If A Tree Falls in the Forest, The Man is Still Wrong
January 29, 2009 5:45 PM   Subscribe

Most wives are Mad at Dad. "We're mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs. We're mad that these guys, who can manage businesses or keep track of thousands of pieces of sports trivia, can be clueless when it comes to what our kids are eating and what supplies they need for school. And more than anything else, we're mad that they get more time to themselves than we do."
posted by Xurando (199 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Reminds me of The Second Shift.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:48 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


MAD - Mothers Against Dads.
posted by crossoverman at 5:51 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


no sympathy from me.
posted by brandz at 5:52 PM on January 29, 2009


My god. Between this, DABA girls, and sorry-mom.com, I swear I'm never going to have sex again.

I'm sure there are plenty of Zen monasteries out there with awesome mountain views.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:52 PM on January 29, 2009 [10 favorites]


What is your title supposed to mean, Xurando? Seems like a bit of editorializing.
posted by footnote at 5:52 PM on January 29, 2009




We're mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs.

Yeah, well we're mad that you get default custody of the kids after getting divorced because you were sleeping around with the mailman because we weren't "there for you."

Yay stereotypes.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:55 PM on January 29, 2009 [9 favorites]


Working as a man in elementary education, I hear a lot of this stuff... but it's something of a two-way street, as many of the women I work with admit to playing helpless when they need something done that's a 'man's job.'

I don't get either side of the issue, really... my wife and I don't play these games.
posted by Huck500 at 5:57 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


I curious about the polling methods used here. 46% of a random sample of moms? 46% of women who subscribe to a magazine about parenting? 23 women who were waiting for the train?
posted by niles at 6:00 PM on January 29, 2009


I have to say that I'm a little irked that there wasn't any response from fathers in that article (though there is in the forum post linked in the NY Times summary), and yeah, bad post title, but from what I see around here, it's pretty damned accurate. I am astounded at the lack of engagement I see in fathers in, yep, about half of the marriages I'm a fairly close personal witness to. No need to check the profile -- I'm a dad.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:00 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


People often act badly to each other. News at 11.
posted by jeffkramer at 6:02 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm taking bets on how this will end. Who'll put up $5 on "well"?
posted by DU at 6:03 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Funny, I don't hear much complaining from this crowd about fathers working more overtime per week, leading to more frequent health problems and higher mortality rates. Their perpetual outrage over all sex disparities is also notably absent concerning default custody awards overwhelmingly favoring mothers in divorce cases.
posted by Law Talkin' Guy at 6:04 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yet another reason to never reproduce. Why, people, why do you do this terrible thing?
posted by mwhybark at 6:05 PM on January 29, 2009 [19 favorites]


I'm just barely responsible enough to know that I'm not responsible enough to have kids. Which is fortunate for my non-existent kids!
posted by jamstigator at 6:06 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm just barely responsible enough to know that I'm not responsible enough to have kids. Which is fortunate for my non-existent kids!

Right there with you. I'm just waiting to meet that equally irresponsible girl who I can not have kids with.
posted by Rangeboy at 6:09 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Why, people, why do you do this terrible thing?

Babies are cute. Case in point, Monkey Baby!
posted by chunking express at 6:09 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


As usual, and happily this particular time, nothing in these pieces in any way applies to me, except for the husband vacuuming thing. Yes, he does. I have been married for twenty-three years, picked up his socks and found his keys and wallet for twenty-four. None of our four children ever had a bottle. Though he might have liked to share in feeding them, they accepted no substitute. And I have no interest in learning how to change a tire. If he were not there to do it, I would read while I waited for triple A. That said, I don't just "consider myself" a feminist, I am an unspoken (oops, I just said it) one. And I think men are always getting a bad rap about the most ridiculous, mundane things. Then again, there is no Fantasy Football in my house (but there is MetaFilter).

On second thought, I'm sorry I even read these things. There are really significant things happening all around to "get angry" about, and one's male "SO" (a pet peeve of mine, full admission) who is either the sire or the male caretaker of your offspring is not one of them.

Statistics being as malleable as they are, I still take some kind of comfort in finding myself once again in some mysterious minority.
11/4 I was happy to be in the company of the crowd.

Now go cook dinner, or if you're in a later time zone, finish loading the dishwasher and make sure everyone has socks for tomorrow, yourself included. Good night.
posted by emhutchinson at 6:14 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


As I watch my friends getting married, having kids, getting divorced, the voice is always in the back of my mind: "There, but for the grace of Jah, go I."

Then there are the 1% of my friends who are happily married with no quarrels, but I'm pretty sure they're just building steam for the epic blowout.
posted by mullingitover at 6:16 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I curious about the polling methods used here.

"Parenting's nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 mothers on MomConnection, an online panel of moms". Of course the results are so skewed! It's a self-selected group of women who choose to spend time on a Mommy forum.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:17 PM on January 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


Love the title, and I'll put $20 against "well" DU.

And honestly, don't make babies if that's how you feel.
posted by jellywerker at 6:19 PM on January 29, 2009


Yeah kids are a lot of work and it takes both parents working really hard to do all the work that needs doing. I mean, my wife knows more stuff like about how to take care of babies and like we'll be leaving the house for 8 hours and she will know that the baby will have to eat during that time and so she will think to bring food for her, while I would just walk out the door and be fucked later and have to try to get a 6 month old to eat a cheeseburger, but I in turn change a lot of diapers and feed the baby the food that my wife remembers that she needs to eat to live and I do other hands-on non-thinking non-being-responsible type stuff. It is like division of labor. She is like the brain and I am like the hands. Teamwork. If you are mad at your husband for not doing enough work then you either need to ask him to help more or go back in time and not marry a dick.
posted by ND¢ at 6:20 PM on January 29, 2009 [22 favorites]


I'm so tempted to write some response that for every Mom mad at Dad there is a Dad mad at Mom for spending too much money, not cooking etc. But that's the point of the article, right? That's the trap, to get us men and women arguing with each other and everyone to make generalized statements based on their own passive-aggressive feelings towards their particular spouse.

I'm not playing.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:21 PM on January 29, 2009 [31 favorites]


And honestly, don't make babies if that's how you feel.

But then my capital investment on the organ farming equipment will be wasted.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:25 PM on January 29, 2009 [11 favorites]


Law Talkin' Guy: Funny, I don't hear much complaining from this crowd about fathers working more overtime per week, leading to more frequent health problems and higher mortality rates.

I know a lot of guys who complain about having to do overtime and I hear women complain about having spouses who're forced to do overtime. Your experiences don't gibe with my experiences.

Furthermore, in modern relationships that retain traditional gender roles, women put in a lot more hours on housework and childrearing, which more than matches overtime, which at least people get paid for.
posted by Kattullus at 6:29 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am happily childfree, and this makes me even more impatient to get a tubal ligation.
posted by kldickson at 6:34 PM on January 29, 2009


I have to say that I'm a little irked that there wasn't any response from fathers in that article

That's because men don't read crap like this.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:34 PM on January 29, 2009 [9 favorites]


Also, the post title... WTF?!
posted by Kattullus at 6:34 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm kind of mad that males are automatically seen as threatening to kids. AS much as I don't want to have kids I do enjoy other people's kids, but wouldn't dare dream of talking to any kid that I didn't already know, and even then there is a wariness, especially with little girls. On airplanes many airlines will refuse to sit Unaccompanied minors next to men, because we're so dangerous.
posted by edgeways at 6:37 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


There really is a biological basis for most men's inability to multitask.

When my kids were small my hubby was equally clueless. But how I handled it was by taking care of my own needs. If something didn't get done OH FREAKING WELL.

A lot of things didn't get done back in those days. But everyone managed to grow up and survive. My house is cleaner than it was in those days but I still hold to the philosophy of do what you can and let the rest wait. Because I am not gonna be a martyr.

(PS and hubby got more helpful as he realized the house fairies did not come out at night and get stuff done.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:38 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


men read other crap, reinforcing their own prejudices and stereotypes.
posted by edgeways at 6:39 PM on January 29, 2009


So, in addition to all the reckoned-upon "joys" of parenthood, I get to be The Asshole. Well, the joke's on Parenting, because I am already The Asshole, bereft of issue though I am.
posted by everichon at 6:45 PM on January 29, 2009


I am offended by this. All that sporting information is not "trivia", madam!
posted by rokusan at 6:45 PM on January 29, 2009


Look, I love my boyfriend more than anything in the world, but he drives me up the wall when he asks me stupid questions about where things are or how to use the toaster properly. But I am sure that I drive him crazy when I leave the kitchen cabinets open or I ask him to get up in the middle of the night to get me some water or to dig through my ginormous purse to bring my cell phone in when he comes to bed.

I'm sure these women do plenty of things to irritate their husbands, like slathering their children with Germ-X. Relationships are a two-way street and unfortunately, there's no room on the sidewalk for martyrs.
posted by kerning at 6:46 PM on January 29, 2009


I can't speak for other dads but I care for my daughter just like her mother does. I don't think I could do it without my lady, but she couldn't do it with out me. You know a team. I change the diapers, give baths, feed, play with, put down for naps, and tuck her in at night. It's a lot of work, and I wouldn't feel right leaving all to Liz to do. It's not enough to just bring home the bacon guys.
posted by nola at 6:47 PM on January 29, 2009


That's because men don't read crap like this.

For some values of "men," I guess. I read parenting magazines all the time. Mostly because I care about being a good husband and father.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:52 PM on January 29, 2009


This is so real, and I am dad. Moms seem to sweat the details much more so than dads on all this little stuff and then they end up in charge of making sure that things happen. When they are in charge, even if their husband goes out of his way to perform tasks it is still harder for the mom because she is so busy organizing her kids lives. I am so guilty, and I actually try really hard to make it easy for my wife, yet she still carries a much bigger load, and she works just as many hours as I do at her job. Do the laundry, do the shopping, cook the dinners and clean the dinners sometimes (we tend to split that chore) that helps me balance it out, but in the end it comes down to mom usually just cares more about making sure that everything is right for the kids. It's not just me, I know, all the other dads I socialize with have smilar issues, well more correctly their wives do. It's a constant struggle to keep up with mom, their is no doubt. They out produce the dads, big time.
posted by caddis at 6:56 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Look, I love my boyfriend more than anything in the world, but he drives me up the wall when he asks me stupid questions about where things are or how to use the toaster properly."

Psh. I have the same thing going with my BF, and I'm a boy too. And he teases me about the ditzy crap I do. Gender seems to really turn on peoples' generalization switches. In any thread like this there's a million people telling anecdotes about their spouses and then going "clearly the majority of everyone is like us!"

Seriously, though, loved ones of the world: the sheets and towels are in the linen closet, the spices are on the cabinet shelf where all the other spices are, the milk is in the fridge door, and the socks are in the sock drawer. They were all in those places last time and they're still there now. That's why we have those places, dearhearts.
posted by kavasa at 7:08 PM on January 29, 2009 [8 favorites]


Her: "Babe can you get my phone?"

Him: "Sure, where is it?"

Her: "In my bag obviously."

*FORTEEN MINUTES OF EXASPERATED SEARCHING LATER*

Her: "Where's my fucking phone?"

Him: "I CAN'T FIND YOUR FUCKING PHONE! WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MUCH SHIT IN YOUR BAG?"

Her: "I need it!"

Him: "No you don't, no you don't, you don't need ANY of this crap! You have ten different lipsticks in here and six of them are empty! Lids from soft drink bottles! There's a train ticket that expired four months ago, and 'buy-one-get-one-free' coupons for businesses that don't even exist! And a dozen unopened 'To The Resident' envelopes! And why do you need a FORK? You're like a fucking pack rat, jesus! And the bottom is full of gum and THAT'S why I can't find your fucking phone! Clean your bag out, you're going to ruin your back!"

Her: "I NEED IT! GET ME MY PHONE!"

Him: "GET IT YOURSELF!"

Her: "Oh it's here in the covers, never mind."

*THREE HOURS LATER, WHEN THINGS HAVE RETURNED TO SOME SEMBLANCE OF NORMALCY*

Him: "Ah, well, honey, this book is putting me to sleep, I'm going to turn in now, it's pretty late."

Her: "Okay. Smooches."

Him: "Smooches."

*TEN SECONDS LATER*

Her: "COCKBLANKETING CUNTRAGS THAT NOSE WHISTLE IS DRIVING ME INSANE!"

Him: "Bluhh? I'm sorry baby, I didn't know, I'll clear-"

Her: "DON'T SNIFF IN BED, STOP SNIFFLING, IT'S DISGUSTING! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE! YOU GET THE COUCH!"

Him: "But-"

Her: "YOU STUPID BASTARD YOU CAN'T EVEN FIND A PHONE!"
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:15 PM on January 29, 2009 [15 favorites]


My wife and I both work. Aside from the breastfeeding, I have been the primary childcare provider in the household. I have arranged playdates, taken my daughter to the playground, ferried her back and forth for sixteen years, until last week when she got her driver's license. We are talking about many thousands of hours. My wife has done almost none of this. I have also arranged and paid for summer camps, after-school care, etc.

As far as other household chores go, BTW, we are equally strange: I cook and clean, my wife is into the yard and home improvement projects. (I do take out the garbage, maintain the cars, and a few other male roles, however.)

However, I am not mad at my wife for not fulfilling her parental duties. Why? Because she did not come from a happy family, as I did, and is thus not naturally disposed to caring for children.

Considering the fact that males have not been traditionally conditioned to care for their children in the same way females have, I think anger may not be the best response. It seldom is. My father's father would not think of changing his children's diapers. My father did. Times and roles change slowly. Encourage guys to do more, but don't let anger destroy your life.

