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Public Enemy No. 1: Layabout Dads

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

As much as I hate to admit it, the inescapable fact is that dads, statistically, aren’t holding up their half of the parenting bargain. I’ve known this for some time, but when confronted by the stubborn reality, I usually do one of two things: I point out how far we’ve come or I blame the media and society at large.

But I’ve decided on a new public enemy No. 1: the guys who refused to be dragged into the new millennium and cling tight to the Ozzie-and-Harriett model. The tipping point for me was a brilliant piece in last month’s Cookie magazine in which author Graham Carr wrote a hysterical “open letter to the layabout of the family—and the doormat who abets him.”

Carr doesn’t pull any punches, and most of what passes for humor is probably uncomfortably familiar. But what makes his piece compelling is that he doesn’t suggest that the checked-out dad is harming himself. No, the uninvolved father is screwing it up for the rest of us:

Thanks to you, when the pediatrician calls our house, she asks to speak to my wife—who, I might add, gave our son Benadryl the last time he had a cough. When we go to our school conferences, the teachers don't make eye contact with me when they talk, because they just assume that my wife does everything and that my presence there is purely ceremonial. When I pull my daughter's hair back in a ponytail, other moms at the playground look at me like I just split a friggin' atom. You perpetuate all the old stereotypes, that's the problem: He's clueless; I can't ask him to do that; he doesn't know how; he's way too busy; he's not good at the "hands-on" stuff; he'll put the diaper on backward; he'll never be able to find Tumble Bunnies on his own.

Carr suggests that a lot of these problems start way early, when dad learns that feigning sleep can excuse him from midnight diaper duty and that there are not actually consequences for staying late at the office and avoiding the arsenic hour. His advice to the mom is pretty straightforward: Start demanding time for yourself and telling dear old dad to man up and do his part.

But what’s remarkable is how hard this advice is in practice. I can think of lots of families in which the child care has steadily become overwhelmingly one-sided, but I’m hard pressed to think of any examples where a caregiving mom (or dad) has been able to successfully bring their spouse back into the business of child-rearing. But I’d love to hear exceptions to the rule: Do any of you know anyone who has gone from doormat to equal partner? Or once those initial routines are set – often in infanthood – are they set in stone?

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

By Brian Reid |  January 22, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Relationships , Work/Life Balance
Previous: Ann Coulter and Single Moms | Next: The Ones Left Behind

Comments


Well, I have no studies or even facts on this, but I have lots of anecdotal evidence that Dads are NOT layabouts. In fact, we do three-quarters of the work around the house and raising the children. We get no credit and all of the blame.

Plus, I have numerous anecdotes that kids turn out best when Dad concentrates on his work and hobbies, and Mom does all the child-rearing. Why, there's Theodore and Wallace Cleaver; Chuck, Ritchie and Joanie Cunningham; and many, many more.

(N.B.: This is a joke. Anybody who doesn't get the humor should go read yesterday's thread.)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 22, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

When my kid was an infant, I did most of the child care because I was breast feeding and therefore I just always had the little parasite...(meant in the warmest and most loving way, of course - this kid ate every half hour for three months).
Now that the kid is a little older and more mobile and what not, his Dad does a lot of the child care - maybe even more than 50%. Dad also does a good bit of housework - for example, he does all the floor sweeping and mopping once per week, while I do the more detail oriented cleaning.
So, I would say that in our house, Dad did change and take on more as that became more possible to do.

AB - I got your joke as soon as I saw, "we do three-quarters of the work around the house" - HAHAHAHA!

Posted by: VaLGaL | January 22, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Oh, belt up! And give me a break while you're at it. Are you saying there are men who wish so much they could be more involved but aren't? I would like to challenge almost any dad to a throw-down of information. Name every teacher your child(ren) ever had, their five closest friends, their pediatrician/dentist/ortho -- heck, do you even have these numbers memorized or at least programmed into your phone, the date of the next birthday party one of your children will attend, your children's shoe/pants/shirt/coat sizes, and the list goes on and on. And on. Moms know these things by heart, Dads, if you're so avidly interested and desperate to be involved, start learning and remembering. Why not take the initiative and schedule appointments, and take off from work without being reminded or nagged to do so.

