You should’ve asked

Here is the english version of my now famous “Fallait demander” !

Thanks Una from unadtranslation.com for the translation 🙂

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1,027 thoughts on “You should’ve asked

    1. I second this, I couldn’t even finish it because of how one sided it is. For example, from personal experience, I can tell you that women tend to insist on being the so called manager of the home. Wanting everything done on HER time and not participating in any household chores a man attempts to manage, instead doing things her own way. Good example being what you need about how women will go to do one chore, then get distracted by others, jump down a rabbit hole and find that 2 hours later the original chore was forgotten. Whereas men will simply accomplish the tall at hand. You present that as if what the woman does is correct, but I disagree. Plus, in general, home maintenance take are often taken care of by men and go unappreciated just the same as chores done by women often go unappreciated. For example, I have been mowing a .8 acre lawn with a push mower (with the help of a very good friend) for about 2 months while trying to get the riding lawn mower working. My gf couldn’t care less about the lawn or the work we put into it. She was getting mad at me because she was doing all the dishes and I wasn’t helping. As if I wanted to spend all my afternoons and an entire weekend dealing with a lawn mower. I did that because I care about the presentation of our home. All she sees is the work that she does any I don’t do, rather than the work I do that she doesn’t do. At the end of the day, we both put a lot of effort in, but she, much like many women do to their own SOs, often treats me like I’m a bum. And then things like this make rounds on the internet and reinforces this one sided viewpoint, exacerbating the problem. #EndRant

      Liked by 4 people

      1. This is true. To a point. There are some couples that learn to balance and mesh the chores with their complementary skills. It’s very similar in our house where my mechanically-talented husband handles the fixing and maintenance of things.
        However, those things are not regular things. Those are reactive to a specific issue, problem or irregular need. Something breaking or needing more than a little maintenance, etc. Those regular things – dishes, laundry, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc., still have to be done all year and mowing the lawn once a week is included in those regular tasks – for the 3-5 months it’s needed.
        Beyond that, not even your mother should have to ask a grown man to do dishes, cook, vacuum, sweep, clean a toilet or change their bed sheets if it needs to be done.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. I hear you saying that you’re frustrated that your SO isn’t appreciating your efforts with mowing the lawn and you feel over burdened with having to manage what needs to be done AND the work as well. “As if [you] want to spend all [your] afternoons and an entire weekend dealing with a lawn mower. [You] did that because [you] care about the presentation of [your] home. She doesn’t want to spend all her time managing everything else!!! But it’s usually expected of us and if/when we don’t do it things just don’t get done. So, we take on tthe dishes, keeping track of household supplies, figuring out what to fix for meals, buying groceries and prepping all the meals, keeping track of leftovers in the fridge so they get used before going bad and not wasted or causing illness, keeping track of when to call the exterminator, figuring out what exterminator to call in the first place, keeping track of that information so you can call them again, managing every aspect of hiring help, keeping track of bills to keep the utilities on…and usually keeping track of all the stuff for her SO—insurance/registration on the car, medical appointments (finding doctors, scheduling appts, keeping track of what needs to be done when, having to remind their SO about appts, etc, etc, etc), his laundry, etc. All you see is the work that [YOU] do, rather than the work [SHE] does that [YOU] don’t do!!! I’m sure she’ relieved that mowing the lawn is ONE thing she doesn’t have to manage or manage you doing, buying the supplies, getting the mower fixed, etc. And you’re complaining that you have this ONE thing!!! LOLOLOL!!!!

        As for myself, I want to have a partner not feel like I’m having to manage a petulant child who can’t be bothered to care about the house he also LIVES IN!! Though my favorite “trick” is when guys half-ass something, tell their SO that she does it MUCH better, or if the SO gets upset he starts an argument about how he can never live up to her standards so she should just do it instead of starting a fight! ARGH!!! You’re an adult and can figure out how to load a dishwasher so the dishes actually get clean, not put stuff in it that will melt with “heat dry” selected (or turn it OFF!!), and you can damn well not put 1/2 the dishes back where they don’t go and make your SO go on a easter egg hunt just to cook dinner (that very likely you contributed no help to figuring out what to make, find/have recipes, create the grocery list, clip coupons, go to the grocery store, remember to use the coupons, get it all home, put away and make dinner!!), you can wash clothes and not ruin wool sweaters or make everything pink, and you can stop asking where the fuck everything is!!! It’s not my job to keep track of where you left your shoes and I have better things to do than to get out the batteries for the 1000 time because you can’t be bothered to remember….even though they’ve been in the same damn place for 20 years!! Oh, waaaaah, you have to mow the lawn and deal with a broken lawnmower!!! boo fuckin’ hoo!!!

