1,721 thoughts on “You should’ve asked

    1. So true! I remember reading a similar piece written by a guy who always claims he doesn’t help his wife because he finds it ridiculous to call doing house chores helping as if it wasn’t his job to begin with. He also made another excellent point that many men he knows feel so deeply that house works are not their direct concern that they actually complain and get strongly discouraged to do stuff when they do something on their own accord and their partner doesn’t shower them with gratitude as if they had bought her a diamond necklace without any occasion.

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  1. When you insist that the partner who does most of the household chores should have asked for help, you are making that person in charge or rather putting all the responsibilities on that partner..as if the household chores are all his/her responsibility and you are simply helping with that work which you presume is not yours.. Truth being it is not even the partner’s work.. Plus nobody fancies or want to be in charge of a job that doesn’t pay or get any appreciation.. ‘Helping’ with the work makes you feel good but makes your partner feel guilty at a certain point.. Household chores should be shared not only amongst the partners but the kids as well.. Aim for a balanced household where no one feels over burdened..

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  2. Reblogged this on CORAL BRIGADE and commented:
    Thank you for the post.. Partners should take charge instead of waiting for the call for ‘help’.. You are not doing anyone any favour only sharing the chores or doing it together.. Less stress, more time together.. Win-win

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Emma,
    I just happened to come across your post on Facebook. Very beautifully put. I teach gender roles and feminism at high school and college level. You have succinctly and successfully put an entire course in this post. You deserve an A+++! 😊👍

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I would pay for a poster of this to hang in my home. Not for my husband – I am divorced, and of all the problems in the marriage this was the most pervasive – but for my kids, especially my teenage son. (He’s very much a “fallait demander” kid but he does his own laundry, so there’s still hope). I feel like this ought to be taught in every high school. If all our children grew up aware of the “mental load” and willing to share it, what a wonderful world it could be…Grand merçi! ❤️

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  5. I want to cry. How do I tell my parents to do this for the sake of my little brothers, who are 5 and 6.5 (there’s a big age gap)? My father is working through depression and is a good dude, but definitely doesn’t contribute. My mom is a super manager.

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  6. The reason men go back go back to work after 11 days is because they don’t get maternity leave. It’s not because they’re empty headed and unaware of the emotional and physical ordeal that they’re partner has gone through

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    1. Just so you know someone in France started a petition to that men have a longer paid paternity leave . Surprise : the very large majority of persons who signed it were women 🙂
      A lot of men DON’T WANT to stay at home with their baby kids. I read that a lot on reddit and forums : they think it is not interesting. They think women are more able to bear a crying child as them. Reality is, women don’t think a baby is interesting either, but they know someone has to do it so …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes Emma, the perfect example is when I Was pregnant with my son and my husband was applying for annual leave and his boss (a father of two children) said “just take a week off when the baby is born and save your annual leave for when they are at least one year old and they are more interesting and interactive…”

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      2. Its better for babies if mothers stay home. Babies are neurilogically fragile and are born without a central nervous system. Mothers are literally act as the central nervous system for the first year after birth. The regulatory mechanism is oxytocin which works in conjunction with estrogen. Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children and produce more of it than men do. Every time a mother comforts a baby in distress, she’s actually regulating that baby’s emotions from the outside in. Babies are not able to regulate their emotions internally until 3-5 years.

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  7. Having to ask for help is like having to ask for a birthday present. It is lazy and aggressive to not pull your weight in a team.

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  8. Oh how true is this. Absolutely wonderful. Now I know that I am not the only one who is at breaking point due to the mental load of work, kids, housework, husband etc!
    Please, please, please translate more of your blog into english.

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  9. Men *have* to go to work.
    Women *choose* to go to work.
    If a man did not insist his wife go to work – it is very nice of him to do *any* household work at all.

    OTOH if he actively participated in the decision of his wife choosing to work – whatever be their reasons – he better share all the load at home – both physical and mental.

    Kudos to this comic, that disabuses many men of the self-congratulatory notion that they share all the work – simply because they share physical work.

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    1. Wow. Just wow. I wish I had the choice to not work. Oh yes. Then there is that nasty habit of eating that myself and my son have.

      Watched my husband of the last three years sit on his ass and wait for me to come home from work to cook his dinner. Our first court date for the divorce is in two weeks.

      My son who also refuses to help me or himself will be out on his own next year.

      I wish them both good luck.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. So a man could just get away with household work at all by insisting his wife does not go to work? How comes, that men’s desire to work is somehow default, while women has to defend their choice to contribute to something bigger than cleaning shit baby leaves? That one can not expect the man to help with the household at all, had he 9-5 job (caring for baby is about 15 h a day)? Let’s be clear – noone wants to do any household work by choice, it’s just necessary to keep lifes going, so sharing the load is fair (and the proportion is negotiable).