I am NOT saying there aren't men who are fully involved (and I do believe AB is probably one, and I know I certainly married one), but it's ridiculous that you're complaining about a situation you've created. If you don't like it, change it and don't blame it on someone else you've never met.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | January 22, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

i will say that from the beginning my husband was a fairly involved dad. the biggest reason was that our son was his third child & my first. he'd gone through the infant stage with his two oldest and knew more than i did. i deferred to his knowledge. that being said for some reason the diaper bag was a total mystery to him. for the 3 years of ds' life the diaper bag contained: 6 diapers, 3 changes of clothes, & a bunch of wipes. it never changed & yet every single day dh would ask me what he should put in the diaper bag.

Posted by: quark2 | January 22, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Ok Workingmon, I take your challenge. Here, off the top of my head, no phone directories, no looking at business cards, no asking the spouse, are my answers.

Every teacher my child has ever had? Ah, which child?

Best friend? Well, there is the one that constantly drinks all the soft drinks in the house, the one with the cell phone since he was 9.

Pediatrician? Oh that is easy, that is the women doctor in Slidell or is it her husband the doctor? So confusing as they are in practice together.

Dentist? Same one I go to.

Ortho? That guy on the highway. (Highway 90, AB!)

Phone numbers memorized? Wonderful spouse has them written down.

Next birthday party? Kids have birthday parties still??

Clothing size? Smaller than me.

Shoe size? Bigger than me.


Appointments? The wonderful Frieda never nags! But I did know all of her oncologist appointments.

Posted by: Fred_and_Frieda | January 22, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I think I have it easy here because I am not the mother but the stepmother. Because he feels that they are his kids as opposed to ours, he does not drop all of their care onto me.

There are some things that I do that he doesn't do. I prepare the meals that I am home for except sometimes breakfast. I make sure they get tucked into bed and read to them. I kiss the bulk of their booboos and tend to be the one that cares for them when they are sick. I take them to the library. I do some ferrying to appointments and make all appts. I do anything involved with middle of the night because the kids come to my side of the bed for help.

He sometimes makes them breakfast. He helps to get their teeth brushed and PJs on. He does pick up and drop off duty. He is their primary caretaker on Saturday since I work. He does their laundry. He takes them to some appointments. He also does everything in my list (except for appts) but to a much lesser degree than I do.

Together, we discipline, supervise homework, go to the playground and play games with them. Bathing them depends on the moment. If they want to take a bath... he is usually the goto guy. If they take showers, they usually choose to shower with me.

I truly can't complain about how involved my husband is. Sometimes... when I get woken up in the middle of the night for a glass of water, I absolutely shoot mental daggers at my honey... but that is just me being grouchy from being disturbed.

Posted by: Billie_R | January 22, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

And here I thought my wife was lazy. She never mows the lawn or changes the oil in my car. She never fixes anything.

Last week when it got cold and the furnace went out, did she fix it? No, the lazy woman just sat there, teeth chattering, but doing nothing. So I had to fix it.

When will women ever start pulling their weight?

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | January 22, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

We went from zero to three kids in 19 months (twins born when we had a 19 month old), so it was "all hands on deck" by necessity. But I had already established a pattern of doing baby care for our 19 month old since she was born. My wife was a stay at home mom, so she did much more of it; but when I was home there was nothing I didn't do routinely except breast-feeding.

