1,229 thoughts on “You should’ve asked

  1. Truth to be told, it’s more of a choice.
    I could choose to be the irresponsible one and let me world slide, or I could become the driving force of my relationship and take it beyond the sense of mere equality, further into the equillibrium.
    Sure, that does mean more work, but sure it means more pride.
    And I like organisation of things, most women do, but it doesn’t have to be that every man does resonate with that idea.
    But I could make him understand the essence of it that I truly hold, deep inside me.
    Humanity isn’t equality, it’s about empathy.
    I would understand and respect his valuables and so shall he.
    Takes a bit of effort to pass the idea onto a new person, but ensures the elevated levels of understanding and mental peace.

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  2. As a man I understand this perspective and I want to help more as I know I can. I maybe do dinner, laundry, dishes once every 2 weeks. Lets also remember that house chores include, gardening, swap coolers, lawns, oil changes, brakes, computer repair, appliance maintenance, etc. Not saying woman cant do all those but you certainly will never see my wife doing any of them.

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    1. I have to say that I agree with you. I won’t clean the gutters, cut the grass, catch rats, build decks, redo insulation, move gravel around, fix the clogged vacuum cleaner hose, build a watering system, etc, etc. But I can clean the bathrooms, vacuum the floors, do the laundry (even though I hate it, I think I’d hate cleaning the roof more), I’d hate to fix the hot tub (hint: I wouldn’t), make some meals, walk the dogs, dress the kids, etc, etc. I don’t think it’s so much what each person does, but rather are both partners contributing, and are you happy with the division of tasks?

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    2. Are you doing lawns, oil changes, brakes, computer repair, and appliance maintenance every day, multiple times a day? No. You are comparing apples and oranges. Dinner, laundry and dishes once every 2 weeks? She should kick you to the curb, pronto.

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      1. As a single mother, i do it all. I clean the house, organize, manage, grocery shop, cook, clean the gutters, take apart the dishwasher, take out the trash, shovel the snow, mow the lawn, fix the leaks, fix the furnace , fix the toilet, fix the clogged vaccuum cleaner hose, manage the child, do the appointments, deal with the school stuff, spiders, mean neighbors…i take care of every single thing that comes up…. I’ve never had a nanny or a sitter. This comic is good but I would like to see one that makes women like me more visible. It sure would be nice to have a man doing 1/4 of the work. I do it all. Who am i to be mad at about that? Sometimes I get mad at upper middle class women for whining about what their men dont do. Well then, just go on strike and fix the problem, or hire some help, or leave him. Because your choice is to keep doing all of it and watch him lay about on the couch, or your choice is to let go of some of the control, and expect him to lead some of the household management too. I am single because I couldnt stand this expectation any more, and my ex husband would not improve. I was miserable. I am far less miserable this way but I really wish motherhood and home making wasnt always painted as this thing that only happens in partnerships, with people who have nannies.

        And whats with it not being ok to hire help? Just pay them a fair and living wage! If you pay that woman a living wage, or i daresay , above a living wage, with health benefits and sick/ vacation time too, then you are providing a stable job to someone who needs one. Its only problematic when you treat that person as a lower class, and take advantage or exploit them. Treat them like a professional, respect their time and their labor and you are being feminist when you hire someone to do the work you don’t want to do yourself.

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    3. Newly divorced, and recently I’ve taken over all my ex’s chores. Chores like the ones you’ve mentioned above. It takes a fraction of the time the “indoor” chores do.

      Liked by 3 people

    4. Well most people live in apartments or condos now, so most of the above gets taken care of by your monthly rent or condo fee. Many people get their car maintenance done professionally too, especially with newer cars that are harder to do at home, and they take their Macbooks down to Apple or Geek Squad for repairs.

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    5. I made a list of all the chores I thought had to get done in our house daily, weekly, monthly, annually, and irregularly (stuff like vaccinations, taking kids to birthday parties – which includes getting present and card and knowing where damn party is taking place and when) and I tried to be really fair and include all the stuff he does, like paying bills (er, mostly by direct debit), reviewing the household insurance, planning holidays (WHICH IS FUN!) etc. I was pleasantly surprised to find that our day-to-day balance was good: he makes a cup of tea in the morning and empties the dishwasher, I get the kids dressed… But the weekly stuff. Ah. 13 loads of laundry to be sorted, put on, hung out, put away, for starters (at the time we had a 6 month old with reflux: there was a LOT of laundry). That added, I calculated, about 2 hours per DAY to the daily chores and I was doing ALL of that. Sorting the kids’ clothes, sorting their vaccinations, check. Most of “his” jobs were much more infrequent. It’s not the same. I actually used this cartoon to discuss it with him. His first response, after a lot of sulking, was “well if you want me to do more, you’ll have to write it down” (which absolutely proved Emma’s point!). But things did actually get a lot better and I am glad I brought it up. We’re still not even but it is a big improvement.