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      1. Housework could be fine if it was paid and socially valued. Women do not *choose* to go to work they do it because being financially dependant of their partners isn’t really a good situation. In France a lot of women continue their lives on their own with their children, and a lot of fathers do not even care to pay for the child care so single mothers who never had a paid job have no money for them and their kids to live with.

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      2. I seek to question this now ubiquitous expectation that a woman too *has* to have a job.
        If we make that inviolable, then it is of course fair to expect the husband to partake in all the work in running the household. And to that end, this comic is quite insightful in pointing out to men their blindspots.

        But my contention is, we should acknowledge that this whole discussion proceeds from the fundamental assumption that all women *should* have a job. Unless we discuss the negotiability of that, we aren’t having a wholesome take on the issue.

        You say ‘no-one wants to do any household work by choice, it’s just necessary’.
        Is 9-5 job world also simply that – necessary to pay the bills?
        Why do we tend to ascribe anything more – identity, sense of accomplishment almost exclusively to this external world?

        Challenging traditional roles has two routes:
        1) Switching/sharing/blurring roles – this we are glad and eager to discuss. Which is great.
        2) Respecting/valuing the role of running a home – we never do this enough.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. //Housework could be fine if it was paid and socially valued. //

        Socially valued – yes. It needs to be. And I couldn’t agree more vehemently.
        Paid – why? What would the mechanics of it be in a marriage?
        Wouldn’t the funds be for the familial unit? That is perhaps the idea to the socialize.
        That the husband isn’t doing any favours to the familial unit by financially contributing to it. It is what he is to do, that is the all.

        He gets no superior decision on rights on how the money is spent, just because it was from his paycheck.

        //being financially dependent of their partners isn’t really a good situation. //

        Yes, so aren’t we beginning from a point of bad-faith?

        That the social situation today is such that, even you marry someone “you just got to look out for yourself, stay relevant in the job-market skills and so on, because – hey, it may be go south any time”.
        Isn’t that just a very sad of affairs?

        And irresponsible men – like the cases you mention- are as much responsible for this decline of faith in them.

        But we have all taken it to be beyond repair and decided that we just can’t trust and depend on each other wholly anymore. Even in the most intimate of relationships.

        And so we proceed valuing independence as the inviolable singular virtue, over interdependence.

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    3. I notice in your replies further down, that you ignore Emma’s comment about a 9-5 job vs housework being 15h a day. So, let’s say, in your world (which does not exist in middle-lower class in many countries), the woman “chooses” to stay at home because the man “has” to work. The man works 8 hours a day, with 2 hours of commuting time. That is 10 hours a day. The woman is working that entire time, raising their *joint* children, washing their *joint* laundry, and will continue doing housework after the man has come home. If her “job” is 15 hours a day, and his is only 10 hours a day, why doesn’t the man have to contribute more?

      Also, seriously, why do you think women *choose* to go to work? Is this true where you live? It is very untrue pretty much everywhere else in the world.

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      1. /15/
        It would take nothing to disagree -from my experience – that it takes less than 15 hours. At the very least you would agree that there is sufficient case-to-case variability in the duration of a workday for a stay-at-home mom.

        The point I want to make is: the extent to which staying home is a choice.
        And I contend it is and we have stopped pausing to make that choice actively.

        And what point are you trying to make with all those *joints* ?
        He is going out to work make money for the *joint* family, isn’t he?
        /Also, seriously, why do you think women *choose* to go to work? Is this true where you live? It is very untrue pretty much everywhere else in the world./

        Do you mean, in most marriages both of them need to work to get by? Is that really true?

        I am not one for sharing personal anecdotes but in this case I guess it may better explain where I am coming from:

        Both my parents worked. In a culture/generation where it was a rare for women to work.
        They had to, in order to provide a decent education for my sister and me. With just one parent working neither of us would have been to college. But then, we grew up in an extended family household – grandparents, an aunt who was always home and so on.

        Now I see many people my generation can live reasonably well on one income. And yet you have both working – with scant time being spent with the child, who spends time in formal daycare – which was unheard of earlier. And in pursuit of what? Presumably better lifestyle. But is that lifestyle essential or merely affordable now with two incomes – oftentimes I see it is more a case of tail wagging the dog.

        Which is why I say now, it is a choice.
        A choice being made with scant examination, or due to reasons of bad faith (as was discussed in another comment above).
        Eitherway people have gotten it into themselves that both of them have to work. And are thoroughly exhausted to have time enough for their pursuits – let alone their children.

