When my husband is feeling a bit melancholy and needs a reminder of how great he is, I tell him stories from my Facebook pregnancy group. They make him feel like Superman. Why? Because the bar of being a capable husband and father is set so low these days, he stubs his toe on it.
Don’t get me wrong, the stories aren’t uplifting. They’re sad. They’re stories of women who were told “I’m not celebrating you, you’re not MY mother” on Mother’s Day by the father of their children. It’s stories of women who were told to “harden up” during pregnancy, who were woken up in early labour by partners wanting dinner cooked. Women whose partners come home from work and spent hours gaming instead of participating in family life. Women whose partners say “I don’t know what to do with a baby” and who have changed three nappies in six months and gagged their way through it. Women with a 24/7 job who were expected to mind their tired partners who only worked 8/5.
It hurts to read these stories of regular, kind, hard-working women being neglected by the people who are supposed to love, understand and appreciate them best.
What the fuck, men?
Yes, I know, I know. Not ALL men! Of course not, but a significant percentage. Of course I know it’s not all men – I’m happily married to a beautiful example of a person who does all the cooking and easily half of the cleaning – he’s seen more with the vacuum than I am. He’s not whipped, he’s not manipulated – he just appreciates a clean house and understands that everyone who lives in a house is expected to maintain it. He’s not “helping” me by doing chores – they’re his chores too.
Let’s be clear: plenty of my friends and plenty of women generally are partnered up with capable, considerate human beings. They are not the target of this post. They are great.
These men I’m talking about, they don’t do shit. They’re getting a maid they can fuck for free. Why shouldn’t they do half the cleaning? It’s their house. Why shouldn’t they do half the childcare during the hours when they’re not at their job? It’s their children too?
No one should be settling for less. No one.
Why do these men stagnate in their development? Why do they not look at a chore they’re bad at, like laundry, and go, “I’d like to not suck at this. I’d like to reach a minimum standard of cleanliness as a human being.”
So you can’t read the laundry tabs on a shirt, boys? Well here’s news: fucking no one fucking can. Those little icons are totally confusing. But did you know, you can just Google them? Amazing! Or if that’s too hard, just put your clothes in a warm wash with a lidful of detergent. You don’t know how to use your washing machine? Take notes as your partner graciously shows you. Or hell, READ THE MANUAL. Or, again, GOOGLE! We live in a world of immediate information.
You’d be an absolute laughingstock with your mates if you don’t know how to start the lawnmower. Why is the washing machine any different?
Why do these men not bother to learn? Because they have someone doing it for them. For free. EVERY time.
Women, just STOP. Please, just stop. Stop babying them. They are functioning adults. They should be able to make their own food, clean their environment, and manage to meet their children’s needs without depending on you to tell them how to prepare their formula (it fucking SAYS IT ON THE FUCKING TIN OH MY GOD)
I teach my primary students to have a growth mindset, to know that learning new things never stops. That they’re smart and capable and can do anything they set their minds to.
Dudes who can’t clean a microwave: catch up for fuck’s sake. Otherwise she’s gonna leave your unwashed ass and you’re not going to know how to squeeze water out of the mop you’ll be using to wipe up your tears.
And please, let’s not let our sons leave for university without knowing how to do these things. Don’t leave this task to their future partners.
Thank you for your time.