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  3. Great read. I have to say that my wife carries the mental load it in our household. I’ll stand up for myself and say that I’m never sitting on my butt, I’m fully engaged with the kids (1-3) and chores from the time I get home until the kids are asleep and the kitchen is clean. I never say some crap like ‘you should have asked’. I do some mix of dinner bath bedtime every night. But I don’t know how to make a doctors appointment for my kids. And I don’t know what size clothes they wear or how to get in touch with their friends’ Moms to schedule a play date etc. etc..
    My wife manages our family. I have a job and do housework. I still think that this is a good arrangement. The work my wife does should be respected and revered in society as much as it is in our house. I’m very curious to talk to her and see her take.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. So, while the author’s message about helping your partner is absolutely true, it is horribly sexist in its delivery. While there are patches of the “old roles” in present day America, it is silly to view this country as the “Archie Bunker America” of old. Many households are like mine, where there is a division of labor within the house…For example, in our home, I admit that my wife does most of the laundry, though I do help with this, and cleans bathrooms more often than I do. However, she has NEVER mopped a floor (I do that), rarely cooks (I do that as well), and never cleans the cooktop or oven (me again). I’m not singing my praises, simply pointing out that both of us work to keep our house in order.

    The point the author SHOULD have made her main theme (in my opinion), is that we ALL need to be able to SEE when our partners need help and offer ourselves to them…right then and there. We should not wait for them to ask for help. We should be more aware. And IF they ask for help, we should be there, NOT ask ,”What do you want” from the couch. Many of us, myself included, are guilty of this. We can do better.

    This should not have been a “male-bashing” article, but one that bashes partners who fail to see the needs of their other halves, don’t want to see, are blissfully ignorant and lazy. Those folks are not gender-specific.

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      1. What Benji said. As is expressly pointed out in the cartoon (which is about France, by the way, but I would be stunned if the situation in the US were not similar), in practice this burden does fall predominantly on women, and this IS a gender issue.

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    1. I think you’ve (unintentionally) highlighted one of my biggest frustrations with this system. One partner…yes, either gender…shouldn’t need “help” with the household. It should just automatically be shared. To say that I need help with the house implies that it’s ultimately my burden to carry. My husband is incredibly supportive and means so well but when he sees me doing jobs around he house, he asks “what can I do to help”. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate this SO much and am not complaining, but it just highlights that this is my job or else I’d be ‘helping’ him by doing it.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’m a man of 26 ,i always considered myself traditional man and yearned for the “good old days”. But your right, if we could help out with those things that we don’t even even consider doing, this wold would be a much better place. And it’s not even “feminism” its just fairness. We are moving (luckily) into a wold were everyone is becoming more equal, and so far we focused on job opportunities, women in politics ext. But it starts at home. Thank you very much, this comic actually changed me.

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  6. It’s scary how accurate this is.

    The one nitpick I have is with the assumption that raising children based upon stereotypes is the problem. There could be evolutionary reasons why women tend to commit to “nesting” more than men do. If you give a young girl toy trucks, she will often give them names and tuck them into bed at night. If you give a boy a doll, he is likely to use it as a pretend gun. Of course, these behaviors could be due to exposure to media and peers, so who knows. My point is at the jury is still out on nature vs. nurture.

    In either case, I have been guilty of the behaviors described by the author and “human nature” is usually easily corrected by education thoughtful action, so “being male” is not an excuse for my behavior. Fortunately, we finally have enough money to outsource some of the child care and cleaning duties. We have a male nanny, at least.

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  7. I have severe ADHD, with anxiety.
    I’m married, but without kids.

    There can be a biological aspect to it, even if the biological aspect isn’t gendered.
    And women can have this issue too. I know women who don’t see things around them… they also have been diagnosed with ADHD.

    ADHD functionally works off the premise of not having a filter

    When you are just in your average daily life, you can generally process around 7 simultaneous stimuli around you. You notice a few things on the counter, a mess on the table, and the empty mustard in the fridge. Anything not processed is simply discarded as non information.

    These stimuli, plus whatever you are processing in your head creates your mental load.

    When you are tired, the number of things you can simultaneously process goes down, to example perhaps 3 things. This reduces your mental load capacity. You either start processing less things simultaneously, or you have less deep thoughts about them.

