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The cost of being a SAHM/SAHW is a husband who is the primary breadwinner.

December 17, 2021

Lately, I've noticed a lot of posts from women who work full time and do all of the household chores, usually as a prior agreement with their partners. These posts always read the same: the woman is elated by this arrangement, except for when she's exhausted, frustrated, short-tempered, and has no time for herself, let alone her husband, and it causes tension in her marriage... and that's most of the time. Rarely does the narrative include a compelling reason for such circumstances, such as the partner having a really taxing career that doesn't pay enough to hire help, like law enforcement officer or EMT. It seems to always be the result of some ideal that tries to pull from both the traditional view of a housewife and the modern view of a career woman. Well, I'd like to summarize what most of the responses to these posts say: the cost of having a stay-at-home-mom or a stay-at-home-wife is the man being the primary breadwinner.

Now, I know there's someone out there who makes this work (perhaps with a secret identical twin who lives in the walls), so I'll give my disclaimer that these statements are not all-inclusive. As a general rule, however, it is not a sustainable, long-term plan for someone to work 40 hours a week, perhaps more, while also maintaining a household alone, especially once they have children. If your goal is a marriage where the woman does all of the housework, including cooking and childcare, the only real way to cultivate a healthy and happy home life is for the man to be the main breadwinner so she can stay home and do that. That's not to say it's all or none. Part-time, seasonal, or occasional work like substitute teaching or babysitting is absolutely doable. Full time work, particularly something physically or mentally exhausting, likely is not.

The average dual income parents get up every morning and feed and dress their children, before feeding and dressing themselves for the day. They then drop their kids off at daycare/school, before going to work, where they participate in budget and client meetings, implement projects/presentations/programs/::insert specific corporate term/responsibility here:: with an appropriate level of enthusiasm. They often take breaks with coworkers, which means they have to engage in small talk or discuss work, instead of truly decompressing. If they're lucky, they get off at a set time, pick up their children, and head home. At this point, the children need to receive love and affection, dinner needs to be cooked, the laundry needs to be folded, the Christmas presents need to be wrapped, the Amazon packages need to be returned, the house needs to be tidied, the kids need to be bathed and put to bed... the list goes on and varies seasonally. There's literally endless amounts of work to be done and about four hours in which to do it, depending on commute, every night. On top of this, both adults need time to decompress, perhaps take a moment for themselves, and connect with each other to keep their marriage strong.

Four hours is not enough time for one person to do all of these things, always.

Life requires balance. If you want a true dual income, you'll have more money and less time, which means you have to have dual household responsibilities, however that might look. Maybe he does more traditionally masculine chores, such as chopping wood for the fire, taking out the trash, caring for the lawn, putting up Christmas lights, and cleaning the gutters, while she cooks, cleans the kitchen and bathrooms, and keeps the kids entertained. Maybe the opposite is true or maybe they trade off. Perhaps they hire help. There's no right or wrong way to split the chores, but in the short time that you both have away from work, you have to split or outsource them or they won't get done... or some of them will and there will be resentment and tears and frustration and missed time with the kids or each other. If both partners would prefer a stay-at-home-parent to take the bulk of these responsibilities, they're going to have to make sacrifices, including career momentum and financial standing. You'll have more time, but you might have an older car and off-brand clothing and fewer vacations. You cannot have the best of both worlds.

No one can have it all, all the time, and that's worth remembering when you sit down with your new fiancé and discuss the breakdown of household chores, which you should absolutely do, no matter which direction you lean. If you plan to work full time, don't agree to also be a full time SAHW/SAHM, because in most cases, it can't be done and you'll find yourself venting on Reddit.

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Post Information
Title The cost of being a SAHM/SAHW is a husband who is the primary breadwinner.
Author TheTwincessMaker
Upvotes 110
Comments 62
Date December 17, 2021 5:03 AM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit /r/RedPillWomen
Archive Link
Original Link

[–]MarchBaby21 34 points35 points  (12 children) | Copy Link

Absolutely agreed. I went through a period where I thought I wanted that type of relationship. Thank God my husband (then boyfriend) had the sense to realize it was ridiculous. He wanted me to stay at home, I wanted to try to “have it all” by being a career woman 9-5 and a housewife all the other hours of the day.

In his case to have me because a SAHM one day, my boyfriend laid out the hours in a day. So you’re going to spend X time working, Y time commuting, Z time with your children…. and how exactly will you do 100% of the the cooking, cleaning, household paperwork, etc? Especially when sleep deprived with a baby.

I’m a SAHM now. It’s much better. I’d say I do about 70% of the housework- because it’s still hard even with staying at home, particularly when my baby only naps for 30 minutes. In a more ideal world we’d be at more of an 80/20 household chore split with my husband just doing traditionally masculine chores plus occasional cooking. We’re getting there but it’s tough! With kids and home ownership comes so much work and it takes time to adjust. If you’re working and expected to do 100% of this, most people will not succeed and be very hnhappg

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 16 points17 points  (9 children) | Copy Link

Thank you for mentioning that you still only do 70%. I'm a SAHM with twins and I literally cannot do 100% of the housework. It's so much easier on my husband and I to have me home, than when I was working, but he still has to help with some things, because there aren't enough hours in the day.

[–]MarchBaby21 8 points9 points  (6 children) | Copy Link

There aren’t enough hours and we only have 1 baby! You're a superhero for twins!

Yeah, we have a pretty big house- Keeping up on 100% of housework with my cat napper hasn’t been possible. I’m definitely getting more efficient and finding my rhythm as a SAHM at 9 months into it. But I’m still learning.