Insofar as the many posts here about how breeding is a bad idea: we have heard from you many times; we get it. Arguing against having children is ludicrous. If you don't want kids, great. If you want kids, great. Keep in mind, though, that 40% of children are not planned for. You may be in for a (wonderful) surprise someday.
posted by kozad at 7:29 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


what
posted by cjorgensen at 7:32 PM on January 29, 2009


I have noticed a particular breed of mom among my acquaintances who complains that their their husbands don't do anything, and then these women turn around and micromanage absolutely eeeeverything about their children's lives. Admittedly, these women tend to be in marriages with men who conveniently "can't figure out the washing machine" whenever they have to do laundry, and it is a vicious little storm of needing to be needed and needing to be right about and in control of something. So when it actually came to something the husbands might have actually wanted to get good at, like caring for their children, these women freak out and can't leave their children alone for too long with daddy because he just doesn't do it right or whatever. Eventually he becomes disenchanted and childcare gets lumped in with the washing machine.
posted by oflinkey at 7:32 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


I am the mother two and, though I wouldn't say I'm constantly "mad at dad," a lot in that story does ring true. I swear, it's like he literally cannot hear the baby crying in the middle of the night. The man sleeps right through it, snoring all the while. Even the dog comes to me to be let out, that hot, heavy panting right in my ear. And then the alarm goes off early and wakes the baby, and husband just wanders off dazedly into the bathroom, not seeming to notice that, hey, someone will have to take care of the baby, and, oh, perhaps my wife would like to sleep in a bit since she's been up half the night nursing and helping the toddler back to bed after her 2 am wake up. I shouldn't complain because he really is a good father and does a lot, but it's those little moments, where I am required to be utterly selfless, and not do the thing I want to do, even if it's "take a shower, brush teeth," and he, somehow, does not have to make that same calculation, well those moments add up, is all I'm saying.
posted by libraryhead at 7:36 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Whoa... turgid_dahlia, everything ok?
posted by arcticwoman at 7:37 PM on January 29, 2009


Don't you start!
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:41 PM on January 29, 2009 [9 favorites]


:P
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:42 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Many of the same women who complain that their husbands don't do anything also spend a goodly chunk of their time gelding them. I expect most of those men after the first year of marriage can only pee sitting down.

Also, those women who actually think that no men are involved in their children's lives and that hard-working, wife-helping men don't exist, can't exist, go fuck yourselves up the ass with the most poisonous sea-urchin you can find. And those men who refuse to man up and be responsible dads and husbands, thanks for making it worse for the rest of us, so go fuck yourselves with the same toxic sealife too.
posted by illiad at 7:43 PM on January 29, 2009


There are many words to describe being able to convince everyone that you are biologically unable to handle unpleasant tasks and that they must be done for you. I wouldn't go with "clueless."
posted by transona5 at 7:46 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you think your husband isn't doing his fair share with one baby and it bothers you, then STOP, do not have more children. He's not going to help more with three.

If your husband doesn't change diapers on a regular basis with your first child and help around the house and you have more children, you are an idiot or a masochist. Babies are more work for women. Life isn't fair. Only one of you can be pregnant. Only one of you can nurse. That said, when you've had enough and your guy is being a dick, simply leave the house. Tell your husband that you are going out for a few hours and leave, sans infant. Return in 4 to 6 hours. Repeat weekly. If your husband gives you shit, go spend the night at a girlfriend's and send a taxi to deliver your expressed milk.

A lot of mothers don't give men enough credit or are too critical about how men do things. A man may not change a diaper, burp and clean the kid the way a mom would but so what. Kids are resilient and don't break that easily. After all a little dirt is good for babies.
posted by shoesietart at 7:54 PM on January 29, 2009


/quietly slips away to do some dishes.
posted by Artw at 8:02 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


As a stay-at-home dad, I'm just annoyed that I can't produce milk.
posted by drezdn at 8:03 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Honestly? The main article reads like a bunch of endless one-side griping.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


clueless
denial

weird to see so much of that here, but insensitivity to race and gender issues is pretty rampant here for such a liberal site.
posted by caddis at 8:05 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


but insensitivity to race and gender issues is pretty rampant here for such a liberal site

It could also be not taking such a heavy handed article very seriously. It's taking the smaller side of percentages and repeating them ad nauseam to as if they're majority, while only seeking one side of the story. It's a shitty article that reenforces the stereotypes (by only showing one side the relationship) while complaining about the same stereotypes. It's boring and trite.

It would have been nice if someone had bothered to ask the Dads why they were behaving in this fashion and what could be done to change that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:19 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Men are like this, women are like that.

/cue laugh track
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:20 PM on January 29, 2009


shoesietart: word.

Equal parenting is a two-way street. While fathers do have to put their time and creativity in, mothers have to be willing to give up some control and responsibility if they want fathers to truly share in the work of raising children.

There was an excellent NY Times article about this several months ago.
posted by xthlc at 8:20 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Bah. I do all the cooking, all the yardwork, all home renovation projects and car repairs, all the sewing, half of the dishes (we alternate days), half of the housework, all the heavy lifting and other "mens work", all of the pet care, and most of the child care. I also work longer hours, and don't get several months off a year because, unlike my wife, I am not a teacher.

On the other hand, my wife does wash and dry all the laundry and fold her own clothes.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:33 PM on January 29, 2009


As a single father of a special needs child who receives no support (financial or other) from my daughter's mother… all I can say is "Boo-[expletive]-hoo!" Cry me a freakin' river.
posted by vertigo25 at 8:41 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


libraryhead - Just out of curiosity, do both you and your husband work outside the home?
posted by Riemann at 8:43 PM on January 29, 2009


A while back, I read that a main determining factor in marital happiness is how similar are the partners' views toward money. And when you think about it, it's really not something that a couple should be schizoid about.

For example, all of these women who are upset about how little their husband did around the house - how happy would they truly be if he cut back on work hours to spend more time around the house? Would they be willing to accept living in a less-desirable neighborhood with less-desirable schools? Would they be willing to make due with a smaller 'nest egg' for the future? What about all the luxuries that make life comfortable?

In couples where both parents work - what if one makes significantly less money than the other? Should the higher-earning spouse spend more time at home, so that the lesser-earning spouse can pursue a lower-paying career? Some careers are inherently higher-paying than others; a nurse will usually make more money than an artist, a lawyer more than a school teacher, and a advertising executive more than a factory worker. This will often be true no matter how far one advances in their career track.

These are important questions. It really comes down to how important money is to a couple. If both partners agree that money is less important than having an equal division of childcare and chores, they can find a balance. Likewise, if both partners agree that career fulfillment for both partners is more important than the sum total of their earnings, once again they can find a balance. On the flip side, if both partners agree that an equal distribution of career fulfillment AND money are more important than time spent at home - the archetypal "power couple" - once again, they can find a balance. But when couples are conflicted on the importance of money, I think that's where the unpleasantness and anger set in.

I think that anything worth having is worth sacrificing for. In a these "angry mom" rants, I always hear a lot about how much the woman has sacrificed to have a family. About all her hopes and dreams that she had to put aside. But they speak as if men don't make similar sacrifices. What about our hopes and dreams? Do they think we always wanted to work a 9-5 and drive a minivan? Sure, she may have wanted to be a writer/actress/high-powered executive. But what about her husband, who once harbored dreams of playing in the NBA, sailing around the world, or doing archeological research in odd ends of the globe?

In the end, it comes down to a division of labor. And this gets politicised, because to some people it's political. But really what it comes down to are the goals and aspirations of the individual partners, and whether or not they conflict. I would think this is definitely the sort of thing you'd want to talk about before getting married.

Oh yeah. And once people make commitments to each other, they should stick to them. Even if they find themselves up to their asses in alligators.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:45 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's shocking to me is that most of the males commenting on this thread are saying either a) well I'M not like this; b) hey, women--we have it rough too you know; or c) bullshit / lame / oh please.

Wait, did I say "shocking"? What I meant to say is "entirely unsurprising".

I don't care if it's a cliché: check your fucking knapsack at the door. And to get a fuller picture of what you're so casually dismissing, read this article on what it's like to truly share parenting responsibilities.
posted by tzikeh at 8:49 PM on January 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


PATRIARCHY ACTUALLY JUST WOMEN KEEPING TOO MUCH SHIT IN THEIR PURSES, INTERNET USERS DISCOVER
STUDY ALSO FINDS MEN DRIVE LIKE THIS, WOMEN DRIVE LIKE THIS
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:54 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Frak - xthlc gave the same link. Apologies.

Also, what caddis said.
posted by tzikeh at 8:56 PM on January 29, 2009


tzikeh - that's because this absurd article is pretty much the antithesis of "equal" parenting promoted in the link you posted.

When one person is bringing in all of or the vast majority of the household income - and dealing with the absolutely mind-crusing stress that results from this at the best of times - it is in no way equal to also expect them to take on 50% of household chores and childcare duties.

OF COURSE if one one partner is working outside the home* they are going to be sleeping through the night instead of getting up every hour to take care of the baby on work nights. How stupid would it be to jeopardize their job and thus the income on which the entire family subsists.

* Note I said "outside the home". I am not suggesting that child care is not work.
posted by Riemann at 8:57 PM on January 29, 2009


This is where I get to gloat about the benefits of being gay: neither of us can cook, and we both accept any XBox-related activity as a legitimate excuse to skip laundry day.
posted by troybob at 9:09 PM on January 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


How about instead of "being mad" like six-year olds that didn't get the perfect Christmas present these Mom's either grow a pair and walk out the door after two or three failed efforts to change Dad's behavior or else do what every other healthy person does in difficult circumstances - accept it and live your life.

Wait -

If you are mad at your husband for not doing enough work then you either need to ask him to help more or go back in time and not marry a dick.
posted by ND¢ at 6:20 PM on January 29 [4 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]


Word.
posted by docpops at 9:11 PM on January 29, 2009


Smart, beautiful wife sacrificing all to keep the household together + boorish, overweight husband shirking responsibilities. Hilarity ensues. Isn't this every family sitcom aired in the last 20 years?
posted by klarck at 9:12 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


For example, all of these women who are upset about how little their husband did around the house - how happy would they truly be if he cut back on work hours to spend more time around the house?

Inherent in this and other of your questions is the unwarranted assumption that the only reason these husbands aren't kicking in as much is because they're at work more. This is frequently, and from what I've personally witnessed, even usually a false assumption. The problem often isn't that they're always at work, the problem is that they're not engaged when they are home. The very phrase "help out around the house" is offensive to my ears, as a working dad. You don't help out around the house. You take care of your responsibilities to the care of your home and family.

When one person is bringing in all of or the vast majority of the household income - and dealing with the absolutely mind-crusing stress that results from this at the best of times - it is in no way equal to also expect them to take on 50% of household chores and childcare duties.

Not 50% of it all, just 50% of what's left to be done when you're home. When you're at work, whether your spouse is employed or taking care of the kids and cleaning and running errands, she's at work too. When you get home, you pitch in for half of what needs doin' or you're a goddamn lump and you're in the way.

OF COURSE if one one partner is working outside the home* they are going to be sleeping through the night instead of getting up every hour to take care of the baby on work nights. How stupid would it be to jeopardize their job and thus the income on which the entire family subsists.

Buzz. Wrong again. You want to have a kid, you suck it up and deal. Unless you're under extraordinary conditions, the sleep deprivation's both workable and temporary, and it's more workable for both of you if you're sharing the load. You want to be a dad, you be a goddamn dad and you share in everything -- the loss of sleep, the poop, the vomit, the teething, all of it. You're there, you're there every inch for every minute that you're home, just like she is, or you're a goddamn lump and you're in the way.

Now it's late and I've got to go get Jack's lunch ready for tomorrow, so I'll say goodnight.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:12 PM on January 29, 2009 [18 favorites]


Riemann - men who work all day get paid a salary. Women who stay at home to raise children work all day, and are unpaid. Then (in general, let's give props to the men who share duties) the man comes home from work and his work day is over. The woman continues her non-paying job until she goes to bed, and starts again when she gets up, whereas the man (in general) doesn't start working until he gets to his place of business. The woman lives at her place of business and is never off-duty.

2006 assessment of what stay-at-home moms would earn if paid for all of the honest-to-God jobs they do while raising children. Here is the same assessment for 2008. Raising children is a much-more-than-full-time job, with no pay. Any father who bitches and moans about how he's the one who gets the raw deal, or that he's expected to help raise his children can go suck it.
posted by tzikeh at 9:16 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


middleclasstool - I am a dad you obnoxious fuckwit.

Maybe it's different if you are a trust fund baby but when one partner is responsible for all the income making sure that is not disrupted absolutely has to take priority. This is not a question of luxuries but of food and god damned shelter.

If I fuck up at work it's not just my ass on the line but everyone I love as well. If I am not providing them with the resources for a home and food there is absolutely no one else who will step up to that.

And fuck yes that means sacrifices every god damned day. That means being extraordinarily constrained in career choices, in education in what I can and cannot do with every waking moment of my life.

I would absolutely love to be able to cut back on work a bit and be more engaged at home. I would love to be able to have a fraction of the time available for myself as my wife does - because honestly child care for a 7 year old who is in 1st grade is nowhere near a full time gig.
posted by Riemann at 9:21 PM on January 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


50% of moms tell us their husbands get more time for themselves.
And the other 50% of moms get more time for themselves? What kind of complaint is this?

I am sure there are plenty of things for the average wife to complain about, but some of these seem so petty, selfish, and one-sided.

Some people really get off on this--wallowing in anger and complaining rather than trying to work things out and deal with the pressures of raising children.

