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DH is 'honorary mum' who does 'women's work' - absolutely fed up with it - my morning feminist rant!!!

(62 Posts)
smyle Mon 06-Feb-17 08:56:41

Just that really, I am a full time working mum, I am the main wage earner and DH works part time and mainly does the school runs etc. We're happy with this, it was a joint decision - Dh is a brilliant father, a fantastic partner and we work well together, but I get so utterly fed up of the language it's encased in! It is constantly portrayed as he is doing women's work. His mother constantly jokes about him being honorary mum, this has translated into the school mums at the play ground, if doing the washing or something he will joke that he is being 'washer women' (loads more examples but you get the picture) - all said in good humour but when I correct or challenge people on it I'm accused of being over sensitive (this irritates me even more!), but all of this screams sexist crap to me!
It drives me nuts on two levels (in no particular order btw!); 1) there is an underlying assumption I should be doing this and somehow failing by not. No-one ever calls me 'honorary dad', no one ever masculines my work or role, nope - I get comments such as being called a 'career woman' and not built to be a 'stay at home mum' - it is simply suggested that I am somehow falling short and DH has to step in to make up for my failings - oh and isn't he great to drop himself down to 'women's or mums work'. It is all crap - I was at home for 3 years when children were really small and loved it - I simply do what WE decided was best for our family!
2) I have 2 boys aged 4 and 6 - I don't want them caught up in the patriarchal rubbish - I don't want them having to grow up thinking this is women's work and this is man's. They hear all of this and sometimes even imitate the language. Great they've got a role model who is a fabulous dad and they see their parents work as a partnership but they still are influenced by this gendered rubbish.
Am I over reacting....

faithinthesound Mon 06-Feb-17 08:59:14

Pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? Er, the things his mother is saying, not the things you're saying.

NormaSmuff Mon 06-Feb-17 09:03:32

on your behalf.
you can't change his mother's attitude though i am sure.

NoFucksImAQueen Mon 06-Feb-17 09:08:13

I agree with you. It's really patronising to your dh as well. I know a lot of men feel like they've "failed" if they aren't providing in the traditional sense of earning the money. It's bullshit

MyCatIsTryingToKillMe Mon 06-Feb-17 09:09:31

It's all bull shit, this kind of thing annoys me too. My DH and I are both in the same profession but he works for someone else and I run my own practice. I still get the raised eyebrows and shocked poor DH/ isn't he good comments when I say I don't do his ironing. FFS. hmm

Gardencentregroupie Mon 06-Feb-17 09:09:50

Its endemic and its ludicrous. My own dad is very useful around the house, but despite that my mother commented on how my DH is 'brilliant at laundry'. When pressed, this apparent brilliance is separating the whites from the colours ffs. I almost (note - almost!) feel sorry for men that people have such low expectations of them.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 06-Feb-17 09:10:07


No, you're not overreacting - this sort of outdated sexist crap needs challenging.

splendide Mon 06-Feb-17 09:10:27

I get "aren't you lucky - his father never changed a nappy" from my MiL.

I suppose it is lucky as I work all day so poor DS would be spending an awful lot of his time in dirty nappies if SAHD DH didn't change him.

MrsJayy Mon 06-Feb-17 09:10:50

Urgh that must drive you nuts however why doesn't husband challange it with his mother ? you are not over sensitive btw I probably would say something as well.

NoCleanClothes Mon 06-Feb-17 09:11:32

YANBU. I seriously think this attitude puts other couples going "non-traditional". You have to be very secure in yourself to put up with constant jokes like that and not let it bother you.

antimatter Mon 06-Feb-17 09:11:36

It has to start from your dh nit saying all those things!
Have you spoken to him about it that his language really bothers you?
After all he can go full time and for the extra cash you can buy extra help.