    When you have ADHD, when you are tired, instead of going from 7 things to 3 things you can process, you are now processing everything in your environment, plus everything you’ve been thinking about in your head, with equal precedence.

    This means instead of noticing there are some dishes on the counter, you have a more abstract thought of “this room stresses me out” but you aren’t actually sure why it stresses you out.

    You don’t formulate the thought on how to take corrective action to alleviate the stressor. It just exists, and without some form of aide in formulating ideas, there is a high likelihood that it will continue to exist.

    This is why so many ADHD people work off the concept of checklists.
    Have a set time where you are like “okay, my alarm went off, I now have to check the kitchen counter for mess, and take out the garbage”… but more complex tasks will me missed from this system

    It’s just as frustrating for the person going through this as for the people trying to live with them!

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  8. While I agree the socialization of men is a heavy contributor to these issues, I also feel like a number of examples here are also matters of personal preference.

    I.e. The man doesn’t particularly care if the table is cluttered or there’s a towel on the floor and the woman does. So the woman thinks to pick the towel up after clearing the table, while the man ignores it until it becomes a problem in his own perception.

    Let’s keep in mind that men do live on their own for extended periods of time during their adult lives, before cohabitating with women. They seem to make it to the cohabitation phase just fine.

    The examples with children, I think, are far more relevant and meaningful. A child’s life is in the hands of his/her parents. Both should be actively involved and constantly vigilant.

    That said, no one dies if the table is cluttered.

    The man expects to be told what to do because often (again, exempting situations with children), the man doesn’t know what “needs” to be done, because that “need” isn’t his – it’s hers. She “needs” the table cleared and stray clothes picked up. He is fine without it, until it stacks up enough that he isn’t – and then he would take care of it, the way he did when he didn’t have her around.

    BUT by this point, she has already done it, because her threshold for a mess was lower. And so, over time as this pattern repeats, he becomes socialized to her doing what she wants, and telling him to do what she wants.

    Human beings, sadly, aren’t psychic. So communication IS important (despite how this article seems to undervalue it). Perhaps the message shouldn’t be “remember to pick up”, because one person’s threshold is lower than the others. Perhaps it should be “Hey, I don’t like it when the table is cluttered – I know you don’t care, but for my sake, whenever you use the table, can you please clear it so I don’t have to? Thanks, love you.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you realize why men might might not ‘particularly care if the table is cluttered or there’s a towel on the floor ‘? He won’t be blamed/judged for it. I can think of many anecdotes of people mocking women for having a messy house while the man who lives there is entirely left off the hook and maybe even pitied.
      Yes, communication is important, but coddling men so they won’t resent ‘helping’ around the house is not the solution.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. I’ll always remember the time I tried to help my sister out with a crying baby and she reacted as if I had done something terrible (Oh no! You’re doing it all wrong!) because the baby was supposed to be learning to put himself to sleep. I’m afraid of moving around in someone else’s kitchen until I’ve observed the flow. I try to remember to offer to help, but the men’s conversation in the living room is a lot more interesting.

    Anyone who wants men to pick up the slack needs to let them work out their own routines around the house and be very gentle about putting them down for ignorance or different standards. The internet can teach them everything they need to know about housekeeping. Women in the meantime can learn how to delegate without micromanaging – practice at home and then take the new skills to work.

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  10. Ah yes, the unintended consequences of feminism smashing traditional gender roles and ‘the evil patriarchy’ and women pushing to enter the labor force after the agricultural and industrial revolutions (when jobs became much easier0, which reduced the price of labor. Families now need two incomes to support a family because women wanted to compete with men for jobs, which increased supply of workers and drove down the price of labor. Now, families can not rely solely on one persons income in order to have a basic standard of living as wages have not kept up with inflation. So women feel overworked in the home and want to force men to step up while men also work more hours, work nights more, work outside more, work more physical jobs, more dangerous jobs to support their families. No wonder why women in the 60s had higher levels of fulfillment and happiness than women today.

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    1. Oh Emmanuel!!! Brilliant, you have just singlehandedly discovered the source of all the labour and social issues in the 21st century while also figuring out why women aren’t happy in 2018! It’s the damn women’s fault in the first place!!! Who would have thought? Genius! Now get back into your time machine and travel back to your time (I’d say circa 1950s?) where your woman stands by your armchair and hands you your newspaper and slippers.

      Seriously dude?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No, you are right it is actually men’s fault for giving in to women’s demands for rights and equality. Everything that has happened to society is because men allowed it to.

