMAC,

What you are doing being up so early?

Posted by: Fred | March 29, 2007 7:47 AM

3rd

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 8:17 AM

I'll get the glue factory on the phone. I hear they're takin' $1.35/lb for dead horse.

Posted by: Vet | March 29, 2007 8:19 AM

If "the spirit is willing, but the system is weak," I'd say the spirit needs to get in line with its willingness and step up. Systems don't change themselves, people have to change them, and because it's often "against type" - men wanting (needing) more family friendly policies probably changes workplace environments more quickly than females do.

Posted by: The spirit is willing...and weak | March 29, 2007 8:39 AM

Nothing "motivates" a dad to "step up" like having a wife who works outside of the home. When you have to be an active participant in child-rearing, you are an active participant. You learn to set limits at work (as far as hours, as far as travel, as far as weekends). Sometimes, the working wife stresses me out, but I know I'm a better father because of it.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 29, 2007 8:44 AM

LOL at vet. Certainly is a dead horse here- and it's taken quite a flogging. I'm surprised it's not decomposed into dust yet.

In any event... sounds like we are supposed to do more with less. Work more, make more money, take care of kids, and do more chores around the house... as we concluded the LAST time we pummeled this deceased equine, at least we get the big piece of chicken. Maybe we DO need to have 4 day work weeks...

more redundant redundant inane prattle. Blah. If I just regurgitated the same post over and over again, could I get a paycheck from the Washington Post too? ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 8:46 AM

This is a good approach to a problem that we often debate. Kathleen's point is well made, and I'm glad that Brian pointed out that family friendly policies could very easily widen the gender gap.

Where there is a family leave policy in place, it applies to both men and women, so the issue is not that women get an unfair amount of time. The issue is that men don't take it for various reasons. Another issue is that few workplaces offer leave.

The truth of the matter is that family-friendly policies are made with moms in mind. Of course men can take the time, but they are probably dicouraged from doing so. So I think it will just take a few more men with b*lls like cantaloupes to take the leave and make no apologies. They will set examples.

The second issue will be addressed (IMO) when the older generation is retired and more progressive policies are put in place.

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 8:46 AM

"...but fall back into a "neotraditional arrangement" when they hit the modern realities..."

Sounds to me like women need to do better in demanding that men/husbands/whatever do their part. I hate it when this debate is couched in the terms of men 'helping' -- it sounds like they're doing that whopping hour of cleaning as a kind-hearted gesture of assistance.

Forget that. Men made the household, too, and they can clean it. Women need to take the energy they waste waste whining about how they have to do everything around the house and use it to make men do their part.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 8:47 AM

sorry- I'm cranky...need more sleep because of all the demands placed on me. waaaaah. ;-P lol

The words of today are: vexed, egalitarian, and neotraditional.

neo- new
traditional- old
used in a sentence: ...fall back into a "neotraditional arrangement" so we fall back into the new-old arrangement. wtf?

Any old word can be made new by adding "neo" in front of it and putting in quotation marks. It is the "neotrendy" thing to do. :-P

I think I need some neocoffee for my neonausia and when I am done with it I will check to see how far we have wandered from this neoblather on "neopaternal"/ "neoparental" "neoresponsibilities"
Dang, I am such an @$$ when I haven't had sleep. LOL

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 8:55 AM

"sounds like we are supposed to do more with less. Work more, make more money, take care of kids, and do more chores around the house... as we concluded the LAST time we pummeled this deceased equine, at least we get the big piece of chicken."

Chris, just be glad that you're only "expected" to keep the kid alive while you watch it. Be happy that you are held to the same level as your children in terms of chores ("just don't burn dinner, just don't bleach the clothes"). Be glad that you are expected to "help" around the house, not keep it spotless AND have dinner on the table AND look perfect AND have perfect kids AND get the family to work/school/sports on time. And when those don't happen, be glad that no one is pointing the finger at you for screwing up because you decided to work instead of stay at home, or because you stayed at home and drank Starbucks instead of raising the kids. Enjoy that big piece of chicken because we have to eat salad instead to lose that baby weight or to stay pretty so you don't go sleep with the secretary.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 8:55 AM

From ArlingtonDad: "Nothing "motivates" a dad to "step up" like having a wife who works outside of the home."

I totally agree.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 8:58 AM

If women would help out more with the lawn-mowing, gutter cleaning and car maintenance, we dads could have more time with the kids. So girls, don't you think its your turn to step up to the plate?

Posted by: Gen-x Dad | March 29, 2007 9:03 AM

Enjoy that big piece of chicken because we have to eat salad instead to lose that baby weight or to stay pretty so you don't go sleep with the secretary.

Wow, ever think about being the secretary rather than the wife with kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 9:04 AM

Changes take time. I am raising my two sons to help out around the house-with more responsibility as they get older. It is mandatory. When the 5 YO complains we explain to him that he is a part of the household and needs to pitch in.

Dh helps out too it really is about 50 50. He does more sixing and I do more worrying about dinner, but it does even out.

Posted by: atlmom | March 29, 2007 9:05 AM

My husband grew up in a house where his mom & his sister did everything. The men didn't lift a finger for cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. My house was the opposite...it didn't matter if you were a boy or a girl you got a turn on kitchen duty and we all did our own laundry starting around age 9 or 10.

My husband and I had been dating for several months and I made him dinner at my house. When the meal was over, he got up from the table and went to the couch. I cleared my own plate and joined him on the couch. A little while later he noticed his empty plate still on the table. He got up and cleared his plate. I didn't say a word but he got the message, loud and clear. A couple years of dating and seven years of marriage later, he helps around the house a lot. He does occasionally ask what I want him to help with but mostly he just knows what needs to be done and we take care of it as a team. As a rule, I don't criticize what he has done or do it over.

Posted by: MOMto3 | March 29, 2007 9:07 AM

what is "sixing"?

Posted by: to atlmom | March 29, 2007 9:08 AM

If women would help out more with the lawn-mowing, gutter cleaning and car maintenance, we dads could have more time with the kids. So girls, don't you think its your turn to step up to the plate?

Posted by: Gen-x Dad | March 29, 2007 09:03 AM

Please. Or course mowing the lawn once a week for 6 months of the year is equivalent to cooking dinner every night all the time. But fine, I'll trade.

Posted by: Gen-x mother | March 29, 2007 9:09 AM

>>If women would help out more with the lawn-mowing, gutter cleaning and car maintenance, we dads could have more time with the kids.>>

Talk about a dead horse. Lawn mowing 1x a week for ~6 months a year. Gutter cleaning, 1 hour, 2x a year. Car maintenance--what, taking it to Jiffy Lube every few months? You should be embarrassed to even offer up this tired old argument. Raising a family and running a household is a day-in-day-out responsibility. Kids need to be fed every day. Groceries need to be bought every week. Clothes need to be washed every few days. The house needs to be tidied every day and cleaned every week. Dishes need to be washed every day. Homework needs to be supervised every night. Baths need to be given every night. DOn't talk to me about the damn gutters.

Posted by: to Gen-x Dad | March 29, 2007 9:10 AM

To GenX Dad "If women would help out more with the lawn-mowing, gutter cleaning and car maintenance, we dads could have more time with the kids." Yes, women should help with these seasonal, much rarer than daily cleaning/cooking/washing/ironing tasks. But if a lawn needs to be mowed once a week and cooking/washing is done daily/every-other-daily, maybe there's some middle ground to both try helping in new areas.

Posted by: try it a little | March 29, 2007 9:10 AM

Who has better bedroom bingo? Families with SAHMs, SAHDs, or to working parents?

Posted by: Question... | March 29, 2007 9:11 AM

I think we (parents, Americans, people) have to approach this gender inequity from several directions.

One approach is corporate - finding ways to convince American businesses to offer more flexible work hours.

The second approach is to work to create carefully crafted laws that allow families to thrive.

And the third approach is to change the social climate so that involved dads are the norm and anything else is looked at askance (rather than the other way around).

EquallySharedParenting.com focuses specifically on the personal approach to gender equality. We want to show couples who are interested in gender equality in their own families HOW this can be done, what needs to be sacrificed (currently) and what a great lifestyle this is for both men and women.

I think that the more organizations, individuals and print/internet material speak to the value of equality from the man's perspective, the more men will consider it truly valuable and worth reaching for - past all the current barriers. If we wait for government or corporate fixes to trickle down to our own individual family situations, we could be waiting a long time!

I think that groups like MomsRising need to address dads too. I understand why they are focusing on mothers - and fully support them. But there ought to be a way to harness the power of American dads for political and corporate change too. That way, all parents are fighting on the same team.

Finally, I think that lobbying for paid family leaves (beyond the very early infancy stage) may be barking up the wrong tree. If we achieved gender equality, we would have far less need for parental leaves and we'd avoid the fear that those leaves would simply be used by women to further the gender gap.

Lots more about all of this at www.equallysharedparenting.com, if you are interested - I welcome you to add to the discussion there too!

Posted by: equal | March 29, 2007 9:11 AM

The spirit is willing, but the system is weak.

WAH PUDDIN'. Sounds like a big fat excuse to me. (I'm in a very cranky mood this morning, so you'll have to pardon me.)

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 29, 2007 9:12 AM

What are we supposed to discuss here? If fathers would help out more if some conditions in their (work) environment changed??

Would fathers drink less beer if only it wasn't sold at the neighborhood store?

Would overweight people weigh less if only they didn't sell candy at the supermarket?

Would wives nag less if only their husbands made fewer mistakes?

Would it be possible for Brian to come up with more interesting topics?

Posted by: What if? | March 29, 2007 9:12 AM

Oops that is supposed to be fixing not sixing.

I have no power tools.

Posted by: atlmom | March 29, 2007 9:14 AM

What are we supposed to discuss here? If fathers would help out more if some conditions in their (work) environment changed??

Would fathers drink less beer if only it wasn't sold at the neighborhood store?

Would overweight people weigh less if only they didn't sell candy at the supermarket?

Would wives nag less if only their husbands made fewer mistakes?

Would it be possible for Brian to come up with more interesting topics?

Posted by: What if? | March 29, 2007 09:12 AM

Good point!!!!!! Why should people take responsibility for their own actions when there's always someone to blame.

Posted by: TO: What if? | March 29, 2007 9:15 AM

Brian

"suggesting that fathers today are more engaged in family life and more willing to put work second"

Trying to drum up another phony war?

Most people come home from work, eat dinner, and spend the rest of the evening sacked out in front of the boob tube. It has been that way since the 1950s.

The only thing new is that now people can spend their evenings with the internet, checking out the porn and gambling sites.

Not sure that fathers are more engaged in family life, unless TV and the internet count.

Most people in my area are home from work by 5 pm and have sufficient leave time for personal use. There are no reasons to choose between family life and work.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 9:17 AM

I don't have an extremely balanced life myself so I have no intention of submitting a guest blog. But here are some topics I'd like to see, Leslie and Brian (apologies if these have already been covered in the past):

Balancing ethnic/religious traditions with the demands of secular contemporary life

Adoptions: what is the child told about the birth family; how are inter-racial adoptions handled?

Gifted kids: why is everyone's child gifted all of a sudden, what does it mean to the child to be labelled this way, and does it change the way the child is parented?

Posted by: worker bee | March 29, 2007 9:21 AM

"Sounds to me like women need to do better in demanding that men/husbands/whatever do their part"

Great idea! Have the women turn into nagging, whining shrews. Then wonder why the infidelity and divorce rates are so high!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 9:23 AM

Maybe we DO need to have 4 day work weeks...

Let's do that, cuz then we the people in India and China take all of our jobs because they are willing to work, you will have TONS of time to be with the kids --- in your double wide.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 9:24 AM

Actually, I think Gen-X Dad makes a good point, broadly viewed:

Perhaps Moms are falling back into their traditional roles and that encourages Dads to do the same.

Something for Moms to remember: the only behavior you can change is your own!

Case in point: when my son was born my husband read somewhere that Dad's should take a bath with baby. So he did. I never did baths, and can't say that I minded that!

But - the bath was at night, not always when or as frequently as I would have given it. The bathroom was often a big splashy mess afterwards. Twice as many towels got used. The baby wasn't always quite as clean as he might have been. Still, baby is graduating from college this spring and doesn't smell bad that often, so it all worked out.

So what did I do? I shut my mouth about how I thought a bath should be given.

Before Moms start to complain I think reviewing your own behaviors is the place to start. Get Dad to help, and then let go so he has no excuses. When #1 was three and son #2 came along, #1 didn't think anybody but Daddy should do baths. Once the kid expected Dad to do it then I didn't have to nag.

Posted by: RoseG | March 29, 2007 9:33 AM

LOL!
Would writers have better articles if the education system was better?

Would the horse come back to life if we let it die and rest in peace for a month or two?
---
NOOO the idea is we can work longer hours during the week, or do more work in the given time, and have one extra day off to spend time with family/ living our own lives outside of work. Your "neosnarking" is "neohumorous!" LOL... however, if it IS a "neodoublewide" some folks might be persuaded to be better parents...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 9:36 AM

"Great idea! Have the women turn into nagging, whining shrews"

As long as they are "neonagging" it would be perfectly acceptable in todays "neopoliticallycorrectsociety."

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 9:38 AM

Wow, ever think about being the secretary rather than the wife with kids?

Actually, No. When I'm working, I'm the boss.

Posted by: Exec | March 29, 2007 9:41 AM

Lots more about all of this at www.equallysharedparenting.com, if you are interested - I welcome you to add to the discussion there too!

Posted by: equal | March 29, 2007 09:11 AM

give it a rest, PLEASE. it's extraordinarily tedious for you to repeatedly use this blog to drive people to your website.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 9:44 AM

"Most people in my area are home from work by 5 pm and have sufficient leave time for personal use. There are no reasons to choose between family life and work."

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 09:17 AM

If they are home by 5 pm, then either they get off work at 5 and have zero commuting time, or they actually get off work before 5. And how many of the people in your area are the sort of elite types -- legal associates, doctors, fast-track executive wannabes -- who frequent this blog? If there were no need for work/family balance, we wouldn't have Leslie's "On Balance" column. In reality, for many people it is a rat race!

"For many a clean-cut Midwestern son,
If he wants to move up to be number one,
Must secretly stab more men above
Than brazenly out of my way I shove."

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 29, 2007 9:45 AM

"that dads are ready to step up to the plate, if only the workplace would allow for it."

Ha, ha! The workplace is holding dads hostage at gun point to keep them away from family life!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 9:47 AM

I appreciate the plight of the modern man but think we have come a long way, baby. I'm not sure what else to say - has it all been wrapped up at 9:43?

I enjoy reading the men posting today. My husband and I both have fairly family friendly workplaces so we are lucky.

Hi Fred - yes I was up early with a kid with the stomach flu. We are going out of town tomorrow so it is a requirement that someone gets sick, bathroom leaks or we are invaded by ants - all of which have happened on the eve of a departure. Such is life.......

Posted by: cmac | March 29, 2007 9:48 AM

OK, so I looked at the American Prospect essay that Brian Reid mentions, the one by Kathleen Gerson, a professor of sociology at New York University. Some quotes:

"The best hope for bridging this new gender divide lies in creating social policies that would allow new generations to create the families they want rather than the families they believe they must settle for" (K. Gerson)

Amen to that! That's why I think employers should be encouraged to provide worksite child care as well as Day Care Vouchers, all of which should be tax-deductible to the employer and not taxable to the worker. Worksite child care and vouchers redeemable at licensed Day Care Centers would help families where both parents work. Vouchers redeemable by relatives would help families where both parents work but who don't like institutional Day Care. Since "relative" includes a stay-at-home parent, non-taxable Day Care Vouchers redeemable by relatives would also help one-earner families. This way, the choice of two-earner vs. one-earner would be less likely to be constrained by economic necessity than it is now.

