Mr. Mom

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Dear Dharma,

Hey Miss Dharma, maybe you can help me out.  I am a 37 year old married man, my wife is 32, and we have 2 kids after almost 5 years together.

I have no problem splitting the housework, as we both have jobs, and no one has more down time than the other.

My problem (if it is even a problem) is that I have suddenly realized that over the last year or two, the housework has shifted from 50-50 to about 80-20 for me.

I think we have a pretty good marriage, very normal (to me anyways) and the thing is, I can’t really put my finger on how it happened.

Is it possible that my wife is really a major manipulator, and it has taken me this long to figure it out? Or am I just reading too much into an unconscious shift due to laziness or her hating housework so much?

Basically I do the laundry, most of the cooking and look after getting the kids in and out of daycare and most of the getting them into bed too.

Short of flat out asking her hey why am I doing all of the housework now, how can I tell what’s going on?

Mr. Mom

Dear Mr. Mom,

Yowza – talk about jumping from A to Z in a single beat!  You go from realizing there’s been a shift in responsibilities around the house to your wife being a major manipulator?

Again, yowza.

Let’s pump the brakes a little here.

You question if your problem is even a problem, and the answer is yes, but it’s not just about housework, it’s about communication.

You want some solution “short of flat out asking her”… but Dharma’s not sure what’s wrong with flat out asking her?

It doesn’t have to be a big showdown with guns blazing, unless you decide to go the major manipulator route – and then I expect you’d get exactly that – guns blazing and pointing directly at you!

How About This

How about a conversation?  Something along the lines of, “Hey honey, I’m wondering if we can discuss the allocation of housework.  I’ve noticed I’m taking on the lions share lately, which is unusual.  Is everything alright?”

This puts you in the position of looking like you actually care about what’s going on, as opposed to contributing it to laziness or a hatred of housework.

Frick – we all hate housework; you can’t fault anyone for that.  However, that doesn’t mean we all don’t have to do our share, and that includes your wife.

If she gets defensive with this approach, try not to bite.  Explain that you see it as a minor problem and simply want to get to the bottom of it so you can avoid the building of resentment, and hey – maybe enjoy more time together?

A healthy relationship is a partnership.  The word partnership implies equality between all parties.  Right now the two of you aren’t hitting that balance, but a calm conversation minus accusations of manipulation and laziness would be a good start.

Dharma

 

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2 Comments

  • Irene says:

    I have been thinking about this since reading the post a few days back. Households have an enormous load to share with kids and so on. I’ve noted my hubby might end up cooking more meals in one given week and vacuum, etc. But I also know that ‘consciously’ I coordinate the necessities with reminders of this and that needs attending. Where I balked in this Dear Dharma, was his choice of wording – “manipulator”. Which you caught and from the onset. If this is already in his thoughts and vocabulary then I would think there’s more going on here. Has her professional workload taken a greater shift? Is she the primary breadwinner earning more money? Because if this is the case, then she might be letting go of her home responsibilities for a reason that requires both understanding and negotiating.

    • Dharma says:

      Thanks for your great comment, Irene, and I completely agree with what you are saying. To jump straight to the possibility of her manipulating the situation seemed off and definitely indicated – at least to me – that this problem ran deeper than housework.

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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