What I'd like to say to other dads with young ones around or still to come is that I did not do this primarily to serve my wife, though she certainly deserved and needed the help. The bond I established with my kids (now 7, 7, and 9) was greatly conditioned by my sharing the duties of caring for them so directly. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Posted by: mark51 | January 22, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Hint to Dads: A $20 bouquet of flowers will get you out of $200 worth of babysitting. Other perks as well.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | January 22, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

For those who stayed married, I hope this issue has been satisfactorily resolved. Certainly I've learned to respect a lot of the guys who post here. But ex not pulling his weight was a huge issue in my divorce and probably in many others. Years of therapy to address any doormat issues I had just didn't succeed in motivating him to step up. Worth noting, he has grown up considerably since the divorce and is doing much better by the kids now.

Posted by: annenh | January 22, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

WorkingMomX, just for a laugh:

I would like to challenge almost any dad to a throw-down of information. Name every teacher your child(ren) ever had,

Oldest DD: every one through 8th grade (including preschool :-); 19 of the 22 from high school. Okay, none of her college profs.

DS: every one through 8th grade; 12 of the 18 from high school.

Middle DD, youngest DD: for the most part, they're the same ones that taught the older kids. A few new ones.

(What's fun is when I coach a girl in softball when her parents have taught all four of my kids. Kind of like payback.)

their five closest friends,

These are teenagers; that tends to change on a daily or hourly basis. But I can come pretty close.


their pediatrician/dentist/ortho

We've had the same pediatrician since we came back from Colorado in 1991, so that's a gimme. (The pediatrician has taken her daughter into the practice and I can never remember the daughter's name, though.)

Dentist - his office is right next door to the pediatrician.

Ortho - do you mean "orthodontist" or "orthopedist"? :-) We've had one with the orthodontist and three with orthopedists (broken arm snowboarding; mangled hand caught in a door; foot caught under a carousel horse) so I go with the latter.

-- heck, do you even have these numbers memorized or at least programmed into your phone,

Yes.

the date of the next birthday party one of your children will attend,

That one I can't do, but since three of the four can drive themselves, I just need to have the car reservation in ahead of time.

your children's shoe/pants/shirt/coat sizes,

Now you've touched a nerve! DW and two of the girls wear the same size clothes - I've given up trying to figure out which article of clothing belongs to which female, and I'm tired of being yelled at because I put the wrong thing in the wrong place. I put 'em in a neat pile and let them claim their own.


Disclaimer: I'm somewhat pedantic about names, numbers and dates. I can tell you our first date, all important anniversaries, DW's phone number when we were dating, my father's SSN (it was his Army serial number) even though he died in 1985, and a bunch of other truly useless information. So this isn't a fair test.

Fred, side note, since you mentioned Slidell - the St. Tammany Parish Coroner is an old friend of mine from high school. So if you need that kind of medical exam I can give you a reference. But let's hope not. :-)

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 22, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Way off topic to AB,

You know that Slidell has FOUR exits off of I-10 now? Gause has become so overloaded that a new exit was just opened between Gause and Old Spanish Trail. There is also one for Eden Isles.

Posted by: Fred_and_Frieda | January 22, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I guess a lot of the things the author mentions are the same things women have been experiencing when it comes to more "manly" things. Try shopping for a car with your husband, salesman looks at wife when asking about color and cupholders - then looks at dad for money talk. Go to Lowes, salespeople always look at the man even if I'm the one asking the questions about the table saw. I could go on and on. So there are two sides to every coin.

Working mom, while I see what you are trying to accomplish with your list. I think some do speak to how well you know your child and what is important to them and others are purely operational. Moxiedad who I think is great and very involved with our children does not call the pediatrician often (usually I'm the driver of that), but he know his name and where to find the number. I generally manage the more social aspects of our family life, so he doesn't know when the parties are, but knows to check the calendar. I do think he "knows" our kids and who they are and what their hopes and dreams are which is what's most important to me. This is all said with the understanding that we have a very clear and traditional division of labor here. I would think that having one person be the "driver" for most of the operational stuff would be most efficient instead of having so many cooks in the kitchen.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | January 22, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I loved the article -- really funny and well-written, and hits both sides of the equation.