"Most young women -- regardless of class, race, or ethnicity -- are reluctant to surrender their autonomy in a traditional marriage." (K. Gerson)

Maybe so. But Prof. Gerson sure lays on the academic-fad "race, class, gender" labeling thick. Of the interviewees she cites in her article, all of the women and even one of the men are identified by race, ethnicity and class:

"Amy, an Asian American with two working parents, and Michael, an African American raised by a single mother"
"Danisha, an African American who grew up in an inner-city, working-class neighborhood, and Jennifer, who was raised in a middle-class, predominantly white suburb, agree:"
"Maria, who grew up in a two-parent home in a predominantly white, working-class suburb and Rachel, whose Latino parents separated when she was young, share this view:."

"Tom," "Andrew" and "Josh" escape the "race-class" labeling. And in fact, there is nothing in the article to indicate that the interviewees' race, ethnicity or class was relevant to their wishes for family structure. So, why mention them, except to win points with the "race/class/gender" intellectuals?

Near the end of the article, Prof. Gerson begins:

"Since a mother's earnings and a father's involvement are both integral to the economic and emotional welfare of children . . ."

. . . and goes on to make a number of workplace recommedations that make a lot of sense and with which I heartily agree. However, earlier in the article she wrote:

"In contrast to the conventional wisdom that children are best reared in families with a homemaking mother and breadwinning father, the women and men who grew up in such circumstances hold divided assessments. While a little more than half thought this was the best arrangement, a little less than half thought otherwise."

So, Prof. Gerson herself admits that many women and men, including more than half of those raised in traditional families, do not believe that a mother's earnings are integral to the economic and emotional welfare of children.

Personally, all I care about is that couples should be free to choose the kind of family arrangements they think are best, as free from economic pressure as possible.


Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 29, 2007 9:48 AM

But let me be honest: (PLEEEEEAAAASE, don't lie to us any more!)

"There remains a yawning gap between the picture of fatherhood that I like to paint and the reality on the ground."

I like to paint ungrounded things too... if only I had more time to pick up the paint brush... of course, anything I painted would hopefully not elicit a yawning gap.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 9:48 AM

funny, Chris!

Posted by: experienced mom | March 29, 2007 9:52 AM

Matt

"If they are home by 5 pm,"

Many feds and other government workers get off before 5 pm. The commute time is the employee's choice and can't be blamed on work.

If you don't like the rat race, jump off of the track!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 9:52 AM

Yes, let's examine this idea that people are home at 5:00 and watch TV for the rest of the night. I don't have kids, so I'm guessing here:

1. If you get home at 5:00, you leave at 4:30, which means you get to work at 7:30 (flex-time, YAY!).

2. If you have to pick up the kid, you actually get home at 5:30.

3. Right after work is homework sports/the gym/other enrichment program until 7:00

4. You make dinner and eat until 8:00.

5. You start with the baths or homework for older kids who were doing sports or other enrichment activities earlier.

6. Then bedtime between 8:30 and 9:30.

7. Then you get to "relax" by doing the dishes, tidying up, sorting the mail, making lunches, etc. until 11:00 or so.

I don't know any family with kids that sacks out in front of the TV from 5 until bedtime. We watch TV a couple hours a night after dinner and the dog park. I'm amazed that so many people watch all these shows like American Idol and Lost. Who has the time?

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 9:56 AM

Why is it that when men do something around the house, they're "helping?" As in, it's the woman's job, but the men have decided to "help" with it?

I'm cranky today, too, and this topic isn't helping.

Posted by: dlm79 | March 29, 2007 9:56 AM

I am willing to step up to the plate, but I am trying to avoid cliches like the plague...

I think Matt has a great point- to each their own. We can only offer suggestions and examples of how we make balance in our own lives, but there can be no set right way of doing everything one way... unless of course we all turn into mindless conformist sheep... which the puppet masters of society (not the dork who posts here under that name) seem to desire.

As far as class, I will never forget how Banfield stereotyped "lower-class" people as always self-destructive and violent and ready to pick up an axe... or some such nonsense. Some of the people who write texts on society are so far removed from reality that it is hilarious.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 9:58 AM

Wow, ever think about being the secretary rather than the wife with kids?

Actually, No. When I'm working, I'm the boss.

Why not run off with your secretary then? I know that there are both male and female sec'y. But to be PC, hey if your sec'y appeals to you irrespective of gender, go for it!

Posted by: To Exec | March 29, 2007 10:03 AM

"And in fact, there is nothing in the article to indicate that the interviewees' race, ethnicity or class was relevant to their wishes for family structure. So, why mention them, except to win points with the "race/class/gender" intellectuals?"
Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 29, 2007 09:48

I think if race/class/gender was not mentioned, some people would assume the interviewees were all white upper-middle-class (or all members of any other particular group) and argue with the findings on this basis, without knowing the facts. By stating it, the author is framing the study as an inclusive one.

Posted by: worker bee | March 29, 2007 10:05 AM

I'm amazed that so many people watch all these shows like American Idol and Lost. Who has the time?

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 09:56 AM

Lost is on at 10 - so that is watchable for lots of people. Most parents (us included) will watch American Idol with the kids after dinner - so one hour of TV is no big deal to fit in. I don't know anyone that watches TV from 5:30 - 11:00 either, with kids or without kids. Plus very few people have sports/acitivities every night, and if they do - God Bless You.

Watching an hour or 2 of TV a night is a guilty pleasure of mine, the kids watch maybe an hour. You should see what I can get done during commercial breaks! That is when most of my laundry is done and dishwasher loaded - in stages. There are probably electrical surges in some areas during commercials of American Idol.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:06 AM

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 10:06 AM

That was me.

Posted by: cmac | March 29, 2007 10:08 AM

Meesh,

Meet the DVR.

Many families (unfortunately) watch television during dinner. It gets turned on as soon as the first person enters the house and stays on all evening long.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:09 AM

Brian, sorry, I'm not feeling ya today. "Rigid, time-demanding jobs and a dearth of child-care or family-leave options" have been out there forever -- you think when women flocked into the workforce, people just said, oh, well, sure, welcome in, here's your nice 30-hr workweek with full benefits?

I know how hard it can be to defy social expectations -- I saw the amount of total crap my mom went through when she went to work in the 70s, even in a supposedly "appropriate" field. But you don't make change by just saying, oh well, those rigid expectations have blocked my path, so until THEY decide to change, I'm stuck. You make change by being willing to go for what you need. And at least most of the men I know seem well-suited to that task -- they are far more inclined to ask forgiveness instead of permission, less likely to sit around and complain about things they don't like, and more likely to do something about it (I've sure learned a lot from watching how my husband approaches life). And Brian, you yourself are an example of pursuing the life you want regardless of those expectations.

Do I think men are subject to a lot of unfair social pressures? Absolutely. I'm not going to pretend that society doesn't expect the man to be the wage earner. It's not fair that women get a "choice" and men don't. But you know what? Women earned their "choice" to work by busting their butts and fighting those social pressures for decades -- so if men want the "choice" not to work, they're likely going to have to earn it as well. And that means taking a risk, demanding what you want/need, and accepting the tradeoffs that come with that (e.g., lower pay, less career advancement).

I also suspect a lot of the pressure is within the family itself. I think a fair number of men quietly shoulder more of the financial burden to give their wife more flexibility to stay home or take a lower-paying job, because that's what the wife wants, and they put her happiness above their own. That is a worthy choice, and that sacrifice should be appreciated (my husband did that for a while, and it wasn't until several years later that I realized how much pressure that put on him). But if you're not happy with that, if you truly want more time at home and less pressure to provide financially, then you have to be willing to negotiate with your wife about more equal sharing of the financial burdens -- the same way women have had to learn to negotiate with their husbands about doing more around the house.

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 10:09 AM

I work 7:30 to 4.

That leaves ample time to pick up my kid and get home by 5 ON THE BUS.

I do most of the meal preparation and housework on the weekends. Errands are done ON THE BUS.

Kid goes to ONE outside activity a week ON THE BUS.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:09 AM

I'm amazed that so many people watch all these shows like American Idol and Lost. Who has the time?


I watch while doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:11 AM

To 9:44: Sorry! I really don't mean to self-promote. Can you tell I'm passionate about this topic? I just want the conversation to continue beyond 'On Balance'.

Posted by: equal | March 29, 2007 10:12 AM

"Meet the DVR.

Many families (unfortunately) watch television during dinner. It gets turned on as soon as the first person enters the house and stays on all evening long"

This is the case with most of the people I know. The watercooler conversation at work is almost always about TV.

And yes, a lot of people consider watching TV with their kids counts as "family time", the same as a kid being limoed in a car is "child care".

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:15 AM

When people mention working 60-80 hour work weeks, are they including commute time? 60 hours is 6 10-hour days and 80 hours is 6 15-hour days. If you are working for 15 and sleep for 6, that means you only have 3 hours per day to be with family and/or friends, run errands, watch tv, have a hobby, garden, exercise, etc. I personally wouldn't want that kind of life, no matter how much I loved the work or the $$$. If commute time isn't included in the 60-80 hrs that people claim to work, it's even worse.

Really, everyone I know refers to their work hours as their actual work hours without commute, so I really am interested in knowing what people mean when they refer to 60-80 hour work weeks.

Posted by: Just curious | March 29, 2007 10:18 AM

"I'm amazed that so many people watch all these shows like American Idol and Lost. Who has the time?


I watch while doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen."

Can't you think of anything better to do than watch this garbage?

Turn off the boob tube and go to bed!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:19 AM

I hear about all these husbands who don't pitch in their fare share, and I wonder, why do the wives put up with it??? I understand that every household has give and take. What seems like a great situation for one household, may seem horrible for another, so I don't think it's the specific duties that are divvied up. But when wife acquaintances tell me they can't get their husbands to do anything, I just have to think there is more to the story.

And, I think the divvy-ing up is different between families where there is a parent at home and families where both parents work.

But, this post seems to be about dad's face-time with the kids, rather than contributing to the household. I do see more dad's getting home from work earlier, tackling homework questions, and spending good quality time with the kids. Dad's rushing out of work to help coach a sport, getting in the last of the daylight (I LOVE this early daylight thing!!) to ride bikes, shoot hoops,etc. seems more the norm to me in my neighborhood.

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 29, 2007 10:19 AM

Add mentally ill spouse.

That is like juggling chainsaws, while twirling tassels from my ***s, and limboing naked under a flaming pole.

It's not for the faint-hearted and I don't recommend it to beginners, either.

But I just heard from a friend of mine who is a SAHD, in a foreign country, with his MIL nearby to criticize his every move. Doesn't THAT sound like fun?

I think it does take fortitude for men to use the leave, as they see fit, and not feel badly for doing so. It's hard doing something that seems new, or feels awkward. For all of us.

Posted by: MarylandMother | March 29, 2007 10:19 AM

Check out what Circuit City did to their employees - fired them because they were making too much, to be replaced with lower-paid employees. They didn't even give them the opportunity to stay at a lower pay.

Posted by: lurker | March 29, 2007 10:22 AM

"I hear about all these husbands who don't pitch in their fare share, and I wonder, why do the wives put up with it??? "

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:23 AM

""I watch while doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen."

Can't you think of anything better to do than watch this garbage?

Turn off the boob tube and go to bed!!"

One man's garbage is another man's treasure. Anyway, if I turned it off, i still wouldn't be going to bed, I'd be cleaning the kitchen.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:25 AM

Laura, Amen.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 10:29 AM

"I hear about all these husbands who don't pitch in their fare share, and I wonder, why do the wives put up with it??? "

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 10:23 AM

because they are MARRIED, for one thing, and the husbands put up with equally annoying behavior from their wives.

Is a wife better off if she kicks her spouse to the curb because he does less than she'd like him to do, and proceeds as a single parent? Yeah. Right. 20% of something is better than 0% of nothing.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:32 AM

what Laura said.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:33 AM

"I hear about all these husbands who don't pitch in their fare share, and I wonder, why do the wives put up with it??? "

Good question - Why does Leslie put up with it?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:34 AM

My son grew up with a bunch of boys whose dads were very involved with them in sports and scouts. My DD plays softball, which is a very dad-intensive activity. I think that the attitude of dads today is dramatically different than the post-war mentality that the dads had when I grew up. They're much more hands-on. And it works best when they're involved in ways they're interested in.

We have an active household in the evening and I let my husband know on a daily basis what I need from him. He works long, hard hours and sometimes I can hear him sigh when it's Wed and he has kid duty right after work that includes taking the kids out to dinner after sports. But he does it -- we can rest when we get older.

The time has to be stolen from somewhere. The kids these days are just so much better off because their dads are engaged and involved.

Posted by: soccermom | March 29, 2007 10:36 AM

"because they are MARRIED, for one thing, and the husbands put up with equally annoying behavior from their wives."

It's called neo-nagging. :-) LOL but well-said nonetheless. Bravo!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 10:38 AM

"because they are MARRIED, for one thing, and the husbands put up with equally annoying behavior from their wives."

Oh, so it's like a tit-for-tat thing? Is there any communication? Or it just she's pissing me off, so i'll do the same??

And what I'm saying is, every household is different - demanding jobs/late hours; non-demanding job/flexible hours; both parents working; one parent working - so I'm not implying that it all has to be even-steven around the house.

But, if you constantly complain about it, perhaps there should be a conversation.

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 29, 2007 10:42 AM

"The spirit is willing, but the system is weak.

WAH PUDDIN'. Sounds like a big fat excuse to me. (I'm in a very cranky mood this morning, so you'll have to pardon me.)"

Right on, workingmomX. And Laura too.

How is that all the working women of the world manage to "step up to the plate" in spite of the pressure of demanding jobs and a dearth of child care options, but the men can't because of "the system?" Give me a break. If men want it, they can do it. They just have to be willing to take the risks, just like women have and do.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 10:43 AM

"Oh, so it's like a tit-for-tat thing? Is there any communication? Or it just she's pissing me off, so i'll do the same??"

YES! It is about BALANCE, after all, RIGHT? How dare you presume to hold a double standard?!?! LMAO!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 10:46 AM

For the person asking how an 80-hour workweek works (and no, it doesn't include commuting). I only know how it works for medical residents, so I'll explain. A normal day is 10-12 hours (say, 5-5, or 7-5 depending on specialty). Then, every 4th day (sometimes more) you're on call, which means you stay all night, and usually leave around noon the next day (around a 30 hour shift). So, two calls and two other days and you have 80 hours. You just disregard the premises that you go home and sleep everyday and that weekends are for not working. (To be honest, with call every fourth day, it works out so that you get one weekend a month totally off "the golden weekend", one weekend where you're on call Friday night into Sat morning, one weekend where it's saturday night and sun morning, and one where you have saturday off but you're on sunday into monday)

a 60-hour week is just 5 12-hour shifts.

You just give up sleep if you want to do anything else.

Posted by: med student | March 29, 2007 10:48 AM

"The kids these days are just so much better off because their dads are engaged and involved."

