Why are birthday cards and presents 'women's work'?

(139 Posts)
Mosschopz Wed 04-Jun-14 22:29:34

MIL just says women are 'better' at that sort of thing than men but that's bullshit, no? How, when I work a 12 hour day 5 days a week plus weekends am I in any way 'better' that OH at putting a freaking stamp on a card? This kind of 1950's housewife crap rubs off on him and I get home to the question of why my BIL's and DN's cards haven't been posted yet. He ended up eating them...and I refuse to respond to any more of MIL's 'reminders'.

WooWooOwl Wed 04-Jun-14 22:33:01

I think women generally care more about this sort of thing, so they make it their work.

Most of the men in my family couldn't give a shit whether they get a birthday card or not, so they don't place as much importance on doing it for others.

Janethegirl Wed 04-Jun-14 22:33:50

Same here, unless it's my family I now don't care. Your DH needs to get involved if he actually cares. I've given up with the majority of DHs family members ie I only do the ones I like smile

TarkaTheOtter Wed 04-Jun-14 22:40:15

I don't understand this either. Dh's family are much more formal than mine and I am expected to do a lot of this stuff. When we were first together, dh wanted to meet up for a drink with a cousin of his when we were travelling near to where they lived. Whilst discussing it with us I realised that my mil expected me to write to the cousin's wife to organise it. I smiled and nodded and once she had gone suggested that rather than me writing a letter to someone I had never met, perhaps dh could stretch himself to texting his own fucking cousin.

MrsKoala Wed 04-Jun-14 22:41:20

Every partner i have had has looked after their own side of the family and friends. However, DH is chronically disorganised he usually doesn't even know what day or month, even year or his own age so most people get fuck all, or a card 3 months early. This backfired spectacularly when he was in charge of inviting his people to our wedding and he only told most people a week before confused via FB and forgot to check any responses.

But, no, i agree. i do mine and he does his. He only has his Mum and Dad tho and he still forgot MIL last year and she was very upset (she told me how upset she was but forbid me from telling him confused ). PILs had never sent me a card till this year (neither xmas or birthday) so i never felt the need to care or get involved. But because MIL has this year (pointedly not signed from FIL too hmm ) i will remind him, because i would want to reciprocate on my own behalf (i suspect that may be why she suddenly sent one).

SummerSazz Wed 04-Jun-14 22:43:19

I don't do cards or presents for any of DH's family. Up to him. He remembers about 80% of the time........

AnyFucker Wed 04-Jun-14 22:43:20

It's only a "woman's work" if she accepts it and goes along with it

I have known my beloved MIL for over 20 years. We have had two serious arguments. One of them was about her expectations that, as a woman, it was up to me do all the card/present buying/sending for DH's side of the family (even though he did not).

SummerSazz Wed 04-Jun-14 22:44:23

MIL moans to me about not receiving a mothers day card. I nod and sympathise that she has a rubbish son winkgrin

MrsKoala Wed 04-Jun-14 22:51:03

But AnyFucker - or anyone else - if you like, or even love your MIL, and presuming she sends you something, do you not want to send them something on your own behalf? Not being narky. genuine question. Do you not have a relationship separate to your DH? If someone sent me nice card/gifts i'd want to reciprocate personally.

AnyFucker Wed 04-Jun-14 22:57:51

Reciprocating on my own behalf to someone I have my own relationship with is very different to the expectation that anything to do with organising, buying, sending, remembering, phoning and otherwise paying attention to all of this stuff including for people you have no meaningful connection with just because he is related to them. I think that is what this thread is about.

AnyFucker Wed 04-Jun-14 22:58:57

BTW, the only big disagreement I have had with my MIL relates to how I refuse to do his ironing. smile

whereisshe Wed 04-Jun-14 23:01:37

I suppose my mum used to do it because she had the mantle of "organised one" when I was growing up (and dad can't be trusted to buy presents - it's either cheap shite with no thought or randomly profligate ott-ness). But I never felt it was because she was a woman.

I do presents for the people in my/DH's joint family that I like buying presents for (because I love buying presents for people, I like thinking of things for them) but he's in charge of his parents, grandparents etc. He generally remembers, i remind him if I don't forget myself... But I don't feel it's due to me being a woman.

MrsKoala Wed 04-Jun-14 23:02:23

Aaah i see, sorry, i thought you meant you didn't send her a card and that was the disagreement. Not you didn't send cards to random cousins who never sent you them.