        Liked by 4 people

      3. I do the lawn, as well as the minor repairs, around the house. I arrange for any outsourced repairs. Yes, I pay for them, too. The cleaning and all the rest, I do. Yes, we both work outside the home.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. I do understand your POV. It is true that some women often forget to appreciate the work done by the men in the house. I appreciate my husband household work and tell about it amongst his relatives, exaggerating how supportive he is as a husband!
        You might have read the point where Emma mentions that the lady picks up the towel off the floor, checks the vegetables on the counter while on the way to clear the table! Here multitasking is appreciated. The reason is that the lady’s mind is right where it has to be; tidying the table and hence the house.
        While a man clear the table, he would put away all the items of the table to another table; while he has achieved the task of clearing the said table, the purpose is not served because his mind if elsewhere; he is thinking about tonight’s game or his muscles or that he has to hit the gym in an hour!
        The point we as women are trying to make is that men should choose to take care of household chores with the same amount of energy and dedication as required.
        The reason it is perfect when women do it and men don’t wanna do it ‘Her’ way is because it is the ‘Right’ way; it is not her way!
        Most women know the kind of detergent that goes in the washer! that there needs to be dustbin bag in the dustbin for garbage to to be collected and thrown. If I tell my husband to clear the kitchen counter and remove the vegetable skins he’d throw it in the bin; I have to again tell him to put a dustbin bag in the dustbin and then throw the garbage in the dustbin bag without spilling the dustbin!
        I rest my case 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      5. How many times a year do you mow the lawn? I know that would depend on where you live so I’ll take my example. We live in upstate New York. Lawn is mowed from maybe May to October then you have snow from maybe December to April at most May. My husband does this work. The lawn is not a huge priority, it gets mowed once a month so five times a year. The snow clearing depends on the weather some winters we hardly get any snow others is a couple of storms and others is just too much freaking snow. Some winters there is no snow clearing and he doesn’t have to do it other winters I’m out there too helping. Now how often do the dishes have to be cleaned, the clothes laundered, the bathroom and the rest of the house cleaned, cooking done, etc. Some of these are chores have to be done every single day multiple times others at least once a week. So please excuse me if I get pissed off if I do the dishes and half hour later there is stuff that I didn’t use in the sink waiting for the dishwashing fairy to be cleaned. You know what use your hands and wash the cup of coffee or the dessert plate you used. I think it is a matter of consideration towards those who we live with. She cleans the bathroom then help her keep it clean, wipe any spill you make, hang the towel. She did the dishes, wash what you use later. She does the laundry, unroll the socks so they don’t go in a ball into the washer. Who wants to unroll twenty socks before doing laundry, also check your pockets before throwing it in the hamper. I’m not even going to talk kids here. They are your kids too. Be part of the project of keeping them alive.

        Liked by 9 people

      6. I take care of the 1 acre lawn and all the bushes, the vegetable garden, the maintenance of the things both inside and outside that break or need cleaning. I get to care for baby all night long when she is ill, restless or simply refusing to sleep. I plan and cook the weekday morning and weekend meals, do 70% of the shopping for groceries and clean up the house after meals and at the end of the day, making sure during all of these activities that I’m caring for and engaging my baby in activities that don’t include more than two hours of screen time. I work 4 days a week in a career that requires me to be fully present, emotionally and attentively to every frikkin nuance, not just for those days, but for the documentation and on call duties. As well, I have to manage a program that meets several levels of professional standards and follow the efforts of those I manage and coordinate with my colleagues. I rush out of the office to get home on time, despite traffic congestion, lest I “fail” in the eyes of my mother in law (who is of the opinion that I will never do anything as well as she can, thus I will always “fail” my family).
        I make a quarter of what my husband makes, which justifies his position that since he’s got the burden financially, he has more say on decisions that disproportionately affect my responsibilities. He travels, more than 40% of the time and feels leaving his hypercritical, overbearing mother with us to provide “support” (read supervision) makes up for his absence. It doesn’t.

        Liked by 4 people

      7. You should’ve read the whole thing. One suggestion she makes is for women to not insist on the things being done right now.

        Like

      8. I couldn’t read this. This is what my husband would have written. It’s called MENTAL LOAD. It’s not about that one chore that you have done for the week or as you put it “helped” with. It’s about the invisible things that you don’t see. (the apointments, the excursions to organise, the birthday parties to get them to, your son needs a new shirt, you daughter needs a yellow shirt for the sports carnival, the email that you have to reply to the school, the text message you were meant to respond to, has everyone got clothes for tomorrow, the headphones that you need to replace for your son for class, the lunches need to be made, the shopping online that you need to order because you can’t get to the grocery store etc etc etc)

        Your response is a typical male one. One that you just don’t get and until males try to understand that sometimes the world doesn’t revolve around them.!!!!

        I also might add that my brother (who is gay) has just moved in and is looking in from the sideline. He is shocked with my workload compared to my husbands and constantly tells me I cannnot do everything and as I work full time, he can’t understand how I do it. He says he is exhausted just watching me.

        So before you run your mouth off, step into your female companions shoes for a week, Then you can re-write, your script above.

        My point is, it is not about the actual chore that she is complaining about, it’s about the overload of the other 5 million things that are going on in her head.

        When did men get so mentally challenged!

        Grow up and open your eyes!!!

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Yes, Emma…please take on the additional task of diagramming, illustrating and coloring another 40-panel column describing the husband’s POV, and could you make sure that you include the emotional work so Rob doesn’t have to ask later for that too?
      Also, check the shopping list to make sure that we have snacks for the end of school picnic.

      Liked by 16 people

      1. 🙂 Hahaha yes and make him a sandwich as well 😉

        By the way I could do it from the other POV because my boyfriend totally validated the comic so I could ask him to elaborate.
        Moreover I already lived this from the other POV because until I was 17 I did absolutely NOTHING at home. My mom did everything.
        And why didn’t I help ? I could say that was because I had a lot on my mind with all the pressure at school and everything. Or because my mom didn’t let me do because I didn’t do well or as fast as she would expect.
        Or … I could say the truth : it was comfortable for me. I could let anything in the way, it magically disappeared and came back at its place within a day. When my mother got mad at me for not doing anything : I did it, but with such a bad mood that she finally started to do it again to avoid hearing me grumble and complain. I was very skilled to avoid housework.
        I only understood once I left the house what a burden I had been all my childhood.