Really? How? Where is the proof? Because that's what you want?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:50 AM

tickles

Posted by: test | March 29, 2007 10:50 AM

Hmmm... I retract that- if we are not really talking about balance here, but instead a "neo-balance" which is deeply rooted in truthiness, except that only certain people get to decide what is fair and balanced to them. This seems to be the sort of balance people write about the most. For instance, I might think it would be perfectly fair for you to do most of the work, because after all, I am of one sex, and you are of another, and ipso facto ad nausium I can claim that it is my right to neo-nag as well. Of course, were I to do that, I would find myself in the dog-house... Alas, these double standards again! THAT, I respectfully submit, and not the workplace, is what lurks behind the yawning gap between the pretty paintings and the grounded reality of "fatherhood" as so "heckuva" eloquently put by the author of this article.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 10:53 AM

"The kids these days are just so much better off because their dads are engaged and involved."

Aren't the infidelity and divorce rates the same for these fathers as the rest of the general population?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 10:54 AM

When women wanted fairness and family-friendly policies in the workplace, they fought for it. Face it: corporations don't care about families, they care about the bottom line. They're not going to offer help to fathers. Fathers are going to have to demand it. Why is it that women are willing to go the distance for their families but men need 'help'?

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 10:56 AM

Aren't the infidelity and divorce rates the same for these fathers as the rest of the general population?

Really? If by the rest of the general population you mean women, then yes, the divorce rates WOULD have to be the same...

the only way either side could have higher divorce rates would be if the "divorce" rate of gay couples were included in this data. Then we could figure out if it was mainly men, or women, who have a higher divorce rate...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 10:58 AM

"Aren't the infidelity and divorce rates the same for these fathers as the rest of the general population?

Really? If by the rest of the general population you mean women, then yes, the divorce rates WOULD have to be the same..."

Chris - you are hereby named master of the obvious for the day, congrats!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 11:00 AM

"Why is it that women are willing to go the distance for their families but men need 'help'?"

See, this is the "neo-balance" stereotyping I am talking about. I guess women don't need help (except vegas mom, yesterday) and men, us filthy pigs, never carry our own weight. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:01 AM

I couldn't help but be a smart@$$ to 10:54, KLB SS MD
Thank you, thank you... *bows*

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:02 AM

Chris, Your comments are giving me a reason to live today, LOL!! Keep up the good work in bringing such energy and humor to such a tired-a$$ topic.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 11:03 AM

For genX dad- how many times a day do you clean those gutters? Being single, I do all the boy and girl chores. Don't fool yourself that the guy stuff is anywhere near as time-consuming as the distaff chores.

Posted by: childfree and equal | March 29, 2007 11:03 AM

Worker bee, I like your suggestions for new topics and would add that the discussion on inter-racial children not be limited to adopted children. When my husband and I have children, they will be inter-racial as well as inter-cultural (we are not American).

Posted by: MV | March 29, 2007 11:07 AM

For genX dad- how many times a day do you clean those gutters? Being single, I do all the boy and girl chores. Don't fool yourself that the guy stuff is anywhere near as time-consuming as the distaff chores.

Posted by: childfree and equal | March 29, 2007 11:03 AM

you're working too hard, childfree and equal. most guys will be glad to clean your gutters in exchange for a six-pack and a smile. of course, then you have to get them to leave. that's the difficult part.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:08 AM

Megan's Neighbor, thanks... at least until you start jumping on the men are pigs who can't do anything without help bandwagon too. ;-)

The topic really is as worn out as much as a thing that has been used beyond its effective usefullness- ie: a corpse of a horse, of course, of course.

As far as man-tasks. My wife actually had the gall to call them "playing" and not work, as I appear to enjoy wiring the stereo and tinkering with things- as if a man is to be denied taking satisfaction in a job well done. If men are lazy pigs, then to "neo-balance" things, women are fun-killers... at least once a month...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:08 AM

"Being single, I do all the boy and girl chores. Don't fool yourself that the guy stuff is anywhere near as time-consuming as the distaff chores."

Same here. I'm a widow. The guy stuff is a breeze, mostly because it isn't time sensitive and can be postponed.

Somehow, those darn kids expect to be fed and have clean clothes every day.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:12 AM

seeings how I mow the lawn, take care of all outdoor stuff (but not the cars-he likes to do that even), I find all this classification of guy stuff humorous.

whomever cares more about an activity is the one who does it...regardless of whether it is guy, gal, indoors or outdoors.

Posted by: dotted | March 29, 2007 11:15 AM

childfree and equal; How many girls did you ever meet that wish they were physically stronger that their husbands? Men do the heavy lifting, women stick with the menial lightweight task for a reason. Girls don't like to sweat, and they don't like to get dirt on the diamond their husbands saved up 2 months income to purchase.

Posted by: Gen-x Dad | March 29, 2007 11:18 AM

"The guy stuff is a breeze, mostly because it isn't time sensitive and can be postponed." More "neo-balance" stereotyping!

The horse is dead. Long live the horse!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:19 AM

worker bee: I like your topic suggestions
Laura, That was awesome
In general, I think women put up with it for several reasons. 1) it is really hard to judge who does more. It reminds of work place issues and team assignments. It is easy to say I worker harder then X but who really knows all the stuff X does behind the scene. 2) because on some level some women like to by martyrs (sp?). It is fun to complain about doing all the work. 3) some women like the control. We would be fine if men did the chores the way we THINK they should be done 4) still some cultural bias. We think we should or are better at doing some things and men should or are better at doing different things. 5) gee, don't want to get divorced because hubby can't seem to do laundry or cook 6) because in weird way, we have already found a balance of chores but don't want to admit that 7) gee, we actually really love the guy and put up with weird traits because they put with ours.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 29, 2007 11:20 AM

"at least until you start jumping on the men are pigs who can't do anything without help bandwagon too"

Aw, come on now Chris, don't blame that bandwagon on the women of the blog today (I'm not sure if you were, but just in case) - it's Brian's post that says men just can't pull their weight because they're not getting any help.

Personally, I just don't see why there should be any difference - if women can ask for flexibility and figure it out, so can men - and we should all be in it together. There's no reason either sex should find it more difficult than the other.

And personally I quite enjoy mowing the lawn and was planning to do it this weekend, but we woke up to six inches of snow this morning. What the heck?

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 11:21 AM

Chris, neo-balance AND truthiness in the same post? New personal best, I think -- you are now officially qualified to run for office. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 11:23 AM

Ah, Chris, "men are lazy pigs" is not my schtick. I thought you'd know that by now :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 11:23 AM

Thank you foamgnome for the olive branch. :-)

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:25 AM

"I'm amazed that so many people watch all these shows like American Idol and Lost. Who has the time?


I watch while doing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen."

Can't you think of anything better to do than watch this garbage?

Turn off the boob tube and go to bed!!

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 10:19 AM

Sure, as soon as you can wash dishes in your sleep.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:27 AM

Holy emoticon central batman - don't think I've ever seen so many smileys in a row on this blog.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:28 AM

whomever cares more about an activity is the one who does it...regardless of whether it is guy, gal, indoors or outdoors.


Here, here, to that!

Posted by: ilovetowatchtv...lots | March 29, 2007 11:28 AM

Gen-X dad:

Women don't like to sweat? really? That's interesting, maybe you got what you paid for with that 2-month's salary diamond. If you talk about things, they get done.

I'm not married, but I do have roommates and we all do everything. Well, I don't close the garage door b/c I'm not tall enough to reach it, but I climb the ladder to get to the gutters and my roommates vacuum.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:28 AM

"Girls don't like to sweat, and they don't like to get dirt on the diamond their husbands saved up 2 months income to purchase."

Hahaha. I know I shouldn't reply to this, and fuel the fire, but I'm sure I'm not the only one here who spent the weekend hitting Thai pads with her bf, and getting bruised and knocked over by a guy who asked, after seeing "Blood Diamond" if I minded not getting a diamond engagement ring, to which I responded that I would not prefer one. Maybe he's physically stronger than me (I still have the bruise on my thigh), but that doesn't mean I have to lie down like a doormat. He hits harder, but I beat him at wrestling. And ask which of us has ever actually done an oil change, replaced a headlight, cleaned out an intake manifold, mowed a lawn, and split firewood. Physical strength is not a prerequisite for outdoor housework.

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 11:29 AM

"It is fun to complain about doing all the work."


and then arguing and having good make-up sex

Posted by: sexisfuntoo | March 29, 2007 11:30 AM

I would never blame the women on the blog today for men being stereotyped, it's all that awful MAN's fault.
;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:31 AM

I never understood why there HAS to be arguing first!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:32 AM

Anon 9:17 AM writes

>Most people come home from work, eat dinner, and >spend the rest of the evening sacked out in front >of the boob tube. It has been that way since the >1950s.

Riiiiiight. And cooking fairies prepare or purchase that dinner for them to eat; and cleanup fairies ensure the dining table is cleared, cleaned, and set with clean dishes that they may eat it from; and laundry fairies assure that they have clean clothes available to wear to work each morning; and kid-prep fairies assure that the kids have homework done, lunches or lunch money ready, permissions/parent approvals signed, and all of it loaded in their backpacks to go out the door to school; and the kids spontaneously bathe themselves, put themselves to bed, wake themselves, and appear dressed and ready to leave for school each morning at the appointed time --- not to mention the laundry and cleanup fairies specially devoted to the children's clothes and possessions.

Absolutely, that's how life has been for "most people" since the 50s --- how could I have been so blind?

Posted by: KB | March 29, 2007 11:32 AM

I DO beleive in fairies, I DO believe in faries, come on everyone SAY IT!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:35 AM

"it's all that awful MAN's fault."


... and the little voice in my brain keeps reminding me, 'you wanted to marry him', so some days I let him watch tv (lots) and other days we argue 'bout the kids, dishes and money and then have good make-up sex.

Every couple's just gotta figger it out.


Posted by: happilymarried | March 29, 2007 11:35 AM

"Girls don't like to sweat, and they don't like to get dirt on the diamond their husbands saved up 2 months income to purchase. "

The saps who fall for the diamond con/shakedown have no one to blame but themselves.

Some people are obviously very high maintenance long before the engagement, but the nuptials proceed anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:37 AM

No one has ... just one of life's many misteries.

Posted by: happilymarried | March 29, 2007 11:37 AM

"I would never blame the women on the blog today for men being stereotyped, it's all that awful MAN's fault.
;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:31 AM

I never understood why there HAS to be arguing first!"

LOL on both, Chris! You're definitely on a role.

I don't get the arguing pre-req either - we skip right over that part and get straight to the fun. But then, so far we've never had an argument about whether one of us isn't "pulling our weight", so I wouldn't actually know if it improves the sex to fight about that first...

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 11:39 AM

er...roll, I mean. der.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 11:40 AM

No one has ... just one of life's many misteries.

Posted by: happilymarried | March 29, 2007 11:37 AM


Thread got a little thin there -- this is in response to agruing leading to good make-up sex and Chris not being able to figure out why there HAS to be arguing first. Sorry.

Posted by: happilymarried | March 29, 2007 11:41 AM

... and the little voice in my brain keeps reminding me, 'you wanted to marry him', so some days I let him watch tv (lots) and other days we argue 'bout the kids, dishes and money and then have good make-up sex.

Every couple's just gotta figger it out.

Posted by: happilymarried | March 29, 2007 11:35 AM

any married person that speaks in terms of "letting" her spouse do something scares the bejeezus out of me.

Is he your husband or your son?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:42 AM

KB, please let me know where I can order said fairies. The ones I grew up with seem to have gone on strike as soon as I moved out on my own.

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 11:43 AM

Megan, it's you're not arguing first, then don't ruin a good thing.

---
What gets me is that nobody else said they believe in fairies! Now say it, &^%* it, SAY IT! Or Tinkerbell gets it.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:43 AM

Just curious wrote: "...80 hours is 6 15-hour days..."

No wonder people don't have enough time, if they're losing 10 hours a week alone to fuzzy math!

Posted by: catlady | March 29, 2007 11:44 AM

My first response to "With Workplace Help, Dads Would Step Up More," was WHO DO YOU THINK IS RUNNING THE WORKPLACE? If we could use Fortune 500 companies as a stand in, what, 6 of them have female CEOs? What percentage of their c-suite employees are women? So I got a little chuckle out of that. Second, businesses are meant to make money. However, even if you are a Milton Friedman-loving maniac, I don't think it would be hard to show that doing well by your employees probably suits the company and your bottome line better. My last thought was if women want their spouses to step up more, then they need to advocate for change within their own homes.

Posted by: hahahahha | March 29, 2007 11:45 AM

Wow - lots of coffee this morning, guys? I almost decided not to read when I saw this topic AGAIN, but it's been entertaining so far :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | March 29, 2007 11:46 AM

Thanks, KB, for giving us an image of hard-working faeries KB to replace the earlier and very vivid image of MDMother: "juggling chainsaws, while twirling tassels from my ***s, and limboing naked under a flaming pole."

That one was harder to shake than the John Denver lyrics supplied a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 11:47 AM

Hello, thought I might give a try here. I've been lurking a while, and feel like I know a lot of you. Maybe you'll want to get to know me, too.

I wanted to post today to give a shout out to my husband, who, I think does a bang-up job and is awesome. We both work, and we both do what needs to be done during the week and on the weekends to make the house run smoothly. He cooks dinner, I clean up the dishes. I cook dinner, he cleans up the dishes. I wash, he folds... all that stuff. He is also a great father, and really makes time to devote to his kids.

Posted by: Post It | March 29, 2007 11:47 AM

"Personally, I just don't see why there should be any difference - if women can ask for flexibility and figure it out, so can men - and we should all be in it together. There's no reason either sex should find it more difficult than the other."

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 11:21 AM

Indeed, "if women can ask for flexibility and figure it out, so can men." But this misses the whole point of Professor Kathleen Gerson's article in the American Prospect. She writes:

"If a supportive, egalitarian partnership is not possible, most women prefer individual autonomy over becoming dependent on a husband in a traditional marriage. Most men, however, if they can't have an equal balance between work and parenting, fall back on a neotraditional arrangement that allows them to put their own work prospects first and rely on a partner for most caregiving."

Got that? Men can ask for flexibility and figure it out -- if they want to. But as Donald tells Lawyer Sharkey near the end of "The Golden Helmet": "Nikkus, nokus, nopus -- I don't want to." The Professor is saying that "most men" don't really want to ask for flexibility and figure things out so that they can do half the housework and child care. They prefer what she calls a "neotraditional arrangement," where "neo" means that the husband concentrates on maximizing the $$$ and his "partner," i.e., his wife, does most of the caregiving. And the "most men" is based on what the Professor's interviewees were willing to tell her. Who knows how many more young men who would really prefer a traditional arrangement were afraid of seeming sexist, so they lied and told her that they prefer independent, autonomous wives? Certainly, Professor Linda Hirshman's male students in her "sexual bargaining" class were willing to tell her that they expected their future wives to keep house and care for the children.

And what does Prof. Gerson mean, "most women prefer individual autonomy"? If a wife loves her husband, and he's a really nice guy who listens to her and never raises his voice to her and never speaks disloyally of her to others and "helps out" with the children and earns enough for the family to live decently -- is she gonna divorce him and break up the little civilization that constitutes the family, just for the sake of her "individual autonomy"? What these female students tell their Sociology Professor at NYU, and what they will actually do a few years later after they get married, are likely to be two different things.

