Overworked husband?

(19 Posts)
AutumnMadness Thu 25-Apr-13 10:44:02

Is this for real?
A Guardian article from last weekend, where a woman with a constantly feeding newborn is feeling guilty about her husband being no fun and exhausted because he is doing all the housework: www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/19/husband-is-becoming-domestic-slave

Methinks it's a spoof. What the man does is exactly what pretty much every woman does across the land (I mean, packing lunch and taking a toddler to nursery before going to work!). And yet, all responses are of a "poor man" nature.

grumpyinthemorning Thu 25-Apr-13 11:40:25

Ha! He's doing what any responsible husband and father would do. I hate that we're conditioned to feel like we should be grateful or feel sorry for them for doing what they're supposed to do!

I think there is nothing wrong with feeling grateful towards someone who does something for you, even if he is your husband and the jobs are as much a part of supporting/caring for his home and family as they are yours.

Dh has been supporting me through my recovery from depression for years now, and does a huge amount around the house, because I struggle to motivate myself to do it - and of course I feel grateful to him for this.

It seems odd to me to imply that it is fine to feel one should be grateful to a stranger who holds a door open or helps with something, but that a husband doesn't deserve gratitude. If someone, anyone, does something for me, I feel grateful.

HairyLittleCarrot Thu 25-Apr-13 12:44:32

what's this "does something for you" business?
why is looking after his home and child something "for the woman"?

AutumnMadness Thu 25-Apr-13 12:55:31

SDTG, but the articles is not about the woman feeling grateful. It's about her feeling guilty. And she does not mention anything that is not part of any normal parent's (usually a woman) day. She does not say that her husband is washing windows on a daily basis, or moving heavy furniture every day to get to all the dustballs, or shining silver, or teaching the toddler a foreign language, or making a three-course dinner every day. Perhaps she has decided not to go into details or those details were edited out, but the existing description sounds like a regular day for an ordinary woman with children. But because the protagonist is male, it is seen so outlandish as to elicit guilt.

I do get that, AutumnMadness - but I don't understand why someone wouldn't feel gratitude towards someone who had done something even if it was an ordinary part of every day life. Dh does all the ironing in this house (apart from the boys' school shirts, which they do themselves) - that is an ordinary job that most women do every day/week, and it benefits him as much as it benefits me - but I am still grateful for him doing it.

It is really sad and wrong that the ordinary, every-day tasks of running a family and a household are so often considered to be the woman's job, and that it is amazing when a man does them - but I don't think that means that the men who do do these tasks don't deserve gratitude for doing it.

And if I wasn't feeling grateful towards someone who was doing tasks that were part of the running of the family and household that I am part of, I would feel guilty about that - because it would be entitled behaviour, in my opinion.

Snorbs Thu 25-Apr-13 13:19:01

The man in the article is reported as doing pretty much all the housework etc plus holding down a full-time job. He's doing it so that his wife can devote all her time to their newborn. He's not complaining about it.

I've got a full-time job and do all the housework as I'm a single parent. It is hard work. At times it can be exhausting.

I've been in situations where, due to injury, I was at home all day but unable to participate in much housework. No matter how solid a reason I had for my position I still felt guilty seeing my housemates go out to work all day and then come back and do the housework as well. Was that wrong of me to feel that way?

BasilBabyEater Thu 25-Apr-13 13:21:55

It's interesting isn't it,the line between feeling grateful and feeling entitled.

You can feel both at the same time I think.

When you're in a loving, long term, monogamous relationship with someone, you are entitled to expect various things from them. But you're also an entitled arse if you're not grateful.

I know that sounds mutually exclusive, but it's not really is it? Or is it? <Chases tail>

Well, if I was one of your housemates, I certainly wouldn't want you to feel guilty, Snorbs - I'd want you to get the rest you needed to recover properly. And I am sure that you were grateful for their help, and would be happy to offer help in return when they needed it.

The irony is, of course, that if you were the sort of entitled person who expects everyone else to run round after you, you wouldn't be feeling at all guilty about the extra work they were doing - you'd see it as your right.

That is exactly what I was trying to say, BasilBabyEater - only you have said it much more clearly and concisely than I did!

samandi Fri 26-Apr-13 08:22:00

Well cleaning, shopping etc. doesn't do itself, like she seems to think it does. If she doesn't do it, then her husband will have to. Or they need a cleaner, if they can afford one.

Bramshott Fri 26-Apr-13 08:34:08

Funny - I took the main gist of the article as the fact that she needs emotional support from her DH, and that he's focusing frantically on being perfect in a practical sense and forgetting the emotional side. My DH tends towards that - I'll never forget the day when DD1 was in SCBU and I'd just been diagnosed with a DVT, he came home and made a complicated prawn laksa, when all I needed was toast and marmite and a hug. But looking back, it was his way of coping I guess.

So does mine, Bramshott - he's better on the practical side than the emotional. It used to upset me, but now I see it in a positive light, and appreciate all that he does for me.

Actually - he's away on business a lot at the moment - long days away and overnights at least once a week too - and I am really appreciating how much he does, when he's not here, not doing it.

wol1968 Fri 26-Apr-13 17:10:31

My husband can act like this at times, and it actually makes me feel guilty that I'm not the perfect housewife when, after I've wiped up and tidied away to the best of my ability, he then finds some grubby corner of a window-sill to scrub and rearranges the dishwasher to include three more plates and a teaspoon. Maybe the woman in the article is feeling a bit manipulated by a man whose actions seem to be saying 'this is how the house should be all day, every day, and you're a bit rubbish if you can't manage it.'

That could well be how she is feeling, wol - but her husband may not be intending to make her feel that way. Again, this is something that I have felt (the 'this is how the house should be.....' etc), when dh comes home and immediately starts doing some housework - but he is definitely not doing that on purpose to make me feel bad - he genuinely doesn't realise how his actions can make me feel.

What I have decided is that I can't control what he does, but I can control how I react to it - and that is, I think, better for the few remaining shreds of my sanity than trying to teach dh to be sensitive when he hasn't got the ability. He does his best, but it is rote-learnt, not inbuilt, if you can see the difference.

HullMum Fri 26-Apr-13 20:58:18

he's doing the work because she is busy doing other work. what's to be guilty or grateful for?

AmandaCooper Mon 29-Apr-13 22:36:54

Heavens I'm breastfeeding our new baby and my DH has picked up the lion's share of the housework on top of his full time job. It never occurred to me to think that he might be depressed... hmm

Leafmould Tue 30-Apr-13 00:28:20

The Spotless Home is a hard taskmaster. Perhaps the guy is conditioned to believe that the spotless home is a necessity. While I agree that the shopping and cooking needs doing, the woman mentions his inability to walk away from mess.

This is a trap. We do not need pristine houses. Both men and women can suffer from this conditioning. Many people spend their valuable time on maintaining a pristine home, and say they don't have time to do a course, or develop skills, because cleaning is non negotiable.

Getting a cleaner is not a solution to the conditioning problem. Then children grow up believing houses must be pristine, and then expect themselves and their partners to sacrifice themselves to maintain it when they are older.

Also, getting a cleaner is not a solution if you are on a tight budget.

ayahushca Tue 28-May-13 00:55:49

"Maybe the woman in the article is feeling a bit manipulated by a man whose actions seem to be saying 'this is how the house should be all day, every day, and you're a bit rubbish if you can't manage it."

Sickening.

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