        Maybe I could make a comic about this 🙂

        Liked by 20 people

      2. We shouldn’t have to ask, emma, she should have to do it all by herself, what about all that mental workload she’s inflicting on us!
        lol.
        Here’s the truth, nothing she’s talking about are problems.
        Seriously, my girlfriend frequently makes a mess, I either fix the mess or not, but reality is, the mess is not a problem. And honestly she’s way “less messier” than me, the one who’s really messy is sis, I clean my sisters room, everything in on the ground. Am I going to bitch about it? No, I just make sure things are approximately where they were when I’m finished, doesn’t even go through my head asking her to take stuff from the floor. She inherited from my father, while my brother inherited the neat freakness from my mother to an extreme that he had to treat himself for it.
        And in this sense my sister is right, I rather her leave a sink full of dishes than her bitching constantly about pointless stuff that no one cares about.
        Now, let me explain to you the gravity of the situation, you are like my mother when I was 8, she insisted that I mowed the lawn and plucked the herbs by hand, that meant bloodied hands and fingers once a month on a boy who’s mother was proud of his piano skills by a woman who can’t wash dishes without complaining about weak nails. (when everything she has to do to avoid it is not wash them)

        Let me reiterate, bloodied hands, and you fools are the ones complaining about oppression. If you care about a neat house, get the house neat or ask, do not feel entitled to it because NO ONE ELSE CARES.

        Like

      1. OK, the sandwich thing is genuinely funny. Kudos 🙂

        But I do think Eyeroll and Matt are missing my point a little bit: it’s not like I emailed Emma out of the blue saying “hey, why don’t you take your time to do this for me because I don’t feel like articulating my POV.”

        Emma put a fairly general statement about How the World Is out into the ether, open for commentary; my point (possibly not well-made) is that I perceive the comic – while entertaining – to be compromised by a lack of empathy or acknowledgment of full context. I think this is illustrated by what you, Emma, view as the “other side”: a self-absorbed teenager letting her mom do all the work. Certainly there are plenty of men-as-teenagers walking around — other genders, too. My point is that while the comic is well done, think there’s stuff you may have missed here.

        Do I think this comic cleverly presents what is a genuine problem for many hetero couples? Yup.
        Are there a lot of dudes who needed this to get how they’re not pulling their weight in some areas? Absolutely.

        And at the end of the day it’s just a cartoon, drawn with a light touch, presented with some nuance, not a big deal. But then again, so was my comment – and that drew some minor challenge/shade, so I’ll take a minute to respond to that because I enjoy a good discussion. 🙂

        Three issues:

        1) Over-generalization. Not a lot of “many, possibly most.” A lotta absolutes, a lot of hyperbole. Words like “tend to be” and “often” and “many” are super useful in this context, woulda greatly strengthened the piece. You’re welcome. 😉

        Clearly the comic makes a legitimate observation that resonates with lots of people, as attested by the comments section. As an aside, a cpl of minor things about that:
        a) This audience is bound to be in some measure unintentionally self-selected as a choir to preach to; and
        b) when we hear a philosophy or an idea or a position that allows us to say “OMG, I am a-MA-zing – and most of the people around me, considerably less so…” we are all bound to love it. This is really seductive, and a fundamental tool some people (not Emma) use to manipulate the masses; I think it’s useful to look suspiciously at our reaction to philosophies and frames that give us that message.

        My point is that the number of people we can get to shout “Huzzah!” isn’t necessarily a measure of how accurately we have described the world, or identified Truth.

        We all tend to take our personal experience and project it as The Experience. That’s the root of angst for many of the angrysad dudes on MGTOW sites – it’s not just Socialized Misogyny — for many of them, their lived experience includes getting genuinely shat on by narcissistic partners. They’re not wrong about that, they’re just wrong about what that means about the world, and how to react to it.

        And there are thousands of people for whom this comic does not depict real life at all, for whom this is so one-sided or so far from reality that to hear it presented as The Truth About Men and Women just feels annoying — to the point that we (I) will actually drop a comment about it, rather than just reading it and moving on. 🙂

        At worst, would land to some men as “This is just another way in which women do all the heavy lifting in life while men are lazy and useless”. Of course that’s exaggerated but it’s not that far outside of reality given that the broader conversation about some of these issues includes the hashtags #MenAreTrash.and #KillAllMen. There’s a context into which the comic falls, and it includes that nonsense.

        And I get that privileged people are wont to hear a story about someone else and jump in with “Well, what about me? How come we’re not talking about me all the time?”
        But I think this is different: 99% of the people here, I believe, want to make their lives and relationships better. The focus of the comic is traditional cishet relationships — both present and potential relationships — and men are half of that equation. I’m not sure how leaving out the perspective of half the participants makes for effective relationship-building.

        2) My second problem with the comic is that I feel nowhere near enough thought/empathy went into guessing why men might view women as “manager of household chores”.
        Some people have touched on the issue of how big a space we give our partners to contribute in certain ways. My experience, and that of many men I know, was that of being shut down fairly consistently and emphatically in terms of *how* when contributing to household stuff, especially in a traditional division-of-labor scenario. This isn’t just “Perhaps I might need to think about how I react to my husband’s help”, this is huge – it’s a really big part of why many men I know wait to be asked/told what to do. Passive, non-aggressive men (and I were one) get tired of getting told we’re doing it wrong, and we don’t like displeasing our partners, so we end up waiting for them to let us know what would make them happy. If your husband acts like an underling when it comes to household management, maybe you could self-reflect more about how that space got created for him to step into.

        As to “if I don’t do it, my family suffers” – maybe, maybe not. I think some ownership could be taken about “suffering” – if you don’t have mustard, that’s not suffering, that’s just a cost. For non-critical stuff, if you’re the only one bothered by something, then it’s your issue. If your dude doesn’t have a shirt, maybe next time he’ll iron it – assuming there’s been a conversation about whose responsibility it is to dress themselves for work.

        I imagine this won’t resonate for the many women who’d *love* it if their dude would load/unload the dishwasher, even if he might sometimes put the serving spoon in with the regular spoons. But I guarantee a lot of guys would hear me on this.

        Additionally, people – even men – can learn and evolve. A lot of guys think it’s a gesture of respect and an enlightened sharing of power to view their wives as the manager of the house. We get told we fix too much instead of listening. We are told we try to manage things too much, that we have too many opinions, that women are tired of us interrupting, trying to boss everything, that we need to defer more to women who know what they’re doing. Is there a more logical way to happily share power than to concede household decision-making to the person who’s closer to the issues (if they are) and has strong opinions about the way things ought to be done?