Yeah, whatever, just stay the heck away from me.
posted by eye of newt at 9:22 PM on January 29, 2009


"Women who stay at home to raise children work all day, and are unpaid. Then (in general, let's give props to the men who share duties) the man comes home from work and his work day is over. The woman continues her non-paying job until she goes to bed,"

For an infant certainly. But for an older child you are either just ignorant or being deliberately disingenuous.
posted by Riemann at 9:25 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


The article is a mixed bag. Some of it sounds a bit whiny and one-sided, but some of it is legitimate gripes about a spouse/father who needs to step up and do more.

It would have been nice if someone had bothered to ask the Dads why they were behaving in this fashion and what could be done to change that.

Because the dads will play up any little bitty thing they did for their kids, once, as I Am The Greatest Dad Ever. I had this happen to me with my daughter and her father. He held her for five minutes when she was pointlessly screaming as an infant when I was about to lose my mind, and of course told everyone we knew what an amazing hero he was for holding her for hours and hours, being so generous towards me, every night. I know I'm not the only one who had to endure such bullshit bragging over the tiniest little contribution.

Aside from that you'd hear a raft of excuses why dads don't do more. They will downplay how much effort it takes the mother to do what she does.

When my daughter was little, I did at least 95% of everything that had to be done for her. But then, the tables were turned. He got custody when she was two and for seven years has had the responsibility of taking care of all her needs himself. Well, he has farmed out much of her care to his mother, of course, and obviously I take care of her during visits. It has turned out to be a lot harder than he thought, though. My daughter is happy, healthy and strong so I am very happy about that. He is doing a good job.

Reading the article I was curious about which moms have to work outside the home. I find I have a greatly differing level of sympathy when it comes to those with jobs vs. those who do not, having done one of those things myself.

Seriously, though, I think that a strike should be on the table. Just quit cooking for him. He can find the microwave. Don't do his laundry. Ok, you can't drop every task but maybe carve out some more time for yourself and dial things back to what you can manage without feeling too resentful. Maybe he'll wake up.
posted by marble at 9:26 PM on January 29, 2009


...because honestly child care for a 7 year old who is in 1st grade is nowhere near a full time gig...

No offense, but I'm guessing when you throw in burden of that second child who goes to the office, she's got plenty on her plate.

I know progress is slow, but I'm still surprised by how often I hear women at work talk about how they have to go home and cook dinner for the family, and how often i hear men at work wondering what the wife is going to make for dinner.
posted by troybob at 9:29 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


I swear, it's like he literally cannot hear the baby crying in the middle of the night

I could never find a source for this, but a teacher (whose factualness I tend to trust) mentioned in class once that women are more tuned to hear higher pitched noises then men. She didn't have any kids, so her example was the dog that her (poster boy for responsibility) husband never let out at night when it was wining, but I think it's kind of the same thing. So who knows, maybe he really can't hear the kids half-way down the hall at night.
posted by niles at 9:29 PM on January 29, 2009


TL:DR because this dad was making dinner for his five year old son and family (Grilled Turkey sandwich, Kraft Mac and Cheese just for him and shrimp scampi for mom and I), bathing him, and reading him his favorite book before bed. Oh and also arranging a play date with his best friend.

And after I put him down, I made lunch for him for tomorrow (Pasta shells with butter) which he will probably hate by tomorrow AM in which case I will be making him another hot lunch before driving him to school at 8:45 AM before returning to my full time job in my home office (which means unlike my wife, I am literally on call 24-7 for my kids).

So what's this I hear about moms mad at dads?
posted by cjets at 9:30 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dear lord, I cherish my single, childless existence. It's like if you give in to your loneliness, you end up just wanting some time to yourself. Fuck that, I've got computer games to play.
posted by autodidact at 9:34 PM on January 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


Somehow I feel much of the anger on display here is misdirected.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:36 PM on January 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Xurando, why on earth did you post this? Because you thought it was a considered, informative article? Or because you just wanted to stir shit? I'm thinking it's the latter, given your post title, and the fact that this thread has played out in predicatable and tiresome ways. This is a seriously unimpressive post, you know.
posted by jokeefe at 9:36 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


So who knows, maybe he really can't hear the kids half-way down the hall at night.
posted by niles at 9:29 PM on January 29 [+] [!]


No, complete and utter bullshit. The sound of a crying infant is one of the most noxious and sickening stimuli in nature, and there's literally no way not to be pierced by it as though it were a knife to the brain. The simple reality of it is that most people, until they raise an infant, have never dealt with being awakened multiple times a night. And that is a horrible, corrosive thing (speaking as someone who has done it for twenty years and hates it more every day). Pretending to sleep while a baby cries is the zenith of passive aggressiveness. Allowing it to go on is ennabling and just as fucked up.
posted by docpops at 9:39 PM on January 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


Women who stay at home to raise children work all day, and are unpaid.

Not to turn this into a SAHM-WOHM war, but this has always struck me as specious. Room and board don't count as pay? Food money, utilities, money for other needs? None of that counts? And zero stay at home moms get a single dollar to spend on random wants that they might have? Really?

What really gets me is if she doesn't feel appreciated enough and divorces him, she gets child support *and* alimony, since clearly she's proven she can't take care of herself via a job. Not having to work seems like a bonus, and then you get a further bonus for... not having had to work. It's a head-scratcher.

I will take seriously complaints from any stay at home mom who has spent at least six months supporting the family themselves. There is a lot of stress when you are the sole breadwinner and their is a fully employable adult who gets to stay home every day. I don't think many stay at home moms can really understand what that's like.
posted by marble at 9:39 PM on January 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


s/their/there/

Damn I wanna shoot myself.
posted by marble at 9:41 PM on January 29, 2009


That's the most whiny ass piece of whining shit I've ever seen, over many many years of seeing whiny ass shit on the internet. Good god, everyone quoted in that article should be drowned.
posted by kenlayne at 9:43 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread has not made it better. Please, less children, folks, unless you really want them and the changes they bring to your life, men and women alike.
posted by maxwelton at 9:55 PM on January 29, 2009


Oh, I'd also like to wager that in most cases, "going on strike" just doesn't work. In my house, if I don't do the dishes or the laundry, they don't get done*. If I ask my girlfriend to clean some dishes or put some laundry in, she'll maybe clean a quarter of the dishes in the sink or do a single load of laundry without folding it. So I don't know that those who suggest housewives just stop doing housework are prescribing the best course of action.

So, to the women who claim that nothing ever changes and men just don't do housework because gender roles men are from mars biological determinism blah bling blah? Yeah, I'd really love to wanna give a shit, but I got these dishes to wash.

*except one time last week when I had a 101-degree fever, bless her heart.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:59 PM on January 29, 2009


Women who stay at home to raise children work all day, and are unpaid.

I don't even have kids and my income goes together with my wife's into a joint account. We each get some spending money on the side, of course.

Are there really dicks out there who say "Oh, you'll have to leave your job to take care of the kids. Gee, too bad you won't have any income!"?
posted by ODiV at 10:01 PM on January 29, 2009


All we can relate to, are our own personal experiences. The father of my children didn't help me much at all. I remember the first time time I left him alone with our 6 week old newborn for 2 hours. When I returned home, he said, "don't you ever leave me alone with this baby again." All I could think was, "You stupid asshole. It's your baby too." I could write a book on this subject.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:02 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Children, plural?

After "don't you ever leave me alone with this baby again."?

I hope things improved.
posted by ODiV at 10:04 PM on January 29, 2009


Seven cents per minute. Every hour. Every day.
posted by Riemann at 10:07 PM on January 29, 2009


[A few comments removed. Reimann, you need to dial it way back on the invective.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:30 PM on January 29, 2009


marble: Room and board don't count as pay? Food money, utilities, money for other needs? None of that counts? And zero stay at home moms get a single dollar to spend on random wants that they might have? Really?

Room and board.

Room. And. Board.

So. Let me try to understand this. You're saying that, in exchange for his wife single-handedly raising their child/children, the husband deigns to... no, I'm sorry, my brain cannot get past ROOM AND BOARD.

ROOM AND BOARD.

CHRIST, WHAT AN ASSHOLE.
posted by tzikeh at 10:33 PM on January 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


relationships that retain traditional gender roles,

Every time I read an article like this I reflect on what a poor idea that is.

The solution is simple:

If you can't or won't empty a mousetrap or unclog the garbage disposal because you have a vagina, you fail at life.
If you can't or won't cook a decent meal for a child (or anyone) or clean a toilet because you have a penis, you fail at life.
If your life reflects some shitty throwaway laugh-track sitcom and you accept that, you definitely fail at life.

Don't fail at life.

Keep in mind, though, that 40% of children are not planned for. You may be in for a (wonderful) surprise someday.


And that's a horrible statistic. Everyone cut that shit out. What you mean, often enough, is that some poor bastard is going to be surprised with a shit life because their parents are woefully unprepared or unqualified to raise a child.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:38 PM on January 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


As a stay-at-home dad I question the gender basis of these articles (the statistics are worth questioning as well, but since there's basically no information given on them I'll suffice with saying that translating "46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more" as "Most wives are Mad at Dad" seems pretty B.S. - and to the 4% of ANY married people claiming they don't get mad at their spouse once a week or more? You're lying).

Being a full-time parent and homemaker is a very different sort of gig and I think it naturally suffers from a lack of compartmentalization that makes these sorts of complaints endemic. If you leave the house in a rush many mornings you're apt to leave stuff on the bathroom floor, and if you're single you just come back and pick that stuff up, but it you're staying in the house you're going to walk past it a dozen times so YOU pick it up and go "Christ, how fucking hard is it to pick up your God damned clothes?!" I try not to take this petty shit too much to heart: it's no big deal that there are clothes on the floor, it's no big deal that I vent a little under my breath when I pick it up.

Some of it seems pretty unreasonable. The kid and the home are, for the most part, my job: my wife is not going to know all the ins and outs of this job as well as I do any more than I know the ins and outs of her job.

But the thing that sticks out the most to me is how much of the objections include something like "why do I have to tell them to such and such, why can't they figure it out for themselves?" I can totally relate to this but I have come to the conclusion that it is the dumbest position you can possibly take in a relationship. A lot of martyr-complex bullshit gets perpetrated under that banner (and again, I've been guilty on this score). If asking does the trick then for fuck's sake ask.
posted by nanojath at 10:46 PM on January 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


Reading these comments has never made me so glad to be a single guy with a dog. Next time someone asks me why I don't want kids I'm just going to show them this discussion.
posted by bradbane at 10:56 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It takes two to tango, and the one who follows affects the dance just as much as the one who leads. If you don't like the dance, sit this one out.

It's a huge trap to think, I HAVE to, I'm stuck. I know, I was in a shitty marriage for 10 years, with 8 years of counseling. 2 kids. But you always have choices. Many times, anger at your partner reflects disgust with yourself.
posted by msalt at 11:03 PM on January 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Somehow I feel much of the anger on display here is misdirected.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:36 PM on January 29


Exactly! The spouse is proximate but not the proximate cause.
posted by Araucaria at 11:04 PM on January 29, 2009


Jesus fuck this thread is depressing. Reading this actually makes me grateful to have been a single parent.

Damn.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:08 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


My two cents: the problem is not being married, or having kids, but not having enough support. Cosby is wrong: two parents are *not* enough. You need family, friends, time to get out and have a non-child night every week or two, and enough sleep.

I'm enjoying being single again, even when I have the kids on my own.
posted by Araucaria at 11:08 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm a Dad. I like being married, I like having kids. I vacuum, clean the bathroom, go shopping, but don't clean the dishes enough and rarely cook dinner. However, since my wife doesn't speak English as her first language, and because she doesn't really "get" some of the culture of school, etc, I make the dentist appointments, plan out the swimming lessons, plan the playdates with the other mothers (there is a lot of relationship management that goes on there, let me tell you, and if you don't "get" it, you're lost) and do all that stuff. But, like I said, I could wash the dishes more and take out the garbage more.

My wife is from Japan, where there is a clear division of labour between husbands and wives. It kind of takes a lot of the tension out of the relationship, but, then again, if my wife's mother knew I was doing any housework, my wife would get in trouble. I'm also expected to be the sole breadwinner, and so I work and worry a lot. I realize this is not the case in North America, which is why Mom is Mad at Dad.

But to the people in this thread who have said they're glad they don't have children, etc, all I can say is...

Are we really supposed to be happy all the time? Doesn't being a grown-up mean accepting responsibility and, sometimes hardship, while being smart enough to figure out when to be happy?

Children help you to become more human. They can help you to figure out the human condition and how to love.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:12 PM on January 29, 2009


Reading these comments has never made me so glad to be a single guy with a dog. Next time someone asks me why I don't want kids I'm just going to show them this discussion.

You and me both. I despise children anyway and see no reason to add any more humans to the Earth, and besides that society is probably going to devolve into Mad Max before an infant born anytime soon would get a driver's license, but this thread has doubled my resolve.

But to the people in this thread who have said they're glad they don't have children, etc, all I can say is...

Are we really supposed to be happy all the time?


Why intentionally be miserable? So you can have the "fulfilling" experience of being screamed at constantly in public and in private and having peanut butter smeared on all your stuff until the kid is old enough to not want to be around you, and hopefully have a good relationship with them once they're old enough to graduate college? No thanks, I'll stick to my sad, unfulfilling adult life where I do yucky boring grownup stuff like listening to Nyabinghi reggae and getting high on opium tea while posting to Metafilter at 2AM.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:53 PM on January 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't get all this talk about how having kids = misery. It might be, if you didn't want kids to begin with, but I wanted my children and I'm finding joy and fulfillment like I never have before.

You can call me tired, exhausted at times, harried, confused, occasionally terrified and often puzzled, but my kids have yet to make me or my wife "miserable." Maybe that'll come when they hit their teens!