We got off on the right foot both because we tried to and from pure dumb luck. I sure wasn't going to do all the feedings, all the diapers, etc.; we both worked and both wanted to work, so we planned to divide up the work from the get-go. At the same time, however, my husband was shutting down a plant when our first was born, so he had a lot of free time. No. 2 was MUCH harder, when we were both in demanding office jobs.

I do know one couple who has evened things out. Basically, the traditional "dad works, mom stays home" was pretty much what they knew and what they expected. When we first met them, she did everything for the kids, even when he was home, and was surprised to see how much my husband did automatically (I heard a lot of "you mean he DOES that?").

Then they had no. 2, and she finished her degree and got a weekend job so they could bring in more money without paying for daycare. By necessity, dad now handles both kids on the weekend, and of course does very well with them. And it really has made a difference the rest of the week as well; even when she's there, he now automatically does a lot more for the kids.

Parents, like kids, will live up (or down) to the expectations you have for them. It's too bad that so many dads get shortchanged -- or shortchange themselves.

Posted by: laura33 | January 22, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Fred, I remember those commercials for places at "I-10 and the FIRST Slidell exit" and "I-10 and the SECOND Slidell exit." No street names ever given; none were necessary. Guess those are obsolete now. Nice to know that there's an Eden Isles exist that doesn't go into the middle of the lake. (Eden Isles is a large development that was under about 15 feet of water for days or weeks after Katrina hit.)

Another OT: I'm working on a project now with a very talented young engineer. I found out this morning that she's the DAUGHTER of two engineers I worked with in the '90s. D@mn, I'm old.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 22, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

AB,

Heck, I remember when you had to take Hwy 11, 90 or 190 to go thru Slidell. I-10 did not even exist then...

Every hear of the White Kitchen?

Posted by: Fred_and_Frieda | January 22, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"Every hear of the White Kitchen?"

Oh, yeah. That place and St. Christopher's Curve Inn were big places when we moved to Slidell in the early '70s.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 22, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

So it's my work from home day, the telephone rings, and talking caller id says the call is coming from the institution. (my son's elementary school)

Me: "Hello, Mr Weasel speaking."

teacher/administrator/female: "May I speak with Ms Weasel?"

What's up with that? As a parent, am I not qualified to discuss another incident of my son's misbehavior of running on the playground because I'm a male? I've gotten 5 calls like this over the past year like this. the next time I answer the phone from a teacher asking to speak with my wife, I'm going to reply, "She is busy doing laundry and I don't want to interrupt her. Can I take a message?"

Conclusion: If women are going to assume that dads are uninvolved with their children's lives, expect the dads to play it to their advantage.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | January 22, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Expect the dads to play it to their advantage."

Statements like this make it seem like you don't want children at all. Why have them if an advantage is being presumed to be a clueless idiot so you're off the hook for childcare?

Posted by: Monagatuna | January 22, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

My current pet peeve is older men who use the phrase "she takes really good care of me" when introducing or talking about their wives -- as though they themselves were completely helpless children, household pets or science projects. I was at a meeting recently where an out of town client brought his wife along. (She waited in a vacant conference room during the meeting.) When he showed up, he introduced her saying, "This is Margie. She takes really good care of me." (I SWEAR I am not making this up). I can just imagine what sort of layabout this man was at home -- not only does he not help with the children, he expects his wife to "take really good care of me." Since then, I've heard this phrase a number of times from a certain type of older guy and it makes me seething mad! Can you imagine being proud of doing nothing and being only the recipient of caretaking and not a provider? Yuck!