        Both of these things are likely (IMO) to be huge factors in this dynamic, and they got short shrift in this comic. Men are not infants, or mentally deficient – when living alone, we manage to keep ourselves fed and not light ourselves on fire. Usually. The question of why men might defer to their wives in these areas deserves a deeper look than it got.

        3) The “emotional load” issue. There are two pieces to this: the first is just the Burden Olympics feel it has to it. Of course women carry a lot s*** men often don’t know about. Why wouldn’t the converse be true? Yes, the manager of the house will carry the “mental load” of managing the house. And if you both have fulltime jobs, that load should absolutely be shared.

        But in the context of all of life, it’s unseemly to present one gender over another as doing all the heavy emotional lifting. It’s fine to call out people’s actions, but you don’t get to use your limited perspective to decide how they feel, then tell them that based on your calculations they have less to worry about than you do.

        The second piece is about emotional maturity, intelligence, and continence. Just because we feel something relating to an issue doesn’t mean other people are responsible for that. If we’re worried about X, it’s no one else’s responsibility to try to read our minds about it and make it their primary concern. No one has ESP, and we all read a different textbook growing up, so be wary of grading your partner on a rubric that’s in *your* mind. Talk.

        If you have a partner who will respond positively to your requests you’re doing pretty awesome. The idea that “Making me *say* what I want/need is just too much work and unfair; you should already know or guess and take it on” strikes me as unrealistic self-absorption, an extension of “If you really loved me you would…”

        Communicate. I’ll cop to speaking out of traumatic personal experience with this, and I know I speak for a lot of other humans as well. Talk. Say your truth. The “emotional burden” of articulating what we want is part of life, and we don’t get to dump that on our partners.

        So, yeah: if you both work, and your dude expects you to do the dishes while he watches TV, then he’s being a douche. Unless you also expect him to fix the lawnmower while you do your nails. Then it’s just division of labor. And also yes to many the examples in the comic – the dude is being an infant – but also no to some of them. That is, some of them are easily fixed with clear communication (as Emma said, “divide up recurrent and non-critical chores” – ie, talk.)

        At the end of the day, I suspect your (Emma’s) position might be “I’m talking about a specific – and also common — situation, that many people resonate with, not invalidating any other people’s experience.”
        But that’s not reflected in the language of the comic; in fact, the opposite (“The mental load is almost completely borne by women.” “Women…remain the only ones in charge of the household.” “If this gap is narrowing, it’s not because men are doing more.” “It’s clear that men have to learn.” “…only feminists are demanding longer paternity leave” “…emotional work…also gets heaped on women” Etc.)

        Yeah, a big side-eye to that — words matter. Absolutes and hyperbole are rarely useful, especially when talking about relationships.

        Final point: am I reacting/speaking in large measure out of butt-hurt due to my personal history? Absolutely 🙂

        TL;DR
        1. Too one-sided, hyperbolic, and absolute
        2. There are other more benign reasons for this dynamic besides socialized systemic inequality
        3. How do you know who has more to worry about? And it’s not a contest anyway.

        Liked by 5 people

    3. When we moved in together you took over everything. I thought at first: Wow! Great! She’s so wonderful.

      Then you started making decisions I didn’t like. About my “stuff” as well as your stuff.

      Like you, I didn’t exactly know how to say I wasn’t happy with the status quo.

      Over time I stopped taking responsibility b/c either we talked about it and I was dissed or I was rude in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huzzah! Rob Ryan! Well stated and as a woman, mother, wife, full time employer/ employee… I agree with your observations!

        Like

    4. Wow this is terribly offensive.

      I reject the notion that men are inherently messy and unorganized.
      I reject the notion that men are not present and engaged with their families.
      I reject the reality of this premise. A woman comes home from work with a colleague. The husband then oblivious to the world around him, traps the colleague who looks on with worry from sofa, while the mother struggles to maintain two children while actively cooking another meal! That would never happen especially with children who are old enough to sit up on bar stools. It’s a joke and a false story that never happened. The mother – or father – would have cooked one meal and they all would have eaten from the same food at the table together.
      Otherwise put the kids in high chairs in your next example.

      I also reject the notion that men undervalue the hard work it takes to maintain a house hold. What year is this?? Did you get this from an episode of madmen?

      I reject the idea that a man asking what he can to to help is an abdication of responsibility. Maybe he is acknowledging a blind spot.

      This couple has poor communication skills and they are probibaly not self aware.

      They probably have bigger issues.

      I hope anyone in this situation is not considering having more kids. It sounds like they are overwhelmed and incapable of coping.
      The above is millennial whining. Yes I’m a gen X’r. Everyone wants it all and nobody wants to work.
      Suck it up. Make a better effort at being a better person.
      Quit being a wimp and communicate. Quite blaming others for your predicament.
      You probably would have picked a better mate if you would have done so in the first place.

      BTW – I was raised by a single dad. Who worked long hours. He cleaned the house. He cooked dinner. He was mom and dad.

      Finally – If there are people like this behaving like this fictional exercise – which I’m sure there; are grow up and be men and women.

      Like

      1. I’d like to marry you. Because whilst you can regect these notions all you like, they exist. I used to make a meal seperate for my kids, who at 2 and 4 sat on bar stools. And these pictures resonsate with me. So perhaps instead of regecting them, maybe ask your male friends to be genuinely honest with you about the division of labour. And if they aren’t meeting your ideals of how we all contribute, you could point them in the right directions. Men hearing it from other men is the way the world will change

        Liked by 2 people

    5. I’d love to meet a husband that knows when his kids immunisations are due and when his in-laws birthdays are. Whilst it does simplify things somewhat, it does shine a light on how we think. And my experiences have led me to form the belief that western men just aren’t considerate beings the way women are. Unfortunately social conditioning is so pervasive that even when this is pointed out, the first place of response is defenciveness. It does nothing to stimulate meaning discussion when one side is so defensive.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Cush, I would buy that women in general are more considerate beings than men. Lots of forces at work to create that, probably.
        As to “western men”… not so sure about that.
        I’ve traveled a lot. As inconsiderate as some of them are, I don’t think you’ll find a group of men who are — on average — as considerate as “western men”. This is about as good as it gets right now. :-/

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Robert is June 12, Susie is September 28. And why bother remembering immunizations when there’s an app for that?