My husband also likes to spend time with me. After my daughter goes to bed, he doesn’t want me to spend 2 hours on chores. He wants me to watch a movie with him or just hang out. He knows that for that to be possible, he’s gotta do some chores with me at the end of the day!

It’s what works for us. I’m hoping to take over a bit more but it will never be 100% in our house.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 4 points5 points  (5 children) | Copy Link

Yes, we have a rather large house at 2300 square feet and a full acre. It takes two people sometimes.

[–]MarchBaby21 4 points5 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

Very similar! 2300 square feet and 1.5 acres here. It’s a ton of work requiring two people.

We are considering hiring a monthly housekeeper with my husband’s next pay raise. Just to keep on top of deep cleaning, particularly the bathrooms which are my worst enemy. Can’t keep on top of them

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I would love to have a housekeeper for those tasks one day. It's not doable now, but it is a goal.

[–]poofymon 2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Bet you can't wait til the kiddo is old enough to learn how to clean their own bathroom! lol

[–]MarchBaby21 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Oh my goshhhh I’m so excited. One day, very far in the future lol

[–]antypapierz 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

At what age do you plan to teach your kid to clean?

[–]boofthegirl 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

I think 70% is totally reasonable with little babies bc there’s only so much dad can do with babies especially if mum breastfeeds.

With older kids they can be left longer periods while you do chores and dad can feed, take places alone, hang out with them outside whilst doing a bit of yard work, etc.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I actually couldn't breastfeed, myself, and I think that made things much easier. I had a reduction as a teenager and then spent four days in the ICU after giving birth, so literally nothing happened. The lactation nurse came down to ICU to ask if I wanted to breastfeed, but since I'd just had my third blood transfusion, I guess my body was a little too focused on creating the fluids I needed to survive. I didn't even have to wear a compression bra, because no milk came.

[–]1987dd1987 7 points8 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Also a sahm and couldn’t imagine how I possibly could work while managing a household and two kids. Maybe maybe I could do something part time once both kids are in school full time (which won’t be for another 3 years). So grateful every day that I don’t have to work outside the home. I’m surrounded by women finishing up mat leaves (1 year - I’m in Canada) and I’m so worried and sad for them. I don’t know how they’re going to manage and I can’t imagine they’ll be happy.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I had to send my babies to daycare for two months, before I could quit my job. They were three months old and I cried literally every day I handed them off. It didn't help that they were 5 weeks premature and just very small for their age. I'm so much happier at home, but for women who do work, it's just very important to realize the limitations.

[–]WeWearMirrors 26 points27 points  (8 children) | Copy Link

I've seen those posts too, and I agree that it's a problem. But I don't think anyone gets into this situation on purpose.

I think what we're seeing is women trying to put a brave face on a disappointing situation. They post here when they're at the end of their rope, which is why they show flashes of anger. But they really want to find a way to love and respect their husbands even though they're angry.

I feel like RPW talks a lot about vetting, but not very much about solving marital problems, and that's a shame. A lot of these issues are things we can improve and work through.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 23 points24 points  (6 children) | Copy Link

I've been in RPW spaces for a good ten years and while I think that some women might have vetted poorly, I do think others have unrealistic expectations of marriage. Not just recently, but over time, I have seen a number of posts like these from women who've agreed to such an arrangement during engagement or even beforehand. I think there's an idealism that stems from stories of what previous generations have done and is reinforced by picture perfect influencers, that they can be the career woman and the housewife. They eagerly sign on to do both, only to realize that there aren't enough hours in the day. So, yes, vetting is important, but so is being realistic about what such arrangements look like in practice.

As for the women who are trying to make the most of their marriage to men who treat them like maids, I do think that part of the problem there is poor communication about who will do what and staying in their own lane when he does the dishes "incorrectly." It's much harder to get someone to help when you're demanding they do it your way. I'm speaking mostly from a preventative place, but regardless of the cause, I don't think there's anything wrong with sitting down with your husband and discussing what is and is not working and mapping out a new plan. To get there, though, you have to accept that it's really just not possible for one person to do it all and work full time. With RPW's traditional values, it's easy for women to go a little too far in that direction.

[–]AntiVictimhood 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

1.I agree with the communication element, but I also hear women saying that they want to be "feminine" which entails passivity and tolerance. They don't want to upset their partners so they keep their discontents to themselves and vent on reddit. With the occasional outburst in front of their man.

  1. I also find that people who are in an arrangement where they clearly benefit, will do everything to sustain that arrangement. Lazy husbands don't have an incentive to change because it seems like the entire dynamic is built to make their lives easy and unload burdens onto their women. And some of these men really seem to manipulate their partners into tolerating this dynamic. They shame the women when they bring it up and find ways to place the blame on her.

In a post I read yesterday, a woman said she does 100% of the housework and she ended up yelling at her man, and the situation was spun as her fault because she yelled at him. There was no regard for the reasoning behind her outburst- which was clearly pent up resentment and anger for cleaning up after a grown man while also working full time, and having no time to spend with him or doing the things she enjoys.

And she just accepted that she's the problem, rather than him having no initiative and transferring responsibilities onto her. And it's "not feminine" to stand up for yourself and hold your partner accountable when they're in the wrong.

I've read many comments/posts about women who try and communicate, but are shut down, shamed for complaining, have the issue spun around onto them, or have men who say things will change but old patterns persist.