Posted by: Justsaying4 | January 22, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

When my husband and I first got married, he was pretty good about helping out with the household chores. However, after we had kids and I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, he quickly turned into Al Bundy and left me doing ALL the housework, which means my day is pretty much go from the minute I get up to when I crash at night. No social life to speak of, no time for pursuing hobbies-heck, my idea of luxury time now is being able to take a shower uninterrupted! (Why is it that if I'm doing housework, I'm unbugged, but the second I hit the bathroom for any reason I get the kids bothering me?) As a stay-at-home mom, I can tell you dads some other valuable bits of good advice to make our lives easier and guarantee that we moms get something remotely resembling "me time" once in a while:

1. Trash belongs in the trash can, not on the counter/coffee table/wherever you drop it. Veggie peelings and such go in the compost bucket. Walking the short distance across the room to either is good for you!

2. Changing diapers is not hazardous to your health! It's the 21st century, so men can do it too, and those wet wipes they have now really do a great job of cleaning off any icky substances you wish to avoid (funny how guys who have no trouble scratching their butts, making fun of their farts, and peeing just about anywhere that's convenient instead of actually finding a restroom like we women have to will recoil at the mere mention of a dirty diaper....).

3. Laundry is not that hard to do! Dirty clothes follow the same principle as the trash...it is NOT that hard to walk over to the hamper instead of letting your clothes fall on the floor for us to pick up! That also includes those middle-of-the-night sheet changes when one of the kids comes down with a stomach virus-in fact, dads are encouraged to help with that one because otherwise the moms don't get any sleep between dealing with sick kids and getting up early to get the well ones to school!

4. Watching the kids while Mom is out does NOT mean stuffing them full of junk food and letting them do nothing but watch junk TV instead of making them knuckle down and do their chores or their homework!

5. When the juice pitcher is empty, make more! Don't just put the empty one back in the fridge (or worse yet, with only a little dibble-dabble of juice in it).

6. If Mom is sick or just plain overwhelmed and needs a day off, for crying out loud, take over! We need downtime the same as everybody else!

Can you tell I married a Neanderthal?

I've got advice for moms too, but that'll be another time and another blog posting. Two sides of the same coin, you know?

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | January 22, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I agree with MoxieMom's comments about the division of labor in a marriage. You need to look at the entire picture before condemning a father because he does not change his kid's diapers. I do change my son's diapers as much as my wife. I also clip coupons and shop for them as well. But life goes on after a baby arrives, as much as you would like things to stop so you can enjoy the moment. My wife does not like to get the car fized nor does she enjoy arguing over the phone or cable bill with the utilities. So it usually winds up on my shoulders and I don't cry "victim" over it. I'd suggest it is wrong to yell at a guy laying on the couch when you don't know what he did during the preceeding eight hours.

Posted by: Dadat39 | January 22, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

One last point: I've only been a Dad for a few years but no one stares at me when I dip into the mens room with our son and a diaper bag over my shoulder. And, surprise, most men's rooms have the same diaper changing station that the women's room has so there must be other Dad's that change diapers like I do.

Posted by: Dadat39 | January 22, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Justsaying4 - you may be reading more into it than is there. Yes, it may be the case that in those relationships the wife provides most of the domestic support. But it may just be a phrase they use, and they really take care of each other. As many folks have posted over the life of this blog, not every couple divides each chore 50-50. Many couples have the wife doing the chores and childcare she does best, and the husband doing the chores and childcare he does best. In that sense, they "take care of each other." "She takes care of me by doing alpha, beta and gamma" and "I take care of her by doing delta, epsilon and gamma" are both true statements, in a sense.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | January 22, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Every time I'm tempted to start grumbling about doing more of the child-rearing or housekeeping, I ask myself when was the last time I changed the AC filters or mowed the lawn or took out the recycling or any number of other things that DH does around the house that I don't even have to think about. I'd like to think he can say something similar.

I wouldn't say our division of labor is 100% equal in all ways, but it is largely fair. I do take care of the majority of administrative stuff (picking preschool, doctor's visits, etc), but that's because I'm home during the day and have time to do it. DH doesn't get all that much vacation time, and I'd rather we could use it for things like paternity leave or for taking an actual vacation than have him take it just so he can say he sat with DD at the pediatrician's.