        That being said … perhaps phrasing in terms of a loaded term like “considerateness” instead of what it really is – specialization of labor – is what makes people defensive. You hit on this when said “it does simplify things somewhat.”. That’s it, full stop, no need to extrapolate to people’s emotional capacities.

        If you start with the premise that from a pure optimization standpoint only one person in a relationship needs to remember when a third party’s birthday is (key word is *need* to) …

        An extension of that premise is that should probably be the same person in a relationship remembering (or more precisely, cataloguing) when everyone’s birthdays are, as it’s suboptimal if you’re remembering half of the birthdays and I’m remembering half the birthdays.

        Because then each new birthday we have to decide who’s going to remember it, and for any given birthday it might slip through the cracks (“I thought you were remembering that birthday!” “I thought you were!”) It becomes an administrative chore, and again, the optimal solution is all the birthdays belong to one person.

        Now it DOESN’T make sense to extend this premise to all of the mental load. Maybe *you* remember the birthdays and *I* remember the favorite foods, etc.

        So if you’re going to share the mental load, do it across entire domains, and do it explicitly. Because if you implicitly take on the task of remembering the birthdays, you invite your partner to bow out. Again, because of simplification, not inconsiderateness.

        Now how a grown man can’t figure out how to change the sheets … that’s not inconsiderate, that’s just gross.

        Liked by 1 person

    6. Amazing how someone can be the exact selfish creature an article is about, so entitled that he makes a snide little remark that is not only patronizing, not only transparently an attempt to shift blame onto a woman- but also a show of foisting more work onto a woman… the exact thing the article is about. Either there is less self-awareness than a domestic dog present in this person, or (the more likely option) he knows he’s a selfish dog, and did what hit dogs do- holler 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s quite a story you have, Mary, considering you don’t know me at all.
        You sound pretty annoyed, and you’ve assumed a lot of motivations and qualities
        and guesses about my situation, which you have no actual idea about.
        My guess is you’re speaking out of frustration about things in your own life, maybe laying that template over my comment.
        Just as my question comes out of my experience and how this comic doesn’t reflect it at all…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Great link, thank you!
        There you go, Emma: no need to make another comic, just read the article.
        Then make more comics but next time with more empathy and fewer absolutes about who carries all the burdens in life…

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    7. This is a good point… as I recently discovered, the culturally established inequality doesn’t just overload women at home, but for many men, it makes them feel like they need to be the “bread providers” even when BOTH partners work… again, we need to work to eliminate this pre-conception. If both partners do the same share of house/children raising work, and both have jobs, weight of the economic responsibility shouldn’t need to be felt more by one of the partners than the other… it should be SHARED just as everything else…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I had so many of these feelings and I didn’t know how to explain them to my spouse. Reading this comic was a bit of an eye opener for him, and we’re actually working together to share the mental load a little more (I realized I also needed to let go of things a bit so he can help out more). I wrote a blog post sharing our initial experiences. Would you mind if I share the top bit of your illustration, with the link, for context?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I posted my response to this cartoon! I think it was great because it helped open up dialog between my husband and I. I think people can read too much into this. Not every situation in the world is going to be exactly like this comic, and not every reason for that situation is going to be the reasons listed in this comic. But people, statistics are there and they don’t lie! And many people do feel exactly like this illustration depicts.

      Instead of being so defensive about what’s being said, why don’t you think about how you can improve? On both sides! My husband considered this as something that was important to me. And I also had to re-evaluate my thoughts on reacting to his help.

      https://eemmllee.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/what-happened-when-i-sent-tyler-a-feminist-comic/

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the problem may come from too many men going straight from living with their parents and not having to totally take care of many chores, to living for a short time alone whilst not mature enough to do the chores for themselves thoroughly, to living with their girlfriend who unconsciously take’s on the same role she may have seen her mother do. That being said, I also know a lot of women who are incapable of doing many household chores thoroughly by themselves, since they were too used to their mother’s doing it for them.

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  3. This is a great way of conveying the mental duress of what women have to go through with children, especially as our child is going through a particularly clingy phase. I wonder if there was a cartoon depicting what men go through and maybe there would be a better understanding of each other’s point of view?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Ladyliciousness and commented:
    This is the best and clearest illustrations (literally) of mental load. The extreme different approaches that arise because women have more diffuse awareness. I’m sure most women can relate, and men too – my boyfriend sent me this one. I can’t wait to see more. Thanks Emma.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an important debate well presented in comic form . Delivery of vegetables and choosing a nanny give away a class bias which does you no favours really. I think relationships built on love, trust and respect should involve men taking on their share of domestic chores and child care. What you are asking is that men anticipate and worry about them as much as women do, and Im not sure that is ever going to happen. Id suggest women worry too much and men don;t worry enough and the ideal might fall somewhere in the middle . Men are also put off by some tasks which result in women tutting and rolling their eyes at us for our efforts which are well meant but don’t reach their standards. Richnsoul UK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I somewhat agree with you, but I think there’s a degree of copping out here. I do think women tend to care more and men don’t care enough; however, there has to be a minimum standard that doesn’t involve taking just the bottle out of the dishwasher and leaving the rest of the dishes for the wife to handle. There’s not caring as much and not caring at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Or, instead of just the husband’s POV – a valid point – challenge more than the status quo.
    That would be…. yourselves, people. And your ASSumptions.
    Why are people in such a hurry to breed?
    If she thinks he’s an arse, why doesn’t she challenge herself and ask why she married an arse?
    And took it further by squeezing out a baby.