        Let me guess, you think men were just lounging around and ‘oppressing’ women and world just magically built itself. What they should have done was send women to work and break their backs on farms, foundries, mines and construction sites while the men worked in the house and cooked and cleaned. That would make a lot of sense!

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    2. They weren’t actually hence the movement for change. And “women” is a category of a lot of different individuals who are just people as are men. And there were women working in the 50s – just not the wealthy ones.

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      1. If thats the case then women dont even know when they are happy since women more unhappy today than they were in the 60s. Women have every right they can ever want today without the responsibilities of men and they are still unhappy and feminism is louder than ever before.

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      2. Emmanuel, women have always worked on farms, in factories and down mines too, as have children. Equally dangerous and backbreaking conditions and paid far less.

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    3. It sounds like you have had some negative domestic personal experiences with women. I wouldn’t jump right away to the conclusion that you are misogynistic- your world view is always influenced by your experiences- but the fact that you feel compelled to defend your gender in this discussion indicates that you feel attacked in some way by the information or how it is expressed in the comic – You immediately empathize with the male in the story, understandable as you identify more with his situation. But why go so far as to entirely dismiss the female point of view, going right on to list the great worldly accomplishments of males? A true misogynist would say ‘ because it’s the reality- men are responsible for all of the most important accomplishments of our civilization, while women contributed and contribute nothing of note.’ If you believe this- do you consider yourself to be a misogynist?

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      1. Am I a misogynist? No. At worst, I am apathetic to women, especially those that I have no personal relationship with. In reality I do empathize with women because they created their own problems, unless you can convince me that it was men pushing women into the workforce. I do not believe that women contribute nothing of note. Men and women contribute to the survival of the species in two completely different ways. Men are much more useful for survival due to the natural dimorphism between men and women. Women are much more useful for reproduction because they are the limiting factor. These are immutable facts of life that can not be changed or abolished and is problem with trying to treat the genders as if they are equal. It has nothing to do with misogyny.

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      2. Yeap, Emmanuel is a misogynist. He “emphasizes with women as long as they assume and admit it’s all their fault”. I’m sorry, but I’m ROTFL. I’m afraid to think what he thinks about the whole “me too” movement. It was all our fault that we complained about men assaulting us as well, I”m sure.

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      3. Ok sure you got me, I am a misogynist. The fact that you have to resort to name calling proves you have no argument and that you cant refute what I have to say.

        Yes, men are also at fault. They have given women everything they could possibly want and they are still unhappy.

        I’m sorry but the metoo movement is a red herring and has nothing to do with the topic we are discussing

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      4. Is there something I said you don’t agree with? I am willing to change my mind if you can convince me otherwise. I have no ego and just want the truth.

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      5. Why is it important to establish whether Emmanuel is a misogynist or not? Seems like a discussion about whether another person can be labeled with a negative label is, well, labeling. How does throwing that word in add anything to the discussion, beyond getting everyone’s ire up? I really doubt that attaching a label to someone will be effective in attracting them to your viewpoint.

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  11. The author must not really understand what goes on in the thought bubbles of the men she is mocking.

    Quick question…you ever see a feminist in a power outage?

    Enough said.

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  12. My issue with this is how childcare seems to be lumped with taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher. Eg “women are portrayed as wives and mothers while men get to have fascinating adventures away from home.” The thing is, parenting isn’t just one big chore—it’s fascinating and an adventure in its own right. Some mothers choose to do this type of unpaid work (yes, it is actually work) on a full time basis. That’s okay. Some fathers parent on full time basis. That’s okay too. 50:50 division desirable by all couples. It doesn’t mean that someone isn’t pulling their fair share of the household work load (necessarily).
    I would rather see a model in which partners together consider the work which needs to happen in the household to keep it functioning (paid and unpaid) and divide according to interest and aptitude, rather than insist that only a 50:50 split is fair.
    And please stop comparing taking care of children to a boring chore like taking out the trash. This hugely undermines the mental, emotional, psychological and practical skill that goes into be a good parent.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reading this entire article makes me fucking sick. Men and women should all be ashamed of themselves. I feel like jumping off a bridge now. Why am I such a pathetic man?

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  14. I think it’s important to distinguish between – men who claim they share in doing housework – and part of the point of the article which is that women often have the mental strain of overseeing and managing it all (lifestyle management not just house chores). It’s not – I went to the grocery store, too. It’s I co-created the shopping list and noted when things were out, initiating making a list in the first place.