Posted by: Matt in Aberdeen | March 29, 2007 11:47 AM

Interesting article in the Post today on a related topic. NOW is going after the federally funded "Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative." Another ridiculous barrier to dads "stepping up"? Is this what happens when the government tries to help men be better fathers? I normally don't agree with the feminist-bashing that takes place on this blog sometimes, but it seems that NOW is doing parents a disservice here.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/28/AR2007032802065_pf.html

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 29, 2007 11:48 AM

I've thought about having an Opinion column, especially after seeing how they will print ANYTHING these days... I wonder how much I could get paid to sit on my arse and rant as much as I do now... ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:48 AM

"Letting your spouse do X" is a perfectly valid thing to say. When you choose to let them not pull their weight, you are letting them do something or would you rather say that the relaxing spouse has the RIGHT not to do their share?

Ideally, you would take turns not pulling your own weight, but if it is one-sided, the working spouse is certainly letting the other get away with it.

Posted by: "letting" | March 29, 2007 11:48 AM

Yeah. Right. 20% of something is better than 0% of nothing.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 10:32 AM

You are accepting a 20% solution? Why even bother?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:51 AM

"He cooks dinner, I clean up the dishes. I cook dinner, he cleans up the dishes.
I wash, he folds... all that stuff. He is also a great father, and really makes time to devote to his kids."

Who cares????? Next time you post, please try to further the discussion or at least say something interesting.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:51 AM

"He cooks dinner, I clean up the dishes. I cook dinner, he cleans up the dishes.
I wash, he folds... all that stuff. He is also a great father, and really makes time to devote to his kids."

Who cares????? Next time you post, please try to further the discussion or at least say something interesting.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 11:51 AM

Evidently she did since you felt the need to copy and respond...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:54 AM

I DO beleive in fairies, I DO believe in faries, come on everyone SAY IT!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:35 AM


My irish grandma believed in fairies except that she called them the wee folk. And so nightly she'd leave milk and sometimes other treats just outside the back door for the wee folk. And every morning the milk and treats would be gone and so that's how she knew that the wee folk exist. And it's our job to take care of them both out of a sense of kindness and also because to not care for the wee folk could bring bad luck, or at the very least ward off any potential good luck. It didn't matter to grandma that the wee folk only took the milk and never did any chores in the night while we slept. Kindness is what mattered most to her.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:54 AM

I've thought about having an Opinion column, especially after seeing how they will print ANYTHING these days... I wonder how much I could get paid to sit on my arse and rant as much as I do now... ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:48 AM

Unfortunately Chris, Leslie says writing the blog pays pretty poorly.

Posted by: foamgnome | March 29, 2007 11:55 AM

Chris

I agree. Today's topic, if there is one, is the most dumb ass one yet!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:56 AM

"Letting your spouse do X" is a perfectly valid thing to say. When you choose to let them not pull their weight, you are letting them do something or would you rather say that the relaxing spouse has the RIGHT not to do their share?

Ideally, you would take turns not pulling your own weight, but if it is one-sided, the working spouse is certainly letting the other get away with it.

Posted by: "letting" | March 29, 2007 11:48 AM

You're (in theory) both adults. You do not LET him or not LET him do anything. You can threaten to leave, you can withhold sex, you can pitch a fit, but he has a choice to behave however he wants and you have a choice to determine how you will respond.

My husband is not my daddy. He doesn't "let" me do anything. Use of the term "let" when addressing a husband is every bit as sexist as Gen-x Daddy referring to 30 year old and older women as girls who don't like to sweat.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 11:57 AM

Ok, one more thing "better than 0% of nothing." Do you mean 100% of nothing? Would 0% of nothing constitute as a double negative, or is there a warp in the space-time continuum that allows makes for one type of dividing by zero more acceptable than another? There... just had to get that off my chest...

The post about the wee folk was so sweet. 11:54's grandma should write a guest article. No, I really do mean that. If I left milk out for wee folk, the cat would drink it...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:59 AM

Chris - I actually had a roomate who let a guy move in with us who really, truly did believe in Fairies. It was a little alarming.

Post It - That's awesome! I think it's great to hear from other people who are not having these tired battles and bashing their spouses.

Matt in Aberdeen - not sure what your end point is, but I agree with some of this: "Men can ask for flexibility and figure it out -- if they want to. But as Donald tells Lawyer Sharkey near the end of "The Golden Helmet": "Nikkus, nokus, nopus -- I don't want to." " The premise of Brian's post, that men would help more if it just weren't so hard, strikes me as totally bogus. They can do it if they want to. And I know men who both want to and have done it (like my awesome husband).

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 12:00 PM

The post about the wee folk was so sweet. 11:54's grandma should write a guest article. No, I really do mean that. If I left milk out for wee folk, the cat would drink it...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 11:59 AM


Ya thunk, Chris??

Grandma has passed on, but I'm sure she would be very flattered.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:01 PM

Chris, It's only noon, and you've already posted 22 times. GET A LIFE!

Posted by: Numbers | March 29, 2007 12:02 PM

My point was, not everyone thinks their husband doesn't do his "share". Not all husbands have such demanding jobs that they can't contribute to the family. Not all husbands are lazy SOB's and not all wives are nags.


Posted by: Post It | March 29, 2007 12:02 PM

If the woman stays home or the man they should be expected to do the vast majority of child rearing, if both work it falls on the day care giver, house cleaner and gardner. There was a time in la la land when the man by custom provided for his family, still is in most of the civilizd world and still would be here if it wern't for the emancipation of women into the mess we are as a nation today.

Posted by: mcewen | March 29, 2007 12:02 PM

Hint to Dads... helping out more - taking pressure off your wife.. is a wonderful way to improve your intimate life with your wife.........

Posted by: C.W. | March 29, 2007 12:05 PM

"You can threaten to leave, you can withhold sex, you can pitch a fit." Oh crap... here we go with the mature neo-responses. :-)

How poorly is poorly? I was thinking about semi-retiring away from DC area someday and doing something that would allow me more time to be with family/friends and do fun man-tasks involving home-repair that could easily be postponed. Maybe I would even have the time to paint, get back into playing an instrument, or do some gardening...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 12:05 PM

he's ba - ack.

the mention of abusing dead equines must have prompted mcewen to type.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:05 PM

mcewen, where is this "civilizd world" you praise?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:06 PM

There was a time in la la land when the man by custom provided for his family, still is in most of the civilizd world and still would be here if it wern't for the emancipation of women into the mess we are as a nation today.

Posted by: mcewen | March 29, 2007 12:02 PM


Oh, dearie me. Could you research and write a book expounding on your theory on the roots of our messed up nation. We all promise to read it and THEN (and ONLY THEN) will we comment.

Thanks.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:06 PM

CW -- you hit the nail on head!

Posted by: Arligton Dad | March 29, 2007 12:07 PM

Good to see McEwen is still pining away for the good old days when women were property....

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 12:08 PM

Indeed, "if women can ask for flexibility and figure it out, so can men."

One of the recurring themes on this blog is that women who want/need flexibility generally are mommy-tracked, or their careers suffer, or career advancement opportunities suffer because of their situations.

Maybe men really don't want to find themselves on the daddy track. Or, maybe, the women don't want their men on the daddy-track. Or, maybe the men would really rather be working than taking on more responsibilites at home.

I would think there are multiple reasons.

Some men really do nothing at home, some do take responsiblity but it doesn't satisfy their wives, some do 50%, and some do more than 50%. Please stop lumping all men together.

Posted by: lurker | March 29, 2007 12:08 PM

I guess this makes 24 now. Hah! but if you're counting, you need a life. I'm just a witty fast typer strung out on caffeine and lack of sleep.

I believe in fairies- they march on the capital, don't they? *groan* sorry...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 12:08 PM

i am glad that i am not posting today (except for this). numbers may make me number 1 like fred the other day

Posted by: a regular but anon for this one | March 29, 2007 12:09 PM

The premise of Brian's post, that men would help more if it just weren't so hard, strikes me as totally bogus. They can do it if they want to. And I know men who both want to and have done it (like my awesome husband).

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 12:00 PM


Thank you Megan! In a civilized world we would all agree with your perfectly rational (as demonstrated by many couples) line of thinking and the blog would close shop early today.

Posted by: lindab | March 29, 2007 12:09 PM

Chris and KB-you bring humor to a blah blog day...I love ya!

Posted by: dotted | March 29, 2007 12:10 PM

Who did the study from 1965 and now. I have 2 kids and I don't know of one dad in my entire range of friends and family who spends less than an hour a day on childcare. During the weekend we are all at it 24 hours a day. That is 48 hours for 2 days. Do the math for 7 days and that right there gets you to 7 hours a day. As soon as I get home from work I take the kids to the park, play outside or just hangout and play for a few hours every night. So so everyone of my Dad friends. No on is running off to the bars or hanging out with the guys while mom is home with the kids. That just does not happen. When my wife worked full-time when our first son was born, I took off every other Tuesday and stayed home. When we got home from work it was a shared responsibilty. I think as a whole we are much further along then the article relates. I know imn my circle we sure are.

Posted by: HappyDad | March 29, 2007 12:11 PM

"and the blog would close shop early today."

yeah, but poor trolls with OCD like numbers would have no more posts to count!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 12:12 PM

"Girls don't like to sweat, and they don't like to get dirt on the diamond their husbands saved up 2 months income to purchase."

"women are fun-killers... at least once a month..."

Did I stumble into the misogynist twilight zone? Don't you guys have a No Girls Allowed-type blog to populate? We're talking about balance here.

"11:51," the poster you lambast is actually contributing to the conversation, unlike some other posters.

Chris, you could have your own opinion column, but I don't they'd let you write as much as you do here, LMAO! ;-P


Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 12:12 PM

The original question was: "I hear about all these husbands who don't pitch in their fare share, and I wonder, why do the wives put up with it??? "


I responded: "because they are MARRIED, for one thing, and the husbands put up with equally annoying behavior from their wives. Is a wife better off if she kicks her spouse to the curb because he does less than she'd like him to do, and proceeds as a single parent? Yeah. Right. 20% of something is better than 0% of nothing."

11:51 blocks and copies only the last clause, without context and asks:

"You are accepting a 20% solution? Why even bother?"

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 11:51 AM

anon at 11:51, I'm not accepting a 20% solution. I responded as quoted above to the question above. Your omission of context must have been the inadvertent result of your need to rant.

Posted by: anon for tomorrow | March 29, 2007 12:13 PM

but if you're counting, you need a life.

Chris, a Control-F search through the blog (less than a minute) merely confirmed your ubiquitous presence. 24 posts would be only 2 1/2 seconds per post, so you've clearly spent vastly more time here than I did, not matter how fast you type (or how little you think). Do you have a job? Then get back to it, because your employer isn't paying you to post.

Posted by: Numbers | March 29, 2007 12:13 PM

"There was a time in la la land when the man by custom provided for his family"

Send Golden Boy to my house!

My ex owes me years and years of child support.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:14 PM

Meesh, I was being silly, you fun-killer. :-P

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 12:14 PM

Working from my little cube farm with a partial view of the bright sunny day leaves me with the desire to be one of those women who runs the household while hubby is making the $$$.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:15 PM

"My irish grandma believed in fairies "

So did mine when she was boozing it up; small world!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:16 PM

Chris, 25 posts in 3 1/2 hours is OCD. GET MEDICAL HELP.

Posted by: Numbers | March 29, 2007 12:17 PM

"mcewen, where is this "civilizd world" you praise?"

I suspect he's referring to Afghanistan. Because, you know, oh, 20 yrs ago or so they actually had a Constitution and laws that granted women a fairly significant number of rights (at least compared to the neighboring states). Boy, aren't we all glad they welcomed in the Taliban to set those uppity women straight -- things have been ever so much more "civilized" there ever since.

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 12:18 PM

Yup, in Afghanistan women are stoned for leaving the house without being escorted by a male relative, or if their ankles accidentally show from beneath their burqas. Ah, for the good ol' days when girls were girls and men were men...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:20 PM

LOL on the fairies. DH and I have been wishing for fairies for years. He'll look at the kitchen after dinner and say, "You think the dish fairies are going to show up tonight?" I'll peek in the bathroom and note, "Looks like the bathroom cleaning fairies are still on vacation." We've been covering for those @$% fairies for years now . . . .

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 29, 2007 12:21 PM

"Not all husbands are lazy SOB's and not all wives are nags. "

But they somehow manage to find each other and hook up most of the time. Amazing!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:21 PM

12:16, that was too funny!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:21 PM

but if you're counting, you need a life.

Chris, a Control-F search through the blog (less than a minute) merely confirmed your ubiquitous presence. 24 posts would be only 2 1/2 seconds per post, so you've clearly spent vastly more time here than I did, not matter how fast you type (or how little you think). Do you have a job? Then get back to it, because your employer isn't paying you to post.

Posted by: Numbers | March 29, 2007 12:13 PM

ummmm. Numbers? your employer is paying you to Control-5 through the blog and wag your virtual finger at other adults? Don't Karl or Condi need to meet with you about some topic of critical importance?

This compulsion to chastise one or another posters based on the volume of comments rather than based on disagreement with their views has gotten old. Frankly the blog loses something when you chase away thoughtful and amusing posters who post by a name, any name, please God give us a name, and leave the unthoughtful and snarky anons to rule the roost without comment.

or start doing a word count and tell us whether Matt in Aberdeen has won that contest hands-down for the month of March.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 12:21 PM

"Did I stumble into the misogynist twilight zone? Don't you guys have a No Girls Allowed-type blog to populate?"

A few men are needed on this blog to keep the radical feminists in line, or you all will end up hurting yourselves.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:24 PM

HappyDad

(Childcare) You are at it 24 hours a day on the weekend?

Sounds like waay too much time with the kids. Might want to spend some of that time with the wife.

Don't you sleep, have sex, or go to the bathroom?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:26 PM

We at least made it until 12:02 before the nastiness of mcewen slithered in. Old, tired agenda - get a new schtick.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 12:26 PM

"Chris, 25 posts in 3 1/2 hours is OCD. GET MEDICAL HELP."

Maybe, but at least he's funny.

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 12:27 PM

Why can't we all decide for ourselves what we like best? Why does Brian constantly push for more father "involvement"? Wouldn't that happen, if we all (fathers and mothers) really wanted it? I just have a hard time believing that a father wouldn't "step up" more if, say, he really wanted to or if, say, the mother really created an environment where he had to or could. Maybe things are the way they are because that's how we want them?

I work less than my husband, make less money, do more child-care, do more house-related task - and I'm fine with it.

To me, it's about pragmatism, not pushing gender roles.

Posted by: Ajax | March 29, 2007 12:28 PM

""Not all husbands are lazy SOB's and not all wives are nags. "

But they somehow manage to find each other and hook up most of the time. Amazing!"

LOL, ain't that the truth. Doesn't everyone know at least one couple where you just really feel like they deserve each other, and not really in a good way?

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 12:29 PM

Will there be any smart people with relevant comments today?

Posted by: ? | March 29, 2007 12:29 PM

A few men are needed on this blog to keep the radical feminists in line, or you all will end up hurting yourselves.