    Like

    1. You’ve made a good point but I would encourage you to be careful not to jump to assumptions yourself. I can only speak for myself, but in my situation, that sort of entitled, selfish behavior did not appear until AFTER the babies came and he decided they were more work than he’d thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, man! This is so incredibly true. I have five children and my ex NEVER helped with anything other than tucking in his son at night. From cooking, to cleaning, to doctors’ appointments, to knowing which kid was allergic to what foods, to schooling, to clothes shopping, to painting the house, to laundry, to you name it, he didn’t do it even if asked. He’d just tell me to ask one of the older kids to help out. But there are some things a child can’t do, even if they’re the oldest. It was beyond exhausting and if I didn’t do it, not only would it not get done but, depending on what “it” we’re talking about not getting done, the children suffered and he didn’t care because it wasn’t “his” job to do it.

    It’s been easier raising my kids by myself than trying to do it with him, and that is the sad truth. Something has to change. Thank you for putting this into words so eloquently.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with this as it applies to women who have a job outside the home. But for a stay-at-home mom like me, the mental load is part of my job. My husband has a high-stress career and has a huge mental load of his own: planning for our financial security, taking care of the bills and investments, etc., in addition to his job. It’s a traditional arrangement, but to me it doesn’t make sense to expect him to come home from working twelve hours and clean the house. That being said, I am raising our sons to know how to cook, clean up after themselves, etc. because I know they are likely to marry spouses who work outside the home and I don’t want them to expect this kind of arrangement.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I see a bunch of guys proving you right about the phenomenon, but I’ll testify here that it’s not a requirement of maleness. My husband, a true partner, is equally involved in mentally overseeing the household. He’s better than I am at noticing the one carpeted room needs vacuuming (I don’t think I’ve used that thing in years) and some other stuff. I’m better at noticing other things. I think it’s in part upbringing, and also the hippie years of our young adulthood instituted egalitarian attitudes, and also the idea that “the way it’s spozed to be” actually was pretty screwed up. One division of labor we do have: He handles everything about cars (mental load and practical application), and I handle everything about laundry. Why is this not a problem? It was a conscious choice, after discussion and consideration, and we are both very happy with it (for decades). Kitchen: we used to trade off every two weeks doing *everything* – shop, cook, clean. Worked great. We’ve morphed into sort of collaborating on food now. Works great. *It can be done.* Don’t give up hope.

    One more note: One pseudo-equal arrangement is the “guy does intermittent, long-lasting stuff (I fixed the cabinet!) and gal does incessant, daily stuff,” which is NOT an equal mind-share arrangement.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Omg I relate to the housework side soooo much! My other half will tidy away the toys but not hoover, he’ll take the washing out of the machine but not peg it out, he’ll wash the pots we need leaving the ones we don’t “soaking” or he’ll take pots to the sink but not wash them. If he does (rarely) wash the pots he doesn’t wipe down the kitchen sides… it’s like they do one thing and ignore or just don’t see the rest!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for putting a “name” on it, the mental load, it does put a lot on one person in the relationship and I think this opens the needed dialog for making happier couples and households. I’m so glad Carolyn Hax included the link to this in her article today, which was also an “eye opener” where she suggests using “silos” to take better advantage of each person’s strengths while basically sharing the “load of Life” as many know it. Good advice from Emma and Carolyn whether you’re married, single, with or without children, even just roommates could be helped by reading these. Guys don’t get so defensive, we know we aren’t perfect, just remember no one is. Link to Carolyn’s article http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/23/carolyn-hax-i-fear-that-the-mental-load-of-asking-for-help-with-chores-will-turn-me-into-a-miserable-nag/

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for putting a “name” on it, the mental load, it does put a lot on one person in the relationship and I think this opens the needed dialog for making happier couples and households. I’m so glad Carolyn Hax included the link to this in her article today, which was also an “eye opener” where she suggests using “silos” to take better advantage of each person’s strengths while basically sharing the “load of Life” as many know it. Good advice from Emma and Carolyn whether you’re married, single, with or without children, even just roommates could be helped by reading these. Guys don’t get so defensive, we know we aren’t perfect, just remember no one is. Link to Carolyn’s article http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/06/23/carolyn-hax-i-fear-that-the-mental-load-of-asking-for-help-with-chores-will-turn-me-into-a-miserable-nag/

    Liked by 1 person

  13. As a stay at home dad, I’m primarily the woman in this narrative. I do most of the chores, and my wife doesn’t know the name of the pediatrician, etc. When my wife is home however, she does tend to give me chores I tend to be expected to do my assigned chores while watching a toddler and an infant, of course.

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    1. My husband works and I stay at home with out 3 year old. My husband has many suggestions on what needs to be done. Or rather comments on all the things I didn’t get done while not noticing all the things I did do. But, He has no suggestions on how to implement his grand ideas. I may need to work on my time management. I can tell you for certain that if I was on my own everything he wants to be done would be. I recall a time he was Angry the clothes were not folded. when in fact I had folded the clothes… more then once. He said ” A baby can’t keep you from doing that” T

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so sorry that these situations have to take place.

    They are well illustrated examples of incompetent husbands, partners, and fathers.

    There are very few tasks my wife can do that I can not ( I could not breastfeed).

    Being a husband is being on a team of two, and understanding when a member of the team needs assistance is elemental. No tit-for-tat. No score keeping.

    Being a father means doing whatever is necessary, whenever it’s necessary for your children, no matter what.

    Being a man means understanding that you must perform. Do the right thing, the right way, every time. That’s the standard, not the goal.

    Seriously, anything less is incompetence, fear, or just laziness.

