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Is there any hope for husbands to understand how hard and exhausting it is to be a mom? Or do we just need to assign them specific tasks to help manage things?

likefunnyupliftingsmart
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My marriage was so rough for the first year of my son’s life because my husband just did not have a clue how to truly take care of him without me. I finally just said “Look—it appears you don’t have the experience caretaking alone, so here are the requirements for each step of the day; each meal needs a grain, fruit, and fat (whatever works for you), he eats 3 meals and 2 snacks, his naps are at xyz time, and bedtime is step 1,2,3, dressing includes a shirt, pants, shoes, etc. I will not be helping with these on the weekends (whatever days he is home full time if he doesn’t WFH) until you show consistently you can do it yourself without me.”

It sounds really aggressive but when he was finally in the trenches having to figure it out for himself, he actually had to problem solve and make it work. He does some things differently than I would, but at the end of the day we now have a 3.5 year old who couldn’t tell the difference between us. Set BOUNDARIES, ladies. Set expectations and do not let up until they meet the bar. It’s so hard but in the long run it makes a HUGE difference.

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I love this! Baby is <1 and still nursing whenever I’m around to keep up supply instead of bottle feeding so it’s harder but def plan to do this as soon as we’re done!

In all honesty, I think that this issue is blamed on men, but sometimes women have an important part in it. Sure, some men hide in "incompetence" as a way to just not do. But from some of the responses here, and other threads, it seems that sometimes what happens is that whatever they do is often met with negative responses about them doing it "wrong", when it may simply be different from the woman's expectation. And when that happens, and it becomes a huge issue, then it becomes better to keep asking how to do everything, as if not there is a 99% chance they'll receive disapproval.

To go against this, I think the solution is: discuss as parents what are the basics in terms of parenting, safety, health. And beyond that, let the other parent do things, their way, without nagging or pointing out they are wrong, it there are better or best ways of changing the diaper, running a bath, putting on clothes, etc. The expectation of the person you are co-parenting with to do everything exactly as you would can kill the spirit of that other person to do things without fear of receiving backlash for it. So as long there's a manageable list of musts that both parents abide to, freedom to do as you wish is a must. If any new issues arise that significantly mess up with your parenting goals, revisit that list. But try to keep it short and simple and allow both parties to thrive and enjoy the process.

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It’s absolutely crazy that men can be CEOs and Project Managers when they’re getting paid, but need lists to complete simple household and family tasks. It’s weaponized incompetence!

likefunnyupliftingsmart

“Weaponized incompetence” my new favorite phrase.

likefunny

The latter

likefunny

I learnt years ago, no point in even asking. I am fortunate enough to have a cleaner that comes every two weeks. The rest I just muddle a long. Don’t ask, don’t nag therefore no praise required. Life’s just easier this way - 22 years!

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Do not assign tasks or give detailed instructions. I highly recommend reading Fair Play. Having an honest discussion and identifying all components that go into running a household has been a game changer for us. You divvy up the responsibility, either permanently or in cycles, and the owner deals with the consequences of not tending to their list. DO NOT take over the other person's tasks if they are falling behind. If someone needs help, a conversation can be had about temporary or permanent adjustments.

likesmart

ED1–tell your husband his 7+ years of school makes him more than qualified and capable of doing housework like taking out the garbage and doing the dishes. And since these activities are low stress if done in a timely manner you don’t see the logic is that argument. How does the level of stress in one’s job factor into ability to doing work around a house they live in? My husband is in banking and barely home, yet he can manage the garbage and laundry. Is he using his stressful job as an excuse for getting out of lightening your mental load? I get that a lot and tell my husband if he has time to send me funny memes he has time to figure out activities for our kids this summer or research schools.

likesmart

I have a very competent and supportive husband who does roughly 90% of the cooking, which is awesome. But when it comes to figuring out how to dress our daughter, the number of questions I get is astounding. Sometimes I just want to yell “PRETEND I’M NOT HERE!” I think all husbands should be required to go through training on how to properly pack a diaper bag and dress a baby without bothering mom.

likefunny

I call my husband by his father’s name when he asks a barrage of how to function questions, because he hates when his dad does it to his mom, and it shuts him up real quick. Even so, I probably remind him my name is not google or Alexa at least once a week.

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This is probably what we get into the most fights about. It’s just them not understanding and not appreciating how much time and effort it takes to run the house. Grocery shopping, even making the list for the groceries, thinking about what to make for dinner, doctors appointments, buying new supplies that are running low or doing that inventory, basic maintenance like mopping/vacuuming the floors in between cleanings etc. My husband does do a lot around the house when it comes to construction or garden work, which I really do appreciate but I am drowning in all the house / kid work. I also get resentful sometimes because I am sitting in the kitchen cooking while he gets to play with the kids for the hour that we actually see them during the day… It really is a struggle. I think there’s just still such a deeply engrained gender bias and inequality… Trying to be successful in my career and having to manage the home it’s like having two full-time jobs and I am not doing well trying to juggle it.