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    1. If thinking about the typical tasks of daily life causes you undue mental stress, then the problem is you, not your partner or the rest of the world. It’s an anxiety disorder and there are treatments for this. If your partner is fortunate enough to be relatively carefree, which frankly is not that common, then you should be more like them rather than the other way around. There are countless women who can quite well handle extraordinarily busy and hectic lives. What’s the difference between them and those who stress out so much about “mental load”? You would give the credit to their supportive husbands? I doubt that. You need to take responsibility for yourself and get professional help if being an adult is too difficult.

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      1. It’s not about being able to handle it or not, it’s about being apparently the only adult in the relationship. Your partner should care about house chores, if he waits for the woman to command him what to do and when to do it, he is just behaving like a child.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Let me guess, if a man handles the ‘mental load’ of telling his woman what to do then he is a controlling misogynist who undermines her capabilities.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If I were confronting this problem I’d quit looking at male character defects and find practical ways to approach the problem. One thing I’d look at is how both men and women train and coach co-workers. People often have jobs where they have to develop awareness that they don’t naturally have; for example waiting tables, dealing with different boss personalities, or protecting your military unit from attack. With a male or otherwise oblivious partner I’d start with identifying some daily household area they’d like to take responsibility for (beyond the yardwork and handyman stuff).

        Then, objective training on what that chore involves. The first step would be for **the man** to come up with himself with what he thinks the characteristics of the job are: how do you know it needs to be done; what’s a good schedule for doing it; what are the indications of completeness. This will make him observe and analyze what’s going on from the woman’s perspective. Then there needs to be mutual agreement on schedules and standards, and this needs to be documented. If he has different standards, then there must be room for compromise. In business terms: what are the requirements, deliverables and the success indicators. Use business standards for objective feedback, for example the “sandwich” method – praise, negative feedback, praise. Keep logs of increasing success. Deal with problems as they arise. Help him self-motivate when he confronts the interruptions and lack of sitting around that the new responsibility requires.

        Nagging, micro-managing and character assaults such as “lacking in initiative” may be emotionally satisfying but the erode the relationship and make the guy feel like it’s not worth trying – if he tries to help he gets attacked, and if he just sits back he gets attacked: there’s no path to success.

        I don’t think it’s a character defect in many men – it’s an unintentional lack of awareness. Men who have to become caregivers successfully learn this. Yes, the woman has to be the initiator and trainer to begin with, but the goal is worthwhile. Training will probably be short-term with lifetime results. Plus you’re developing skills you can learn at work!

        Unrelated case in point: When I learned how to teach (after retirement) in the Peace Corps, I suddenly understood a whole lot more about what the job of teaching requires. Most people have no clue what teachers do – they think teachers just stand up and teach. Once you learn to do it yourself your eyes are opened (and many men successfully take on the “mental load” of teaching.) So it’s the same with men who are used to being looked after by women: they have no idea of what the “mental load” of managing a family means. It’s only by carefully and kindly helping them shoulder pieces of that load that they’ll catch on.

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  15. Men aren’t mind readers. We’re also not compelled to do household chores like a fanatic. If you want something: ask for it. Otherwise, you’ll get be ignored and your house will turn into a bachelor’s pad. It’s natural. Not a gender slight.

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  16. She shouldn’t have to tell him to do basic things like empty the dishwasher or put the dirty towel in the laundry basket. He is apparently totally lacking in initiative. If this were one of my staff who so thoroughly lacked initiative and had to be told everything to do, I would give them constructive feedback and–if it didn’t work–fire their lazy ass! This story above makes me so glad I never married. At least if there’s a mess, it’s my mess, and when I clean it up, someone else doesn’t immediately come along to mess it up again.

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  17. This is my life to its entirety. The only difference is I’m a stay at home mom of four one being a newborn and one a toddler. My husband took the bonding leave for 6 weeks and he still has not woken up one time with the baby or helped with anything else for that matter. The only thing I can think of to change this is to teach my boys how to cook, clean and take initiative.

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  18. I think people keep missing the mental part of this. No human is genetically programmed to think of how to run a household. It takes just as much work for one partner to constantly monitor what needs done in the house as it would the other partner (no gender bias here). That means if one person can do it, so could the other person. Why in most cases it is the female that takes on this role, is because of how we are raised, we imitate what we know in our parents relationship, depictions on TV, in magazines, etc. So if a wife or husband can keep track of doctors appointments, laundry, schedules, school, appointments, and general house upkeep, than the other partner can do it to. And they should. Ideally the pair should share responsibility equally so that no one feels or is overwhelmed.

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