3.Lastly, I do see this trend where women who find men and get married in their mid-late 30s majorly settle. They're desperate for a family and children and recognize the biological limitations on that possibility. So they frantically search for a tolerable man and end up with guys who are mediocre at best. But they feel like they need to just put up with this arrangement because options are limited and time is running out.

I'm 26, but I have many friends in their 30s who really want a partner and family, and they have really dramatically lowered their standards and overlooked red flags and bad behaviour because they're so desperate. I know some women feel this pressure so much earlier to find someone and start a family. Some of my more religious friends had this anxiety in HIGH SCHOOL. And they got married at 19/20 because they truly believed they were in their prime and had to find a man ASAP and start having kids right away.

I think desperation and a sense of urgency when seeking a ltr can be a big liability and lead to situations like this. Not all the time, but I have seen it play a factor time and time again.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I agree with everything you've said, but I think it emphasizes rhe importance of RPW's preventative approach, encouraging good vetting and settling down while the options are good.

I do think there's a problem with the way marriage advice is given in this space, as the result of an overcorrection from other feminist spaces, which tend to always blame the man. There's absolutely value in accountability, but while I understand why there's a rule against insulting spouses here, sometimes the answer is that you chose poorly and there aren't a ton of options to work with within that. The most actionable advice here is often how to avoid the situation in the first place.

[–]WeWearMirrors 6 points7 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

I agree with you.

I think that RPW in general (I'm not referring to this post) could do a better job advising women in this situation. We tend to go either to "you should have vetted better" or "just be patient and feminine." Both those responses are really conflict-averse and imply that men can never improve. And I think that kind of advice also discourages women from posting about their problems.

In fact, I've seen my own husband change dramatically in this area, and. I've seen similar changes in other men I know. I think your post is really helpful as far as theory but I think that, in addition, we should be offering practical advice to women.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 4 points5 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Women tend to think that the only way to stand up for themselves is to be brash and rude, when in reality, a calm and rational discussion will work out a lot of problems, as will being polite but firm. On these posts, I've always advised a frank and open conversation, myself. My intent here was just to lay out the irrationality of agreeing to this arrangement in the first place.

[–]WeWearMirrors 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Yes, I like the way you put this!

I do wonder whether many women have actually AGREED to this division of labor. Seems to me that most people kind of slide into it and then get unhappy when children arrive. But I agree with you that it's a lousy setup and needs to be renegotiated.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

A lot of these posts read to me as if the woman considers this ideal and feels as though she's failing to live up to it. Obviously you and I are baffled by why anyone would agree to this in the first place, but I can certainly see women from certain backgrounds doing so, as well as the young new readers of this sub taking the advice here to an extreme. I know some religious women who live like this and it sounds exhausting and awful.

[–]FuzzyDice12 7 points8 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Excellent post!

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thank you!

[–]grahamcookiefart 7 points8 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I completely agree that it's frustrating, and sometimes you just want to give up and quit. But on a brighter note when my work switched to remote it took the weight of the WORLD off my shoulders. Lunch break meant preparing dinner, idle time meant doing laundry, meetings where I didn't have to say anything meant mise en place or folding or vacuuming etc. It helped a lot and honestly with the economic situation we have at our hands, while my husband WANTS to be the main breadwinner it still won't allow us to live a generous life. So for now, it has to go on like this :(

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

My husband and I actually both came home for lunch when I worked and he still does, now that I'm home. It gave us some additional time, but it still wasn't enough. I'm glad WFH helps bridge the gap. It wasn't really an option in my field.

[–]emmalai85 5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This is why my husband is retiring. I don't work outside of the home - but he realizes that he wants time with family, not to work 12+ hours per day and never see us and me being home alone missing him for years because I'm just waiting for him to retire so I can have him all to myself.

He's retiring at the end of this year. I was patient, I waited, and I'm willing to take a huge paycut and live on a budget in order to have him around full time.

there's no way I could have kids, and work a full time job, and make time for myself, my husband, the house, animals, life, there's not enough hours in the day, I barely have enough hours raising my kids full time as a SAHM - but I also homeschool, we don't have a dishwasher atm, or a dryer, lol

We are so rural, it takes 6 hours of driving for a doctors appointment round trip, my husband has often joked he couldn't afford to pay someone to do all the work I do, not even including the value of what good sex would be worth if he had to pay for that, too. lol

[–]bringingg88back 5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Wow this is such a fresh take on this thread. Thank you for sharing!

[–]AntiVictimhood 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Absolutely. I've been responding to many of these posts because my now husband used to be the guy who would happily sit back while I put on a brave face and pretended to happy little snow white cleaning in a cute little dress. I was working 10 hours days in graduate school, teaching, going to the gym, then coming home and doing EVERYTHING all while dressing cute, having my hair looking beautiful, and being in great shape. Meanwhile my then boyfriend was relaxing, gaming, napping, while being in his undergrad part time and not working a job... It was draining for me and made me resent my man and lose sexual attraction to him- which is what most of these women seem to be feeling, whether they say so openly or not.

However, I don't think women get into these relationships knowing that their man is a lazy ass. When we first got together, my now husband would always have his place spotless for when I came over. He went to culinary school, so he'd do most of the cooking and dishes because I got home around 7:30/8:00pm. He kept the place really nice.

He put in the effort and took initiative until he didn't.

I tried to convince myself I was happy with the arrangement. But within half a year I hated him and was ready to end the relationship.

Things changed. The changes were consistent so we worked through it. And now we have a clear division of labour where housework is about 65/35. Mostly because I work from home and he doesn't so I now get more done during the day.