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      1. No problem at all, it really made me re-evaluate how I was contributing to the household I share with my parents actually and I discussed how to better share the mental load with my mother (As I am meant to be the live-in housekeeper) and its really helped in such a short frame of time!

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  10. Ladies they are not mind readers, so we need to spell it out at times. And I say what fun is there in life if they always thought like us… No more conflicts…no more making up. God, I would die from all the amiability.

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  11. Quite funny, as it the story assumes that work is some kind of fun (go to save the world. ect.)…. So you still think that work is some kind of holiday/adventure????

    You can make your whole story easier and with a view from a different angle:
    How many hours a day is somebody contributing to the family live?

    The one, who goes for work: worktime at work + worktime at home.
    It is obvious that the one, who is going to work may be not able to contribute 50% of the total worktime at home.

    Further, I’m really sorry, nowadays managing alone is no job (like noted already in one of the first statements). If I would only instruct my team, but would not have the same (!) operational workload in addition to the management, I would have been just downgraded or fired.

    The rest of the story is full of pre-justice and probable quite populistic statements. Sorry to say so. But too many things, to answer every single topic noted.

    Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 1. Out of house work is not fun but
      – it is paid
      – and it is socially valued

      2. In my comic the woman AND the man work. When back home she still works he doesn’t.

      3. Moreover work outside the house has limited hours. Housework doesn’t.

      4. About managing it may depend on the work fields, I’m a computer scientist and managers who try to develop in the same time are the worst. They are unable to organize correctly and stay at work very late although they are not paid for it. It makes me sad for their partners.

      Cheers 🙂

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      1. Well, different people, different story.

        I think it’s a tricky thing and it’s not fair to blame a manager that he/she stays at work for long hours, though not paid and that they are unable to organize correctly.
        Some people need their job, and they cannot just go home after 8 hours.
        Further, once someone gets to the next level, and becomes the manager, he/she notes that there a couple of aspects not seen and considered before. Or have been completely underestimated from a workload and responsibility perspective. And it’s far away from not organizing correctly.
        How do you know for your managers? Do you control them and know exactly what they are doing? So if you are so more efficient, why you have been not promoted? Or are you just the unseen jewel?
        At least it seems that you still have lots of time and capacities to write and comment this blog! Your manager probably not.

        Of course your manager just can go home. However, someone else may stay. And quite often there is no free choice just to walk away and look for a new better job if the rent has to be paid at month end.

        Further, in reality if think also the work at home is socially valued in the western world. For example in your article ad lots of others. It’s much more difficult to find articles, opinions or people, who say that work at home is easy going.

        I think every story has at least two perspectives. And it would be good to hear also the second. However, what makes me a little bit sad, is this one-sided picture. It’s always the man who is not contributing, etc. And it’s always the man who has to change, improve is behavior in your story.

        Is it really like described in your article? A first step is always if someone thinks, what he/she can do better, where he/she has made mistakes. And what the other half is doing good. If you want somebody to do more. Motivate him/her, that he/she has done something great. And not blame him/her that she could have done even more.

        This article goes in the other way: what is the other half doing not so good, where he can improve. And what I’m doing great, but not noted appropriately?

        Maybe also the question, what do you want? You can’t get all.

        At the end, I think, to make a simple check, who is doing what (including the time at work), may be a fair approach. And following this approach there should be no pre-justice and unfair, subjective assumption that the one at work is inefficient with lack of appropriate organization!

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    2. Wow…. how to totally miss the point. This comic as absolutely spot on. You are right with your first comment it is how many hours somebody is contributing to family life – the exact point of the comic strip. Women are contributing more in general. They work and then come home and work some more.

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      1. Wow, so you think that the work is no contribution to the family life?
        for the subjective statement that women contributing more in general, exactly that’s the topic. It’s only a one sided perspective. No evidence, just pre-justice.
        I work, and then come home and work some more.
        Some jobs are even not seen, as there is the assumptions it’s easy going and done without effort. Car repair, tax declaration, and repair work in the house, etc. Of course, lots of women will say now. I’m also doing this.
        But that’s the point. The article is a personal experience, and cannot be seen for all. But exactly this assumption is underlying. At the least the author has lots of time to write it, comment it and moderate it. Most people at work do not have even 50% of this time…..