Those of you going on about how you're glad to be childless: I do heartily support your decision to not have kids. You'd probably make completely shitty parents. I just wish more shitty parents would admit as much and stop having children.
posted by illiad at 12:07 AM on January 30, 2009


Why aren't we reading the "I love my partner, the kids can be a handful, but I'm grateful for my life" post? Because it isn't shocking/scary/controversial. Same with DABA girls. Who really wants to comment on the fucking-for-love-not-money thread? Or the "I bang the nicest dudes (Thanks, Mom)" threads? Or the Dog-bites-Man thread? Or any "here's a slice of normal, boring life in which people don't act like douchecastles" thread?

Pastabagel is right. There is plenty of ooze smeared all over the internet that would make one be ever so grateful not to: ever have sex with anyone, ever; ever, ever get into a serious relationship, ever; ever have a kid; ever have a pet; ever trust a single word anybody says; ever talk to your neighbors; ever leave the house; ever drink tap water; ever eat a french fry; ever breathe; ever move; ever live. Because it's terrifying, the world. According to the news and random blogs.
posted by taz at 12:17 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


arrrr. pastabagel is right, goddam it
posted by taz at 12:20 AM on January 30, 2009


Who's in charge of teaching the children not to feed trolls?
posted by fullerine at 1:30 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Children help you to become more human. They can help you to figure out the human condition and how to love.

They might help YOU. But they sure as shit don't for most people.

All one has to do is walk the aisles of your local Target. But for more substantial evidence look at divorce stats and happiness surveys.

Judging by the rising divorce rates and survey after survey showing kids, after money and infidelity, are the leading cause of divorce. And ironically kids are often the excuse for people to be unfaithful - ie people needing to feel passion beyond their role as 'reproducer."

Not only that I ain't buying this "kids make you learn responsibility." That's bullshit. First off irresponsible people shouldn't be having kids in the vain hope that kids will complete them. Second parents are just as likely ( if not more so) to default on mortgages, be alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals, and general fuck ups as anybody else. Looking for "life lessons" from having children is about as stupid as using having a baby to save a rocky marriage.

When every I hear people with kids say say "Are we really supposed to be happy all the time? Doesn't being a grown-up mean accepting responsibility and, sometimes hardship, while being smart enough to figure out when to be happy?" What they mean is: "God damn having kids sucks. I hope I made the right decision. Shit. It's hard. For fuck sake their HAS to be an upside. Maybe something about responsibility.. er something."

Yes. It's not possible to always be happy all the time. Happiness is pretty subjective.

Funny thing. People without kids aren't happy all the time either. I think this is just a given.

So I think if people find themselves saying "you can't be happy all the time, right?" it might be because they're spending way to much of life un-fucking-happy. And kids, or cars, or diamonds, or money, or anything outside your own grey matter isn't gonna make anyone any happier. In fact I dare say unhappy people have unhappy kids. And what good does that do.

And what if it was possible to be happy all the time? Fuck YEAH I'd take that over some rationalized construct about how life is supposed to be - I'd like to not feel the pain of my grandmothers death or see my father have to suffer through cancer. I'd like if my wife didn't have to carry around the pain of her sister death. I'd take world absent of shit like that any day.

And I don't think I'd be completely unproductive, letting the word fall apart around me, like some fiendish giggling hedonist in the dark corner of an opium den just because I was absent some suffering.
posted by tkchrist at 2:06 AM on January 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Children help you to become more human. They can help you to figure out the human condition and how to love.

More human that what, exactly? Figuring out how to love *after* your kids are born seems like a bad idea, too, and I'd hate to think that anyone who doesn't have kids doesn't really know how to love properly.

I really wish parents would think these statements through more carefully - I think I get what you mean, sort of, but it doesn't help to be so casually insulting to people who are yet to have kids, or know that their skill set isn't a good match for parenting. Let alone anyone who wants kids, and can't have them.

Anyway, this is a crap article geared to contine the so-called Battle of the Sexes and make people who don't communicate properly with their partners feel better about it. Sort this stuff out with your partner *before* you stop using contraception.
posted by harriet vane at 2:23 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


This entire thread is a prime example of trolling. What fullerine said.
posted by Sijeka at 2:57 AM on January 30, 2009



If you can't or won't empty a mousetrap or unclog the garbage disposal because you have a vagina, you fail at life.
If you can't or won't cook a decent meal for a child (or anyone) or clean a toilet because you have a penis, you fail at life.
If your life reflects some shitty throwaway laugh-track sitcom and you accept that, you definitely fail at life.


Seriously.

Everybody should be able to complete all tasks on Heinlein's list, or at least be willing to attempt them:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
posted by Netzapper at 4:11 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think we can all take a lesson from the Wu on this topic:

You can't party your life away
Drink your life away
Smoke your life away
Fuck your life away
Dream your life away
Scheme your life away
Cause your seeds grow up the same way
Cause your seeds grow up the same way
Cause your seeds grow up the same way

— A Better Tomorrow
posted by ND¢ at 5:23 AM on January 30, 2009


Afroblanco, you may not escape even then. ;-) I sat with a Zen group awhile back that had married monks/nuns in it. One couple even met each other via the monastery!
posted by wastelands at 6:04 AM on January 30, 2009


I think this is mostly explained by whatever gender difference leads to women being prone to frequent mommy forums. If men were prone to frequenting daddy forums, and we polled those men, I'm quite certain we would find that most husbands are Mad at Mom.

It makes sense that the work we do feels more real to us than the work that others do. So it's almost inevitable that we are going to feel like we do more work, even if the distribution is actually close to even.
posted by diogenes at 6:05 AM on January 30, 2009


Let me take an opposite stab at a response to this thread:

I'm pleased that all the mothers and fathers that have responded to this thread are loving, capable parents who are doing an excellent job raising the children I will never, ever have.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:06 AM on January 30, 2009


The earth we inhabit is an error, an incompetent parody. Mirrors and paternity are abominable because they multiply and affirm it.
-Borges was mad at dad too.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:15 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Being "Mad at Dad" can not be a new concept. I don't ever remember my mom complaining about dad not helping, I just remember her sneaking out back for a cigarette.
posted by czechmate at 6:21 AM on January 30, 2009


Sorry I'm late getting back to the party. I guess mommies go to bed early and I had stuff to do this morning before I could turn on Metafilter. Riemann, I'm not sure how it's relevant whether we both work outside the home. I don't know how it got to be seen as a privilege to do a physically demanding, repetitive, often tedious, occasionally emotionally grueling, (albeit ultimately rewarding) job without pay or prestige.

The point I was trying to make is that taking care of little kids is hard (taking care of bigger kids may be hard, too, but we haven't gotten to that point yet). In most families the burden disproportionally falls on the woman at the start because of the biology of gestation and breastfeeding, not to mention cultural conditioning, and it takes a lot of intentional effort to balance that. My husband is a good guy, and participates fully in raising his children. It does bother me that he's able to maintain a 20-hour-a-weel WoW habit and I haven't finished a novel in, oh, 3 years. (and it took me 20 minutes to write this comment, in between putting the baby down for a nap and fending off the toddler's demands for snacks and books). and now the baby's awake. gotta go.
posted by libraryhead at 6:24 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll stick to my sad, unfulfilling adult life where I do yucky boring grownup stuff like listening to Nyabinghi reggae and getting high on opium tea while posting to Metafilter at 2AM.

Having small children gives you lots of opportunities to post to MetaFilter at 2AM. And you'll feel just as fucked up, although admittedly a lot less pretentious.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 6:37 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


And you'll feel just as fucked up, although admittedly a lot less pretentious.

You just got told, son. Booyaka! Booyaka!

It's strange how people feel compelled to criticize others for the choices they make. It's great that you don't want to have a kid. We aren't your mom, harassing you to have one. You don't need to convince us, or any random person on the Internet, that you are in the right here. Similarly, telling people they've 'done fucked up' because they have children to take care of is a bit stupid. And as I said up thread, babies are cute. And unless your family is fucked up, it's nice having brothers, sisters, cousins, etc. And people need to have babies for that shit to happen.
posted by chunking express at 6:42 AM on January 30, 2009


Yet another reason to never reproduce.

One solution.
posted by ericb at 6:49 AM on January 30, 2009


The thing that always puzzles me about this situation that some people upstream mentioned is that there is a pervasive stereotype that men are completely clueless and inept at parenting. Watch commercials and see how many knowing mothers and lazy, clueless fathers you see. This notion that men are incapable might come from a lot genuinely lazy and incapable fathers but I think the fact that our culture expects it reinforces it. We don't leave a space for men to be competent care givers in our collective imagination. If we are programmed to default to "moms do everything and dads just drink beer and watch football" why do you think people who are less critical just accept this as "normal" or "the way things are?" I genuinely aspire to being a stay at home dad just because that's how I am and that's what I think would make me happy and I know I'm an outlier in that but I think as long as our media and noxious tripe like the articles the OP graced us with exist this situation will never change.

I've always felt like the next big revolution in gender relations is the redefinition of masculinity. Feminism opened a space that redefined how women think of themselves and are perceived by men but no equivalent action has happened for men. We don't expect men to change diapers, cook meals or provide emotional support. As long as we stubbornly cling to a definition of what makes a man that predates our evolved notions of women this will be a sticking point. I feel like there is some motion here but men need to stand up and take responsibility in leading this charge.
posted by zennoshinjou at 6:54 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


The outmoded ideas of patriarchy still haunt both sexes; men who want to share the load equally have to struggle to overcome their "babies and cleaning are women's work" conditioning, but so do women. Not least because people outside the relationship will judge the mom, much more than the dad, when the house is a filth pit and the baby isn't potty trained on time.

It's a losing game for both, in the long run; women end up doing too much of the work, and men end up being either resented or considered too stupid to know how to do their share (often both). None of which contributes to a healthy relationship.

Even your most liberated hetero couple is going to have these issues. But the best solution is not to trot out tired battle of the sexes stereotypes.

The only way forward is to acknowledge the problem, admit that it's difficult, and be considerate but also willing to call out the other person when they fall into those tired old roles.
posted by emjaybee at 6:56 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Reading these comments made me wish we had down votes to go along with the favorites.

It's true we live in a time of social upheaval when gender roles are changing and while some people are hurt by these changes, others benefit. In time, I hope, we'll get it sorted out. I was one of the casualties, but I won't bother you with my sad tale. The important thing is I am happy now.

I have always worked hard at not being a mom to my husbands-- both past and present. No nagging, no telling them what to do. If the lawn needs to be mowed, I mow it. If the trash needs to be taken out, I take it. I also pick up after my present husband because I am neat and tidy-- and he is the opposite of neat and tidy. Somehow, without wanting the responsibility of it, I became The Finder of Things. My husband recently confessed he became a tiny bit angry at me because he could not find his wallet (and I was not home.) We laughed about it. We try hard to communicate and treat each other as adults and equals, but we do sometimes fall a bit short. I wish we were young enough to have children, because I feel like we would get it right, but perhaps it is for the best.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:01 AM on January 30, 2009


It's interesting that this article appeared on the parenting.com website, where the central navigation contains links for pregnancy, baby, toddler, child and mom, but no link for dad.

And by interesting, I mean too fucking obvious.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:02 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


We're mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs.

There are a lot of things to roll your eyes at in this article, but this sentence made me want to scream at the writer.

In my experience and the experience of EVERY male I know with kids, their lives have been as impacted and changed by their spouse's. Dreams have been deferred or dropped; priorities have shifted; schedules irrevocably changed. It can be heartbreaking and difficult. It comes with being a parent, dad or mom.
posted by papercake at 7:11 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


*sigh*

that's supposed to be "as impacted and changed as their spouse's."
posted by papercake at 7:12 AM on January 30, 2009


Wow. Best of the web.
posted by Mister_A at 7:19 AM on January 30, 2009


Because she did not come from a happy family, as I did, and is thus not naturally disposed to caring for children.

Huh?! I came from the weirdest of the weird families. We were unhappy enough to be in a Tolstoy novel.

Myself: I am naturally maternal as all hell. Not only am I nanny, but I try to "mother" anyone who walks within five feet of me. My own children will probably be cursed with the overbearing mother who is constantly hugging and kissing them in public and reminding them to wipe their noses.

Whether or not you're "disposed" to caring for kids depends totally on your personality, not your upbringing.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:29 AM on January 30, 2009


I've always felt like the next big revolution in gender relations is the redefinition of masculinity... I feel like there is some motion here but men need to stand up and take responsibility in leading this charge.

I think you're on to something there. I agree with you. I'm doing my part in leading the charge. I make bread and pickle things!

I do have to admit that deciding what my daughter eats and when is strictly my wife's domain, but I'm just going to chalk that up to a useful division of labor.
posted by diogenes at 7:48 AM on January 30, 2009


I just realized that I'm sort of participating in a daddy forum here. Yikes! I guess it's ok if it's on MetaFilter. Hey Matt, how about MetaDaddy?
posted by diogenes at 7:52 AM on January 30, 2009


Gosh I better go have some kids so that I can learn to love and be human.*

*sarcasm
posted by autodidact at 7:53 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I may be paraphrasing myself here, but, is Metafilter really dedicated lately to being another place on the internet where the Y chromosome goes to die? A poll from a mommy forum that doesn't provide actual data and just polls on feelings?

American men need to outsource their marriage options.
posted by Redgrendel2001 at 8:16 AM on January 30, 2009


Well, let me take this little exercise in stereotyping even further.

Women have different standards then guys about a lot of stuff.

Do men really give a shit that some other guy thinks he needs to bring a nut-free vegan appetizer to anything? A guy would show up with 3 pounds of bacon and a case of Yuengling, and if the other dude doesn't like it he can go without.