The other thing I want to point out- is that red-pill women are obviously interested in being feminine, but when their version of femininity entails being passive, agreeable, and homely- this only works if you have a man who doesn't take advantage of that agreeableness. And it sounds like women in this unsustainable dynamic have men who are more than happy to see their women burnt out, taking on trad fem/masc roles.

It seems like a lot of women who leave comments about working full time and doing all of the housework also feel like it's unfeminine to draw boundaries, to stand up for yourself, and to call out your partner when they're in the wrong or doing something that is harming the relationship.

And I think it's important to understand that the tradeoff of trying to be feminine and passive when you're with a man who will happily sit back and watch you drain all of your energy on paid work and housework, is not healthy nor feminine. Women in this arrangement are clearly unhappy, and keeping quiet about your discontents and the way his lack of initiative in the home is hurting you is damaging your relationship.

From my perspective, the feminine thing to do, if you love your man and want to stay together, is make sure your relationship is on a sustainable path. And that will require being vocal and honest about the unfair division of labour in the home and how to resolve that imbalance. Have boundaries. Set your expectations. Find sustainable solutions together. Additionally, the feminine thing to do is to make sure there is enough joy and bonding time that you can maintain emotional intimacy and consequently, good physical intimacy. If you're feeling resentful, burnt out, and overworked, this will ruin your relationship or give you health issues from coping silently with the stress.

There are solutions to these issues. If the relationship is dual income, he can hire a maid to come on a weekly basis, he can hire a gardener, pay for laundry service etc. Or what my husband and I do is our blue/pink jobs and understand what is our responsibility.

I also completely agree that there is never a rationale provided for why the woman does all the housework.

If the sole rationale is adherence to traditional gender roles, then you can't be selective about when and where you implement those roles. It can't be a matter of accepting traditional roles whenever it benefits your husband/partner. Otherwise you are going to be spread so thin, your relationship is going to suffer, and you're going to be stressed out.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

"And now we have a clear division of labour where housework is about 65/35. Mostly because I work from home and he doesn't so I now get more done during the day."

This is key. Men and women, both, need to sit down and hammer out how household duties will look. When I quit my job, my husband and I had this discussion several times, because I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. I agree that some of the women here, especially young newbies, overcorrect for modern feminism and attribute femininity to being a doormat and a lack of boundaries. It's better to have these conversations camly and rationally, upfront, than tearfully screaming and overwhelmed, though. I'm so glad you and your husband were able to correct course.

[–]BumbleBitny 3 points4 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Ugh this is a poor family member of mine and I think she's finally getting a solid reality check how bad it is. She sustained an injury recently that has her sitting all day. She's still able to do her 9-5 job from home thankfully but pretty much anything besides desk work is off the table, she can't even cook because of the standing. Well her husband hasn't lifted a single finger. He won't cook so they're eating food that loved ones brought over to help but he's not doing any of the dishes. She had someone offer to come over and do some cleaning for them and the husband said absolutely not because he's embarrassed by the state of the house and yet literally refuses to do it himself. When she recovers she's going to have a house that hasn't been touched since the day she got hurt. Thank God that right now this is a simple injury and will heal. But what on earth would she do if she got really hurt or really sick? He can't even step up now for a few weeks what about if it was a few months or a year?

On the flip side I'm a full time housewife it's literally my job to do all of the domestic chores. There's been some really traumatic family things happening that I'm processing through so recently some days I'm just not doing my best. On days where I'm really emotionally raw my dear sweet husband goes "here's a glass of wine, go sit on the couch I'm making dinner" this man hasn't had to do any chores in over 3 years since I became a housewife. Hell when he unloads the dishwasher so he can make dinner he actually doesn't even know where some of the things go! He just puts them into a neat pile so later on I can put those away. He could easily let "but honey I don't know where things go" stop him from even unloading the dishwasher at all. But he knows even if he can only do half that's still half of something off my plate. I'm not sick, I'm not injured, I'm just hurting. My husband still steps up because he acknowledges I just need a little extra help right now.

Not all men will step up even when you really need it. This is why vetting is so insanely important. And believe him the first time. If he's lazy when you date it's just going to get even worse when you marry.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Ugh. That sounds awful. I stay home as well, but with six month old twins, my husband simply can't be free of the chores. I hurt my back last week and he had to stay home from work for three days, because I couldn't lift my girls. He totally stepped up and did everything he could and I still spent the first part of this week trying to catch up. There's just always so much to do between parenting and running a household.

It's so awful when women think they can change a man. It's like watching a car wreck in slow motion. Nothing you say or do will stop it and you know it's going to be a disaster.

[–]BumbleBitny 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

Yep it's really sad and disheartening.

Also sounds super weird but I've read a lot of your posts on here, your name is super recognizable so I remember you lol, and I just want to say I love your posts about your girls. I seriously can feel the love you have for them. I know every woman loves her children more than anything but there's just a way a woman who had problems TTC talks about her children that is beautiful. And I'm super happy you got your miracles.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Thank you so much! They were worth all of it. I do have a blog that I know some of the people here follow from my time under different user names, if you're at all interested.

[–]deep_faked_beans 7 points8 points  (10 children) | Copy Link

'taking out the trash, caring for the lawn, putting up Christmas lights, and cleaning the gutters, while she cooks, cleans the kitchen and bathrooms, and keeps the kids entertained.'

