I stumbled across an interesting article about moms why chronically feel anger toward their husbands. You can read it here, but if you don’t feel like clicking over I’ll run down some of the highlights in a nutshell.
Moms feel overworked and stressed because dads never help out. Moms are pissed because dads don’t pay enough attention to the kids. Moms are upset because dads don’t do enough around the house. Moms are mad because they think their lives have been uprooted while dads’ are relatively unchanged.
To all this I say, “WAAAHHHHHH!”
Seriously, call the fucking wambulance already. I’m so sick of this one-sided story and the mommy pity parties that seems to get rehashed every couple of months in parenting magazines all over the country. All guys are compared to Ray Barone in “Everybody Loves Raymond” and all the moms are martyrs who have given up everything to raise the kids. Daddy is a jerk. Daddy is a bonehead who doesn’t know how to feed the kids. Woe is mommy.
For instance, let’s look at some examples from the story:
I know I’m not the only one who gets Mad at Dad. Whenever I see the phone number of a certain close friend on the caller ID, I know she needs my understanding ear because her husband has dropped a wad of cash on electronics while telling her she can’t have someone in every other week to help clean, or because he let the kids eat junk food and play video games while she was running errands, and now they’re glassy-eyed and glued to the ceiling. Meanwhile, his whiskers are in the sink and his boxers are on the floor, making her feel like she’s married to nothing more than a hairy man-child.
First of all, I’m willing to bet the awful husband in this situation is the breadwinner and the only one working. Can you believe he had the gaul to spend his own hard-earned money on some electronics?? Oh the horror. If he’s spending that money on video games instead of baby food and the family is struggling, then that’s one thing. But if not, what’s the big deal? And so he lets the kids play video games once in a while. Big deal. It’s probably because mommy is an uptight, overbearing priss and he has the foresight to know that kids need another kind of outlet from time to time. And besides, what if playing video games with his kids is a way for him to bond? But moms don’t think of things that way because they’ve constantly got tunnel vision.
The dinner hour tends to be especially trying. Randi Maerz, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Keokuk, IA, says she’s repeatedly asked her husband to watch their daughters, 4 and 2, while she’s cooking, if only to keep them safe. Instead, he comes home with a list of things he plans to do around the house. He gets to focus on one thing at a time, whether it’s changing his clothes or doing touch-up painting on the house. Meanwhile, she’s trying to cook with human leg warmers clinging to her shins. “His priorities always come first,” Maerz says. “He’s got to accomplish them before he can focus on helping me with the kids.” She likes how he takes on house projects, but his inability to acknowledge her needs and his unwillingness to multitask irritate her every day.
Now I’m not trying to sound rude here or belittle the work done by stay-at-home moms. They are crucial and invaluable and the world wouldn’t go round without them. But I’m sorry, when you make the choice to be a stay-at-home mom, doesn’t that mean you take on the lion’s share of the housework?? I think it does. Sure dad should help out when he gets home, but when you volunteer to be a stay-at-home mom and then complain about the job duties that go with it, that’s disingenuous. Not to mention the dad in the example above comes home and DOES HOUSEWORK! He’s doing projects around the house but she’s upset because he’s not doing them all simultaneously. Give me a break. I can see how she’d be so irritated with a guy who works full-time, brings home the bacon and does work around the house when he gets home. The poor thing!
Nearly one third of moms complain that parenthood has changed their lives more than their husbands’. We carry so much of this life-altering responsibility in our heads: the doctors’ appointments, the shoe sizes, the details about the kids’ friends. Many dads wouldn’t even think to buy valentines for the class, for example, or know when it’s time to sign kids up for the precamp physical, or that curriculum night is next Thursday at 7:30 and you need to hire a sitter and bring a nut-free vegetarian appetizer that can be eaten without a fork. Even moms who work full-time take it upon themselves to store all this data in our already overstuffed heads. We’re the walking, talking encyclopedias of family life, while dads tend to be more like brochures.