Do kids really need to have their clothes washed every time they wear them? I think that as a child I would have preferred to wear my favorite clothes over and over again.

I think most kids would be perfectly happy and healthy being raised by a guy in the way that they see fit.

Most guys think that pre-school macrame class might be taking things a bit too far, but if the lady wants to sign the kid up for it then why should he be responsible for knowing how to do a double half hitch knot.

But I guess I was raised in a different time, my typical playdate involved me running out the door to find whatever kids happened to be out and about in the neighborhood. I didn't have a social calendar.
posted by jefeweiss at 8:55 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


People who insist on coming into threads like this to drop smack about how they are so glad they don't have children are annoying in exactly the same way as the kind of person who just has to go into a thread about hip hop and bark about how "rap isn't music."

Guess what? I'm glad you don't have kids too. Everybody's happy except Gramma, and by the way it's not my fault she won't shut up about it so take your frustration about not getting social strokes for being childless somewhere else. Take your bullshit about overpopulation and social collapse somewhere else too, you're not childless because you care so much about the fucking planet, you're childless because you don't want to have kids (WHICH IS A FINE DECISION AND I'M SORRY ABOUT YOUR GRAMMA).

If a bunch of virgins barged into a thread about sex and started shooting their mouths off the snark would be rolling down the aisles and spilling over into MetaTalk. Go hang out in some other thread because you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
posted by nanojath at 9:01 AM on January 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


Metafilter: I'M SORRY ABOUT YOUR GRAMMA
posted by ND¢ at 9:24 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


My husband is fantastic with Boy. I'm not sure either Boy or I would have survived the first year without him.

I think what this sort of thing comes down to is that many people just don't know how to express their own needs to other people. For example, when I need time away from the house, I tell my husband that I'd like to plan a weekend to go see my sister, or that there's an upcoming show/band/play/etc that I want to go see with the Sisterhood. (My pack of female friends that have been together for 20+ years.)

But I have "play date friends"; women I only see because they have children the same age as mine, who will do these amazing mental and psychological gymnastics to get out of the house. Some of it is because they're helicopter parents, and some of it is because their husbands seem to be completely incompetent (why would you breed with someone who refuses to change a diaper?), but a lot of it is because they REFUSE to say what it is that they need to feel happy.

People, by and large, are not psychic. If you need something...say it! If you want your wife to clean the gutters or you want your husband to take over laundry duty...say something. Sitting there and stewing because you "have to do everything around the house" isn't making you happy, it's destroying your relationship, and it leads to misery all around.

Communication, people. It's all in the talking.
posted by dejah420 at 9:31 AM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Those of you going on about how you're glad to be childless: I do heartily support your decision to not have kids. You'd probably make completely shitty parents.

Illiad, you win the dumbest post of the thread award. And in this thread, that's saying something.

People's decisions to not do certain things doesn't mean they're bad at them.
posted by Aquaman at 9:47 AM on January 30, 2009


I'll stick to my sad, unfulfilling adult life where I do yucky boring grownup stuff like listening to Nyabinghi reggae and getting high on opium tea while posting to Metafilter at 2AM.

I promise you a good portion of the dads in the audience - this one, for starters - are as unable to comprehend how this equates to fulfillment as you are to understand why having a child could be the single most profound experience in someone's life.

Plus what nanojath said. You don't want kids, don't like 'em? Cool. Do you want to hear that we envy you? Oh we do, we do. You're right, if only I had more Nyabinghi reggae in my life. The pain of its absence is excruciating, and my attempts to fill it by singing along to "New York, New York" with my daughter will never suffice. The very lameness of that confession - dear god, Sinatra, Swingers was ten years ago, pops - stains my very soul with the scarlet mark of hipster-fail shame. You da man.

Okay?
posted by gompa at 9:48 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


I may be paraphrasing myself here, but, is Metafilter really dedicated lately to being another place on the internet where the Y chromosome goes to die? A poll from a mommy forum that doesn't provide actual data and just polls on feelings?

Data
More data


Women spend more time on household chores even when they work and men spend more time on leisure activities. A lot of people in this thread are in denial.
posted by caddis at 9:53 AM on January 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


So, the moral of the story is that getting married and having kids sucks, yeah? Because everyone I know who tells me it's so worth it can't explain why. And this makes sense. It's just one of those things that you don't understand till you experience it, like Guitar Hero. It's always "you can't understand until you have a [kid/spouse] of your own." And that's cool. On the other hand, if I can't understand it, then I won't miss it. I certainly won't feel like I'm missing out when everyone around me is talking about how miserable they are now that they have a spouse and/or kids.
posted by shmegegge at 9:53 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, the moral of the story is that getting married and having kids sucks, yeah? Because everyone I know who tells me it's so worth it can't explain why.

Because when you're driving down the street on just another mundane weekday and you peek at the rearview and realize your three-year-old's quietly singing along to "New York, New York," she's gone and taught herself the lyrics while you weren't looking, and when she catches you looking at her in the mirror she gives you a shy little proud smile - when this happens, it warms and fulfills you and makes your world feel complete in a way that nothing else ever has.

Seems straightforward enough to me.
posted by gompa at 10:11 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Women spend more time on household chores even when they work and men spend more time on leisure activities. A lot of people in this thread are in denial.

Or maybe people that post on MetaFilter are a demographic subset of the population, and that subset doesn't see this as being true in their own lives or the lives of their peers. I'm not stating that as fact, but it seems like a distinct possibility.
posted by diogenes at 10:11 AM on January 30, 2009


If a bunch of virgins barged into a thread about sex and started shooting their mouths off the snark would be rolling down the aisles and spilling over into MetaTalk. Go hang out in some other thread because you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

A. Telling someone to "shut up" is the height discourse. I am amazed and astounded by your rhetoric.

B. It's ok that we'll never have kids, because we'd suck at anyway, and we're unable to fill the gaping void in our chest with the pure love and happiness of parenting, it's ok if you don't want to give people the love of a large family with cousins and brothers and sisters. It's perfectly fine that we don't want to partake in the most fulfilling part of human existence. And those grapes are probably sour anyway.

I'm getting some mixed messages here.

C. Expecting people to refrain from snark on metafilter is a doomed enterprise.

D. If we had a thread about people who had lost great amounts of money on real estate speculation, and how awful their lives had become, you'd see the same sort of smug self satisfaction about not playing the game.
posted by zabuni at 10:14 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, the moral of the story is that getting married and having kids sucks, yeah?

No, it's actually pretty awesome, if it's the life you want and you're not doing it wrong. Otherwise, yeah, I imagine it would be shit.

Sure, part of you misses drinking until 5:00 am and fucking near-total strangers in the bathrooms of bars and having more money and freedom to run off and join the circus if you want to, but if you're so constituted that you'd like to build a lasting home legacy and put down some roots, well, it's a life short on thrills, but there's immense satisfaction and fulfillment to be found. Besides, hangovers get less worth it with every year, bar chicks won't take care of you when you're seriously ill, and anyway I never had the guts to run off with the circus.

It's just one of those things that you don't understand till you experience it, like Guitar Hero.

Yeah, that's (delightfully) goofy but pretty apt. You can't understand it unless you've done it (and, more to the point, been open to the experience, again not unlike Guitar Hero. Kids are only a transformative experience if you embrace it, hence the Wal-Mart horror shows we've all seen). The only way that that analogy breaks down is that there's no negative to go along with playing Guitar Hero -- you don't get angry or exhausted or frustrated or have fights because the other dude fucked up the bass line on "Sweet Child O' Mine" (unless you're a dick). But if your partner's not holding up his or her end of the deal, anger and resentment fester pretty goddamn quickly.

Short version: There's one hell of a lot of negative that goes with being a spouse and parent, and there's one hell of a lot of positive. More of both than you can possibly imagine, until you do it. Either the positive's worth it to you, or it's not.

So yeah, if you're not interested in looking into it, I highly recommend that you don't. You might be a good parent, you might be a bad one, but if you don't want to be one, you'll very likely be a very unhappy one, so no, you wouldn't be missing out on anything at all.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:14 AM on January 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


Seems straightforward enough to me.

I suppose so, and that's great for everyone with a kid. really. but that's one moment out of 18 years of frustration, yeah? and meanwhile you're not having sex as much as you used to, if at all, from what everything i've ever heard has told me. then there are the people who love their kids but not their spouse anymore. then there are the divorcees. I know of very very few people who would describe their parents as happy when they were growing up as kids. Presumably this is the result of breadwinners suddenly having every dollar they earn earmarked for someone else, unless they're very rich.

I met, a few months ago, this 50 year old woman who, admittedly with a few drinks in her, told me that she loves her daughter more than anything else in the world and that she would never ever give her up or trade the opportunity to have her. Then she said, "But kids ruin your life. Don't let anyone tell you different. Your life's over when you have kids." This story is not the exception, in my experience. I'm sure kids are great. I'm sure they, as things in and of themselves, are excellent. They sure seem cute when they're not mine. I imagine when they're yours they're even better. But apparently that comes with the cost of giving up your life. Sounds pretty steep to me.
posted by shmegegge at 10:21 AM on January 30, 2009


So, the moral of the story is that getting married and having kids sucks, yeah?

Not for me. Having kids is a tough tough job. But it is fantastic (or as the Chief on Battlestar Galactica said. "It sucks. Except when it doesn't").

But I'm not a prosletyzing parent. If you don't want kids, don't have them. That choice is as valid as choosing to have kids. And much better than choosing to have kids when you don't want them. I think that's the moral of the story.
posted by cjets at 10:22 AM on January 30, 2009


also, really, feel free to tell me all the heartwarming stories you want, but I'm deeply cynical so don't expect much in terms of being converted here. For every "my darling pookie did this thing, and it was the best moment of my life," i'm going to think of you the next day screaming at your spouse that this isn't the life you wanted for yourself and don't blame you if the laundry isn't done while somewhere in the back of your mind is the constant and nagging fear of "what if you can't afford junior's college tuition?"
posted by shmegegge at 10:24 AM on January 30, 2009


What exactly are people arguing about here? Is there some expectation (on either side) that someone is going to say, "Shit, you're right, I fucking hate my kids" or "Mother Fucker, why have I not had a baby yet?!" It's not going to happen. This whole thread is amusing on one level, but kind of stupid on another.

People should live the life that makes them happy. If you don't think that's possible when you have a kid (or when you don't have a kid) does it really matter to anyone but you? There are obvious examples of people in this thread getting by just fine.
posted by chunking express at 10:27 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because when you're driving down the street on just another mundane weekday and you peek at the rearview and realize your three-year-old's quietly singing along to "New York, New York," she's gone and taught herself the lyrics while you weren't looking, and when she catches you looking at her in the mirror she gives you a shy little proud smile - when this happens, it warms and fulfills you and makes your world feel complete in a way that nothing else ever has.

For me, it's watching my son do the hand claps for "I wanna hold your hand" but yeah, excellent point.

I know of very very few people who would describe their parents as happy when they were growing up as kids. Presumably this is the result of breadwinners suddenly having every dollar they earn earmarked for someone else, unless they're very rich.

People are unhappy for a lot of reasons. Bad job. Shitty job. Health issues, etc. Why do you need to keep ragging on parents? I accept your choice. Why can't you accept mine?

I met, a few months ago, this 50 year old woman who, admittedly with a few drinks in her, told me that she loves her daughter more than anything else in the world and that she would never ever give her up or trade the opportunity to have her. Then she said, "But kids ruin your life. Don't let anyone tell you different. Your life's over when you have kids."

Oh, OK, because some drunk in bar said so. Then you must be right.
posted by cjets at 10:30 AM on January 30, 2009


Expecting people to refrain from snark on metafilter is a doomed enterprise.

I agree totally, but it would be nice if the phrases like "fuck you" and "whiny bitches" and self-congratulatory or otherwise defensive bullshit didn't impede what could very well have been a good discussion about the shifting of gender roles in parenting (which has been pretty significant even over the last decade or so -- I don't recall hardly ever hearing of "stay at home dads" in the early '90s, and usually the concept was met with at best a raised eyebrow, even from self-described feminists), or the ugly realities of trying to raise a family in an economy where being a single-income household is just damn near impossible anymore.

Granted, the article's kind of crap (however, it's not a peer-reviewed scientific study and shouldn't be judged as such, so calm down), but it makes some points both true and worthy of discussion, and it could have not gotten derailed in the quick and ugly manner in which it was. I acknowledge my part in that and I want to apologize -- I used some pretty forceful language upthread because I was reading a whole lot of defensive "oh yeah, well he has to work to pay for your stuff" defensiveness that always makes me think I'm living in an episode of "Mad Men", it was late, and my hackles stood up. So, seriously, sorry for that. Should have dialed the tone way back.

Anyway, the opportunity for that discussion's probably long gone and I'm sad to see it go. The issues addressed in this article and in the statistics caddis linked above are very important to me, as they clearly are to a lot of other men and women here. I'm sad that we didn't get to address them earnestly without the same old cat-declawing taking place.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:34 AM on January 30, 2009


I accept your choice. Why can't you accept mine?

Of course I accept yours. You may be confusing me with someone else in this thread, who's trying to be judgmental. I'm just trying to get a sharing of experiences type thing going on, here. Your choice is yours, and if you're happy with it that's all that matters. But one thing you should realize is that people who haven't gotten married yet, or had kids yet, want to know what it's like. Sure, a lot of people just do it cause they think they're supposed to. But some of us are wondering if it's a rube's game, and we're interested in hearing people talk about it.

Oh, OK, because some drunk in bar said so. Then you must be right.