One thing I want to say, this isn't really fairly split because all of the man's things are small once a week jobs, or once a year like with the lights (unless you have a massive garden that somehow needs at least an hour a day upkeep). While the women's jobs will equal hours of work per day. The true way to split this would be to rotate who does the cooking/cleaning on which days, or to split to up with tasks that take roughly the same time.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yes, I agree. Those were just stereotypically masculine examples. There are some couples who operate pretty strictly within their gender roles and I wanted to acknowledge that. My husband and I own an acre and he could honestly probably spend at least an hour a day working in the yard, if he wanted.

[–]SunshineSundressEndorsed Contributor 4 points5 points  (8 children) | Copy Link

I disagree, though I see where you’re coming from.

It seems like those jobs are “small” and “once a week” duties, but watching my aging dad continue do these types of chores whenever I visit my parents tells me a more nuanced story. Even though some of them happen at a lower frequency than everyday chores like cooking, cleaning, and childrearing, a lot of these jobs are inherently more physically stenuous and labor-intensive than most women can handle, not to mention much more risky for injury.

For example, I’ve seen my dad fall off his ladder and injure his back when cleaning the gutters all by himself, because we couldn’t afford to hire someone else to do it and it had to be done, unless we wanted to pay exponentially higher when clogged gutters means rotting roofs and walls which means health risks and tens of thousands of dollars in mold repair. I’ve seen him remove asbestos-laden popcorn ceilings himself so we were able to move into my childhood home. I’ve seen him carry gallons and gallons to water all of the plants in our backyard for hours, just so that we could have fruit trees year-round and flowers to smell in the spring and summer. I remember watching him anxiously as he did electrical work, on a 10 foot ladder, placed precariously on the stairs, so that we could have a light in our staircase.

Now that he’s older, he’s struggling to be able to do all of these types of chores himself. Still, he does it anyway, because it has to be done.

He NEVER entertained the thought of letting my mom do these dangerous and heavy-duty chores. Men and women are biologically different, and some of these chores are simply not feasible for the majority of women to do. Not to mention that in most RPW-esque relationships, we as women want to be protected from harm and injury by our men.

If you want a truly “fair” split, a husband and wife would rotate cooking/cleaning/childrearing, AND would also rotate cleaning gutters, climbing tall ladders to put up Christmas lights, carrying gallons and gallons to water the garden, and doing oftentimes dangerous house maintenance work. But in reality, “fair” matters less than efficient, effective, and practical. It may seem like men have the better deal because traditionally masculine chores are “once a week” chores, but I think a lot of us forget that they also come with more strenuous and dangerous work than the traditionally feminine chores that have to be done daily.

(And when I say strenuous, I don’t mean exhaustion - of course raising babies and cooking all 3 meals and cleaning everything is tiring! I mean strenuous as in it requires a certain level of physical strength and exertion that women may not be capable of.)

All of this to say - communication AND gratitude is key for both partners. If you are struggling to handle all that’s on your plate, talk to your partner and problem solve together, instead of being resentful that they don’t do enough without considering the full extent of all the work they do and the sacrifices they make for you. You may have to get creative, you may have to outsource, or you may have to accept a messier house, less intricate meals, or living in an apartment instead of owning a home so that you don’t have to deal with all the upkeep. You may decide to screw the gendered chores - maybe you’re willing to carry the gallons to water the garden because you’ve been lifting heavy at the gym, and he can cook because he finds it more rewarding and less exhausting than you do! Whatever you decide, it’s just important to approach these issues as teammates with a common goal rather than adversaries trying to get a better deal.

[–]OmarNBradley 6 points7 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I do all those male chores you mention, and more. I grew up working class and DIY is a way of life for me, I would no sooner call a plumber to install a faucet than I would light myself on fire. My husband is from an upper class boarding school background and while he is perfectly happy to do things that require or are made easier by physical strength, such as hauling bags of leaves across the lawn or sawing up a deadfall tree, he just doesn't have the background with this stuff that I do, which is perfectly common for men of his social class. Do you think Tucker Carlson (a boarding school classmate) is standing on a ladder to clean his gutters?

And speaking as the person who also does the majority of the indoor chores, I will say that I would one million times rather do yard work than clean up the house. If I mow the lawn, it stays mowed for a week or two and, importantly, there is nothing that anybody can do to it that will make it need to be mowed again before that time is up. My kids need to eat three times a day and they can trash the tidiest of spaces in nothing flat. They aren't malicious slobs; they're clueless kids, but that still means that I either have to clean up after them or get after them to do it themselves, which is something that does not obtain outdoors. I might have to rake the leaves five times each fall, but each leaf stays raked the first time I get to it.

I think a lot of these situations break down when a couple has children. Kids add a lot of work that is impossible to perceive when you don't have them. Even when they are very small, they can only make so much mess, and I say that as a parent of twins. That changes when they are eight or nine. Part of how we dealt with it was to move to a much smaller house that requires much less upkeep and yardwork than our previous giant old house on its landscaped acre, but that also means that any mess is that much more visible.

All of this to say - communication AND gratitude is key for both partners.

This is absolutely true. I grew up doing loads of yard work, including helping my dad cut and haul wood for our wood-heated house, so I don't mind raking leaves. If Mr. Bradley came home, though, and started complaining that I didn't get around to mowing the lawn that day, I wouldn't be anywhere near as willing to do as much as I do. He is grateful and appreciative for everything and doesn't hesitate to express it, which goes a long long way. I, of course, return the favor.

[–]SunshineSundressEndorsed Contributor 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I think it’s absolutely admirable that you’re willing to take the risks associated with traditionally male chores yourself, and also for figuring out something that works for you and your husband given your different backgrounds and personal inclinations! That was the conclusion that I was going for, which is why I emphasized the importance of communicating what works best for us as individuals and as a couple, not based on what men or women “should” do. Tucker Carlson is DEFINITELY not cleaning his own gutters, but I would bet 25 bucks that Susan Andrews isn’t either 😂 (not 50 bucks though, because there’s still a chance that she has a DIY spirit like yours 😅). Although I think your husband would make the best bet since she may have been in the same boarding school too!