I think i'd only get involved if someone sent me something. Regardless of who they were related to.

ouryve Wed 04-Jun-14 23:02:56

They're only women's work if oyu let them be.

DH takes responsibility for his family. I take responsibility for mine. it's not hard. I'm enjoying having to ask DH to remind me when his family birthdays are, if I need to know for something because I don't have to remember them.

Ex-MIL did used to have words with me if ExH forgot something. I bailed him out for a few years, then saw sense. He tried to reason with me that women were better at these things hmm

Glitterfeet Wed 04-Jun-14 23:04:23

My dh is in a job where he has to plan, know dates, organise people etc he also seems to have no problems organising nights out with friends and internet shopping. Oddly, he manages to get to work everyday fully dressed and self fed. Yet once married all birthday and Christmas queries started to get directed to me. Then I was expected to join I in with "oh the silly men can't ..." jokes, whilst running around doing all the mundane shite.

Fuck that. I did have to spend a few years repeating to my MIL that he seemed capable to me and then not doing it. Im the same with my mum and have to stand up for my SiL's.

I'm not gong to explain this well but I think my mother is from a generation where she knew that she was an intelligent women and equal but one of the few ways to raise her position was to joke that men were no good at some things. The times I've sat at my Inlaws house whilst my MIL does all the thinking and doing and running about. FIL sits there and says how wonderful she is and how he appreciates her doing it all. He could look at the same calendar on the wall of course!

AnyFucker Wed 04-Jun-14 23:05:49

Sorry if I wasn't clear, mrsK

MrsKoala Wed 04-Jun-14 23:11:07

No, you were clear AF - i'm feeding my face with cheese on toast and doing an online shop at the same time, i didn't read it properly. smile

Agree if you have a capable DH Glitter. My poor old DH can't even remember our address or his own birthday (i get an email at least once a week for both of these pieces of information confused ) and i still don't do it <i'm a bastard

2rebecca Wed 04-Jun-14 23:12:00

My husband sends his family cards and presents and I do the same for mine. We discuss what to get his relatives but he buys and sends the stuff and remembers when their birthdays are.
I wouldn't live with and marry a man who expected me to be his social secretary and general gofer. I have too much self respect for that.
Some women choose to do all the menial boring stuff and let their men off the hook or moan about it in a martyrish way, I see it as a low self esteem thing.

PhaedraIsMyName Wed 04-Jun-14 23:15:59

It's not women's work. Apart from his mother where I buy her a Christmas present from me which is separate from his present to her I've never bought a present or card for any member of my husband's family. I've no idea if he does, it's up to him.

I buy presents/cards for my family which are from me, not us both.

CruCru Wed 04-Jun-14 23:18:59

Does anyone get this attitude from work? A friend (who was having trouble getting pregnant but they didn't know that) was expected to get baby presents for colleagues with new babies "because she was the girl". I think she suggested that they should ask someone who already had children because they'd know what would be useful.

EddieStobbart Wed 04-Jun-14 23:21:33

Lovely as the PILs are, it is no more my job to buy them a present or a card than it is for DH to buy for my relatives. However, i do seem to have organised every single birthday party for the DCs to date. I hadn't realised that!

ICanSeeTheSun Wed 04-Jun-14 23:22:02

I gets the cards and presents, DH is hopeless.

He has to wrap them though.

Glitterfeet Wed 04-Jun-14 23:26:44

I sound more like your dh Mrs K. That the reason I find it all so strange. I spend my school and young adult years as being; the forgetful one, the scatty one, the disorganised one, the one who could never remember a telephone number, the one that could't remember directions, the one who who would turn up on the wrong day? The list goes on grin.

Then the eve of my wedding something supernatural happened, i woke up defined as The Organiser! Uhhh, no I don't do dates, unless I have my smart hone on me, but if you want someone to remember random series of numbers go to my dh.

I am an organised person these days because I've had to set up methods. I love databases and processes,to the extent that I made a career of it. I can't rely on my short term memory for some things. My children have both been referred for attention deficit and auditory processing issues.

Katisha Wed 04-Jun-14 23:28:36

Same with Christmas, generally speaking.

Nocomet Wed 04-Jun-14 23:41:43

Because there is only so much 'tec' any person needs.

DH is great at cameras, headphones, digital picture frames, iPhones, dec radios etc.

He found the DDs a brilliant second hands tearing wheel for the Xbox, but perfume, clothes and toys for DSILs DCs not a hope.

So long as he wraps, I don't care!

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