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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Have just realised today that my in laws completely enable male feebleness

17 replies

Iwasthefourthwiseman · 26/12/2010 23:04

I really like my in laws, I do, but I realised today just how much they enable stereotypical behaviour in the family males.

Last time I was there my mum was meeting me to pick up dd1. I mentioned dh had been up with dd1 that night (also have a new baby who I am breastfeeding) and both my mum and mil started raving about what a good dad he is. I said 'that's his job' but they went on about how lucky I am as most men don't do that.

My mil is 80 odd and needs a lot of looking after. Her two daughters live locally and visit every day and do stuff for their mum with little recognition. Dh and his brother do stuff for her but because none of them live locally not as often but when they do they are complete golden balls!

The final straw was dinner at my sil's today. Her 35 year old (single) son did all the washing up then disappeared for the rest of the evening to sleep on his parents bed & my sil & mil were all 'oh he's just tired from doing the washing up' Hmm

Don't get me wrong the men in dh's family are all hard working, but they definitely have very traditional roles. I'm sure they all think I hen peck dh because he is so hands on with the kids (eg he wore dd2 in the sling through dinner as she was tired & crabby).

To be far my mil did ring me up to tell me how well I am doing and what a good mum I am bless her.

OP posts:
DrSeuss · 27/12/2010 11:33

Same here. My MIL tries to encourage me to find male inadequacies cute and endearing when I just find them infuriating. This is the woman who told me, following the birth of DS, that I should discuss DH's stress levels with the MW as he was terribly stressed! When I replied, "Please, don't worry about me!" she was most affronted!
I can't stand the whole standing ovation for changing a nappy thing either. They helped produce the child, they can help with its care.
Actually, I think MIL uses the whole cuteness thing as a defense mechanism. If she ever actually admitted to herself what a complete arse FIL is or that she trained SIL to expect to be treated like shit so that she married the younger version of her father and continues to fill the subservient role, she would run the bugger through with a carving knife!

alexpolismum · 28/12/2010 11:36

I find this sort of thing so annoying. My ILs actually laugh at dh when he goes to cook or do anything else that they consider my job as a woman. "Ooh, look at him, how does he expect to be able to know how to cook spaghetti?" *wink, ha ha, etc etc.

As if it is difficult.

When MIL bought dh a new pair of trousers (she always gives him clothes as presents) she actually called me over to give me instructions on ironing/folding/washing them! As though a) dh cannot do these things for himself and b) we've never seen a pair of trousers before so need to be told how to sort them out.

FIL, of course, has never so much as made a cup of coffee in his own house. When MIL was ill in hospital a couple of years ago he went to stay with SIL (his daughter) because of course he couldn't be expected to take care of himself.

freerangeeggs · 01/01/2011 22:18

Now that you mention it, I notice this a lot too.

People are always making little throwaway comments and jokes about DP - 'oh, I hope you're not leaving freerangeeggs to do all the cleaning up!', 'You make sure he does some of the cooking too!' etc.

It bothers me for two reasons. One, if my life was like that it wouldn't be funny; and two, I am a lazy cow and if it wasn't for my wonderful DP I would live in a dosshouse full of empty cereal boxes, because that is all I would eat.

This is coming from his family, too (my family probably compare him to my brothers and as a result think he's some sort of domestic god; also, they know me better).

It drives him nuts and he gets very indignant about it. It's quite embarrassing for me too, to say 'well actually he did all the cleaning for your visit and I burned the dinner'. I am a failure as a woman. Nigella Lawson I ain't.

bibbitybobbitysantahat · 01/01/2011 22:29

Oh aye, Mil telling me with a sad and slightly worried look on her face that her db had had ham and mashed potatoes for lunch on Christmas day because his wife (her sil) was too poorly to cook!

My dh would be quite happy to sit on his fat arse at his parents house and have MIL running round getting every drink and cup of coffee for him. Only I don't let him get away with that Wink.

CarGirl · 01/01/2011 22:33

My MIL and SIL, I recently discovered, are in admiration that I don't put up that rubbish and dh does his fair share of cooking/cleaning/childcare. they just haven't managed to achieve the same with their men!

GlitteryBalls · 01/01/2011 22:39

My mum actually does this! My dad and bro are useless and my mum does/did everything for them. My dp is fairly good around the house and we pretty much share the housework etc. Which is fair enough as up until a few days ago we both worked full-time and now I am on maternity leave and very heavily pg, and will be having a CS in a few days so rightly he will continue to take quite an active role in helping out in the house. Naturally I am glad that he is like this and appreciate all he does. But my mum thinks he is an absolute god because of it and that I should be soooo grateful, and I am sure that secretly she thinks I am a bit of a lazy cow! There is also this kind of insinuation that I am going to "milk" the fact that I will be unable to do certain things after my CS for all it's worth, when actually I'm sure I will find it quite frustrating. It is a shame that even when recovering after surgery us women should have to feel guilty for not doing housework and expecting a man (shock horror!) to do it.