While my dad did end up teaching me some handy skills (I also don’t mind changing a faucet or dealing with the water heater issues we keep having at my current place), I personally would choose to clean (which I already don’t like very much) over yard work, mostly because I’m deathly afraid of skin cancer and sun damage and don’t want to burn under the sun every other day watering the plants and mowing the lawns. This is why my main point was to emphasize productive communication and working to find a compromise that benefits everyone - which inherently requires coming from an angle of appreciation and vulnerability.

I think you’re spot on about having kids and the chaos they bring in the early years. Which is why (and I’m not sure if I made it clear enough in my comment) I wasn’t at all trying to say that we shouldn’t ask for help if we’re struggling. Raising young kids while running a household WILL be exhausting and difficult, and you probably WILL need their father to step in, even if he works full-time and even if he’s doing his share of traditionally masculine chores. My dad sure did. I would be pretty hurt if my SO didn’t.

What I find problematic is this whole tit-for-tat, whose-work-is-more-valuable or who-bears-more-of-the-burden mentality. Just as easily as we’ve argued that (in a traditionally gendered chore arrangement, which is what OP was talking about in her post) women do more because we do more daily, we can also argue that men do more because they shoulder bigger risks like dealing with mold and asbestos and climbing and whatnot. It easily becomes a futile, who’s the most thankless person in the room contest, and breeds a hell of a lot of resentment.

It is unproductive to be in this frame of mind, because when you ask for help, it’s going to come off as accusatory. “You are not doing enough compared to me and it upsets me” (even when it’s phrased passive-aggressively and indirectly) is a lot more off-putting than “Have I ever told you how much I appreciate it when you do X and Y?”, and then eventually telling them how much of a hard time you’re having and asking for help to steer the ship back on track.

The first approach leaves your partner feeling defensive and angry, much more likely to double down that he does PLENTY and that YOU’RE the one who’s slacking because you can’t finish your own chores. You hurt him, he retaliates in an equally hurtful way, and now you have a full-blown resentful fight AND no help at all. The second approach makes him feel happy that his contributions are being noticed and appreciated, which makes him more likely to feel his protective instincts for you and glad to help you shoulder some of your load to rescue his damsel from her distress, even if he’s doing a lot himself. That’s why I think your and Mr. Bradley’s arrangement is ideal - you are both generous with your appreciation and in turn are willing to help each other if push comes to shove!

This goes both ways, of course! I wrote the final point of my comment with gender-neutral wording for a reason. Our men can just as easily demean us in the same way by invalidating the work that we do. And what we’re discussing (i.e. where the couple balances between traditionally gendered chores) is a completely different case than the husband or partner who expects a full-time working wife to do all the household chores while not doing ANY chores of his own, because he earns more or because that’s just what a good woman does. That’s certainly not a sustainable situation and I think OP explains why quite well in her post.

[–]MarchBaby21 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I’ll start off with saying I agree with a lot of what you said, particularly the last paragraph.

But I think a lot of full time working women in the season of life of having and raising young kids don’t necessarily agree with this because, unless the man has a very physically demanding/dangerous job, the woman’s role is usually more physically demanding, painful, and dangerous than all of the masculine chores combined.

My husband and I had a conversation about this a few months ago. He grew up assuming he’d have the more dangerous and physically demanding role within a marriage. After watching me vomit 10+ times a day for 3 months, deal with typical pregnancy pains, and then go through 24 hours of labor and an emergency c-section, he thinks it’s laughable that he ever thought that he, an office worker, is the one in our marriage who was going to take on more risk/physical exertion because he goes on ladders a few times a year and carries heavy stuff.

All of this to say that if I were working full time and bearing children and my husband thought he should spend a sixth of the time I do on chores because his are more dangerous/physically difficult, I’d be incredibly unhappy and resentful. Because he ain’t the one putting his body on the line.

[–]deep_faked_beans 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

just so that we could have fruit trees year-round and flowers to smell in the spring and summer

I still disagree because these are one off tasks, not daily chores. Even if they take a couple of hours when done, it's not like they're done everyday, like the hours of cooking and cleaning and entertaining children. This is why lots of women are fed up, people trying to claim this is an even split. Also, having fruit trees and flowers isn't essential like cooking and cleaning is, i'm guessing your dad just has this as a hobby as lots of men do. I wouldn't even count it as a chore if they're choosing to do it for themselves. Also, if the man is doing these things, he could still chip in a bit with the other things, maybe not exactly equal but like a couple of things per week. It's also not impossible for women to do diy things, having done these things myself, I'm sorry if you've been brought up to believe that.

[–]SunshineSundressEndorsed Contributor 5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I think you missed my point. I’m trying to say that it’s ultimately useless to argue about who does more work, because at the end of the day, both sides are doing A LOT, and because making it a contest for who is the most thankless person in the relationship is NOT going to make him want to help you out, which is your goal in the first place. It’s going to push him away because you’re invalidating the work he does and the risks he takes to make your house into a livable AND happy home.

Which is why I find it a bit funny that you only decided to highlight the one non-essential chore I mentioned, in a list of examples of otherwise essential duties from traditionally masculine chores. It was again an effort to minimize and invalidate the risks and hard work that men actually do in these chores. You could also say that the house doesn’t HAVE to be that clean or neat, and the food we eat doesn’t HAVE to be homemade or healthy or delicious.

