Why So Mad At Dad?

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 pre–camp 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.

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19 thoughts on “Why So Mad At Dad?

  1. This is why I’m happy to be part of a two daddy household. We can bypass the estrogen surge!

    Kidding aside, I think the most important thing you touched on was that if any parent decides to be the stay-at-home parent, it is implied that they are going to take on the bulk of the household duties. Regardless if it’s mom or dad staying at home. How unreasonable to assume that a parent is going to come home from work to take over a solo performance. I’m not saying the working parent is immune from household duties when that parent gets home, but it’s a more logical assumption to think at that point the duties are split, rather than taken over. Stay at home parenting is just as much a full-time job as working outside the home, I agree…but you don’t get a pass from parenting just because you’ve already put in your 8 hours at the house.

  2. I’m a single mom now, so this isn’t an issue anymore, but check it out:

    Trying to clean up after dinner while your infant is screaming is hard, and there’s his father, watching basketball or some such, and yeah, he worked all day while you stayed home, but if you’re both there, can’t he HELP sometimes? And I don’t mean play with his kid until he get’s fussy, I mean actually help. Gabriel was 13 months old when I left his father, and at that point I hadn’t taken a single shower by myself since the birth of my son. So I get why moms can be mad, I really do.

    And, yeah, I was batshit crazy when I was pregnant. Irrational and very VERY angry and crazy. MJ should get a pass. That’s hormones yo, we gots no control.

  3. “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.”

    if he’s sitting on his ass and i’m doing something that isn’t fun for me, i ask him for help. always. i usually ask for his help with the things i hate most that he directly contributes to, dishes and laundry. and he always helps, i think he figures the happier i am the happier he is.

    i work about 10 hours less than he does, so i obviously do more housework than him. but i also ask him to clean up after himself if he made a mess, ex: wipe the jelly off the kitchen floor you didn’t notice you dropped, rinse your plate, throw your clothes in the hamper. it makes it easier on me, i don’t mind asking him to clean up his mess, and he doesn’t mind it either. less messes to clean=happier me.

  4. You remember the famous Vince Vaughn – Jennifer Anniston scene in “The Break-up” –

    Jennifer – “I don’t want you to just do the dishes, I want you to WANT to do the dishes!”

    Vince – “Why would I WANT to do dishes?”

    Therein lies the basic difference between men and women.

  5. \Wambulance\? Hahahahaha! I do everything around here, and I work. I just happen to work at home 80% of the time, and I don’t really mind doing the housework and the majority of the kid work. I don’t bitch at my husband about it, because he spends a ton of time with my son. That’s what really helps me out anyway.

  6. Oh man… you know why this is brought up so often? Because it’s a problem that’s universal, yet individual to each family. I don’t know if it will ever be solved.

    I fess up to being a total pain in the ass sometimes – I hate to ask my husband for help. That compartmentalizing thing doesn’t compute with me – I assume that he can see it when the house is a wreck and help accordingly. But we both work full time, so I guess I expect him to pick up more slack than if I were home.

    I SO feel MJ on the shoe incident, though. I’ve done the same thing to my poor husband – I get tired, sometimes, of telling him EXACTLY what/when/where to do something. Even though, as you pointed out, he’s just trying to help.

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  8. I actually agree with you completely. I appreciate the help he gives me but i never expect it. Call me chovanistic (spelling?) but my job is to be mom and take care of inside of house, and his job is outside. Mind you, I dont touch the trash, its dirty, but i would never ask him to do dishes. and honestly i find that when i dont expect it from him or ask him to do it, he does it more. He even bought a kirby vacuum that has more buttons and horsepower than my car and he refuses to teach me how to use it because he says thats his toy and he likes doing it. No argument here, especially since it has a neutral gear button, hehe. but i work full time nights and he works full time days so I really have no excuse as to why i cant get the house cleaned and the dinner made before he even gets home. i work in an office, he in construction so as much as my job is still important, it is not as physically demanding as his so i feel it is my job as wife and mother to make sure that he has an easy night so that he can get rest, go out to work in mornign and not be tired. You will all make fun of my but i actually also make a point of getting up at 6 am after getting home at 1am after work to make his lunch and get his coffee ready for work….. and here come the comments…… haha

  9. What confuses me is the same thing that seems to anger you?

    Why would you complain that you are home doing housework?