Why is it when men do stuff around the house it is like they deserve some kind of medal but it is just expected of us? I'm sure if my dp was recovering from abdominal surgery and I was therefore solely in charge of the housework for a while it wouldn't be considered exceptionally selfless behaviour!

EthelredRedRobin · 01/01/2011 22:52

Just to say, we have exactly same situation. MY DH is great, does his fair share of chores, cooking etc. However, visiting the ILs is like going back in time to the 1950s... On Christmas Day, MIL was laid up with various broken limbs due to a fall in the snow and FIL basiically sat and watched whilst DH and i did all the work. BIL pitched in on xmas eve and peeled some spuds, SIL (who is only about 28 FFS) said it was the first time since they were married that he has EVER helped with any cooking! DH's brothers are only in their very early 30's and yet both MIL, and now, SIL's, let them get away with it! Why?!! I once had a conversation with MIL about the fact that they were all (except DH) useless and she basically said she took no responsibility? She has run around after them like a skivvy all her life and never expected them to lift a finger. They don't even clear the table when they've been in for their lunch (they're farmers...) and just leave the table looking like a whirlwind has hit. Unbelievable in this day and age.

Bumperlicious · 01/01/2011 22:59

I started this thread (reverted back to usual name). Just wanted to add that when my dd1 was a few months old my mum sent dh a £20 amazon voucher 'for being such a good dad'. I on the other hand got the usual 'just put her on a bottle'. Thanks mum, thanks very much.

Think my mil has felt a little bit guilty as two weeks ago she rang me on my mobile (she never rings mobiles) specifically to tell me she thinks I am a wonderful mum & doing a really good job, and she is worried at my lack of sleep, bless her!

EthelredRedRobin · 01/01/2011 23:13

Oh well at least you're getting some appreciation! My Mum also says frequently how 'good' DH is. She is supposed to be a bit of a feminist?!? I think it's just that in comparison with my dad (another farmer's son who was totally inept) DH looks like some sort of male domestic god.... Hmm

comixminx · 02/01/2011 11:00

I can never forget a line from a work colleague - she was going on a work trip with two other colleagues, both also female. Colleague 1 said to the others that she had to get back home to iron and pack before travelling, but also to do the shopping so that her husband would have food while she was away - the trip was only about five days long fgs! She was going to leave it all ready cooked and labelled with the days of the week as far as I recall. The other two colleagues boggled at this, and colleague 1 proudly said "oh well, I had him straight from his mum, you know!". Shock

As DP said when I told him this story, it's like she was talking about a kitten or something, not a grown man... She's in her twenties(!), recently married, destined for a life of happily running round after a man-child I guess!

victoriascrumptious · 02/01/2011 16:17

I get pissed off with my SIL & MIL who comment on 'how lucky' I am to have dh. They are both married to abusive twunts and gah! sorry but 'luck' doesn't come into it. I spent 10 years making sure he wasnt an abusive twat before marrying and having children with him.

Luck can fuck off. It's common sense isnt it?

GlitteryBalls · 02/01/2011 17:46

I've just realised I think I may be an enabler too...

Just went for a big food shop with DH to stock up before I go in for my CS on Tuesday. As we're walking around the aisles all that I am thinking/talking about is making sure that there's plenty in for him that's easy for him to cook while I'm in hospital HAVING AN OPERATION! FFS he's just as good a cook as me, and is perfectly capable of going shopping/preparing his own meals FOR 3 FUCKING DAYS! If I'm not careful I'm going to turn a perfectly independent and grown-up man into a spoilt child... Sad

I blame my mother. This is how she would be with my Dad...

sprogger · 02/01/2011 22:44

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ullainga · 10/01/2011 12:11

I often wonder. Nobody makes a big fuss over the fact that my DH can drive a car or use a computer or a power drill. But if he also figures out how to push this one button on the washing machine or manages to fry an egg, he's simply marvellous and oh so talented..

nutsandtangerines · 10/01/2011 13:03

A friend of mine asked me what my DP would be wearing to an occasion we had all been invited to - not sure if it was a suit-type occasion or not. I said my DP would probably wear something nice but probably not a suit. My friend replied "Hmmmm, but DP hasn't really got anything smart that isn't a suit... and I don't want to put him in a suit if no one else is wearing one..."

I didn't say anything, just boggled. PUT HIM in a suit? I should have said something, shouldn't I?

WimpleOfTheBallet · 10/01/2011 17:14

My MIL wipes up for my DH as he makes a sandwich. He hates it luckily...she does it for her ex husband too!

nutsandtangerines....that's mad! "Put him in a suit!"

Eglu · 10/01/2011 17:20

My MIL made comment on Christmas Day about 'people these days'. This was in reference to DH doing the cooking for Christmas dinner (she of course had to help him). DH likes cooking and I was also 12 weeks pg and feeling a bit rotten. She then made a comment about FIL never being in a kitchen unless he was making himself a drink.

This is why old men who end up widowers can't cope on their own, as they've never done anything for themselves. I know for a fact neith of my grandfathers could have coped if they had lost my grandmothers. Thank goodness despite MIL, that DH is perfectly capable.

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