1,519 thoughts on “You should’ve asked

  1. Hey Emma, I completely agree with you, and no one will really understand unless they have been in these situations. I am a stay at home mom, and not by choice, we can’t afford child care, and don’t have relatives that would offer it either. I love my daughter, but it is exhausting. I envy my husband getting to go to work and that be the end of his worries for the day. No sleepless nights because he works, no screaming tantrums, no getting critisized for not doing “enough” housework because it can’t be that difficult to watch, feed, bathe, calm, put to sleep, handle our daughter and do every chore in 8 hours, oh and don’t forget needing to be in a great mood too 😂. I appreciate him bringing home a paycheck, but I would love to feel appreciated too, and have money that I don’t have to have a reason to spend, I have to ask for approval to buy something that isn’t groceries. We are a young couple 24 and 25 with a 10 month old and another on the way, I completely relate to your comic and it was nice to not feel alone. And don’t get me wrong I Love my husband.

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    1. “I envy my husband getting to go to work and that be the end of his worries for the day.”

      Much respect for the work that you do, but I must take exception to this sentence. If your husband’s job is like most other jobs out there, he is most certainly not worry-free there.

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      1. Good point Nigel. It can even be generalized further: The world is full of suffering said a famous and 2.5k year old teacher. When we point the finger, based on a misunderstanding, towards those around us who are good at hiding their suffering, and blame them to be enjoying life while we, on the inside, are so clearly full of suffering, we are under a very very wrong impression. Another old teacher puts it as: “Know the truth and that will set you free.” You are actually free, but don’t seem to know or realize it. Did you choose to have a baby? And another one? Or, did you feel like you had to do it? I don’t know. The truth is for you to find out, within.
        Further, do we really need to be appreciated? And how are we so sure that we are not already?
        Here is another generalization if it helps any person out there who feel like they are not getting the appreciation they deserve: you don’t need it. But, you got it already. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. You simply do not know that you are appreciated. Not lucky enough to have a wise soul show you that they really, really appreciate you just as you are.. (Look down to the face of your child who is asleep. They do appreciate you. But, you know, they got the colic and also trying to figure out the darn realities of life 🙂 So, cut them some slack when they don’t seem to appreciate you being around..
        Fun to have a conversation here, but gotta go. Be still. And know that you are extraordinary, regardless of what the voice in the mind seem to be shouting inside. Love. (Not just from me to you, but, the imperative: love, cause that’s your deepest truth, i.e., you are love)

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    2. Maddie, have you read “The barefoot investor” by Scott Pape? You shouldn’t have to ask your husband for money. Does he ask you if he can spend money?

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    3. Leave your husband with your kid for the day without warning, any prepared food, instructions AND switch your phone off. Also tell female relatives not to be able for help. Don’t make it easy for,him while you have a day out as that is more work for you and he won’t learn how hard you have it.

      When you come back from your day out find out out how he got on. I can think of two scenarios – he thought it was easy but then you can see why he thought that as the house will be a total garbage tip, the child will be dirty e.g. Face not cleaned from eating and he would have ordered takeaway junk food even though you have food in the house he could have prepared a basic meal with. OR you will come home to find him on him at his wits end saying he couldn’t get any housework or cooking done because he was looking after a child.

      Men need to learn how hard we full time mums have it. They naively/nastily think just because we don’t go out to work and earn a salary we have it easy. Wrong. We work inside the home and I would say we have it harder as there are no lunch breaks, toilet breaks, salary, sick pay, set hours and set job description, adult conversation and we have to juggle childcare with all types of mundane chores. We are also classed as unemployed by the government. Lmao.

      why are you having another kid with him? You do know these men get lazier with the birth of each child?

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      1. Or third he can do everything just fine because men always just get stuck into this stereotype its only a minority not the majority… also once kids get older into mid teens its not that hard to take care of them anymore meanwhile the man still has to work for another 10-20 years after the kids are gone… I worked hard and got a good job where I only work 3 days a week im home the other 4 and did my fair share of household stuff and always thought it was rediculous that women make such a big deal about it its not hard at all…

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    4. Ugh, ignore the mansplainers. 🙄

      Your sentence “I have to ask for approval to buy something that isn’t groceries,” is a little concerning. That’s…controlling behavior. Keep an eye on that. To me that’s a red flag, especially if there’s other behaviors like that going on.

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  2. Ok.
    One person wrote a comic. A bunch of people read it, i.e. you guys.
    You all left jerky comments. Maybe you didn’t mean them to be. I get it, we all make mistakes. But they were.
    And now like half of you are in a freaking war.
    Is it just me or is this comments page an exact replica of real life?
    Is it just me or does that totally suck?
    Can we all stop? Please? I just wanted a slice a life comic, I didn’t want to join a battle.