I wouldn’t even count it as a chore if they’re doing it for themselves.

Again, more tit-for-tat. How dare he enjoy doing something that has a net benefit for everyone in the household! He must suffer doing his chores or they don’t count, even if they required time, effort, and work!

Do you see why making this frame of mind is counterproductive? Because it’s not gonna convince him to want to help you, and it’s not gonna convince you that you shouldn’t make healthy food for your family or fold the laundry instead of leaving it in a pile. It’s just going to make more both people more and more resentful of each other, and you’re just talking over each other’s heads instead of actually communicating what you need in a productive way.

Also, if the man is doing these things, he could still chip in a bit with the other things

Where did I say in my comment that he couldn’t or shouldn’t do that? I emphasized the importance of communicating not only appreciation for what he does, but also of what WE need help with in a productive way that makes him WANT to help you out. We can’t expect them to just know that we’re struggling and need help, and we also can’t invalidate their hard work and expect them to still want to help us.

It’s also not impossible for women to do diy things, having done these things myself, I’m sorry if you were brought up to believe that.

Ouch. Well that was unnecessary and backhanded of you. Why are you bringing my upbringing and beliefs into this? This was the full quote from the OP, relevant bits bolded for your convenience:

Maybe he does more traditionally masculine chores, such as chopping wood for the fire, taking out caring for the lawn, putting up Christmas lights, and cleaning the gutters

Like OP replied to your comment, she simply included this to acknowledge that there are a lot of couples here at RPW who are pretty traditional and strictly follow gender roles. This whole thing was a hypothetical example, and this type of relationship was what your comment was discussing as well. I was offering you an explanation for why those couples may choose to delegate their chores and duties in this way, but not once did I say that this is how all couples “should” be. In fact, I’m pretty sure I said it’s a perfectly valid choice to decide not to follow these roles at all if it doesn’t work for you:

You may decide to screw the gendered chores - maybe you’re willing to carry the gallons to water the garden because you’re lifting heavy at the gym, and he can cook because he finds it more rewarding and less exhausting than you do! Whatever you decide, it’s just important to approach these issues as teammates with a common goal rather than adversaries trying to get a better deal.

[–]Throwaway230306 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy Link

But in reality, “fair” matters less than efficient, effective, and practical. It may seem like men have the better deal because traditionally masculine chores are “once a week” chores, but I think a lot of us forget that they also come with more strenuous and dangerous work than the traditionally feminine chores that have to be done daily.

I kind of hate agreeing here, but I agree. 😛

I work full time and do much of the cooking/cleaning/laundry/grocery shopping and about 60 percent of the childcare.

My husband also works full time (albeit a sporadic schedule, he works for himself) and he handles the lawn/yard/garden/snow plowing/house and car maintenance/fixing broken stuff/assembling stuff. (Assembling so much kids stuff!)

I have almost never done these chores and don't plan to. I don't even know how to get the lawn mower started. If something happened to my husband (GOD FORBID), I'd hire a handyman or more likely sell the house and rent an apartment.

I couldn't easily or competently do my husband's chores, and he'd do mine inefficiently and sporadically.

It's true that his chores aren't everyday things, but they're so onerous and unpleasant for me (oh God installing car seats, oh God the monster snowblower😫) that I'm mostly okay with the deal we have, even if I do get frustrated occasionally.

Important: I'll add that I have a bullshit office job that I've been doing from home for nearly the past two years, which makes it waaay easier to handle my chores and still maintain my stress levels and sanity. I would have a much harder time if I had a demanding job and a daily commute.

[–]BumbleBitny 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I'm a housewife without kids so I do all the household duties and let me tell you the traditional men ones suck! Making breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the dishes associated with them isn't fun. But damn would I feed a literal army every single day just to avoid yard work in the summer time. I hate the heat and humidity and trying to protect my skin so I'm in long sleeves and jeans with a sun hat which makes the heat even worse. I'm sweating buckets and there's bugs. In August I dream of nothing more than running inside and folding 100 loads of laundry. Whatever gets me inside and away from doing labor in the heat. Though I will say I do feel like a total bad ass the few times I've had to use the chainsaw. 🤣

[–]SunshineSundressEndorsed Contributor 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Yes, this is exactly what I was getting at (and I’m with you that I would much rather rent than deal with a lot of house maintenance stuff myself, building wealth be damned 😂)!

I think a lot of us forget or don’t realize, especially when we’re feeling stressed out and overworked, that we might feel just as, if not even more, stressed out and overworked if we attempted to do our partner’s work instead. The grass always looks greener on the other side, in particular when you’re not the one who has to mow it!

It reminds me of this episode of I Love Lucy, where the husbands and wives are so frustrated with each other that they decide to switch roles and prove that the other has it easy. Spoiler: chaos and sheepishness ensue.

[–]MrsChiliad 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

This post is not what I thought it was going to be from the title, but I agree!

[–]Diamond-Breath 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I agree, we're not designed to do both roles at the same time PLUS staying beautiful.

[–]LateralThinker134 Stars 2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

If your goal is a marriage where the woman does all of the housework, including cooking and childcare, the only real way to cultivate a healthy and happy home life is for the man to be the main breadwinner so she can stay home and do that.

Ah, but you see, that requires math skills. Being a parent - especially of a 0-3years child - is a full-time, 24-hours-a-day job. Not super demanding for all of it, but someone has to always be on call. Always. They can't self-supervise like an older tween/teen. And that parent has to be subsidized by one of two things; time or money.