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! Whatever would we poor fragile flowers of femininity do without big strong men like you to protect us?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:29 PM

A few men are needed on this blog to keep the radical feminists in line, or you all will end up hurting yourselves.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 12:24 PM

be sure to give us a shout-out when the real men show up.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:30 PM

From my personal experience, I think how much a father helps around the house/kids has to do with whether the mother works. When I was on maternity leave last year with my second son, I did the majority of laundry, shopping, cleaning, etc... I was also off of work for 5 months and my 2 year old was in daycare part-time so I had alot more time to do those things. In comparison, the newborn was a breeze to care for compared to a 2 year old little boy! Now that I am back to work, I see more of a 50-50 split. My hubby drops off the kids in the morning, and I pick them up. We try to share in all the household duties, but sometimes it varies based on his more demanding work schedule.

Posted by: working mom by choice | March 29, 2007 12:33 PM

"Will there be any smart people with relevant comments today?

Posted by: ? | March 29, 2007 12:29 PM "

No. There was a secret meeting of the smart people with relevant comments and they decided to boycott today. I heard about this third-hand from Jan who got it from Puppetmaster at their study group meeting last night.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 12:34 PM

12:26pm --- Thanks for the sarcasm. Of course I don't go to the bathroom, I just wear a diaper so I can take care of all of my kids whims. I think you get the point though. On weekends alone I am always on call just as often as my wife. We gut together without the kids once or twice a month and the grandparents babysit. She is still nursing our 11 month old so it is not like we are going away for weekends in the country.

Posted by: HappyDad | March 29, 2007 12:36 PM

Laura, you, among few others are too kind.
---
I'd get medical help, but the VA is back-logged, and the military/VA doctors would probably just keep trying to malpractice me to death since I can't sue them anyway. If you really feel so strongly, write Congress and tell them to support the troops and vets instead of leading us down a long-term path of destruction.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 12:37 PM

Megan,
ROFLMAO!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 12:37 PM

Megan, LOL! that was good. :)

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 12:38 PM

"There was a time in la la land when the man by custom provided for his family"

In la la land, there was an unspoken commitment that, if a man did his job, relocated when asked and didn't cause any trouble, his employer would employ him 'til death or 65, whichever came first.

Then in the early '70s, employers began downsizing to improve their stock price and putting all those male providers on the street at 50 years old. All those union jobs? gone. Those lifetime jobs with GE, IBM, power companies? they're gone, too. Follow the down-sizing trend with the trend to outsource and shift jobs to countries where labor costs are lower, and we learned yet again that families can't put all their economic eggs in one basket. Computers / IT looked like the best sure thing to get into in the early '80s. Now all the developer jobs are in India.

feminism didn't change the family. the changing choices of corporate America changed the family.


Posted by: anon for today | March 29, 2007 12:39 PM

But Chris, I am fun! Didn't you see the emoticon? ;-P

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 12:40 PM

I'm not reading all 170-some comments, but I like how the original article mentioned that men enter relationships "with egalitarian ideals." This is 100% true for me and my wife.

Of course I stayed working (cuz i earn more), and she stayed at home to raise our son (cuz we believe that's better for him).

But once I get home from work, we try to split the remaining time between him, other chores, and personal fun.

I don't know.. If I only had to work 30 hours a week, I'd spend all the extra time at home in the same proportions I do now.

Posted by: f00 | March 29, 2007 12:41 PM

(Raising hand and standing up...)

Posted by: John L | March 29, 2007 12:41 PM

Of course I stayed working (cuz i earn more), and she stayed at home to raise our son (cuz we believe that's better for him).

From egalitarian ideals to "of course" I work and she stays at home. I don't think so.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:48 PM

I think next time the topic comes around- say in another day or two- we should just re-post all the same comments from the last time.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 12:53 PM

(Raising hand and standing up...)

Posted by: John L | March 29, 2007 12:41 PM

John, Did you need to go to the restroom? or are you volunteering to clean the erasers?

Posted by: anon for Wednesday | March 29, 2007 12:53 PM

BTW, Megan's Neighbor,

I didn't see your last comment on yesterday's blog. I live about 10 minutes away from TTC but south back towards Raleigh, not north towards Wake Forest. But yeah, you got the general area correct.

My wife was gone for the last five days trying to get her mom's estate finalized. I was on my own the whole time, and found I hated the entire concept. Dealing with everything wasn't a problem, but the house echoed with my wife's absence and I can't stand having to fix food for just myself.

I'm glad she's back; the house wasn't the same without her!

Posted by: John L | March 29, 2007 12:54 PM

How about this: Of course I stayed working (cuz i earn more), and HE stayed at home to raise our son (cuz we believe that's better for him).

So it all depends on who can earn more.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:55 PM

anon,

No, my first response was to this post:

"A few men are needed on this blog to keep the radical feminists in line, or you all will end up hurting yourselves.

be sure to give us a shout-out when the real men show up."

Posted by: John L | March 29, 2007 12:55 PM

Edit:

change "Of course" (I was being conversational) to: "The reality is"

now what say you?

Posted by: to anon : Posted by: | March 29, 2007 12:48 PM | March 29, 2007 12:56 PM

"be sure to give us a shout-out when the real men show up."

Right, and please, no pencil dicks need apply.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 12:56 PM

"Of course I stayed working (cuz i earn more), and she stayed at home to raise our son (cuz we believe that's better for him).

From egalitarian ideals to "of course" I work and she stays at home. I don't think so.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 12:48 PM "

I don't know, it sounds like they have an arrangement that they are happy with and that provides them with balance. If they're spending the time where they are both home dividing their time the way he says, that sounds like a pretty good situation for both of them.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 12:56 PM

John L,
"but the house echoed with my wife's absence"
As I was reading I was thinking awww - how nice and then you had to go and ruin it with this "and I can't stand having to fix food for just myself."
:-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 12:59 PM

John L, don't pander to the neo-nagging crowd. It is not manly. Tell them to get in the kitchen and bake you a pie, instead. Then, and only then, should you even remotely consider offering to do the dishes. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:00 PM

John L, sorry, but I doubt the anti-radical-feminist crowd would put you in the "real man" category after the "house echoed with my wife's absence" comment -- I mean, what was she doing not barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen serving you?

The rest of us, however, are happy to see you. Or at least me. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 1:03 PM

I believe the key word in John L's statement was "and I can't stand having to fix food for JUST myself." He meant that he didn't like cooking for one not that he didn't like cooking - am I right John L.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | March 29, 2007 1:05 PM

I stand corrected!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:06 PM

"I mean, what was she doing not barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen serving you?"

Yeah, and on top of that, I bet you even think she's entitled to the right to vote and own property. I mean, jeez, get it together, man! Don't you realize that you are complicit in the destruction of our nation when you talk like that?


Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 1:07 PM

Aww, Laura, come on now- you KNOW you would much rather be barefoot and pregnant so you could "let" your husband go out and work. ;-)

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:08 PM

"anon for today" at 12:39, good points. I agree.

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 1:08 PM

"Aww, Laura, come on now- you KNOW you would much rather be barefoot and pregnant so you could "let" your husband go out and work. ;-)"

Except that if she's pregnant and baking pie she might break a sweat, and well... you know how we women are about that.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 1:12 PM

Women don't sweat - we "glow".

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:13 PM

"How many girls did you ever meet that wish they were physically stronger that their husbands? Men do the heavy lifting, women stick with the menial lightweight task for a reason. Girls don't like to sweat, and they don't like to get dirt on the diamond their husbands saved up 2 months income to purchase."

Posted by: Gen-x Dad | March 29, 2007 11:18 AM

Gen-x Dad: Kiss my sweaty bicep. My ring has no diamond because if it did, I wouldn't be able to wear it in the boxing ring.

Posted by: worker bee | March 29, 2007 1:13 PM

Hey fabworkingmom, I haven't seen you here in while, nice to have you back! Hope everything is good with you. Did you ever put together that website you were talking about? I was off the blog for a while and have periodically wondered if you gave an update and I missed it.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 1:14 PM

Ok, Chris, I retract my "funny" comment -- after a combined 10-11 months of morning sickness through 2 pregnancies, even the thought of being pregnant again brings up a wave of nausea. (not to mention the whole blowing up like a pufferfish thing)

Although being barefoot and baking cookies on a gorgeous day like today doesn't really sound so bad, now that you mention it. :-)

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 1:14 PM

Megan, you are full of good ideas today! This is why men should have more than one woman so one can bake, and the other can be pregnant. They can swap roles between kids! Just think- extra help with chores too, since men are so bad at them! Everybody wins!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:15 PM

"anon for today" at 12:39 -- I agree with Meesh. Thanks for the going points. (You might even want to post them again on a day when there is actual discussion on this blog.)

Posted by: Arlington Dad | March 29, 2007 1:15 PM

"Women don't sweat - we "glow".

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 01:13 PM "

LOL, if that's the case I can really light up a room when I'm working hard.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 1:16 PM

My friend's husband gave her a mood ring. She said that it turns blue when she is in a good mood. When she is in a bad mood it leaves a red mark on his forehead.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:16 PM

"Except that if she's pregnant and baking pie she might break a sweat, and well... you know how we women are about that."

Mmmmmmmm, pie. . . .

Good thing I'm working at home today -- I'm getting hungry. And lazy.

Posted by: Laura | March 29, 2007 1:17 PM

Right, and please, no pencil dicks need apply.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 12:56 PM


Ouch.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 1:17 PM

Nobody responded to an earlier post asking why, when husbands do things around the house, it's called "helping."

I think this reflects a fundamental difference in viewpoints between a lot of men I know and their wives. I certainly see it in my own household. Even hugely pregnant these days, and with a pt job, I do 95% of the work around the house, just about everything for our kids, etc. Why does my husband feel like he deserves a medal for taking the trash out to the curb every week? Why does he only put in a load of laundry when I ask him to? And basically, who is going to do it if we don't? No, I do not believe in fairies.

Someone else said whoever cares about the task more, does it. Yeah, but it turns out some people could live in squalor. Needless to say, I end up "caring" more about just about everything. Sometimes I want to strangle my mother-in-law for raising him in such a freaking traditional household, because it's basically ruined him.

Just a little bitter today.

Posted by: pt lawyer and mom | March 29, 2007 1:18 PM

every one of you is fighting for your own little personal philosophy to be the winner but don't you see that a society is an ecosystem that needs variety to thrive.

if any single one of you ever won then our society would turn into a monoculture and die.

so none of you single voices will ever win because a society has a survival instinct.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 1:18 PM

"Women don't sweat - we "glow".

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 01:13 PM "

Animals sweat, men perspire, women dew.

Posted by: QueenVictoria | March 29, 2007 1:19 PM

March 29th issue of the Onion survey question:
Misbehavior Linked To Day Care
A recent study showed that children who attended day care for a year or longer were more likely to be disruptive in grade school. What do you think?

Answers:
Eugene Liu,
Cardiologist
"This just goes to show you that day-care centers don't do enough to break the spirits of today's children."

Edmond Franklin,
County Lineman
"What am I paying $250 a month for? I'm going to start dropping him off at the public library again."

Donna Tortora,
Administrator
"What a relief that it's the day care and not my violent alcoholic rages that's causing my child to misbehave."

Posted by: DC lurker | March 29, 2007 1:19 PM

*daydreaming* pie...cookies.... mmmm...
----


Megan's 12:29 post sums up the reply pt lawyer and mom

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:22 PM

Sorry Queenie - I'll get it right next time. How many lashes for me or is it straight to the tower?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:23 PM

"Women don't sweat - we "glow".

Tell that to my husband. When I'm glowing like a pig after working out, he refuses to hug me. I like to chase him around the house throwing my stinky gym clothes at him. But he holds me down and makes me smell his pits after not showering for a couple days (ah telecommuting), so we're even. BTW, he DOES NOT glow.

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 1:23 PM

MV, great addition to the post ideas. Thanks for the support, foamgnome. Now--anyone situated to write them?

Posted by: worker bee | March 29, 2007 1:26 PM

on "glowing like a pig":
I did read somewhere a few years ago that scientists were successful in splicing phosphorescent DNA onto a pig so that it glowed, and while totally supurfluous, this is perfectly fitting to be included in today's discussion.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:27 PM

"But he holds me down and makes me smell his pits after not showering for a couple days "

Sounds like someone who would live in squalor if they could get away with it....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 1:27 PM

Sorry Queenie - I'll get it right next time. How many lashes for me or is it straight to the tower?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 01:23 PM


Neither dear. It was only the smallest of insults to my sensibilities.

Posted by: QueenVictoria | March 29, 2007 1:28 PM

"Hmmm... I retract that- if we are not really talking about balance here, but instead a "neo-balance" which is deeply rooted in truthiness, except that only certain people get to decide what is fair and balanced to them. This seems to be the sort of balance people write about the most. For instance, I might think it would be perfectly fair for you to do most of the work, because after all, I am of one sex, and you are of another, and ipso facto ad nausium I can claim that it is my right to neo-nag as well. Of course, were I to do that, I would find myself in the dog-house... Alas, these double standards again! THAT, I respectfully submit, and not the workplace, is what lurks behind the yawning gap between the pretty paintings and the grounded reality of "fatherhood" as so "heckuva" eloquently put by the author of this article."

LMAO :-) You're on a roll today Chris

Posted by: MV | March 29, 2007 1:29 PM

I dunno, Chris, I think that pt lawyer and mom probably needs a second wife in the household!

Meesh, sounds like you two know how to have some fun, I am so glad I get to shack up with you guys.

KLB, the mood ring bit cracked me up!

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 1:34 PM

For all the rolls, you think they'd give me some dough!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:34 PM

on "glowing like a pig":
I did read somewhere a few years ago that scientists were successful in splicing phosphorescent DNA onto a pig so that it glowed,


And this was done why?

Did someone's txx money pay for this? research?

Posted by: theirs | March 29, 2007 1:35 PM

Last Saturday, I went with my wife and daughter on a girlscout thing on women's history. It took about 3 hours.

I think I deserve a patch too!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 1:37 PM

Megan, another good point! All her real troubles would disappear, and she would gain someone to comiserate with about the remaining non-existant troubles!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:38 PM

"Except that if she's pregnant and baking pie she might break a sweat, and well... you know how we women are about that."

When I donated my hair to Locks of Love, the stylist made it look very soccer mom-ish. I hated it. The BF-ish said, "I love it! You look like you're about to bake me a pie."

He had to restrain me from pulling a Britney and reaching for the clippers.

"Nobody responded to an earlier post asking why, when husbands do things around the house, it's called "helping.""

In my family there is still the idea that when Dad has the kids, he's "babysitting." How can you babysit your own offspring? OOPS--I mean little bundles of precious adorableness.

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 1:39 PM

Three weeks, yup, that's all it took for this silly little blog to become an OCD.

Why, oh, why, I wondered.

Maybe because it's like a cocktail party except that you (i.e. all of us) can actually say what you're thinking without having drunk a single drop.

Any other ideas?

Posted by: newbie | March 29, 2007 1:40 PM

"Last Saturday, I went with my wife and daughter on a girlscout thing on women's history. It took about 3 hours.

I think I deserve a patch too!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 01:37 PM "

Ha!Ha! Did you ask for a patch at the meeting?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 1:40 PM

Girlscouts- now there's a great organization if I ever saw one... LOL!

Teach them to be the providers of cookies from a young age on. Meanwhile, boyscouts make headlines for getting lost in the woods because they try to hitch a ride home because they were taught how to misbehave in daycare.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 1:41 PM

Very funny Chris! Lots of funny stuff today. There's my answer.

Posted by: newbie | March 29, 2007 1:43 PM

I did read somewhere a few years ago that scientists were successful in splicing phosphorescent DNA onto a pig so that it glowed,

And this was done why?