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  12. I read this with my husband and he said it was very insightful. I was working 50 hours a week while pregnant during and after both my pregnancies. Not by choice, I assure you, but if I work for the state and its hard to find part time permanent positions. My husband, like many, tries his best but it takes me significantly less time to clean than it does him so I end up doing all the cooking, cleaning, etc. Role strain is real and creates significant problems in marriages that we don’t talk about. The women at my daughters school all look like super moms, but I’ve realized they deal with the same strain (even the stay at home moms), when we confide in each other. Things that helped me…find what your husband is good at and LIKES to do. My husband loves our baby and doesn’t mind walking him around while I clean. He’ll also go to the store if I give him an exact list (yes, I sometimes text him pics of the exact items noting to pay special attention to type, flavor, brand). These things help but I myself vow to teaching daughter AND our son how to cook and clean. I want them both to be loving contributors to their families. What better present can I give to my future daughter-in-law than a son who helps out with the chores and kids?

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  13. I am one of the lucky ones. My husband was raised by a single mom, so he and his brother were both helping with complex household chores at a young age. Both my husband and brother-in-law are highly self-sufficient. My husband is “all in” and never needs to be asked or prompted. He’s my full-on, competent, organized partner. I wouldn’t have settled for less, either.

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  14. Quite true for most of us who r working mothers and have people at home who are ready to help, but wait for instructions. Yoga and meditation ..basically the ‘Time you carve out for yourself’ is a major game changer apart from the many other tips you have beautifully sprinkled in the blog

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  15. I’m reminded of an episode of Brain Games where Men and Women are given a list of things to accomplish, but at the very end all they’re required to do was sign the paper. Men (usually) went crazy executing every task while Women (usually) read through the entire document and realized none of it was necessary.

    A quick solution–give your Male partner a list of chores!

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  16. I had a serious discussion about all of the mentioned above this weekend with my partner. Still, he does not understand what I mean….

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    1. Take his car keys away then. If he is struggling understanding a simple concept like sharing chores, he certainly shouldn’t be doing anything as complex as driving.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This was just sent to me by my husband. It is because he probably realised it was a bit true for us as well and wanted to let me know that he understands now and will do his Best to change things. Ladies, there is hope 🙂

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  18. I think the woman sounds like the victim here. Culture raises women to want or try to have it all, career, kids, home,relationship etc. I found I was depressed and angry when I tried to do it all and I know my partner was trying his best too. We are different people and he is not as anxious about kids and house as I. I learned I needed to take responsibility for my anxiety and not expect him to change, as that was not loving of me to complain or berate him. I think our expectations of ourselves and others is way high. I think there’s a lot of truth in your depiction and makes for good conversation.

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    1. If the housework and kids are his then he should be willing to do his half if you are going out to work too. If it bothers you because of cultural indoctrination, then he should meet you half way.

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  19. This is such a wonderful article that I can relate to so so much. I have a question though…..do you think if a household has two “project managers” that it can further complicate things? The reason I ask is that I am recently married to a wonderful hardworking man who does more to “manage” our household than 99% of my friends husbands. We both work full time hours and he helps with my son from my previous marriage. I find sometimes that it complicates things to have two project managers – sometimes he’ll do something not realizing that I had already coordinated the start of it or something like that. There is overlap…..like he went to the grocery store and bought groceries for the week with out me asking, but got way too much because I had already arranged for a food delivery service that week. I guess better communication is the key but some of this stuff is so little and ingrained into the day to day that I don’t think to mention it to him. Anyone have any insight to this point? Every organization needs a leader and if at work two people were managing a project, it could get chaotic. I wonder if this applies to the home as well?

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    1. Hi ! I think this is a whole new thing we are beginning to asking for 🙂 So sure we have to think about how to organize things to avoid redundancies and quiproquos. Maybe some apps, or something like this. Everything has to be invented 😉

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  20. you are just amazing – and so very much spot on – it was like reading a comic about my own life! Thank you so very much!

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  21. I love this, as it puts into words a concept I have tried and failed to explain many times. I would like to add a variant though. In my marriage, I definitely carry the mental load but most of it is because it is important to me, and is based on how I was raised, the family I grew up in and their lifestyle. My husband comes from a different childhood and the majority of the load I carry is things he doesn’t care about or even consider. This is not just based on my experience of him. He was a single father raising two boys alone for a number of years. I know from those boys and other family that things like making sure the kids use soap when they bathe, have clothes that fit, see the doctor/dentist annually, and eat fruits and vegetables daily were unimportant to him. They were not part of his mental load even when he was the only one carrying it and I am not sure they were part of his parent’s mental load either. In order to be in this marriage, I have had to recognize the things that I take on because it is important to me and the things I take on because he gave them up to me. And there are some things that I grit my teeth to bear and some things i have to just let go, because I alone cannot keep a home of four people, three cats and a guinea pig to my own standards.

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