A husband can provide the money - and you're good. Or family/friends can provide time - in the form of babysitting/raising - and you're good. But you cannot do it all yourself. This is especially true for single mothers. But too often they refuse to do the math... and math is unforgiving. You cannot make 1 + 0 = 2 no matter how hard you try. So their kids lose out.

There's literally endless amounts of work to be done and about four hours in which to do it, depending on commute, every night. On top of this, both adults need time to decompress, perhaps take a moment for themselves, and connect with each other to keep their marriage strong.

AMEN. My wife's a SAHM, and I work from home 4 days per week, and still, there's not enough time to get everything done while managing a 1-year-old. We get a babysitter 1/week and a cleaning lady biweekly just to keep up. And we still don't have nearly enough couples time, like, at all.

If both partners would prefer a stay-at-home-parent to take the bulk of these responsibilities, they're going to have to make sacrifices, including career momentum and financial standing. You'll have more time, but you might have an older car and off-brand clothing and fewer vacations. You cannot have the best of both worlds.

Unless the husband makes six figures, this is very true. For reference, top 10% of US earners made about 135k+ last year.

If you plan to work full time, don't agree to also be a full time SAHW/SAHM, because in most cases, it can't be done and you'll find yourself venting on Reddit.

Again, back to 1+0 =/=2. Only a masochist tries to take on two full time jobs. It's just not doable. Stop trying to do the impossible and instead do the realistic. If that means changing your plans, values, or standards, GET OFF YOUR EGO AND DO IT.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

My husband came home for lunch to a living room full of gifts and wrapping paper and declared that my staying home was absolutely the right call, because now we don't have to spend our Saturday wrapping Christmas presents. It doesn't work for everyone, but it's certainly worth it for us. It's nice to see a man who agrees.

[–]LateralThinker134 Stars 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

Well, I do what courts say (but rarely do): I put the best interests of the child first. And my child needs family raising her, and when she's only one, she needs lot of parenting and nurturing. Totally worth making sacrifices to enable that to happen.

My wife would love a part-time job, don't get me wrong... both because working makes her feel fulfilled in ways that parenting doesn't, and because we could use the cash. But. She'd rather raise our daughter well, too.

[–]CptKillsteal 2 points3 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

And that's why we're not having children....

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

I see you were downvoted, but that's also a totally valid choice.

[–]CptKillsteal 1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

We don't feel like we can make enough money and give enough time and energy to a kid whilst still having enough time for ourselves

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I have a lot of friends who don't have or want kids for all kinds of reasons. I'd much rather see people do what's right for their families than what they feel is expected of them.

[–]CptKillsteal 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I am far past "what is expected of me". I just want to live my own life and try to actually be happy.

[–]BiscottiiBaby 0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy Link

Yeah it’s a great arrangement unless you actually thought you got to do nothing all the time. Then it’s complaint city.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 4 points5 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Well, in general, I feel like SAHM's complain too much. I'd just like to see more women fall somewhere between toxic positivity and constantly griping about something that cost me $30k and almost my life to get. Staying home with my children is a privilege many wish they had.

[–]BiscottiiBaby -1 points0 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

So you’re salty that others have it without putting in so much of their time or effort and don’t appreciate it. That makes sense I mean at the least be appreciative

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I mean yes, admittedly, but before I even knew we'd have to do IVF, it always kind of annoyed me how much parents complain. You chose this life. Not having kids is an option and I know many who've taken it. I assumed it must just be impossible and utterly exhausting, but if that's the case, it hasn't really kicked in yet and I'm six months into twin life. When I worked full time, it was harder, but I was still both grateful and entirely aware that it was what I chose. Everyone needs to vent sometimes, but if it's constant, it's just whining.

[–]BiscottiiBaby 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I live in an area with a lot of stay at home moms and wives (I’m not sure I understand the point of the second one but to each their own). The sheer amount of complaining daily on the community moms group was nauseating. I do Not miss that crap. It’s like gee Becky if you can’t handle your other 4 kids maybe now isn’t the best time to have another one? I get it.

[–]recyclops30 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy Link

While I do think a pre-marital discussion is in order, I really do think this is a vetting problem. Maybe not just with a potential spouse, but also within yourself. As future (or current) wives, the question should be there about if your expectations are reasonable. If you discern your expectations are reasonable (I.e. I would like to be a stay at home mom or I would like have enough income to hire a house cleaner) then you should only be entertaining men who could reasonably meet those expectations. If you’re still in the vetting process, you need to look at potential income. You also need to look at attitudes towards sharing responsibilities because there are so many men who have the money but see hiring outside help or having their wife stay homes as a poor allocation of resources. If you vet properly and don’t rush into an idealized marriage then things tend to turn out better.

[–]TheTwincessMakerEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I definitely agree. I do think some women never plan on staying home, until they have children, though and I can see why that would make vetting for this difficult. I, myself, am lucky my husband was on board, because we had both planned for me to always work. When I had my girls, though, everything changed, perhaps because of how hard it was to get pregnant or the fact that my mother died while I was pregnant, or that I almost died giving birth. The idea of leaving my girls with someone else every day, longterm suddenly became awful. I'd never imagined I'd feel that way and I was lucky my husband agreed, not only with my staying home, but with how that would look.

[–]angelicasinensis 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I'm a stay at home mom AND my husband does half of the household chores. We have three kids and I homeschool, so this is fair. Ideally for me would be me and my husband both working 50% of the time and doing 50% of the chores and kids.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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