It'll be interesting to see what happens to our nice little balance once #2 comes along (any day now...)

Posted by: newsahm | January 22, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Every time I'm tempted to start grumbling about doing more of the child-rearing or housekeeping, I ask myself when was the last time I changed the AC filters or mowed the lawn or took out the recycling or any number of other things that DH does around the house that I don't even have to think about. I'd like to think he can say something similar.

I wouldn't say our division of labor is 100% equal in all ways, but it is largely fair. I do take care of the majority of administrative stuff (picking preschool, doctor's visits, etc), but that's because I'm home during the day and have time to do it. DH doesn't get all that much vacation time, and I'd rather we could use it for things like paternity leave or for taking an actual vacation than have him take it just so he can say he sat with DD at the pediatrician's.

It'll be interesting to see what happens to our nice little balance once #2 comes along (any day now...)

Posted by: newsahm | January 22, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse


First, congratulations and good luck!

Second, if there ever was a model for a sensible, well-reasoned post, this is it. Are you sure you're on the correct forum?

Posted by: dcd1 | January 22, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

To take the "moxie challenge", I can name all of my kids teachers (they are in 1st grand and kindergarten, but they were in daycare since they were infants so they had a lot). I do half the school dropoffs and pickups and I talk to the teacher more than my wife does. I can name all their friends. I can name our pediatrician as well as the other five docs in the practice, plus the PA and NP. We split taking them to appointments pretty evenly. We have a family dentist that we all go to. I have the school and ped numbers programmed in my blackberry. The kids are going to a birthday party this saturday from 2 to 4 and then one next saturday from 1 to 3:30 (they are both invited to them). I know most of their clothes sizes (I buy about half their clothes). I do most of the arrangements for activities - my wife didn't even know how to get to my daughter's gymnastics school for the first month.

Posted by: dennis5 | January 22, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

That should be the "workingmomX challenge", sorry for the mistake.

Posted by: dennis5 | January 22, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse


DH puts DD on the school bus every day. I leave at 7 am for work and the bus doesn't come until 8:20. Most days I call and she will tell me whether her teeth are brushed and what she and daddy did what games they played or what books they read.

I take care of her most evenings alone, many weekends, and I do most of the day care pickup when DH is working. I attend all the doctor's appointments he makes some like next Monday's eye doctor appointment (no school in our county).

Even in our family it takes a village to raise a child and we share in that joy.

Posted by: shdd | January 22, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I took WorkingMom's test and failed miserably. I couldn't name 10 teachers out of more than 40 that my kids have had over the years. I've never driven a kid to a birthday party or doctor's appointment. I wouldn't be able to call my mom, dad, or daughter #2's cell phone without asking my wife for the number first. Kids' clothes sizes? Heck, I don't even know the brand or size of my own underware. It gets worse. I can't run the dishwasher, much less the washer or dryer, and when it comes to watching TV, let's say American Idol for instance, I've got to get my kids to select the channel.

In my defense, I can work the microwave and I did set up the stereo so wife & kids can listen to their MP3 players through a 200 watt, 4 channel system. I can also pull down the cookware from the top of the cabinets and I'm pretty skilled at plunging a toilet. And as embarrassing as it is to admit for a manly man like myself, I have changed a few hundred diapers in my lifetime.

But yes, Ms Weasel takes care of me. Why she doesn't serve the divorce papers and send my clueless, idiotic ass packing is beyond my understanding.

Maybe it's the flowers?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | January 22, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

There seem to be 2 different problems that people are facing. One is a fair division of all work around the house; child care or other. The other is an equal share of the child care duties.

My own DH doesn't share equally in the care of our DD (it's about 70/30 now but I'm working on changing that :)), but he does share equally in the house chores. He would never dream of lying on the couch while I was working around the house, he would always be busy with his own chores. For example if I'm feeding our DD in the evening than he will start preparing our dinner.