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Yeeeesssss

Wow, reading through all these comments makes me really glad I’m a lesbian mom.

likefunny

I mean, I can’t speak to what it’s like to be a straight parent, but in our household there are two parents who were socially conditioned to be primary caregivers and zero who were conditioned to leave the bulk of parenting responsibilities, household chores, and mental workload to the other. We’re by no means perfect but we try to split things as equitably as we can, knowing that one of us has a slightly more demanding work schedule than the other so the one with the less-demanding schedule ends up doing more around the house. On the other hand, we probably each pull more than our weight on mental workload because we each sometimes assume we will be the one managing school and medical appointments, social activities, household to-do lists. And we’ve got a double share of the mom-guilt, mom-shaming, earning 76 cents on the dollar, etc. But we work hard at communicating, recognizing each other’s contributions, and finding solutions that will work for both of us.

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Mom of 2 here. It’s feigned incompetence. Some men will purposely do the task very poorly to get out of being asked to do it again.

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My strategy is to tell them "wow, you're much worse at this than I expected. But you know what they say 'practice makes perfect!'" and keep having them do it.

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There is…its called going out of town for a couple days or being unavailable on days where the kids are home with the kids and let him fend for himself. And then..start assigning tasks will go over much easier.

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Whatever the longest you’ve been away so far, add at least two more days to that. And then just keep doing that until he picks up some godamn life skills and stops behaving like he’s one of your kids.

Post this in the bigger bowls with men, and see what they say 😉

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10 bucks they agree with my original point lol

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Nope. Don’t assign specific tasks. The “assign” and the “specific” is a lot of effort in and of itself. He needs to take ownership of things from beginning to end. Otherwise you’re being a manager (which is a full time job and career) and he’s just an errand boy (part time thoughtless gig).

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Yep, this also is what the Fair Play game is all about! If we take on the mental load of organizing all the tasks, we’re not truly handing over that task.

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Yes, force them to take paternity leave. I gently nudged (read: forced) my hubby to take 3 months of leave when baby was 4-7 months and I went back to work. He knew better how to care for our son than I did!
There’s no question about how difficult or tiring it is to care for our child.
Wish this was normalized in the workforce. It’s INSANE that most US jobs don’t offer paternity leave. Do you know that some men don’t even understand that parental leave at a company is extended to them and don’t take the full time? I was talking to a male coworker who said- yeah, I’ll be using some PTO and take a few weeks. I asked him why, if the company offers 8 weeks fully paid. And he said - I’m not the primary parent. I was like: YES YOU ARE. There are two primary parents and you are one of them!!!
Thank god for some state policies.

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Same- I made my husband take FMLA leave for 3 months after me bc he didn’t get parental leave.

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Men don’t think like women. They can sit on the couch and not think about anything but what they are watching. We are always thinking and worrying and planning. And they will never understand

likefunny

Maybe I am

funny

This! I appreciate this post so much! I don’t think the role will ever be understood completely because you really do have to be a mom to understand that we do not “turn off”. It’s a 24/7 job and I think the only thing we can do to help us, is delegate tasks to help us manage.

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I always suggest hiring a housekeeper to ease the burden. It makes a huge difference!

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This also!

I've literally just not done things. Like laundry. If he wants it done, he can do it. He knows how to operate the washing machine. He also knows how to cook and clean.
Although, I do blame his parents. They did everything for him and insisted he live with them until he was 30. This man was completely unable to live by himself because mommy did literally everything. It's disgusting. And mostly because he's the baby of the family. Everyone takes care of him.
He had quite the rude awakening with me. Lol

likesmart

Same exact boat. It’s wild. Idk what these parents were smoking. I’m raising my son to be competent.

My husband is out on paternity leave right now taking care of the baby and has genuinely stepped up to the plate. He does everything now. All the things I thought he couldn’t do, are getting done, bc I’m very busy at work and otherwise he won’t have clean underwear. It’s been revolutionary.

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Maybe an uncommon opinion here- but cut your husband some slack. He may not know what to do and he may not come from a culture that taught him how to show up for your family in the exact way you are expecting. I felt the same way as you…especially early on! Later I was able to take a step back to see the difference in how our families raised and cared for us. It was illuminating and helped me learn how to communicate my needs and teach him more about me. What I’ve also learned is dads struggle too. Parents/caregivers have a big job and it can be all consuming. The trick is to find the space to breathe and then learn more about what each other need to be better today and tomorrow.

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Go on a week vacation. Prepare nothing. Just head out. See what happens 🤷‍♀️

I’m kind of kidding, but also not.

I’ve heard of this book called Fair Play that I saw someone else mentioned. Haven’t used it personally, but it’s always brought up on posts like this one. Maybe it could help?

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SA1 you have to let those things go. You have to let him do it on his own, however he can. They won’t starve to death and they’ll look a little disheveled but they’ll live and more importantly he will finally get some hands on experience. Time to take the training wheels off. He won’t learn unless he has to. If you keep swooping in to fix things, you WILL ALWAYS BE the one to do it all.

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I’m a huge cheerleader for my husband, but I also have moments where I am just exhausted and say F it.

I take the laziness break I need and only do the bare minimum to get through the day/week (think cereal for dinner and dishes left on the counter) and quit doing stuff and then when he starts to pick up my slack, he either asks for my help or I volunteer it.

We have been together for 22 years and married for 17. Take the breaks you need when you need them.

You aren’t a robot and your husband is likely carrying burdens you don’t understand. You can’t put yourself in his shoes and he can’t put himself in yours.

What you BOTH can do is appreciate what you both bring to the table and recognize neither role is easy. Pick up the slack where needed and give grace to the other for being human.

And if he needs his ass reamed for being utterly unaware then give him an earful, just remind him that you are just physically and mentally exhausted from carrying the load.

Being a working parent is hard.

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