Well, you know how they added the stripe after the puck to TV viewers on hockey games? Think what this could do for football.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 1:43 PM

Is a greased glowing pig easier or harder to catch?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:45 PM

"Nobody responded to an earlier post asking why, when husbands do things around the house, it's called "helping.""

In my family there is still the idea that when Dad has the kids, he's "babysitting." How can you babysit your own offspring? OOPS--I mean little bundles of precious adorableness.

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 01:39 PM
------

Couldn't agree more. This has nothing to do with "workplace help" (sorry Brian) and everything to do with attitudes about where the ultimate responsibility lies.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 1:45 PM

John L,

You've captured my virtual heart with your comments about your wife's absence. I might be persuaded to cheat on Fred.

(Are the above 2 sentences as creepy as the 6:58 shout out to single western mom yesterday? if yes, virtually slap me.)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 1:45 PM

And if you read On Parenting the other day, you would have seen that some troop moms use the GS cookie proceeds to take the girls to tart up at Libby Lu's (or whatever it's called).

Posted by: Marian | March 29, 2007 1:47 PM

Megan's Neighbor,

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:47 PM

Megan's neighbor,
wet noodle wet noodle wet noodle!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:49 PM

KLB, I'm sorry. You're right. I had a nice moment, but it's back in the box now.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 1:51 PM

The original question was: "I hear about all these husbands who don't pitch in their fare share, and I wonder, why do the wives put up with it??? "


I responded: "because they are MARRIED, for one thing, and the husbands put up with equally annoying behavior from their wives. Is a wife better off if she kicks her spouse to the curb because he does less than she'd like him to do, and proceeds as a single parent? Yeah. Right. 20% of something is better than 0% of nothing."

11:51 blocks and copies only the last clause, without context and asks:

"You are accepting a 20% solution? Why even bother?"

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 11:51 AM

anon at 11:51, I'm not accepting a 20% solution. I responded as quoted above to the question above. Your omission of context must have been the inadvertent result of your need to rant.


Posted by: anon for tomorrow | March 29, 2007 12:13 PM

The spouse should accept 80% annoyance in the name of marriage or love? Why would anyone want to be married to a person who only provides 20% of what the other requires? Maybe the aggrieved spouse would be better off single. Love does not conquer all.

Posted by: 11:51 | March 29, 2007 1:52 PM

MN,
I just can't let you do that to Fred.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 1:52 PM

The Good Lord and Mum & Dad didn't give me much smarts, so I wasn't invited to the smarties' meeting.

Did I miss much? Did it conflict with AI?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 1:54 PM

"Meanwhile, boyscouts make headlines for getting lost in the woods because they try to hitch a ride home because they were taught how to misbehave in daycare."

You know actually, a few years ago I was camping and a troop of boyscouts arrived at the same campground. I was extremely dismayed at first, but it was actually pretty fun - they invited me to judge their talent contest and eat dinner with them. One little kid was clearly completely miserable and at some point in the evening asked me if I please, please take him home. I felt so bad for the kid. When I told him that my car was about 10 miles away (I had hiked into the campsite from a different direction than they had) he just looked at me in horror.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 1:58 PM

Why would anyone want to be married to a person who only provides 20% of what the other requires? Maybe the aggrieved spouse would be better off single. Love does not conquer all.

Posted by: 11:51 | March 29, 2007 01:52 PM

[The fun of a blog is I can butt in on someone else's conversation with impunity, LOL.]

no, it does not, but to each his own analysis.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that he meets 20% of her housework and childcare assistance needs and 100% of her love and affection needs. or to blunt, if they meet 120% of each other's needs in the bedroom, she might determine that the 20% housework contribution might be best ignored. If she rolls the dice and divorces him, she might end up doing 100% of the housework, 80%+ of the childcare (assuming joint custody for the sake of argument), and not get laid for years. Not that I've thought about this much :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 2:00 PM

Chris, a Control-F search through the blog (less than a minute) merely confirmed your ubiquitous presence. 24 posts would be only 2 1/2 seconds per post, so you've clearly spent vastly more time here than I did, not matter how fast you type (or how little you think). Do you have a job? Then get back to it, because your employer isn't paying you to post.

Posted by: Numbers | March 29, 2007 12:13 PM

Numbers, I am surprised your doing it the old fashion way of Ctrl F. Then you have to spend time and calculate the number of times you see the number. Why aren't you simply pulling the source code into an editor and finding the cummulative total? It might shave 30 seconds off your search time. :)

Posted by: foamgnome | March 29, 2007 2:01 PM

every one of you is fighting for your own little personal philosophy to be the winner but don't you see that a society is an ecosystem that needs variety to thrive.

if any single one of you ever won then our society would turn into a monoculture and die.

so none of you single voices will ever win because a society has a survival instinct.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 01:18 PM

was this written by Richard Bach?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:01 PM

Just remember, if Fred goes astray, he goes without 2 things near and dear to him (and most women). Just as an added "inducement" he will come with (or in) the creepy van!

Fred is not posting today because he has a fear of OCD. And being counted!

Posted by: Frieda | March 29, 2007 2:02 PM

"Why would anyone want to be married to a person who only provides 20% of what the other requires? Maybe the aggrieved spouse would be better off single. Love does not conquer all."

Posted by: 11:51 | March 29, 2007 01:52 PM

Very insightful! Actually, I was lucky to get 10 percent out of my ex-husband (when he wasn't drinking and when he actually felt compelled to go to work). And yes, I am much better off single. At least he is no longer a liability.

Posted by: single western mom | March 29, 2007 2:02 PM

"Are the above 2 sentences as creepy as the 6:58 shout out to single western mom yesterday? if yes, virtually slap me"

Megan's Neighbor, I thought that the shout 6:58 post to SWM was pretty creepy as well. Yikes.

However, throwing our virtual panties at John L, or Fred, or Fo4 isn't creepy. It's just fun. Panty toss to Fo4!!

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 2:04 PM

I meant calculate the number of times you see a name (Chris).

Posted by: foamgome | March 29, 2007 2:05 PM

"if they meet 120% of each other's needs in the bedroom"

The pencil dicks are the first to get dumped 'cause they meet 0% of the needs in the bedroom.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:06 PM

I doubt the blue book on pre-owned male reproductive organs is worth an assault charge. But some things aren't about the money, eh, Frieda?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 2:08 PM

"The pencil dicks are the first to get dumped 'cause they meet 0% of the needs in the bedroom."

I am betting the person who posted this is a guy with no technique.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 2:08 PM

Gosh, all these women settling for 10-20%... I wish my wife knew how lucky she is to get 90%!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:08 PM

If she rolls the dice and divorces him, she might end up doing 100% of the housework, 80%+ of the childcare (assuming joint custody for the sake of argument), and not get laid for years. Not that I've thought about this much :>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 02:00 PM


Good job for some quickly pulled together
%s and comparisons. All along the lines of 'you can't have everything'.

Posted by: newbie | March 29, 2007 2:09 PM

society is an ecosystem that needs variety to thrive.

well, that's your personal philosophy, anyway....

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:10 PM

The pencil dicks are the first to get dumped 'cause they meet 0% of the needs in the bedroom.


OUCH!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:11 PM

There's another thing I like about you Emily, you're not afraid of the word "panties" Why do some women hate that word?

I'm guessing you grew up with brothers, eh?

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 2:12 PM

Chris

"Gosh, all these women settling for 10-20%... I wish my wife knew how lucky she is to get 90%!"

Down boy. Most of this women are sticking it out "for the sake of the kids".

I've been stashing away a war chest and plotting my escape, er, divorce for years!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:13 PM

"The pencil dicks are the first to get dumped 'cause they meet 0% of the needs in the bedroom.


OUCH!"

well, no...and that's the problem.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:15 PM

Off-Topic alert!
Hi Megan, I check in on the blog every now and then but have been extremely busy for the past few months. My idea on the parenting website has actually morphed into something quite different which I am fervently working on.

Posted by: fabworkingmom | March 29, 2007 2:16 PM

every one of you is fighting for your own little personal philosophy to be the winner but don't you see that a society is an ecosystem that needs variety to thrive.

if any single one of you ever won then our society would turn into a monoculture and die.

so none of you single voices will ever win because a society has a survival instinct.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 01:18 PM

Am I the gazelle or the lion?

If I win, do I turn into yogurt?

How does a voice win anything and if it did, would it get a blue ribbon?

Can one person have multiple voices and, if so, do they all tell him he's wrong?

Posted by: Stephen Wright | March 29, 2007 2:17 PM

"Down boy." Excuse me? And you are plotting your escape? Gosh, do you talk to your husband like he's a dog too?

The whole sticking it out for the kids argument is bogus. Just find an excuse to blame the man for everything and bail on him. It's the "neo-trendy" thing to do these days.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:20 PM

I used the word helping today when referring to my husband doing something and asked why he is always 'helping'. I responded back..... because we help each other do the chores.

Usually I cook. If I am responsible for the meal, I ask for his help. If he is responsible for the meal because he is making a Peruvian dish than I am helping him. In no way does the word help imply that we are not equal in the household. In our household, it simply refers to the person who initiates the task and/or is responsible for it. Sometimes I initiate it and sometimes he initiates it.

And this also doesn't mean our household is perfect and problem free. But this arrangement works for us and I am glad that I found someone who is willing to pull his weight in the not-so-fun world of chores.

Posted by: Billie | March 29, 2007 2:21 PM

"I wish my wife knew how lucky she is to get 90%!"

Chris, dude, you're making me look bad. try practicing this line:

"Honey, what's for dinner? Or am I doing wings at Hooters again?"

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 2:22 PM

Fo4- Although I use it, I think the word "panties" is a very silly word. But what the heck. "Panties toss" sounds so much better than "underpants toss" dontcha think?

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 2:22 PM

"Let's just say for the sake of argument that he meets 20% of her housework and childcare assistance needs and 100% of her love and affection needs. or to blunt, if they meet 120% of each other's needs in the bedroom, she might determine that the 20% housework contribution might be best ignored. If she rolls the dice and divorces him, she might end up doing 100% of the housework, 80%+ of the childcare (assuming joint custody for the sake of argument)"

I have been told by divorced women that the ex did indeed meet or exceed 100% of the love and affections requirements but did not deliver in any other catagory. No abuse or addictive behavior involved but not much else in the way of work, child rearing or other matters needed to keep a marriage alive.

One woman in particular told me that she still loves him and wants to still be married to him but just could not take the lack of support in the other areas.

Posted by: 11:51 | March 29, 2007 2:24 PM

"you're not afraid of the word "panties" Why do some women hate that word?

I'm guessing you grew up with brothers, eh?"

I HATE the word panties! Just call them underwear. They are not little pants!

And you can call it a "thong toss" Emily :)

Posted by: Kathrina | March 29, 2007 2:25 PM

Sorry, but the topic was deserted many posts ago. Everyone seemed to agree, either directly or indirectly, that today's blog was lame and that the topic was, in fact, a dead horse. But there's been lots of other fun stuff going on. Have a read!

Posted by: tobillie | March 29, 2007 2:25 PM

Emily, Underpants toss sounds more like kiddie porn.

How about a thong throw?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:25 PM

Father of 4, you are my new hero. LOL! Of course, if I said something like that, I would be in the dog-house and/or singing a few octaves higher. My wife doesn't have the same sense of humor as many here...

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:25 PM

"And you can call it a "thong toss" Emily :)"

Snort - Nope. Don't do thongs, either on my butt or on my feet. How about "Bloomers toss?"

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 2:26 PM

"I have been told by divorced women that the ex did indeed meet or exceed 100% of the love and affections requirements but did not deliver in any other catagory. No abuse or addictive behavior involved but not much else in the way of work, child rearing or other matters needed to keep a marriage alive. "

***************************************

In my marriage, it's the opposite, and I can't say it's much fun either. He does everything you could wish for logistically, but emotionally, it's flat.

Posted by: Mme Bovary | March 29, 2007 2:27 PM

"One woman in particular told me that she still loves him and wants to still be married to him but just could not take the lack of support in the other areas."

One reason a lot of exes continue to have sex after the split.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:27 PM

Bloomers reminds me of granny undies.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:28 PM

underwear or underpants is what my mother worn. Big white cotton things! Panties is much better if you are throwing!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:29 PM

"One woman in particular told me that she still loves him and wants to still be married to him but just could not take the lack of support in the other areas."

One reason a lot of exes continue to have sex after the split.

**********************************
So I should go and get sex somewhere else, but continue to enjoy the "other support" at home?

Hmmmm.

Posted by: Mme Bovary | March 29, 2007 2:29 PM

"Bloomers reminds me of granny undies."

I know, but their so comfortable.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 2:30 PM

Wow... you all have my sincere sympathy. Maybe if you tried talking with your husbands, and did something special for them to get them motivated again?... hmm.
----

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:33 PM

see, I only find the word panties acceptable in the phrase "granny panty"

and how could underwear with a waistline at your boobs be comfortable?

Posted by: Kathrina | March 29, 2007 2:33 PM

Why is the word "panties" plural and the word "bra" singular? I've yet to figure that one out.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 2:33 PM

Emily,
I thought you were cooler than that.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:35 PM

"see, I only find the word panties acceptable in the phrase "granny panty"

and how could underwear with a waistline at your boobs be comfortable?"

Well, for grannies, their boobs are at their waistline, so there's a meet-in-the-middle thing going on...

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 2:37 PM

see, I only find the word panties acceptable in the phrase "granny panty"

and how could underwear with a waistline at your boobs be comfortable?

Posted by: Kathrina | March 29, 2007 02:33 PM


Kathrina, if the waistline of your granny panties is at your boobs, maybe the sagging condition of your boobs and not the location of your underwear is the problem, LOL.

Posted by: Cross-Your-Heart | March 29, 2007 2:37 PM

Wow... you all have my sincere sympathy. Maybe if you tried talking with your husbands, and did something special for them to get them motivated again?... hmm.
----


Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 02:33 PM

Note to self: do something special for husband.

Sure, Chris, I'll get right on that . . . after the fairies come and take care of all the other household chores.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:37 PM

F of 4,
For the same reason we drive on a parkway and park in a driveway. Two questions here - first is obvious. The second is why do we drive ON the road yet park IN the driveway - they look the same.
Oh the great imponderables of life!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:38 PM

Where be these faeries of which you all speak? All we ever had were gremlins who messed stuff up and lost things. I think I would prefer faeries.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:40 PM

Can I ask a question of the moms and dads here? How do you all split the work? I am a stay at home mom, though I work from home about 10 - 15 hours a week, and we are having problems coming to an equitable way of running this home so it works for us and we are happy. I am "in charge" of most of the regular stuff - laundry, cleaning, etc. Husband makes dinner a couple times a week, though I do most of the shopping. But there are things that I can't fit in, that I need help with - and thats where we come to problems. If I write a "honey do" list, he feels that I am forcing him to do things, but if I just verbally ask him, they often get forgotten and then I am a nag when I bring them up again. Suggestions from the trenches would be most helpful.

Posted by: momo1 | March 29, 2007 2:40 PM

Wow... you all have my sincere sympathy. Maybe if you tried talking with your husbands, and did something special for them to get them motivated again?... hmm.
----


Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 02:33 PM

Note to self: do something special for husband.

Sure, Chris, I'll get right on that . . . after the fairies come and take care of all the other household chores.

Posted by: | March 29, 2007 02:37 PM

ding. ding. ding. DING.

ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner in the category of funniest point tying the greatest number of threads together.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 2:41 PM

2:37- it sounds like WaPo needs a sex-help blog. Good, and while you are at it, make some cookies, too! ;-P

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:41 PM

Blowing whistle...FOUL!!!
We cannot award the prize to anonymous poster.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:42 PM

We have a pretty similar arrangement to yours. In my experience, there is no easy answer. Any "reminder," including the first, is deemed nagging in my household. No reminders, and it doesn't get done. You lose either way. Sorry.

But maybe others have ideas.

Posted by: to momo1 | March 29, 2007 2:43 PM

Chris, you've gotta be scoring points with your sense of humor. Cheerfullness and laughter is worth a lot.

Oh, and BTW: for every minute someone complains about doing a chore while they are doing it, subtract 2 minutes of appreciation for getting it done.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 2:43 PM

Megan's Neighbor, hey, wait a minute- "she" didn't tie together, horses, daycare, cookies, or undergarments!

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:44 PM

Wow... you all have my sincere sympathy. Maybe if you tried talking with your husbands, and did something special for them to get them motivated again?... hmm.
----


Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 02:33 PM

Chris, were you the one complaining a few weeks ago about how your wife lies around reading romance novels all day while you slave away and you have to do all the work around the house too? Is this the approach you took with her? Did it work? Or is this only for the girls?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:44 PM

Maybe make a list of chores/tasks for both of you so it doesn't seem like you are picking on him. When he sees your stuff crossed off and his still there it might motivate him. Or not.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:45 PM

I don't see how a second reminder could be nagging, if the first reminder was forgotten. The second reminder should elicit "oops! I'm so sorry, I forgot, I'll get right on that."

Your husband should be ashamed of himself for calling you names.

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 2:46 PM

momof1- you sound like another candidate for an extra woman in the house! ;-P

Father of 4, I WISH! She hates my sense of humor! She keeps punching me in the arm. At first, I thought that meant she liked me, until she told me it meant that, no she really does hate me cracking jokes and being sarcastic! :-(

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:48 PM

Q: What did one boob say to the other?
A: We had better get some support around here or people will think we're nuts.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 2:48 PM

My husband's father, when informed that he could not answer the phone when my FIL had called earlier in the evening because my husband had been busy putting our daughter to bed: "That's weird."

Unlike my husband, I grew up in a household that was pretty equal. My husband works full-time, I work part-time, and he does a ton to keep the household running. He appreciates that my focus is keeping our daughter happy and engaged during the day. He's happy to do most of the bedtime routine, because he gets a little more time with her.

Posted by: restonmom | March 29, 2007 2:49 PM

The second reminder should elicit "oops! I'm so sorry, I forgot, I'll get right on that."

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 02:46 PM


roflmao!!!!! not . ever . going . to . happen !!!!!

Posted by: good one! | March 29, 2007 2:51 PM

"momo1," maybe you could ask for help, like you start doing something and ask for help as you're doing it. That way it can't be forgotten. Also, if he sees you working on something, he might avoid the negative thought that you're making him do stuff while you're relaxing.

KLB, that's not bad advice. On weekends when there's lots to do, I make a list of stuff that has to get done. Then I sit down with hubby and we talk about when to do what, how many people it will take, and when it needs to be done. When he's playing video games for the third straight hour, I remind him of the list while I'm doing my part so that he knows I'm not slacking.

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 2:51 PM

Oh, 2:44, actually, it DID work! She may hate my sense of humor, but we are acting as more of a team now.

"The second reminder should elicit "oops! I'm so sorry, I forgot, I'll get right on that."" Mona- you should get with 2:13 and write a training manual :-P

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 2:52 PM

Meesh,
I make a list almost every weekend but I am the only one who ever crosses anything off!

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 2:53 PM

"momo1," maybe you could ask for help, like you start doing something and ask for help as you're doing it. That way it can't be forgotten. Also, if he sees you working on something, he might avoid the negative thought that you're making him do stuff while you're relaxing.

---------------

I doubt momo1 is issuing reminders while she is sitting around "relaxing." But the rest of the advice isn't bad.

Posted by: to Meesh | March 29, 2007 2:55 PM

"and how could underwear with a waistline at your boobs be comfortable?"

It's better than the wedgie that you get with thongs.

And no, unfortunately, I am not that cool.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 2:55 PM

Oh, 2:44, actually, it DID work! She may hate my sense of humor, but we are acting as more of a team now.

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 02:52 PM

Chris, that's really cool that you guys sorted it out that way. Thanks for asnwering

Posted by: 2:44 | March 29, 2007 2:56 PM

About reminders and such.
I leave bathroom mirror notes with my reminders. Husband reads them every morning. Yes, it's nagging, but it doesn't really count as nagging because it isn't done in person. We can afterwards pretend that I did not say anything, and if the reminder does not work, there will be another one on the bathroom mirror the next morning. Their tone is something like this "Honey, the garbage can in the kitchen is close to overflowing. Please take care of it. Kisses XXXXX MWWAAA- Meet you in the spare bedroom tomorrow night, 11:00 pm sharp? Love, your little snuggle bunny.

It works. Try it.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 3:04 PM

"Where be these faeries of which you all speak? "

Getting tanked up helps a lot in finding the faeries.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:04 PM

Chris

Did your wife read romance novels before you were married?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:06 PM

//"and how could underwear with a waistline at your boobs be comfortable?"

It's better than the wedgie that you get with thongs.

And no, unfortunately, I am not that cool. //

This is why I skip it altogether unless absolutely necessary like with a short skirt or tight pants. Otherwise, au natural for me, thank you.

Posted by: too embarrased | March 29, 2007 3:11 PM

Emily, I can see how that might work. BUT . . . presumably your husband, like mine, is a grown man. Why do they need reminders of this sort?

I am firmly convinced that men like Chris, who believe they are contributing equally to the household, really aren't. Nothing personal. Men just seem to have blind spots when it comes to household chores. I don't get it. I wish it didn't drive me so crazy.

Posted by: to Emily | March 29, 2007 3:11 PM

CW -- you hit the nail on head!

Posted by: Arligton Dad | March 29, 2007 12:07 PM

Yes, she did. But it (unfortunately) illustrates the sterotypical female viewpoint that sex is conditional ... not a great way to conduct a relationship.

Posted by: Balt Dad | March 29, 2007 3:17 PM

What's under there?

Under wear?

hahahaha- you just said underwear!

Posted by: JerseyGirl | March 29, 2007 3:18 PM

"Why do they need reminders of this sort?
I am firmly convinced that men like Chris, who believe they are contributing equally to the household, really aren't. Nothing personal. Men just seem to have blind spots when it comes to household chores. I don't get it. I wish it didn't drive me so crazy."

*****************************************

I think they a) really don't see some stuff or b) it's not important to them.

Or, sadly, c) they see it, it's important to them but they know WE will do it so they just wait.

Who knows. It is annoying but looks like we're not going to change it because it's so universal. You have to see it with humor and "get back at" them when you can. I routinely overlook burned-out bulbs or non-functioning appliances or non-balanced checking accounts at my house, and then the fairies come and fix things...

Posted by: Ajax | March 29, 2007 3:21 PM

Lysistrata, anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:23 PM

Lysistrata, anyone?

****************************

Hasn't worked for me.

Posted by: Ajax | March 29, 2007 3:24 PM

Pull my finger...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:25 PM

I don't see how a second reminder could be nagging, if the first reminder was forgotten. The second reminder should elicit "oops! I'm so sorry, I forgot, I'll get right on that."

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 02:46 PM

*hearty guffaw*

I mailed this to my husband just for fun and he's still laughing.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 3:27 PM

3:06 YES, she did... and...

toEmily, I work 8 hours a day AND help around the house- not just with the easily put-off man-chores.

She cooks a meal, I do the dishes, and when I cook, I usually wind up doing the dishes simply because I don't mind doing them. It actually gives me a moment of peace where I can unwind and zone out- because believe me, after a day of seeing how the world is going down the toilet, doing something simple, like dishes, helps... I do my own laundry and iron it too. Simply because my wife couldn't iron to save her life. :-) But, we worked out a laundry schedule in which she is responsible for her own stuff, and it gets done and neither of us have any room to complain any more. She can improvise what I consider a gourmet meal in a heartbeat, so I don't mind too much about doing my own laundry again (as I have done it most of my life). :-)

I was responsible for a lot, even before military- as I grew up under a single disabled mom... so I know what it means to do my fair share. But, you just go on being firmly convinced...


"Men just seem to have blind spots when it comes to household chores."
When will all the "neo-manbashing" stop???

Posted by: Chris | March 29, 2007 3:28 PM

I'm back and still cranky. One thing my husband has said that drives me INSANE is "I'll do whatever needs doing. Just let me know what it is." Open your eyes, man! Observe if you will the layer of toys on the floor of the living room. Will it shock you to learn that they need to be PUT AWAY if we are not to trip over them for the rest of our lives? Round the kids up and get them to help.

Of course, I am a self-proclaimed control freak and living in a world which I freely admit I created. But it's hard to untrain a guy from his ways of slack that were first implanted by his overprotective mother and which he's carefully cultivated over his life . . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | March 29, 2007 3:28 PM

Momo1 -- The best advice I got was to divide chores along the lines of what's important to each person and what they "like" to do. In our house, that means I do laundry, bills, and bathrooms. He does yardwork, taxes, filing of paperwork, and floors. We split the cooking and subsequent clean-up based on our work schedules for the week. Same with unloading the dishwasher (although DD is chipping in on that one these days). I usually shop, but it's a good chore to pass on to him if I'm feeling overwhelmed as he doesn't mind doing it (vs., say, the bathrooms). Biggest problem in our house is the dust. We both hate it, so we wait each other out. Right now, we are mutually disgusted with it and we're planning a group dusting party this weekend (unless the dusting fairies make an appearance).

I'm not advocating this particular division for you, but talk to your husband and find out what he is willing to do without argument. You might be able to give up something you've always done (shopping, for example), freeing up your time to scrub that awful toilet! What fun!

Unwritten rule -- you can't critique the job he does, and vice versa. If he agrees to do the job, you need to let him do the job to his standards.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 29, 2007 3:28 PM

"Unwritten rule -- you can't critique the job he does, and vice versa. If he agrees to do the job, you need to let him do the job to his standards."

Actually, I think that is very important. I practice that with both husband and son. I am trying to teach my son to do his fair share of housework. He picks up and puts away, dusts the furniture, and runs the vacuum every week. He does not do as good a job as my husband or I might, but it's good enough. I don't redo what he already did. It gives him a great sense of ownership.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 3:31 PM

I am firmly convinced that men like Chris, who believe they are contributing equally to the household, really aren't. Nothing personal. Men just seem to have blind spots when it comes to household chores. I don't get it.

Posted by: to Emily | March 29, 2007 03:11 PM

You give women a bad name.

Translation: Nothing personal, but you're a liar. Yeah. Like saying someone is blind and is not telling things as it is isn't personal.

Posted by: to to Emily | March 29, 2007 3:36 PM

Housework is a big issue with us - especially picking up his clothes. So, for awhile when I was feeling passive aggressive, I told my DH that if his clothes were not in the closet, I considered them dirty and would put them in the laundry basket. For some reason, a wet towel always managed to land right on top - funny how that happened every time. It took him awhile to figure out that everytime he was looking for something he had left in a pile on the floor, it had a giant wet spot on it... hee hee. It made me feel better anyway. ;)

Posted by: mountainS | March 29, 2007 3:37 PM

"I am firmly convinced that men like Chris, who believe they are contributing equally to the household, really aren't. Nothing personal. Men just seem to have blind spots when it comes to household chores."

I have to say that in our household I'm the one with more blindspots. I just am not bothered by the same things my husband is, but worse, I just somehow don't seem to notice the little scrap of trash sitting on the kitchen counter, or I will see the trash can needs to be emptied and think "I'll do that in a minute" and then I forget. I am however, more aware of the need to really clean the bathroom and vacuum/mop the floors than my husband.

Fortunately for us, we've been able to address this without it ever becoming a huge issue. Usually if I start to get bad about it my husband will make some humorous remark about my leaving those things, and I will be more diligent about making sure I pay more attention. If I sense that he's getting stressed out or is tense one day, I've learned that the best response is to do some cleaning up around the house, rather than trying to help him relax in some other way. I think he's also come to see the things that I do that are less important to him - like actually scrubbing the bathtub as opposed to just rinsing it off.

So my point is that I don't think it's necessarily a gender issue, so when I hear a guy say he does an equal amount or more, I tend to take it at face value because that's how things pan out in our household.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 3:38 PM

Fo4,

Since you are sight-impaired, does Hooter's provide anything in Braille?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:40 PM

My MIL actually said to to me when we got engaged, "I've been his personal maid and secretary for the past 25 years, and I'm turning the job over to you." OMG!

I responded that he would now have to learn to do these tasks himself. And he mostly has, because I am neither his maid, nor his secretary, and have no desire to be either.

Posted by: Kathrina | March 29, 2007 3:41 PM

When I decide to help clean up the house, the first thing I try to go for and throw away are the Good Housekeeping, Better Homes and Gardens, and Southern Living magazines. Those 3 items alone waste more of my wife's time than all other things combined.

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 3:41 PM

Chris

Are you and your wife planning a family?

The romance novel thing is a really big RED FLAG!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:41 PM

Megan, Does the poor guy have to clean up after booth you and Meesh, or only you?

I agree with your point completely. I've lived with slobs, control freaks, and those with limited vision. These are gender neutral flaws, in my experience.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 3:42 PM

I bet Fof 4 keeps his Braille copies of the Playboy centerfolds, though ;-)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:43 PM

I propose that men provide the list of household chores. Then divide it in half so both can do an equal share.

One of the big stumbling blocks is that men and women don't generally agree on what is necessary. If your husband is willing to do anything you ask, then just ask. Quit complaining that he doesn't see it on his own. At least he's not saying it's your job. If it annoys you to ask, then keep a daily list e.g., pick up toys, laundry, clean toilet, etc. that he can refer to daily.

Posted by: Equal ? | March 29, 2007 3:44 PM

"Megan, Does the poor guy have to clean up after booth you and Meesh, or only you?"

LOL, I think Meesh and KLB (who also moved in) both said that they make their own lists of chores, so at this point I guess I'm sitting pretty on the housekeeping front!

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 3:45 PM

"I bet Fof 4 keeps his Braille copies of the Playboy centerfolds, though ;-)"

naw, he just has his four-year-old describe them to him :-)

Posted by: Kathrina | March 29, 2007 3:45 PM

I understand you are doing quite well on your own and respect you for that. BUT, why in the **ll did you ever marry that guy?

Posted by: to single western mom | March 29, 2007 3:47 PM

I guess I'm the author of even more unintentional humor today! That's interesting, that's the response I give to BF when he reminds me to pick up after myself when I visit him. But we're not married and I only see him once a month. I'm sure it would get tired if I heard it all the time...just like the crumbs on the counter and my clothes littering the bedroom floor would probably drive him even more bonkers if we did live together.

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 3:47 PM

"I bet Fof 4 keeps his Braille copies of the Playboy centerfolds, though ;-)"

naw, he just has his four-year-old describe them to him :-)

Posted by: Kathrina | March 29, 2007 03:45 PM


Hope his wife isn't still breast-feeding the 4yo.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 3:48 PM

"Since you are sight-impaired, does Hooter's provide anything in Braille?"