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  3. I have been in a toxic relationship and I can relate to this so much… However, my life turned around by 180 degrees when I left his lazy ass and decided to never live with a man again, which at least freed me of half of the housework. It took a really special person to convince me otherwise.

    Now I am living the dream with the most caring and reliable partner I could have ever dreamt of. He is sharing the chores, but also organizing together with me, thoughtful of the details. Often, I come home to find he thought to do stuff I forgot and vice versa. Our household isn’t perfect but on a level we both can accept. Still, we both are successful in our jobs (not THAT successful we could afford domestic aid, nor would we want one), but enough to be content. He would probably think it’s taken for granted and not accept praise from me, but I know the reality out there is that he’s one in a million.

    So it IS possible to live in a relationship and still both care for each other yet have time for themselves.

    The only way to make this the standard is to teach this responsibility to our sons from the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with so much of this! I remember early on in our marriage just begging him to anticipate my needs. He replied that he wasn’t a mind reader. So I would give him example after example. If even one dish is dirty, I suggested that he just wash it. So he would… partly. Food would still be dried to it. So I would try to teach him how, and he complained that he couldn’t do it good enough for my standards… trust me that lead to a long argument.

    So I stopped doing anything that wasn’t dire. And he was fine with that until he’d get frustrated and do it himself. I’d tell him, I married a man, not a child, and I know his momma taught him better than that.

    But then I started to think about how he thinks. Any new or ‘new-to-him’ project he does, he has to go to the store for parts more than actually working on the project. Why was he like that? I found out he’s not alone. There are alot of other men like that too.
    They won’t admit to it, but they don’t see the details, they see the whole picture. They don’t see the steps leading up to something, they just see the end result. Unlike women, they compartmentalize tasks, single-minded in their objective. I can’t say that this is something by nature or by nurture, but it’s how my husband’s brain is wired. (Funny cause he’s an electrician)

    Now at work, he can do these tasks, without even thinking they are so ingrained, but at home his brain has the luxury just vegging out.

    We women don’t have that luxury. I think men believe (or make the excuse) that women are “just better at this job” (we aren’t). We’ve done it longer, it should be second nature, right? Big Nope! Or we were trained for this by our moms? Another Big Nope! We are forced on this job 24/7 because we do it out of love. That’s it.

    We love you. So show some gratitude and LOOK FOR WAYS TO HELP, Really Search like it’s a treasure hunt and your marriage is the damsel in distress! This search means you value our time, our sanity, and our love. Men are not idiots, they can be geniuses if they need to be. I, for one, refuse to let my husband and sons play dumb.

    That being said, If allowed, I also promise to take time after work to let him rest, vent, and unwind before starting this new task. I know I have issues and need time retracting my tendrils from one task to start another.

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  5. I’ve lived with, and had children with, two partners – and neither of them has really helped me much with the housework or childcare. Many of my friends are in the same situation.

    I’m a straight male. So am I living in some kind of parallel universe or is this some kind of huge overgeneralisation? It just seemed rather sexist and unhelpful to me.

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    1. Same here. But I found this is apparently not the forum to add this perspective.
      This space is for supporting the narrative that women have it hard because men are oblivious. Sharing any other lived experience is “derailing”, etc…

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      1. You’re probably right that this isn’t the forum for that discussion, but not because it’s a man-hating forum.

        It’s because there is a specific problem being discussed on this page, and a “not all men” response really detracts from the conversation.

        Let’s be honest, Hugo; while your experience is absolutely sincere, it isn’t the norm. Kudos to you for being on top of things in your household, though! I, and the guys I know, fall into the mold as described in this article. It’s the far more common occurrence, simply put.

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    2. It’s not sexist it’s the norm. You are not the norm. Does that mean the author is wrong? No not at all because she’s speaking to the general issue. The norm in which males suck at helping at home.

      I’m a stay at home dad and have these exact same issues at home. My wife is oblivious to how much mental load is required to raise two kids. She works and brings home money and since I don’t I am left to do the housework to earn my keep. When I talk to her about this she apologizes and tries to help more but inevitably goes back to status quo in a day or two.

      It wasn’t always this way. I was an IT Manager for a huge company but we decided I should be the stay at home parent because it ‘came more naturally’ to me. I think this is horseshit. I simply do what I think a parent should.

      So… Either take something positive from this article or realize you’re a part of the problem. Our partners need help. Maybe you need help. Let’s help each other understand how the other feels. Up to you.

      David

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    3. I think it most definitely can go both ways! I know my sons uncle was married to this horrible woman that didn’t do anything at all! BUT i do agree that most of the time it is the other way around. But I do feel that that’s because most of the time men can make more money and tend to be the ones to keep their jobs. Maybe this “mental load” is a byproduct of whomever is stuck in the house with the kids and chores? Not necessarily women or men. I’m sorry you feel left out and not being supported. I feel that support is kinda the main objective for the person bearing the mental load and if that’s you in your relationship then we should all band together to support you as well not just the females.