Must be right about what? What the article said? What countless posts on the blue have said? I'm just telling you that the prospect doesn't look great from this side of the fence. What it looks like on yours is yours to share if you want, and no one else's to judge. A lot of the time, when people get all defensive like this, I wonder if they aren't resentful of other people voicing the very concerns they themselves don't like to admit that they have. But that's just a suspicion.
posted by shmegegge at 10:39 AM on January 30, 2009


A lot of the time, when people get all defensive like this, I wonder if they aren't resentful of other people voicing the very concerns they themselves don't like to admit that they have.

Passive Aggressive much?
posted by chunking express at 10:45 AM on January 30, 2009


I've got nothing against kids. I love kids. But for me, there were two reasons not to have any: 1) my significant other is somewhat older than I am and she doesn't want kids; and 2) I had a childhood filled with abuse and violence and that's often a cyclical thing. I'd rather have my significant other and no kids than someone else and kids. And I simply will not risk becoming the kind of parent that my parents were, because that would be unfair and extremely unkind to my children were I to have any.

Basically, instead of having kids and then finding out I'm not cut out for it, I came to that conclusion first, which is better for both me *and* the kids I didn't have. I think too often it happens the other way around, as it did with my parents, and then the kid ends up with a miserable childhood.
posted by jamstigator at 10:47 AM on January 30, 2009


Shmegegge, it seems to me that you (and many others) have been criticizing the choice parents make to become parents.

If that was not your intent, my apologies. But in rereading your posts, it certainly seems that way.

But one thing you should realize is that people who haven't gotten married yet, or had kids yet, want to know what it's like. Sure, a lot of people just do it cause they think they're supposed to. But some of us are wondering if it's a rube's game, and we're interested in hearing people talk about it.

OK, fair enough. But before that, you said this.

also, really, feel free to tell me all the heartwarming stories you want, but I'm deeply cynical so don't expect much in terms of being converted here. For every "my darling pookie did this thing, and it was the best moment of my life," i'm going to think of you the next day screaming at your spouse that this isn't the life you wanted for yourself and don't blame you if the laundry isn't done while somewhere in the back of your mind is the constant and nagging fear of "what if you can't afford junior's college tuition?"

So I'm getting some mixed messages here.
posted by cjets at 10:48 AM on January 30, 2009


Or maybe people that post on MetaFilter are a demographic subset of the population, and that subset doesn't see this as being true in their own lives or the lives of their peers. I'm not stating that as fact, but it seems like a distinct possibility.

Husbands and single men rarely do see this as true in their own lives, and that is basically who made most of the comments. I'm sticking with denial.
posted by caddis at 10:48 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Passive Aggressive much?

No.
posted by shmegegge at 10:53 AM on January 30, 2009


and getting high on opium tea while posting to Metafilter at 2AM.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:53 PM on January 29


LOL
posted by troybob at 10:55 AM on January 30, 2009


well played
posted by chunking express at 10:56 AM on January 30, 2009


So I'm getting some mixed messages here.

well, that's fair. But what I'm doing is trying to share my viewpoint. My viewpoint is pretty cynical, though, so it can come off as some kind of criticism. But it's not really a criticism. If this were a debate, you could certainly say that I'm approaching it in bad faith because I'm not in any mind frame to switch my viewpoint. But for what it's worth I'm not approaching it as a debate. I don't see myself as needing to convince anyone that I'm right, and I certainly don't want to, either. Further, I don't think anyone needs to convince me that I should have kids. I can't speak for anyone else, here, but for myself I'm just saying "man, yet another article that makes marriage and child-rearing sound like the worst torment people can undergo. do you guys understand how terrible stuff like this makes marriage sound to someone who hasn't undergone it?" I'm not saying it to prove a point, I'm saying it to express myself and talk to anyone else who wants to talk about it. The discussion is the end, not the means, in other words. I don't think anyone's mind needs to be changed, or that anyone needs to argue. I'm just interested in sharing my view and hearing others share theirs.
posted by shmegegge at 10:58 AM on January 30, 2009


why would you breed with someone who refuses to change a diaper?)

Because it comes as a surprise? Because your husband adores kids and longs for them and says one day, "If we're not going to have kids, then I'll have to think about getting divorced" this to you, the woman who carried his first child who died unexpectedly? And then you have a daughter and you fall madly in love and think she is the most wonderful thing ever created but he keeps living his life, working long hours, playing golf every weekend, and never changes a diaper or refuses even to be left alone with his child? Until comes the day when she is potty trained and walking and talking and suddenly he falls in love too?

Yet, I still thought about having another child, desperately wanted a boy, but thankfully decided against it because by that time the marriage was pretty much dead. It lived on in a coma for a few more years, but it was never the same.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:02 AM on January 30, 2009


cjets: We've already had people in this thread say that people who don't want to have children would make shitty parents, and that not having children makes one a less "whole" person. That doesn't seem to be acceptance.

And I think the problem with the initial link is that people were making the decision, with haste and without forethought that one would normally associate with such a life changing decision. And then publish whiny web pages about it.

People should not have children only if they want children, not for any social or other false reasons. It'd be like buying a house because it was something people do when they grow up, and getting your ass kicked by the housing crisis.
posted by zabuni at 11:03 AM on January 30, 2009


On the other hand, if I can't understand it, then I won't miss it.

For the record, I find it equally ridiculous to talk as if deciding not to have children deprives you of a "complete" life. It's just different, how complicated is that. I won't ever really understand what it is like to enter middle age without being a father: I don't need to believe that it sucks and is bullshit.

I'm sure kids are great... But apparently that comes with the cost of giving up your life.

I just don't agree with that. I'm not going to try to convince you of it (and at least you're honest that you're not really interested in being convinced) but if that is the message you are hearing from most people you either got the confirmation bias or there's something weird about the cross section of people you talk to. It's certainly not the experience of me and mine. And if most parents seem unhappy to you, frankly most people seem unhappy to me. Life's a bitch, in case you hadn't noted. Of course it changes your life, and of course you give up certain kinds of autonomy and opportunity. There's no major choice that isn't true of. And if you come to find you value those things above all then on some level yes, I suppose you will feel your life was ruined.

I think if you cared I could give you some explanations of why I thus far find being a father to be fulfilling - and not just winning anecdotes of child cuteness but what the experience at its core is to me. You might not relate but I think you would get it just fine. Most people hate their jobs, it isn't because working intrinsically sucks. Find the right job and do it right and you just might love it. But if it means a lot to you and is challenging enough to test you every day chances are you will suffer from it too. Seldom thing that are really worthwhile are just pure bliss.

By way of analogy I suspect that if I wandered into a group of people who were all in business for themselves it's quite likely I would hear a lot of complaining about how tough it is, hard to have real time off, never certain of next week's paycheck, done over by the taxman, don't even want to think about your wage would be if you figured out how many hours you really put in.

And I might say why not just go back to a regular job you can leave at the office when you come home at night? And there would be rolled eyes all around because I just don't get it - and I don't, actually, because I've never done it and it's quite possible I am just not personally suited to it, I haven't figured that one out yet.

The moral being, and I think this is very relevant to these articles we're discussing, people like to complain about their lives - a lot - even if they aren't really interested at all in changing their situation.
posted by nanojath at 11:06 AM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


It would have been nice if someone had bothered to ask the Dads why they were behaving in this fashion and what could be done to change that.

It would be even nicer to start from the same point an equivalent article complaining about women would beging with: "Oh-ho, this smaells like sexist crap produced from dodgy methodology."

While fathers do have to put their time and creativity in, mothers have to be willing to give up some control and responsibility if they want fathers to truly share in the work of raising children.

In my limited and thoroughly unscientific sample group this is certainly the case - the mothers who have, from day one, been unable to let anyone, including dad, spend any time being the person in charge of the kid are the ones who are burdened with the least helpful partners.

Because the dads will play up any little bitty thing they did for their kids, once,

Can we cuts this, offensive, sexist bullshit out? Your daughters father sucked, fine, whatever. Don't you dare come in here and fucking tell me I suck as a father because of it. Am I allowed to call all women filthy, money grubbing whores if a girlfriend cheats on me? No, and rightly so. Pull your fucking head in.

Why aren't we reading the "I love my partner, the kids can be a handful, but I'm grateful for my life" post? Because it isn't shocking/scary/controversial.

This is true.

Having small children gives you lots of opportunities to post to MetaFilter at 2AM.

I have fond memories of watching the 2007 Rugby World Cup with my daughter curled up on me when she woke up in the middle of the night.

(I have more mixed memories of playing Eve at 2 in the morning all emo because Wellington hospital does not allow fathers to stay overnight with their sick kids, only mothers, and I couldn't sleep.)
posted by rodgerd at 11:07 AM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought, at first, this was just mean-spirited sneering by shmegegge

For every "my darling pookie did this thing, and it was the best moment of my life," i'm going to think of you the next day screaming at your spouse that this isn't the life you wanted for yourself...

Then I thought "actually, that's exactly how it is sometimes - but it's still worth it".

(Though I mutter more than I scream!).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 11:13 AM on January 30, 2009


And if most parents seem unhappy to you, frankly most people seem unhappy to me. Life's a bitch, in case you hadn't noted.

I hadn't, you know? I guess it's because life is just so fucking awesome for me.

But honestly, compare in your minds the unhappiness you might see from an unmarried guy or gal, and the same from married ones. There's the "man, i wish i made more money so i could take another vactation in mexico this year" unhappy. then there's the "man, i'm broke and can barely save up to get my kid a decent education and i haven't had sex in 3 years and i never do anything for myself anymore" kind of unhappiness. sure, not all parents have lives that are just like that, but that is a type of deep, draining unhappiness that the childless will never experience.

i'm not saying it makes marriage or childbirth worse. i'm just saying, it's a different ballgame. I hope you can see why I see them so differently.
posted by shmegegge at 11:20 AM on January 30, 2009


I agree, shmegegge's stereotype of a marriage does suck.
posted by chunking express at 11:23 AM on January 30, 2009


To be fair, I think shmegegge is leaving out the "man, herpes?"
posted by troybob at 11:27 AM on January 30, 2009


that is totally true. i did leave out herpes. my apologies.
posted by shmegegge at 11:30 AM on January 30, 2009


"Herpes", the new go-to punchline for every nitwit without a joke to contribute.
posted by autodidact at 11:32 AM on January 30, 2009


I used to say that I didn't see any point in having kids, and I didn't think anyone could give me one single good reason why having children is better than not having them.

For years, no-one could give me a single, convincing good reason until the day one of my coworkers said, "because if you don't have kids, you will miss out on an important part of what it is to be human. You only live once, so experience as much of life as you can."

And I had my one good reason. And he was right. Hell, if you boil it down to purely biological and mechanistic reasoning, it is why we exist. Having children is an exhilarating, fun, tiring, exhausting, frustrating, wonderful, annoying, crazy experience, and one that I wouldn't trade for the world.

I don't understand fathers who make excuses to not participate fully and equally in raising their children. Why would you want to miss out on any of it? I don't regret a minute of it, not even when it involves changing stinky diapers or getting up with a cranky, screaming baby in the middle of the night, or trying to convince a 2 year old to eat his vegetables instead of decorating the floor with them. And you know, the wonderful parts far outnumber and outweight the frustrating parts in raising kids. And it's all part of experiencing life.
posted by fimbulvetr at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2009


Caddis: Husbands and single men rarely do see this as true in their own lives, and that is basically who made most of the comments. I'm sticking with denial.

I looked at the details of the first study you linked to. For couples that both work, the majority of the extra work done by women falls under the category of housework and food preparation and cleanup. Do you doubt that we are currently in the middle of a major shift as far as the percentage of this work that men do? I see it very clearly, but maybe me and my friends just really like cooking and cleaning.
posted by diogenes at 11:33 AM on January 30, 2009


I can see that you're investment in the belief that your lifestyle is intrinsically more amenable for happiness in general, and not merely for yourself, precludes the sense of carrying the discussion further with you, shmegegge. I'm genuinely glad you are happy with your life. And I am genuinely happier being a father than I ever was single. It appears we are not the same person.
posted by nanojath at 11:35 AM on January 30, 2009


"Herpes", the new go-to punchline for every nitwit without a joke to contribute.

Really? I haven't heard a herpes punchline in years. Guess I should get out to the titty bars more often...
posted by troybob at 11:38 AM on January 30, 2009


Hmmm. I wonder if the moms are actually mad or if they're just so deeply disappointed that the father doesn't act or feel the way the moms do. I get the sense that it's all just a feeling of loneliness and disappointment that the parenting thing didn't go the way the way moms hoped it would (at least emotionally for the moms).

I don't have kids, so I don't know for sure, but I once had a job where I was mad as hell that I was doing more work than my colleagues. In retrospect, maybe the work was actually easier for me so I was putting more energy into it, and it was a great deal more work for my colleagues just to be puttering along.
posted by anniecat at 11:40 AM on January 30, 2009


I can see that you're investment in the belief that your lifestyle is intrinsically more amenable for happiness in general, and not merely for yourself, precludes the sense of carrying the discussion further with you, shmegegge.

sure thing. nice talking to you.
posted by shmegegge at 11:48 AM on January 30, 2009


I'm sure kids are great. I'm sure they, as things in and of themselves, are excellent. They sure seem cute when they're not mine. I imagine when they're yours they're even better. But apparently that comes with the cost of giving up your life. Sounds pretty steep to me.