The line "Can I feel what you look like?" has gotten me a lot of places. Most married men are allowed to look, but not touch, but since I'm blind and can't look, I get to touch. It's only fair!

Posted by: Father of 4 | March 29, 2007 3:50 PM

"Hope his wife isn't still breast-feeding the 4yo."

Don't start. I breastfed my son until he was 4. And he is none the worse for it. A healthier, happier, better adjusted (and very smart to boot) kid just does not exist. So stick it with the gratuitous breastfeeding comments.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 3:52 PM

"mountains," I played a game like this with my husband. He always leaves his dry cleaning tags around the house (after he takes them off his shirt and pants before work). I find them on countertops literally in front of trash cans. So I started collecting them and hiding them where he'd find them--in shoes, under the deodorant cap, in the toothbrush bristles--everywhere. He shortly started hiding them for me too--in my brush, etc. Not the desired effect, but it's fun.

I recently started leaving the empty toilet paper roll on top of his book in the bathroom (which is always balanced on top of the trashcan) to show that I want him to put his book away. I found a roll in my shoe yesterday morning...

Posted by: Meesh | March 29, 2007 3:53 PM

Mona, LOL, those reminders begin to sound alot like nagging right around the 4th or 5th year you reside together. So I hear. From friends of friends of acquaintances.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 3:53 PM


Ok, I'll admit --- in our house, the parents are the fairies (surprise surprise).

But to balance out some of the other input, DH and I both work and he really does carry an equal share of kid/house/life-wrangling as well, at times more, at times less, depending on our sundry work stresses . . . . I often feel like I am sliding into taking advantage for too long at a stretch . . . .

I often find when I'm feeling overwhelmed with a big cleanup day, and I have a long mental do-q of house stuff, and feel so frustrated to be plowing through it alone . . . then I try to draft him to help, I invariably discover that he's quite busy going through his own mental do-q of house stuff, that never registers on my radar but equally well needs to get done (like he's kitchen-, grocery-, outdoors- and pet/trash/recycling- conscious, and I'm living room, laundry, kids' rooms and right-sized clothing and financial account- conscious, while we overlap on both handling surface paper and the dining room - who knows where these weird differential sensitivities come from.) Anyway, much more demoralizing than the positive that he's amply pulling his own weight, is the fact that our chore list is twice as big as I mentally allow for, and so my cherished hopes of plowing through my list in half the time by deploying an extra body are dashed. Sad, how it repeatedly happens; his queue just never sticks in my head and I always hold out hope of escaping in half the time . . . .

Like everytime we pack for a family overnight, it takes us both working full-bore 6 hours to be ready to go. It happens everytime and I can never quite accept that it takes that much work, it doesn't seem like it should, as it never reconciles with the mental task-q in my head that just somehow overlooks certain things DH manages.

I personally just credit it to the Cinderella complex that strikes near-instantly whenever one has to do dreary, dull, perpetually done-and-undone housework --- it's so unpleasant and boring, surely every one else in the family must have a happier, more carefree lot than this! Our kids and we are well aware of the Cinderella complex and try to beat it back with lively music, Pottercasts, time limits on cleaning blitzes, etc, but especially for the parents, sometimes you just have to gut through the unpleasantness a lot longer than one is cheerfully willing . . .

KB

To Emily wrote

>I am firmly convinced that men like Chris, who >believe they are contributing equally to the >household, really aren't. Nothing personal. Men >just seem to have blind spots when it comes to >household chores. I don't get it. I wish it didn't >drive me so crazy.

Posted by: KB | March 29, 2007 3:57 PM

"Don't start. I breastfed my son until he was 4. And he is none the worse for it. A healthier, happier, better adjusted (and very smart to boot) kid just does not exist. So stick it with the gratuitous breastfeeding comments."

How old is he? Old enough to have intimacy issues and obsession with body parts? My guess is not yet. I hope you are willing to love him however he turns out, because I'll bet he turns out different than you expect...

Posted by: to Emily | March 29, 2007 4:01 PM

Please let's stay away from the BF wars! We've already had one battle this week!

I have a funny cleaning story . . .

When DH and I were dating, we lived about an hour apart. Sometimes, I'd drive to his apartment Fridays after work and spend the weekend. He was an avid cyclist and always put in a couple hundred miles on Saturday mornings. So, I hung out reading or took a walk until he got home. One morning, as I'm rooting around his cupboard for something to eat, I just got frustrated with the state of things in his kitchen. He had three bags of flour opened. Stuff was just jammed in the cupboards willy nilly and you couldn't tell what you had and what you were out of. It was like an episode of "Mission Organization."

What started as an innocent attempt to organize one cupboard snowballed into a full-blown kitchen redo. I managed to finish before he got home, so he walked in to me reclining on the couch with my book. He looked at me and said, "You look like the cat that ate the canary." I quickly buried my head in my book, but it became obvious what I'd done when he went in the kitchen. He quietly inspected everything, and said, "Well, it sure makes more sense than the way I had it." We still laugh about that day.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | March 29, 2007 4:10 PM

I am firmly convinced that men like Chris, who believe they are contributing equally to the household, really aren't. Nothing personal. Men just seem to have blind spots when it comes to household chores. I don't get it.

Posted by: to Emily | March 29, 2007 03:11 PM

You give women a bad name.

Translation: Nothing personal, but you're a liar. Yeah. Like saying someone is blind and is not telling things as it is isn't personal.

Posted by: to to Emily | March 29, 2007 03:36 PM

--------------------

First, it sounds like Chris really is carrying his weight, so I apologize to him.

But I was not saying he is a "liar." If someone truly has a blind spot about a particular issue, that's just how they are. It doesn't mean they are trying to manipulate others or being deceptive. I was just saying I DON'T GET that particular blind spot, but a lot of men I know seem to have it.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 4:10 PM

KB, it's funny, I think of the "Cinderalla complex" as something different - reading through some disney books someone gave our son recently, I was totally dismayed at how both Cinderella and Snow White are shown to be so docile and accepting of being totally trampled on. Augh! Especially the "Some Day My Prince Will Come" bit in Snow White; heaven forbid she just stand up for herself. Granted, I was in a bit of a mood when I looked at it, but I promptly tossed the book.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 4:11 PM

Meesh, that sounds like way more fun. He just started putting his clothes away... I guess it worked though...

Posted by: mountainS | March 29, 2007 4:13 PM

Why is it that people get all exercised about the breast-feeding thing. No one cares if you breastfed your kid till he was 4 & I am sure he is wonderful just like all the bottle fed kids or kids who were only breastfed for a shorter period of time. Just ignore those comments.

Topic today is dullsville....

Posted by: peony for the day | March 29, 2007 4:23 PM

The month of March has brought Onbalance over 8500 comments.

Top Posters:

111 moxiemom
124 Meesh
159 catlady
165 atlmom
166 Megan's Neighbor
173 Chris
190 dotted
248 foamgnome
293 Fred
314 Emily
365 KLB SS MD

Posted by: Blog Stats | March 29, 2007 4:27 PM


Megan,

Interesting, I think of Cinderella in a league of its own and I feel some of its longstanding attraction is that deep down, every kid sometimes feels like they are Cinderella, unappreciated and put-upon and getting oh-so-much-less-fair treatment than their siblings/other kids. It's an extrapolation of a very natural kid-sulk. I find it very passive-aggressive, that someday life will smile on Cinderella, her natural superiority will shine through to the world, she will be treated as royalty, *like she should be*, waited upon, instead of performing tasks like a scullery maid (cf kid comments "you're not the boss of me!" "why do I have to clean up when nobody else does," "I didn't make that mess!", "I do all the work in this family!"); someday, someone powerful will notice, and this injustice will be righted . . . and then that taskmaster stepmother and those favored lollygagging siblings will get their comeuppance, just you wait (and several versions of Cinderella do gloat about their comeuppance).

But maybe that's just because I *hate* housework, and have known how to nurse a good sulk since a very young age . . . and was never keen on the fancy dressup/romance angle ;-)

Posted by: KB | March 29, 2007 4:27 PM

CW -- you hit the nail on head!

Posted by: Arligton Dad | March 29, 2007 12:07 PM

Yes, she did. But it (unfortunately) illustrates the sterotypical female viewpoint that sex is conditional ... not a great way to conduct a relationship.


Posted by: Balt Dad | March 29, 2007 03:17 PM

+++++++++

Whoa!!! That comment does not imply "conditional" - it implies if you help her out she won't be as tired and will be able to give more intimate attention. It is not a "you do this for me, I'll do this for you" setup.

Interesting that is considered a "stereotypical female viewpoint".. we can learn from each other as to how men see things and how men see things....

Some men view women not being interested in intimacy as punishing them or it being "conditional" when I can probably guarantee that the majority of the time it is because she is stressed and tired!

Posted by: C.W. | March 29, 2007 4:28 PM

and sometimes he's a pencil dick.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 4:29 PM

so what if she's tired. All she has to do is lay there.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 4:33 PM

Blog Stats wrote: "Top Posters: 111 moxiemom..."

Oh, that moxiemom, always setting the bar lower for the rest of us!

Posted by: catlady | March 29, 2007 4:33 PM

Wow, I didn't even make the list! Of course I spent some days away visiting law schools and such, but still...I really posted fewer than 100 comments?

Posted by: Mona | March 29, 2007 4:36 PM

I can't believe I'm #1.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 4:36 PM

Breastfeeding sucks.

but I am not complaining.

Posted by: Fo3 | March 29, 2007 4:37 PM

Mona,
Don't feel bad. At least no one has started a petition to shut you up.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 4:40 PM

what is a pencil dick? I mean I get the literal visual, but does it mean something, like toolie used to mean engineer?

I'm so disappointed that I'm not on the top posters list. guess I'll go back to the real world.

Posted by: experienced mom | March 29, 2007 4:41 PM

Blog Stats, You failed to include the aggregate number of anonymously posted submissions. Please provide.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 4:42 PM

Megan's Neighbor,

Thank you for the kind words. Not sure how to respond to them, though; do you like your men with near-waist length hair and glasses?

:)

As for my earlier comment, please note that in prior blogs I've said I cheerfully cook dinner for my wife and I on weekdays. What I hate doing is cooking for only myself. If it's just me, I tend to not prepare food until I get hungry, and once I get hungry I don't want to wait for the food to be ready.

So I went out to eat most of the days she was gone, visiting my single mom friend at her restaurant. That way I had someone to talk to and got a good meal at the same time!

Posted by: John L | March 29, 2007 4:43 PM

Blog stats -

Love your list. Now can you give a breakdown of how many were on topic?

Posted by: lurker | March 29, 2007 4:44 PM

Damn, I am only #3.

Thanks, Blog Stats, for doing this today. This gives me the rest of today and tomorrow to reach the coveted No.1 position

Posted by: Fred | March 29, 2007 4:46 PM

Fred,
You have a lot of catching up to do. Do you think the numbers are wrong? Maybe they mixed up KB and KLB?
Where's my trophy?

Posted by: KLB SS MD | March 29, 2007 4:49 PM

Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred

Posted by: Fred wins! | March 29, 2007 4:51 PM

KB, I think your description of the Cinderalla complex is pretty accurate, definitely something I can relate to... I think I was so appalled after reading Snow White that it just carried over.

Way to go top 10 posters! I'm impressed. I feel like a slacker next you all.

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 4:54 PM

"Topic today is dullsville...."

I have actually learned a lot today and have found the topic quite interesting. Peony, you should be glad that these issues apparently aren't ones you have to deal with! In my life, this is issue number 1 right now.

Posted by: momo1 | March 29, 2007 4:56 PM

John L, I like my men virtual where I can imagine them all as hot, mature, loyal, kind, great dads, great role models, hot, financially responsible, fun, having a great sense of humor, hot, reasonable, fun, loves ACC basketball and Golden Retrievers, and hot. They can have glasses. Waist-length hair is probably beyond my comfort zone, but if it's combined with all the other attributes listed above, I'd get over it.

I'm also thin, lovely, loyal, financially responsible, fun and hot. Believe me. Really.

experienced mom, as far as I know, pencil dick doesn't mean anything other than inadequately girthed. But I learn alot around here so I'm sure someone will tell us.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 5:16 PM

Smack on forehead!! "Just lay there" Why didn't I think of that? Thank you!!

Posted by: C.W. | March 29, 2007 5:23 PM

Lay or lie?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 5:24 PM

I thought it was "lie". Anyone? Anyone?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 5:25 PM

It's lie. To lay means to place or set something down. To lie means to be in a horizontal position, as in lying on a bed.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 5:28 PM

"so what if she's tired. All she has to do is lay there."

Is that all your wife does for you, dude? You need to refine your technique. You are obviously not doing it for her. Get a book.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 5:31 PM

You could buy "Emily's helpful hints for better sex" available on Amazon for just $9.99

Posted by: pATRICK | March 29, 2007 5:33 PM

Is that all your wife does for you, dude? You need to refine your technique. You are obviously not doing it for her. Get a book.

Posted by: Emily | March 29, 2007 05:31 PM

he's too busy doing all of the tasks on his 50 item Honey-Do list to read a book.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 29, 2007 5:43 PM

Perhaps Emily could edit a compilations volume - "Tips from the Men and Women of On Balance." Given some of the posters here, I suspect there might be a few things of interest...

Posted by: Megan | March 29, 2007 6:12 PM

I didn't even rank in the top posters, I feel so, well, inadequate.......

Posted by: cmac | March 29, 2007 6:20 PM

cmac, oh, you rank in the top posters, alright. Quality was not the criteria Blog Stats used, speaking only for myself. Volume may be just another word for "lacks impulse control" :-)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | March 29, 2007 6:30 PM

Can we have the bottom ten posters also?

Posted by: to Blog Numbers | March 29, 2007 6:40 PM

The Statistician's Blog, formerly known as, "On Balance".

Posted by: anon for next Wednesday | March 29, 2007 6:46 PM

Nice numbers, really no surprise who is in the 1-10 positions.

Now the real question, what is the point? What does this prove?

Posted by: to Blog Stats | March 29, 2007 8:51 PM

Well I apparently wasn't in the top 10 either. I suppose I'll get over it.

If you close both your eyes and squint real hard, I look a little like Patrick Swayze on a bad day, Megan's Neighbor.

Or maybe it was Timothy Dalton.

Really.

Posted by: John L | March 29, 2007 9:19 PM

Interesting what only a few days without your boss around will get you on the top 10 list...

Posted by: anon for now | March 29, 2007 9:24 PM

Congratulations Top 10.

I feel torn. I want to be one of you, but I also want NOT to get fired.

:-)

Posted by: Proud Papa | March 30, 2007 8:49 AM

Under the family and medical leave act women are allowed 3 months leave after the birth of a child--and so are men. So a major structure is already in place. Unfortunately very few men take advantage of this.

I am about to give birth and after my leave my husband plans to use his 3 months of leave by working part time. No one else in his company has done this--but i hope he gives other new dads there a few ideas!

Posted by: mizcha | April 1, 2007 2:56 PM

If women would help out more with the lawn-mowing, gutter cleaning and car maintenance, we dads could have more time with the kids. So girls, don't you think its your turn to step up to the plate?

I was the last person to put the spark plugs in a vehicle, in my house! I love lawn mowing and outdoor maintenance! But momma taught me a true woman does not need a man, a princess will; I am a woman, not the later!

Posted by: FromIndiana | April 1, 2007 6:13 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company