It is much harder to change the habits of a partner who is lazy and doesn't want to share any of the work, than to convince a partner to do a little more of the child care. You just have to ease them into it gradually with little jobs to start with. And most important of all, don't tell them all the time that you would have done it differently, or ask them, 'why is she dressed that way? Her clothes are on backwards again!'

My DH feels much more comfortable taking care of our DD now that she is a little bigger (9 months), than when she was an infant. But I do find it odd that I have to remind him that I don't actually like to spend my entire weekend looking after DD while he gets tons of his own stuff done. It's as if he doesn't realize that I like to get things done around the house without the constant interruptions caring for a baby requires. One other funny thing between my DH's care and mine, I try to do things while I watch her, laundry while she plays, empty dishwasher while I feed lunch etc. If I go out and leave my husband with DD, I can come back and ask 'What did you do?' and the response is always 'watched her!' (while surfing the net of course). Next goal is to teach DH to multi-task! :)

Posted by: anon33 | January 22, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Interesting little test, Workingmom. I failed, but DH would likely pass most of it - about the only thing we divide traditionally is that I know their clothing and shoe sizes and he doesn't.

Sigh. I guess in our role-reversal family, I'm the lazy, uninvolved bum.
I wonder if DH would agree.

Posted by: SueMc | January 22, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought my wife was lazy. She never mows the lawn or changes the oil in my car. She never fixes anything.

Last week when it got cold and the furnace went out, did she fix it? No, the lazy woman just sat there, teeth chattering, but doing nothing. So I had to fix it.

When will women ever start pulling their weight?

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe

so how many loads of laundry, meals, doing the dishes, vacumning, grocery shopping and watching the kids equal a one time fix of the furnace?

Posted by: quark2 | January 22, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Brian is the creepy guy at the playground who is just fascinated with how much the other mothers' nipples chapped during breastfeeding............

Posted by: pwaa | January 22, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

"Dads, if you're so avidly interested and desperate to be involved, start learning and remembering. Why not take the initiative and schedule appointments, and take off from work without being reminded or nagged to do so. "

Umm becuase we are real men and have absolutely no desire to do so?

Posted by: pwaa | January 22, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"so how many loads of laundry, meals, doing the dishes, vacumning, grocery shopping and watching the kids equal a one time fix of the furnace?"

Quark,
A fixed furnace is a perk for moms who hooked with a handiman. A dad should get all the things you listed above just for showing up for dinner. :-)

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | January 22, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

To Justsaying4: to those men intro'ing their wives as taking good care of them, I would reply (with a gasp and widened eyes) "Oh my goodness, I had no idea you had a disability!" They will either immediately get it and feel ashamed, or their "caretaker" will clue them in later.

Posted by: Ga_gal | January 23, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Ga_gal, if you responded like that to me with your widened eyes, you would end up looking pretty stupid. OK, I have an obvious disability, but I can't understand why anybody would get upset if a husband acknowledges his wife for being a caring spouse.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | January 23, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

pwaa, I got one better for you: Once, when my older daughter was still nursing and I had to "plug her in" at the firehouse one day, one of the guys there asked me what breastfeeding a newborn felt like. I told him, "Fire up the Hurst tool (aka the Jaws of Life), clamp it on your nipples, and let me know what you think!" First time in my life I ever saw a firefighter shudder....

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | January 23, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget pop culture shall we. Just about every single Dad shown on TV or in the movies is a clueless imbecile that couldn't find his ass if it was stapled to his face. This not only confirms this stereotype to non-Dads, but convinces on-the-fence Dads that they it is OK for them to be good-for-nothing schlumps -- it is expected of them, even.

Posted by: TruthMakerer | January 26, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

This is why my marital satisfaction improved dramatically once our financial circumstances allowed me to go from full-time employment to full-time homemaker. It may be old-fashioned but it's a lot more equitable because I'm no longer doing "the second shift" after a full day at a paid position.

Posted by: CrimsonWife | January 27, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

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