Depends on what you define your "life" as. I suspect I'll have a lot less time for commenting on MeFi, sampling the revolving beer list at my favorite bar, and seeing live music every weekend when/if I have kids. If I considered all of that "my life," then I could see how kids would ruin it. Then again, I'm in my 30s at this point. If I had married and had kids in my early 20s, there'd be a lot more parts of my life where I would have ended up saying to myself, "Wow. Kids really short-circuited a lot of parts of my life I really enjoyed at the time."
posted by deanc at 12:01 PM on January 30, 2009


I met, a few months ago, this 50 year old woman who, admittedly with a few drinks in her, told me that she loves her daughter more than anything else in the world and that she would never ever give her up or trade the opportunity to have her. Then she said, "But kids ruin your life. Don't let anyone tell you different. Your life's over when you have kids."

Counter-example: My own mother tried to commit suicide three times before I was born. She was in and out of hospitals for depression. Clearly, we're talking some heavy duty shit.

She was always on the fence about whether or not to have kids. Her pregnancy with me was entirely accidental and it was my father's fierce desire to have children that swayed her. Of course she had concerns about depression, but they were going to have a family at some point, so she went for it.

She told me about all of this - the suicide attempts, etc. - when I was in college. And she says that when I was born, that moment, she felt a huge rush of "OH! This is what life's about!" She told me that having me gave her a reason to live, and without that, she surely would have tried suicide again - and probably been successful eventually.

My mother did not set out to have a child to better her life, but she would tell you that it's the best thing that she ever did and that having a child *saved* her life in many, many ways.

I'm not advocating that everyone go out and get knocked-up in order to achieve happiness, I'm just saying that kids don't always "ruin" your life. Sure, it happens, but it also happens that having kids can be a life *enhancing* experience.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:22 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


cjets: We've already had people in this thread say that people who don't want to have children would make shitty parents, and that not having children makes one a less "whole" person. That doesn't seem to be acceptance.

I can only speak for myself. Choosing not to have kids is a much better decision than not wanting kids and having them anyway. It does not make you any less of a person.

If someone slams you for not being a parent, that is just as offensive as slamming you for choosing to raise kids.

As far as the shitty parents thing, I do think it's reasonable to believe that if someone does NOT want kids, then they would be a worse parent than someone who does. I don't think it's always true, and (cliche alert) holding your own baby in your arms can change your mind pretty quick. But generally speaking, I think it's accurate.

Can we cuts this, offensive, sexist bullshit out? Your daughters father sucked, fine, whatever. Don't you dare come in here and fucking tell me I suck as a father because of it. Am I allowed to call all women filthy, money grubbing whores if a girlfriend cheats on me? No, and rightly so. Pull your fucking head in.

Thank you Rogerd. That needed to be said.

But for what it's worth I'm not approaching it as a debate. I don't see myself as needing to convince anyone that I'm right, and I certainly don't want to, either. Further, I don't think anyone needs to convince me that I should have kids. I can't speak for anyone else, here, but for myself I'm just saying "man, yet another article that makes marriage and child-rearing sound like the worst torment people can undergo. do you guys understand how terrible stuff like this makes marriage sound to someone who hasn't undergone it?" I'm not saying it to prove a point, I'm saying it to express myself and talk to anyone else who wants to talk about it.

Fair enough. Obviously, I'm not trying to convince anyone to have kids. I just don't want to be criticized for my choice to have kids. As far as the article? It sucks. It's stupid, sexist, drivel, driven by anecdotal information. Might as well have Marble write that article. My anecdotal information says otherwise. Most friends of mine are very involved dads who do their best to make it a team effort.

Here's another thing for me: Being a dad has made me a better husband. My wife and I really make an effort not to argue in front of the kids which makes many arguments just go away. We also need to be a team (as others have noted above), and this emphasis on working together to make sure the kids are taken care of makes both of us more aware of what the other needs.
posted by cjets at 12:32 PM on January 30, 2009


I've decided not to have kids - not because I think parenting sucks, but because I'm pretty sure I'd suck at it. I'd be the subject of a tell-all memoir down the rode, not to mention the fodder for years of therapy. I admire people who can undertake parenting. I don't think I have the confidence. How can you be sure you won't totally screw it up and fuck up this little person's life? It's such a huge responsibility, and I can't even pick my clothes up off the floor. And I'm forty. Sad, really.

Well... not that sad. There are a couple of sacrifices I just don't think I could make, and I'm selfish with my free time. And I have friends who are actually good at this stuff, so to some degree I live vicariously through them and their beautiful children. My friend just wrote me today to tell me that my 4 year-old godson had starting to pretending that sharks are attacking him in the bathtub and that the swing is trying to strangle him. Now you can't beat that for fun. I'm not kidding.
posted by Evangeline at 12:44 PM on January 30, 2009


I just don't want to be criticized for my choice to have kids.

And you really shouldn't be. To my mind, parenting is man's noblest endeavor. My own reluctance isn't cause I'm so damn smart and the rest of you are so dumb. If someone were to tell me "you're just AFRAID to have kids, and that's what this is all about," they'd probably be right. It's a terrifying prospect, to my mind. People who do it (or rather, who do it well. neglectful or abusive parents are the scum of the earth) deserve medals. I can never imagine what my own parents went through raising me, my brother and my sister. I respect them more than anyone else in the world. Partly because it's such a terrifying thing to launch one's self into.
posted by shmegegge at 12:47 PM on January 30, 2009


had starting to pretending

Or "has started pretending", if, you know, grammar is important to you. I mean, if that's your thing...
posted by Evangeline at 12:49 PM on January 30, 2009


And you really shouldn't be.

That wasn't directed at you Shmegegge, it was just a rational for my many posts in this thread. I appreciate the kind words.

And, yes, now that I am a parent I have much more respect for the job my mom did (Even if she still drives me crazy now).
posted by cjets at 12:58 PM on January 30, 2009


2006 assessment of what stay-at-home moms would earn if paid for all of the honest-to-God jobs they do while raising children. Here is the same assessment for 2008. Raising children is a much-more-than-full-time job, with no pay. Any father who bitches and moans about how he's the one who gets the raw deal, or that he's expected to help raise his children can go suck it.

You know, I'm all for as even a division of labor as possible. I think caddis's stats speak for themselves, and I think that if one partner works outside the home, they're not automatically absolved of their other parenting duties.

But those links? Fucking terrible. They're deliberately overstating the case with BS, made-up pseudo-stats to elicit an effect. I think appreciating the work that goes into being a stay at home parent is a good thing, but I can't support making shit up in order to do so. They base the jobs upon which they make this comparison on nothing more than conjecture and speculation. Being a mom is like being a janitor AND a housekeeper AND a cook AND a laundry machine operator? Really? Why not just go with "nanny," which frequently entails cleaning and child care? Because that's one job, sometimes worth as little as minimum wage, and that wouldn't bump up the stats enough to make their point.

What about dads? What are they worth? Maybe they're like a general (when they need to corral everyone out the door in an orderly fashion), and a head of state (when they need to engage in complex issues of diplomacy to sort out toy-ownership issues), and a monster hunter (got to check under the bed, after all), and a professional athlete (got to teach those kids to toss around the old pigskin). How much does that work out to be? Mmm ... elventy kajillion dollars. Yes, that seems about right. Eleventy kajillion. Check and mate, moms.

Instead of this kind of idiotic brinksmanship, how 'bout we try to remember that "Mom" and "Dad" aren't jobs any more than "worthwhile human being" is? Attaching a dollar to them does nothing but diminish their value and miss the point entirely.

This is where I get to gloat about the benefits of being gay: neither of us can cook, and we both accept any XBox-related activity as a legitimate excuse to skip laundry day.

Damn. If not for my love of female genitalia and a blind person's ability to dress myself, I'd be interested in learning more about this club of yours.
posted by Amanojaku at 1:49 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Acknowledging that all this is generalization, since individual relationships are variable and complex (but that traditional social roles are still a strong determining factor in our culture), is it possible that half of the things men seem "bad at" are ceded to women as their domain, and the other half men simply have different ideas about - ideas that go mostly unexpressed?

We're accustomed to recognizing the behavior of oppressed peoples as "passive resistance", subtly undermining the dominant power structure - as long as that power structure is patriarchal and colonial - but are today's fathers an oppressed group? (And no, I'm not right-wing, and no, I'm not merely being provocative - I'm completely serious.) Does fatherly 'difference' get marginalized in the domestic scene? If so, then simply reacting to the articles in this FPP as the stereotypical complaints of one gender against another may be giving the subject short shrift. The issue may not be women's oppression, but men's.

If the man doesn't hear the baby crying, maybe it's because, consciously or subconsciously, he doesn't believe the baby should be picked up. If he doesn't always bring the cold medicine and Purell(TM), maybe it's because he thinks kids should have to put up with the sniffles. If he doesn't always bundle them up, maybe it's because he thinks shivering is good for you. Most fathers, in my experience, react very differently to their children's needs when they are out than when mothers are around (or when in the "mother's territory", wherever it happens to be). It's much more about self-reliance and adaptation. Life is tougher with Dad, but rewards are greater too. When Mom finds out a child has been exposed to this more rewarding, more dangerous world, she often reacts negatively.

This is heresy! - mother says. Do you want the kids sick, freezing, dirty, eating junk food? Well, yes. Yes, some (self-aware) fathers might say. Self-reliance, toughness, and learning through experience are not excuses. They're real values. That said, not all sickness, dirtiness, malnutrition, and coldness is the same. Within a looser, more self-reliant framework, the father's concern for the well-being of children re-emerges on a different footing.

In some cultures, the world of self-reliance and toughness and the domestic worlds are still highly separated, and there are ritual markers when children pass between them - often at puberty, but sometimes earlier. Historically, this has also been true in the west. Can these two worlds merge? Does it make sense for them to do so? Can we really expect men to "enter the home" without bringing along the values of their traditional domain? Or do we simply expect them to accept the rules of the domestic world?

And even more historically specifically, is the frantic, micromanaging, highly class-conscious version of western motherhood that emerged out of Victorianism - now reinforced and exacerbated through fear-mongering advertising - worth preserving? Asthma, allergies, and childhood obesity seem to be some of its results.

If husbands don't know how to work the toaster, maybe it's time to see this in a different light. Maybe it's not only because a) he's lazy b) the wife uses it more and c) she's always there to tell him how to use it, so he's never been forced to learn how, but also because c) if he began to engage in all the behaviors required to excel in the domain in question, his wife would possibly feel threatened or diminished by his "other" version of what it means to be a "good parent".
posted by macross city flaneur at 2:40 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Case in point, from page 3 of first article:

Andrea, a mom of three who lives on Long Island, NY, comes home from work to find her husband has let the kids snack at 5 P.M. instead of giving them a real dinner, though she's repeatedly asked him to just go ahead and feed them.

Most nutritionists now agree that eating more small meals is better than a few large meals. Her husband's "snack-based" instincts, assuming the snacks were healthy, might actually be for the best - and it fits much more with traditional male eating patterns, which are mobile and adaptive. At work or in the out of doors, you typically carry your food with you. Andrea's idea of a 'real dinner' is very Victorian, and her assumption of her absolute authority and correctness on this matter quite thorough.
posted by macross city flaneur at 2:51 PM on January 30, 2009


To my mind, parenting is man's noblest endeavor. My own reluctance isn't cause I'm so damn smart and the rest of you are so dumb. If someone were to tell me "you're just AFRAID to have kids, and that's what this is all about," they'd probably be right. It's a terrifying prospect, to my mind. People who do it (or rather, who do it well. neglectful or abusive parents are the scum of the earth) deserve medals. I can never imagine what my own parents went through raising me, my brother and my sister. I respect them more than anyone else in the world. Partly because it's such a terrifying thing to launch one's self into.

You'd be a good dad.


I've been discussing this with my partner today and we agree it can be summed up in this exchange.

Alice : I see the washing up fairy has gone missing.
Bob : I heard they eloped with the payforfuckingeverything pixie.

If you're partner is exhibiting behaviour that you find distressing, then perhaps you need to talk to them. If you are unable to do this then kids or no kids, the washing up is the least of your worries.
posted by fullerine at 2:53 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Insofar as the many posts here about how breeding is a bad idea: we have heard from you many times; we get it. Arguing against having children is ludicrous. If you don't want kids, great. If you want kids, great. Keep in mind, though, that 40% of children are not planned for. You may be in for a (wonderful) surprise someday.

As I recalled, I aborted that surprise.
posted by Coatlicue at 3:13 PM on January 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


If the man doesn't hear the baby crying, maybe it's because, consciously or subconsciously, he doesn't believe the baby should be picked up. If he doesn't always bring the cold medicine and Purell(TM), maybe it's because he thinks kids should have to put up with the sniffles. If he doesn't always bundle them up, maybe it's because he thinks shivering is good for you. Most fathers, in my experience, react very differently to their children's needs when they are out than when mothers are around (or when in the "mother's territory", wherever it happens to be). It's much more about self-reliance and adaptation. Life is tougher with Dad, but rewards are greater too. When Mom finds out a child has been exposed to this more rewarding, more dangerous world, she often reacts negatively.

And sometimes it's because he knows either consciously or unconsciously that she will do it if he doesn't.

Folks, the stereotypes are true. I have lived them and seen them. My husband brought joy to the kids, played with them, was the fun dad, and genuinely had a fantastic relationship with them but he totally was NOT intuitive to needs such as balanced meals and such-he'd bring home a snack to my toddlers RIGHT before dinner all the time even when asked not to. His need to do something for the kids outweighed the common sense of them needing to eat a nutritious dinner. WE all made the best of it but then my expectations weren't all that great for him-plus as I stated earlier I refused to play martyr.

The big problem is that when it comes to child and home care we women really are heavily judged by other women. You guys might say-and be right about-the fact it shouldn't matter, but to many of us it does. People don't come to my house and think my husband is a slob if stuff is left out-they think I didn't pick up!