This is probably my all-time most annoying mom trait. Many moms LOVE to bitch and moan that they do everything. The doctors appointments, the clothes shopping, the diaper changing, the bathing, the feeding, etc. And there’s no doubt, moms do dominate in those departments. However, what I’ve found is that while moms say they want help, that’s not always true. Because moms tend to be very arrogant and think they know everything. Therefore when dad tries to help, he is met with disapproving and patronizing looks and comments which eventually lead to mom saying the all too familiar phrase “Oh I’ll just do it myself.” That tears our confidence down as fathers and causes us to volunteer less when it comes to helping out with the kids. So it’s a vicious cycle and it’s largely caused by moms, who speak out of both sides of their mouth. Ironically, there’s an article on the same site that talks about how moms need to relax and realize fathers have their own, unique way of taking care of the kids that can be just as effective as their own methods.
Erin Martin of Seattle remembers the Saturday morning she spent rushing making football-shaped sandwiches for her son’s sixth-birthday party. Her husband, meanwhile, was goofing around on the computer, oblivious that he could be pitching in. This sort of thing happens all the time — she’s taking care of the kids or the house or something else for the family, and he’s taking care of himself. “I used to think he did it on purpose and it would make me much angrier,” she says. “Now, I think it doesn’t dawn on him. Guys are just better at compartmentalizing.”
This is something I can relate to very well. And ladies, let me set the record straight: We are not doing it on purpose. Honestly, we’re not. I go on the computer all the time and I don’t realize MJ is busy and could use some help. I guess men just have this crazy notion that if a woman needs help with something, SHE’LL ASK! But women don’t want to ask for help, they want us to volunteer assistance on our own. Well, if you’re waiting for that to become the norm then keep dreaming. I will gladly help if asked and I’ll do so without complaining. But I will not, and cannot read your mind and when it comes to this stuff, I’m dense. So you’ll have to ask me and be content with my help that way. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You want help, ask, you get help. But don’t be all pissy at us even after we help, just because we didn’t volunteer.
And I have to say, for the record, MJ is not like these complaining moms in the article. Also, I do more than my fair share around the house when it comes to cooking, cleaning and taking care of Will so maybe that helps. But MJ hardly ever becomes overbearing like this. I say “hardly” because one incident will forever stick out in my mind. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about it before, but I call it “The Shoe Incident.”
MJ was pregnant (which may explain some of the irrational behavior) and she was in a mood to end all moods. We had been snippy with each other all day and you could tell it was one of those situations where the pot was about to boil over. I was in the bedroom and I heard all this banging coming from the hallway. It was MJ, literally throwing shoes from the living room to the end of the hallway and I could tell she was entering one of her famous cleaning fits.
So, in an effort to be helpful, I looked at the pile of shoes she had thrown down the hall and I offered to help. I said “Baby, can I help you put away these shoes?” She said that would be nice. Then I asked her where she wanted me to put them.
Well she looked at me like I just pulled down my pants and took a dump right there on the floor.
“You’ve lived here how long and you don’t know where shoes go?” she said in a snotty voice that made me want to pitch her off a cliff.
That was it. I lost it. I had asked where she wanted the shoes so I could be absolutely certain I put them in the right place, as not to piss her off even further. But she just had to give me unnecessary attitude when all I was trying to do was help her out. So we went at it. Boy did we go at it. It got ugly with name calling and we were literally nose to nose, red-faced, screaming at each other at the top of our lungs.
Then, in a move I’ll never forget. She threw two cartons of yogurt at me, followed by the pointing end of the broom which went sailing inches away from my head.
All because I volunteered to help put some shoes away and had the audacity to ask her where she wanted them. Which is proof that moms will never be happy or satisfied. Sure there are some guys out there who don’t pull their weight and should pitch in more. That’s not up for debate and those guys need to get their asses in gear. But moms, please stop the pity party and fess up to your own faults too.