    The wives of real men don’t have these problems.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. The reason why I’m never becoming a mum. Cause whether I have a husband or not I’m doing everything single-handedly anyway right? I wish I was born a guy so I never have to do anything, they’re not expected to have kids, it’s normal if a guy doesn’t have kids. Fuck pregnancy I don’t want to destroy my body and career for a kid I don’t want. And then be expected to be a maid. Fuck this. I wish I wasn’t a girl

    Like

  16. I have to admit I had a little giggle while reading through this, as I’m definitely guilty of operating in this (always thinking of something else), while in the middle of a task. Whether that’s at work or at home… even while trying to read through important documentation I find my mind also trying to think about what the girls should eat for dinner, realise that I need to write down the few bills that need to be paid so I don’t forget (again), and wonder what else I’ve not yet done that should be added to my ‘to do’ list for work. I definitely TRY to multi-task to squeeze as much out of the little time you have between getting the girls up, dressed, fed, bags packed, out from under your feet in the morning and out the door, and then the same in reverse when you get home at night…. just so you can hit the couch or bed as early as possible. Although… admittedly as much as that’s to let my brain ‘switch off’ I can spend hours watching nothing in particular…. while thinking about the multiple loads of clean washing I should be folding at the same time… but unable to pull my finger out to do it. When I have achieved getting half a dozen things done like the dishwasher filled & switched on while clearing the kitchen bench, and taking the dirty clothes from around the house to get the load of washing on… etc… etc if feels great. To try and stop my mind from wandering from task to task all day I have found that writing little ‘to do’ wishlists works well. It seems to ‘get it out of my head’ and down where I can refer to it when I need to… even the simple little things like, fold the clothes, empty the dishwasher that should just be a job that gets done when it needs to… feels good to write it down… and even better when I can cross it off.
    As one of soooooo many parents I work full time in a high pressure environment, and am a Mum of 2 gorgeous yet headstrong girls under the age of 5. Unlike incredible people like my sister who had been doing all this as a single parent for some time… and making it look easy… I have a wonderful husband. He too works full time, and as my role often requires me to finish a little later, or start a little early, and with the occasional travel he has taken on the ‘primary carer’ responsibility of being the one to reliably drop off and pick up our kids… and often then swing back past my work or bus stop to help me get home too. He puts washing on, cooks as often as I do, etc and yet…… we too find ourselves in the same type of argument as you have laid out above. The way he thinks about what is a priority, forward planning, and multi-tasking is so different to me. While I’m taking just those few extra minutes to get the washing and/or dishwasher filled and going before we leave in the morning…. thinking this will mean it’s done when we get home… he sees that we are again already running late and will have to deal with traffic and could’ve just as easily done that when we got home. I have to keep reminding myself that being different is life… and instead of getting frustrated that our ‘other halves’ don’t think or do things the way we do… we can instead extend what we do out into the open. for example… why am I just keeping ‘lists’ where I can work on them… if I throw them up onto a whiteboard or something where we both pass it at home, then either of us can tackle something on it and it’s obvious if only one is adding to, or wiping off tasks. We’ve discovered the ability to add to ‘share’ shopping lists such as ‘Wunderlist’ where I can add ‘milk’ as I realise in a meeting that we need some for tomorrows breakfast and he can instantly see it and add as well… so when either of us then head to the supermarket you grab what you have both been thinking about…. loving these little leg ups from technology.
    Every situation is different, every relationship is different, and that’s because as individuals … we are different… so THANK YOU to those with great (non judgy) suggestions, alternative views, and positive support… I don’t post in forums… ever… but you have all inspired me to do so… just so I can proudly share that for all the same challenges we face… my husband is AWESOME… even when he isn’t 🙂

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  17. I think that a simple talk with your partner should resolve most of these problems. And if he/she still insists on relying on you for everything, then why are you with them?

    Like

  18. Hmm, for me it’s a trade off in the types of chores and household management… I don’t enjoy outdoor chores, I don’t enjoy mowing the lawn or worrying about plants or grass, I don’t repair things (unless I know how), I don’t think about the roof or the windows, boiler, water heater, the oil, etc. Meanwhile my husband works outside, mows the lawn, and fixes broken things in the house when he can, checks oil tank, does all the heavy lifting, etc.

    I know a lot of his chores aren’t daily chores, but I’m thankful I don’t have to do them. I will take managing the laundry, food and dishes over the heavy duty stuff, personally. I know every household is unique though, and yes, knowing how to care for your own child’s basic needs should be known by a father. It’s not as though my husband throws up his hands and says “not my problem” when I ask him to help me clean up a bit or do the dishes or vacuum the floors, either. I think everyone needs to find a good balance that they’re happy with.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, I know this was about the “mental load” and not just about distribution of chores. But all the things I listed are things that are never on my mental load and are squarely on his. It works for us, but I know it may not work for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. What’s really rotten is when you do ask for help and the man in question does a terrible job (perhaps on purpose, perhaps not, who is to say), in order to get out of being asked to do the chore again. Men know what clean dishes, floors, children, etc look like because they’ve been provided with them by women before, and finding food-encrusted plates in the cabinets, half-dusted rooms and the like is infuriating. It’s little wonder why women take such control over household tasks.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Let us discuss my hatred of vacations.
    Cause I’m the mom and the wife, and she gets no vacation.
    She must: Plan the vacation, book hotel rooms, plan the trip route and allow for the needs of kids to get out and move periodically and where will we stop for meals.
    She must pack for everyone, including her husband, because he’s working and not home to do it.
    She then must spend the entire time mediating tired and stressed people who have had too much fun, keeping track of everyone’s stuff, and making sure that souvenirs are purchased for everyone who will demand one.
    When they get home, she adds to the week’s work routine the necessity of getting everyone unpacked and clothes washed and the souvenirs distributed appropiately. Of course, she must also go through the pictures they took and sort them out so they can be posted.

    How very relaxing. My husband doesn’t understand why it is I don’t like to go places.