So, to all the involved males on this thread, thank you, but trust me when I say that in the offline world, that article was truth not made up snark.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:01 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Most nutritionists now agree that eating more small meals is better than a few large meals. Her husband's "snack-based" instincts, assuming the snacks were healthy, might actually be for the best - and it fits much more with traditional male eating patterns, which are mobile and adaptive. At work or in the out of doors, you typically carry your food with you. Andrea's idea of a 'real dinner' is very Victorian, and her assumption of her absolute authority and correctness on this matter quite thorough.

But I'd make a rather large wager that snack consisted of chips or HoHos.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:04 PM on January 30, 2009


"Hell is full of dads" - George Carlin
posted by mrducts at 4:55 PM on January 30, 2009


mother says. Do you want the kids sick, freezing, dirty, eating junk food? Well, yes. Yes, some (self-aware) fathers might say. Self-reliance, toughness, and learning through experience are not excuses. They're real values.

There is some truth to what you say, the stuff that dads dole out is great for making stronger kids, but it does need the mom to balance things out.

Case in point-- my husband loves the story about when he was young and his mom had to go out leaving Dad to make dinner. Dad made popcorn. That's a great, fun memory, but it wouldn't work for very long. What if it was every night? If Mom was permanently gone, Dad would have to take an interest in nutrition and cooking. Dad would have to take the time to plan and shop and make meals.

In my childhood it was always Dad who played hard with us and got us wound up right before bed and Mom who made sure we brushed our teeth and used the bathroom and calmed us down with a story. I'm sure the roughhousing was good for us-- a little pain in childhood builds the pain threshold-- but we needed Mom's gentleness as well.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:08 PM on January 30, 2009


I don't have kids, live alone, and I AM A MOTHERFUCKING VIKING right now.

All this alimony talk makes me laugh. I live in a state without alimony. Child support, now that I can understand.

Everyone just take care of yourself and don't get into petty stereotypical bullshit in your marriages/child-rearing. Agree on the tenets, and back each other up. Is it really, really that hard to treat your life partner with which you chose to create a child with respect on a daily basis? Can't you agree on what is right and wrong, and reinforce those values in your children?

If you can't, don't have children. Don't be married. It seems logical to me, and I'm a woman. So yeah, that's all I gotta say. Your life isn't a sitcom; that stuff isn't funny to me. It degrades relationships in general AND the human condition, in my opinion. Don't resent each other; equalize the relationship through productive communication, not passive-aggressive bullshit.

If you aren't equals with mutual respect before you produce children, then you are in a relationship with the wrong person. Don't make a baby. Sorry for all of you that got stuck in that situation involuntarily; I'm grateful not to know what that's like.

Stereotypes sure do suck, and I hope everybody takes time to stop themselves from repeating them or reinforcing them when they realize they're doing it. BE KIND, everybody. Don't be petty. Don't be mean-spirited and take your co-parent for granted. Jeez.

Evolution IS revolution.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:44 PM on January 30, 2009


The big problem is that when it comes to child and home care we women really are heavily judged by other women.

Hmm, I guess that would be a big problem for women. I'm not sure why anyone else needs to be dragged into it, though.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 5:48 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because the "anyone else" can certainly make life for the women in question a lot harder than it needs to be.

You guys have things you judge each other on too. They just don't happen to be relevant to this thread.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:10 PM on January 30, 2009


ooooh! i so want to read all these comments, but as the mother of a one year old, my time has different priorities. i will say (and its most likely addressed above) that parenting is all-consuming, i have no idea how people do it alone. kudos to the single parents out there!

my feller is an amazing caregiver and i've learned a lot by watching him in action. the father/daughter duo have their own rituals and i've never questioned his commitment to the "team." that said, i've been jealous of how he can turn his brain off baby stuff and do his own thing. i'm in a constant state of trying to make everything work just so and researching reasons she's acting this way or what products we need to stay away from or when we can introduce various foods into her diet, etc. the little biscuit's dad is far better than i at doing the bedtime routine and letting her just soak in what's going on. i'm trying to stimulate her mind with this or that and all the other millions of things we are "supposed" to do to enrich our children's lives. i often forget just being in the moment is where its at. luckily, my partner's got my back. i wish i had the ability to pursue my own interests when the little one is fast asleep, or in the capable hands of my partner. so maybe that might be my "mad at dad"---i'm just jealous of his ability to hang onto his individuality, if only slightly. i can't speak for anyone other than myself. i certainly am grateful to have a partner so capable, willing and successful at parenting.
posted by ms.jones at 9:09 PM on January 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


people like to complain about their lives - a lot - even if they aren't really interested at all in changing their situation.

Whiny immature people like to complain about their lives a lot. It's actually possible not to!! And funner, even!
posted by msalt at 10:46 PM on January 30, 2009


You guys have things you judge each other on too. They just don't happen to be relevant to this thread.

Yeah, we do get judged for other shit. And then, having judged us, somebody acts like a dick to us and we say in return, "You're an asshole, and I won't deal with you anymore. I'll do something else/find somewhere else to shop/leave the restaurant/quit the club/get a new job/punch you in the eye." Yes, it makes life a little harder... but, that's what assholes do.

I know that ya'll're intricate and complex flowers of emotion with petal after layered petal of nuanced social interaction instead of patriarchal aggression. But, Christ, if they don't like it, fuck 'em. If your friends are talking shit about how messy your joint is, then they aren't really your friends.

Or, wait, are you talking about values to which you, yourself, ascribe? Like, it makes you feel unworthy to have a messy floor? In that case, I suppose I start to see your point.

But what I don't see is why having a vagina allows you to unilaterally define the chores of a household. It's like, "Oh hai surprise! You're married to me now, hubby. Here's the todo list." Would you really be down for this if your husband got to hand you the todo list with, "Oil chains; fix tires; replace derailleur; clean guns; train retriever; scout for treestand spots," if you weren't into bikes and hunting? Those are chores (that is, not fun in and of themselves but leading to greater enjoyment overall), but you'd never think to expect your otherwise disinterested spouse to participate in them.

I agree that it's sexist and unfair to never help with the housework and then say to your wife, "Bitch, why ain't my socks clean?" Childcare, likewise, is presumably a bilateral choice, and therefore something for which both parties are expected to be responsible. But, I don't see how it's sexism that one or the other partner to not consider some particular task critical or even necessary.

Mind you, my wife hasn't done the todo list thing to me, nor I to her. Shit either gets done by the partner who wants it done, he or she asks the other to do it as a favor, or it doesn't get done. The one exception is that every three or four months, I get tired of cooking and washing the dishes, and I ask her to wash up. If she doesn't get around to them for a couple of days after that, I do half of them and ask again. Repeat until it's just her tea mugs sitting in the sink. She washes those, and life goes on. Because the piling dishes bug me, not her.

But, I've seen it in a lot of other relationships. Woman moves in with dude. Woman says, "Okay, now that I'm here, it's got to be a lot cleaner. Here's your list," while the dude is standing there saying, "I dunno, already seems clean to me." And I'm left wondering why she moved in with somebody who's obviously too much of a slob for her. [Note, I've seen this in a number of gay relationships and with the roles reversed, too.]
posted by Netzapper at 10:58 PM on January 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, netzapper, not talking about extremes. Heck, I work and I also am in charge of the lion's share of the housework (which to be honest, in my case I prefer) BUT it's nice when the partner appreciates and helps (which yes, my hubby does) instead of just assume it's all my job or that an overflowing trash can (for example) will magically take itself to the outside bin.

I mean, I think the main point is that guys automatically get their leisure time and a wife/mother usually does not. I am not talking about a wife doing too much (in that case a loving husband could and should sit down and talk to her about her expectations and her need to allow herself free time and breaks) I am talking about a guy not even thinking about the fact that care of young children is a 24-7 burden and not consciously seeing that she gets her opportunities to spazz out too. I and many of my peers LIVED that. Many of our husbands now feel bad about those days and are way more considerate now-just saying that there are a lOT of men-not all but a lot-who really don't get how hard and stressful and allconsuming domestic/ child responsibilities are. For those of you that claim your jobs are so incredibly stressful, fuggeddabout it. I have had stressful jobs and not one of them compares to the stress and pressure of total responsibility for a young child.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:06 AM on January 31, 2009


And if most parents seem unhappy to you, frankly most people seem unhappy to me. Life's a bitch, in case you hadn't noted.
...
not all parents have lives that are just like that, but that is a type of deep, draining unhappiness that the childless will never experience.

Ah, you're both wrong. The reason not to have kids is that you are inherently adding to suffering in the world. Consciousness is a guarantee of suffering, of the reflective experience of pain. Volunteering to add to that - making the conscious decision to increase the universal quantitative total of suffering - is evil and selfish. As is my interest in sharing this opinion with you.

Neener-neener.
posted by mwhybark at 12:08 PM on January 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dad made popcorn. That's a great, fun memory, but it wouldn't work for very long. What if it was every night? If Mom was permanently gone, Dad would have to take an interest in nutrition and cooking. Dad would have to take the time to plan and shop and make meals.

Actually, Dad wouldn't have to take an interest in nutrition (the many Moms who feed their children chicken fingers 3 nights a week also don't). But that also doesn't mean he definitely wouldn't take an interest, or that he doesn't take an interest now.

All it means is that on those few occasions when the responsibility is his - he opts for low effort and high fun. It's not all that hard to imagine that this is highly reactive to the dominant tenor of the children's environment. In other words, the kids could use a night off from the routine, and Dad provides it. This just happens to dovetail nicely with his laziness. But the frantic, fearful response - "What would popcorn every night for a year do to our children? They would simply DIE. OF POPCORN," is ridiculous. You'd have to be Morgan Spurlock to envision such an absurd trick. It's a classic "dominant Mom" question designed to make Dad seem a far more dangerous, irresponsible creature than he really is - again, protecting her domain.
posted by macross city flaneur at 3:28 PM on January 31, 2009


Well, netzapper, not talking about extremes. Heck, I work and I also am in charge of the lion's share of the housework (which to be honest, in my case I prefer) BUT it's nice when the partner appreciates and helps (which yes, my hubby does) instead of just assume it's all my job or that an overflowing trash can (for example) will magically take itself to the outside bin.

I mean, I think the main point is that guys automatically get their leisure time and a wife/mother usually does not.


Oh. Well, that makes sense then. It's the assumption more than anything, I gather, that's the problem. The assumption on the part of a husband that doing that shit is the woman's job, as opposed simply to shit that should be done by anybody annoyed by it. And, of course, everybody needs their free time--and I do believe that it's one spouse's responsibility to relieve the other so that they can take a pouter.

But, I stand by my original point: why should either party be allowed to unilaterally define the "necessary" chores of a household. If my wife decides to, say, start dusting the cats, and I think that's silly, why should I be expected to either pitch in or be resented (and be called a chauvinist by internet pundits)?

A less silly example is floor polishing. I've never met a residential floor that actually needed to be polished more than about once a decade. It just doesn't even kind of matter to me how shiny the fucking floor is. And yet a girlfriend one told me that it needed done (in my apartment, not hers or ours). Even after I expressed my indifference toward shiny floors, she bought the stuff and polished the floors. "Weird, but whatever", I thought. She then proceeded to polish the floors about two weeks later. Then, two weeks after that, she said to me, "You know, I'm not your slave or your maid. You need to polish the floors sometimes." And, you see, she claimed, in some way that I still don't comprehend, that I was wrong and sexist when I said, "Well, I see no reason for either of us to polish the floors. So, you don't need to do that anymore."

Even with childcare, I see a lot of this. Mom gets mad at dad for not toeing the line of acceptable childcare, when he's been continually and constantly overruled when he attempts to help define "acceptable".

I guess I just don't see why anybody should get it both ways: unilaterally defining the domestic environment and then turning around and kvetching when the other person doesn't buy in and snap to. Bad communication, I agree. But, when the story gets told to acquaintances (or the internet), who's viewed as in the wrong? It's usually not the "responsible" one, but the "lazy" one--which, more often than not, is defined by which one of them unilaterally defined the necessities.

If it's so important to you that little Johnny eats sprouts every supper that you're going to resent or lambaste anybody who doesn't feed him sprouts on time, then fucking see to it yourself instead of blowing up at John Sr. when he feeds the kid the same two hotdogs and a bag of Fritos that he's having.

I'm very specifically not talking about domestic expectations on the part of the dude toward his wife--that strikes me as obviously outmoded (sexist) thinking. There are no "boy jobs" or "girl jobs"--there're just tasks. I'm also not talking about both parties agreeing that something needs to be done regularly, and then one of them never living up to their end of the bargain--that's just being a shit.

I'm specifically talking about the woman who never asks her husband his views on domestic tranquility or childrearing, never discusses it, never empowers him with any choice in what happens, but then screams "lazy sexist asshole!" when he deviates from her master plan.

If you need a break, ask and ye shall receive. If you need the 6 year old driven to yoga, we had better have discussed it before you enrolled her, or it's your problem--even if I'm just playing video games.


Actually, Dad wouldn't have to take an interest in nutrition (the many Moms who feed their children chicken fingers 3 nights a week also don't). But that also doesn't mean he definitely wouldn't take an interest, or that he doesn't take an interest now.
...
But the frantic, fearful response - "What would popcorn every night for a year do to our children? They would simply DIE. OF POPCORN," is ridiculous. You'd have to be Morgan Spurlock to envision such an absurd trick. It's a classic "dominant Mom" question designed to make Dad seem a far more dangerous, irresponsible creature than he really is - again, protecting her domain.


Word.

This is exactly what I'm talking about. The floor didn't need polished, and you don't have to be a nutritionist to raise a child.
posted by Netzapper at 8:53 PM on January 31, 2009


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