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  6. Some days I’m so exhausted and stressed out an resentful that I feel like I may have a heart attack. Then I realize that if I was dead I wold never have to laundry again and I actually feel better.

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  7. This is amazing. Guys, I know a lot of you do not only housework sometimes, but have very stressful jobs and bringing home $$ is a huge responsibility. I totally respect that. But this comic articulates so clearly and accurately the “mental load” that is in fact the burden of the mother of today- may she be one with a job, multiple jobs, high paying career, or no job. How much would you dads pay someone to do the job that a mother performs, 7 days a week 24 hours a day? Her job is literally unpaid, under-appreciated, and never ending. This cannot be overstated. I also love this concept of her being the “rememberer”. A mom has to notice, remember, and execute so much, all while calmly and kindly enduring the barrage of the whirlwind of child raising. That heart attack feeling is probably anxiety, and is SO real. It’s kind of a miracle that we can tolerate it. Kids today are NUTS! It takes me hours to clean off a table too, for exactly the reason Emma has so wonderfully depicted here. So good.

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  8. Hmmm, believe it or not. Some of us men do all the chores plus go to work while the woman needs to be asked to help incessantly yet the work never gets done. It’s not a one way street with this. Though I’d agree that more men probably fall into the category than women. But I did notice that with my mother also, my dad seemed to be putting in more the effort into helping raise us and completing chores while also working longer hours. Maybe if this were really about equality, this particular cartoon can be about sorting out the lazy people, which run in BOTH genders, not either/or. I dont particularly see my so’s or mother’s behavior as sexist towards me or men in any way, I just see it as them being raised in a particular manner and also, a bit lazy in some respects.

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    1. This isn’t about the men who do their share. Face it …. very few men do their share which is the reason the internet is full of these articles! Good for you but no need to get annoyed and act as if anyone is accusing you of not pulling your weight. . As at the end of the day most women do all the work. You’re an exception. This article isn’t about you, it’s about the long suffering women.

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      1. I think you might have missed his point. Why is it about suffering women? There are many women that don’t suffer from this and also many men that do.
        Why target this to men instead of all people in relations?

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    2. Sexism isn’t about malice though. Not all sexism is born of misogyny. When you talk about “being raised in a particular manner” that’s a big part of what’s being discussed here. How do we raise boys and girls to not have a gendered paradigm of housework?

      And the mental management piece isn’t the same thing necessarily as the labour time. The fact is that while vacuuming the floor is a household chore, it’s still a good idea to know who in your household is identifying whether the floor needs to be vacuumed. And maybe someone is very active in doing housework or child rearing but is not pro-active in identifying what needs to be done. They aren’t lazy, they just aren’t doing the management piece.

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  9. Exactly. And then when you ask “did you remember to…?” it’s YOUR fault for “nagging all the time.” It’s a rigged game. A partner (co-parent/spouse/lover, whatever) has to pull their fair share of the weight. One arrangement has one partner doing the “outside” work (earning money, yardwork, whatever) while the other does the “inside” work of nurturing, housecleaning, cooking….but it is a broken model. A key point in my view: DON’T gender this. The “men are”/”women are” stereotype excuses what is plain and simple the exploitation of labour of the more responsible partner. “You are irresponsible and need to pull more weight in this mutual contract of equals” names the problem accurately. “You’re such a man” is a trap – because it equates irresponsibility with masculinity and masculinity is “GOOD”, right? Don’t play tennis on that court. You will always lose.

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  10. I love this comic strip so much! It’s been reshared in groups I’m in, it keeps circling around and I come back to it every once in a while. It makes an important point so clear to everyone who reads it, it really is an impactful creation.

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  11. This article put a lot of thoughts I have into words, but my case is likely very unusual. I’ll be sending this to my girlfriend because, in our heterosexual relationship, I’m the one who takes the brunt of the mental load at home (in addition to a unilaterally more demanding career) although we don’t have a baby (just a cat). The article applies to us in reverse, and, while rare, I just want to highlight that possibility.

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  12. The fact that it’s invisible is the problem, the house is always cleaned when nobody can see(which admittedly is the best way to clean).

    It almost feels natural, like watching a river flow, does anyone think about the large pool of water pushing it? Not until it goes dry.

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  13. And the clouds parted and the HEAVENS SANG. “Mental load” is a term I didn’t know and yet it is vastly enlightening. THANK YOU for this. I’m not even sharing living space with someone, and it’s *still* incredibly useful and enlightening. And hopefully the next time I do live with someone, this will help us have productive conversations about expectations and responsibilities.

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  14. Can anyone recommend a good roadmap, guide or worksheet to help identify and more easily divide the physical and mental workload of a household?

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