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    1. Sorry, my post got cut off. Can you stop doing some of these things? What would happen if you stated that you were not interested in going on any more vacations that you had to plan? Stopped buying souvenirs? Sorting photos?

      Like

  21. I’m a male homemaker/parent by-choice. In my opinion, this article overlooks a major cause of the problem: neither partner is willing to accept the role of a full-time homemaker.

    My mother stayed at home for her entire professional life. She did a great job of it and took a lot of pride in managing the household. Unfortunately, this profession has fallen tremendously out of favor among women. Women are encouraged instead look for personal fulfillment through their careers and it’s never even presented to men as something they do.

    The problem is that this work is a full-time job…and often an essential one for a well-functioning family. It’s also 100% overlooked in the comic. I mean, the peice completely takes it for granted that families have nannies!

    I’m not disagreeing with anything in the comic specifically…I think that the perspective is correct. However, there are more ways to fix the problem then making it a pure male-corrective. How about valuing the work done at home? Enough to think it’s okay for someone to just focus on that…

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  22. He read it, laughed once. Then I asked “so? Do you see yourself in this? What do you think?” “Well, if I don’t do anything it’s because I’m afraid to be yelled at” he replied, victimized… obviously….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know you — maybe one of you is amazing and the other is an @$$hole.
      But you want your husband to be reflective, to “see himself” in the comic.
      Are you willing to be reflective about why yr husband feels he’d be yelled at?
      I assume you’d be annoyed if he said “My wife showed me a comic -victimized…obviously…”

      Like

  23. My husband and I pretty much divide up the chores and each gets to be the manager of one’s own domain. We each do our own laundry and ironing. I mostly cook, sometimes he does, we both clean up. He takes care of the outdoor chores and paying bills online.. We pay someone to clean the house. We do not have children. Debra Spar commented in her recent-ish book that she often asks groups of dads when was the last time they made dental appointments for their kids.They hadn’t. Ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I can relate to this somewhat. I often felt like a manager with my ex, but he NEVER said “let me know if you need any help!” When I asked him to help out, he would either a) not do it or b) do it so grudgingly that it made me almost wish that I hadn’t asked. After that wonderful experience (sarcasm) I appreciate my current partner much more than I otherwise would have. Yeah, he doesn’t put as much effort into household chores at me, and it can get annoying. But he’ll help out when I ask him to. He also takes care of things that I don’t think about, like changing the filters, picking up more light bulbs, or putting away the outdoor Christmas tree lights. We each have our own mental load.

    I think part of the problem is us women are conditioned to think that our homes must be sparkling clean and the fridge perfectly stocked all the time. It’s okay to sometimes just not have mustard for dinner. Some of our most creative meals happen when we’re short on an ingredient or two, which works fine for us: we both enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. It’s also liberating to leave things on the floor sometimes. I don’t do that in the rooms our guests see: just in the laundry room. Not caring so much feels good!! I know not everyone is like that, but that’s what works for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. My husband is amazing, and I feel sorry for women who feel this way. I think it’s possible that some men don’t take the initiative because their wives have a certain way they want things done (loading the dishwasher, doing the laundry) and will get angry if the men ‘mess up’. I also feel sorry for people who feel that there should be score keeping in a marriage. We work together, we both put in as much as we can. If my husband is having a rough time and is moody or tired, I put in a little more to make up for it. If I’m tired and moody, maybe I don’t put in as much as I could sometimes.
    But nothing good will come of me building up resentment for every little thing I think my husband should be doing and doesn’t. It’s not like he can read my mind. If I’m not happy with something I need to tell him. And sometimes there are things we just need to get over, because the goal is to work together and be happy as a couple.

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  26. The “mental load” theory doesn’t work because it’s hardly universal or comprehensive and when it does happen to someone, it is GREAT when their partner can cut through and get specific things done. That’s, like, the definition of a good team. We all get stuck sometimes.

    Other than that: Men are great at running households. Most of your examples are over-complications or refusing to use a system to save time. Making a chore disappear with Google Calendar and some Goodwill boxes makes more sense than making sure both parents play the memory game. It’s definitely frustrating to see a couple wallow around in an incompetently run home when they could both enjoy so much more free time while accomplishing their major goals. Happy people don’t accept the premises of this comic.

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  27. I really enjoyed the article Emma, but am sad that it is necessary. Hopefully one day we will be truely equal and it won’t be necessary. For now I am happy to say that not all men are like your comic book boyfriend, and not all women have to live with him. In preparing for the birth of our little one I read an article suggesting that One of the 5 things I should do (yes really, just 5) was to ‘pick up nappies while I got my beer’.
    I cannot nurse our baby, but everything else I can do and do. Changing bathing winding sterilising soothing washing clothes buying nappies planning meals shopping preparing lunch for my wife while so she is able to get something nutritious even if he won’t go down. Oh, walking feeding bathing dogs managing bills and budgets relatives visits bags for days out fuel in both cars painting gardening foot massages cleaning tidying brew making. I do this now, did it before he was born, and will do it when we are old together. We are a team, and when there is something I can do to make her life easier I will do it, without being asked, and without it being expected. She is my whole world.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Um, yes. Yes, wives and mothers are always project managers; they always carry the mental load. That is like saying cars don’t fly, they drive on streets. The thing is, managing a household is a big project, and it does require a project manager. And women have higher standards for that project than men do–that’s why, when women don’t carry the mental load, the whole family suffers. We do have choices: women can lower their standards, in one or many areas, and let their husbands carry those mental loads; or they can insist that their husbands carry the mental load and achieve high standards, which is a recipe for arguments, or they can accept the responsibility as home project manager, and ask for help when they want it. They could also become rich, and hire servants to carry this load to their specifications. There are not other choices, and no amount of complaining will change the reality. No matter how many times you’ve seen Back to the Future, you’re still not going to get that car to fly.

    Liked by 1 person

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