    I can COMPLETELY understand getting to take a break…comepletely…but often times I feel like I’m not doing enough for my husband.
    He works SO hard…and yes, he gets to change his clothes, eat his breakfast alone, am I envious? Yes, sort of…but I also GET to eat breakfast with my babies, and watch them eat and make messes and cleaning them up IS my job…

    Now, making dinner with kids crawling all over you, yeah a little help would be fine, but maybe just play with the kids for a half hour? Not a big deal? Come-on, and I have to ASK you do to that…that’s lame.

    I think some moms get into a rut where they can’t find their own time…and I always do…I HAVE to. When David’s in abed and Danielle’s asleep (for the firs three hours anyway) I lay out the clothes for the next day and fold laundry by the fire and watch my favorite tv shows.
    While this isn’t NOT working, it’s relaxing, quiet time doing things I’d prefer.

    I think that SOME men think they are free and clear of all duties when they arrive home, but I think you’re right, if we ask them to help, they just might!

    Bobby has learned to ask “What can I do to help?” Sometimes I say nothing go relax! And other times I’ll say would you mind just changing her into her Pj’s while I make your coffee for tomorrow?

    Not a perfect household by ANY means, but I see your point. I don’t hear the complaining around this town really…just nitpicking. (Bobby leaves his clothes on teh floor, bed unmade, dishes everywhere, but I’m happy to put in the dishwasher for him, and wash and fold his shtuff! THat’s why I’m here and not him!)

  10. Oh-and just one more thing, if you here the stay at home parent complaining, think of it as you complaining about your job…just venting-I know the tendency is to try and fix things, but sometimes to help with stress, we just vent. Tis all!

  11. I love this one! I rarely think about things from my hubands point of view. I’ve been meaning to more often… ha ha. Thank you for making me do that today! 🙂

  12. I hear ya.

    I think part of the reason we keep hearing about it is that there are too many douchebags out there who don’t help with the house or the kids that give guys a bad name. The thing people need to realize is that there are exceptions to every rule.

  13. Complaints like those always baffle me. I mean, either they knew full well that he was a selfish jerk prior to bearing his children or he’s not a selfish jerk at all and she’s just really bad at communicating her needs/wishes.

    I guess I lucked out. My ex is very involved with our kids and so is my guy. I could be laid up sick in bed for 2 weeks and the two of them would keep my household together. It’s actually more like a small militia that mobilizes when I get sick, lol.

  14. I understand what you’re getting at. I hate hearing women complain about their husbands and most of the time I think they are overexaggerating. My husband is a saint when it comes to helping with our daughter. He takes care of her all evening when I’m cooking.

    BUT… I will not abide your “we can’t change” attitude about the computer. I am not asking for him to read my mind, but I do think he can be observant enough to see I’m working my butt off while he’s reading things on the internet. I don’t think I should have to ask for help. I will, but I don’t think I should have to.

    Otherwise, I agree completely. Especially to the part about women being irrational! I make some pretty unreasonable requests sometimes.

  15. While I do agree with you on some points I do have to say there really are some men out there that are lazy or just don’t care. While I’d like to think mine does care he certainly has a ways to go in the lazy department.

    For example when I had my son I had to do everything. And yes I mean everything. Our 5 year old I had to lay out all her outfits for the duration of my hospital stay, not because I’m over bearing or think he can’t put an outfit together but b/c he won’t. He would let the 5 year old do it and I would end up getting calls from the school about her not dressing for the weather. On top of that the day I came home from the hospital it was to a sink full of dishes and 5 days of laundry. Did he even think to do them? No. Should I have had to ask? I think not. And even in the days when we came home he never did a single dish, picked up the house or helped me with getting up in the middle of the night. When asked why he didn’t do those things….his response was it wasn’t his job. I was recovering from having a baby, he was home on leave and he spent the entire time playing computer games. Just made me want to kick him and yes complain about it. And yes I felt I had every right too.

    Plain and simple though I think it’s wrong to group every woman who complains into the same category. Some of us really do have a valid reason to complain and if hte shoe were on the other foot the man would be complaining too.

  16. No doubt Crystal, and it sounds like your husband could definitely do more. It’s no one’s “job” to do the dishes or the laundry. MJ and I have an arrangement where I do the dishes, take care of the dogs and cook 1-2 times a week. In return, she does all the laundry, most of the cootking and vacuums. And we both take care of Will 50/50. Both people have to put in the effort.

    I was talking about the general stereotype out there that every mom is a martyr while dads go around doing whatever they want. Sometimes I feel like that’s the accepted stereotype and I have a real problem with that.

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