MrsJayy Mon 06-Feb-17 09:12:17

Your sons will see their dad doing stuff as the norm though.

antimatter Mon 06-Feb-17 09:13:06

Also have look at FB or Twitter of "man who has it all" it may help your dh to gain a new perspective on the language he is using.

ChasedByBees Mon 06-Feb-17 09:15:34

I think you need to start by tackling your DH. Ask him how he'd like it if you were an honorary dad for earning the household wage and that was constantly referred to.

MrsJayy Mon 06-Feb-17 09:18:12

I agree your husband needs to stop saying this he obviously thinks he is hilarious. I dont think sticking a washing in needs such a hoha.

hmcAsWas Mon 06-Feb-17 09:21:15

Keep challenging people and putting them straight. Ignore the 'over sensitive' stuff

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Mon 06-Feb-17 09:21:33

YANBU. It's sad that I think some of this language is so ingrained (like "washer woman) that people don't even realise how offensive it is. I'm glad a change is taking place to get these terms deleted from everyday conversation. Be the change you want to see etc.

NoCleanClothes Mon 06-Feb-17 09:23:20

antimatter I'm really confused by your post, whose DH must be saying what things? From OP's post it sounds like DH going part time works really well for their family and the problem is that other people are constantly commenting on it.

ShelteredLifeMe Mon 06-Feb-17 09:27:49

I had to correct my friend the other day. We went for a drink and she said that her dh (their dd) is babysitting! Er, no!

Finola1step Mon 06-Feb-17 09:28:03

I hear you. I really hear you smyle.

I had a rant last week on my way to work. Bumped into a woman I know who asked me where the dc were. Told her that they were with their Dad. She then starts with the "Oh he's so good isn't he?".

And yes, I went off on one a bit. Because I have heard it so many effing times. My DH and I both work freelance. We both set our hours around our dc so that one if us does the morning stuff, the other does the pick up/ afternoon stuff. We both then.pitch in with evening stuff.

I work far less hours than DH. So I do the bulk of the house stuff, gardening and decorating. DH sorts out all the car stuff, bikes etc. It is pretty well balanced, all things considered. We have worked hard over the years to achieve this balance.

And yes, he is a fantastic parent. As am I. But in the past 9 years of being a parent, not one person has ever said how lucky DH is that he has a wife who works hard, runs the home, brings in money, keeps everything ticking over. Not once.

I can not tell you the number of times I have been told how lucky I am that I have a DH who collects the dc from school "for me". A DH who looks after the dc "for me".

It is insulting and patronising to us both. It gives me the rage, it really does. And what in earth does the attitude say to our dc. So last week, I didn't bite my tongue. I agreed that my DH is fab, but so am I. That is going to be my default response from now.

Oh and did I mention the friend of mine who nearly fell off her chair when I told her that DH prefers to do his own clothes washing?

user1478860582 Mon 06-Feb-17 09:29:01

Playing devils advocate though. You refer to yourself as a full time working mum. Nobody refers to someone as a full time working dad. You work full time. That's it.

NoCleanClothes Mon 06-Feb-17 09:30:59

Playing devils advocate though. You refer to yourself as a full time working mum. Nobody refers to someone as a full time working dad. You work full time. That's it.

NO that isn't it, she also plays an important part in bringing up her family. Both being a mum and working full time are presumably important (and relevant in this case) parts of her life. Perhaps people should refer to dad's as full-time working dads where it is relevant.

MrsJayy Mon 06-Feb-17 09:31:40

My eldest is 24 and i heard this crap when they were growing up 'oh he is so good' oh he is babysitiing blah blah

DorkusDelonghi Mon 06-Feb-17 09:32:22

YADNBU! Hate this crap.

LittleMissUpset Mon 06-Feb-17 09:32:56

My mum says to me when I tell her I'm going out somewhere (it's quite rare I go out) that I'm lucky that my husband is babysitting hmm or if me and her are going out when we visit them, oh is he ok to babysit the kids! I say he's not babysitting because they are his kids too.

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