A message to guys : taking your part of the mental load is not asking what you can do to “help”, but it is not finish our current task once we are embarked in it either !
It is knowing BY YOURSELF what must be done. Just take 10 seconds so scan the room around you 🙃
A good resolution for 2019 isn’t it? 😁
64 thoughts on “Do you want me to do it ? (no)”
Thanks for your helpful postings
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Hi thought a bit harsh. We (as an illness) always fall back on “you dont understand” and then something like (not wishing on own enemies) wah wah
Its true though its so embarressing to be in such a pitiful state…………hang on i better read illustrations be sen…..d…i..n..g✊
This! Grrrr… 🙄
It isn’t Just husbands but everyone capable, living in the house, should just jump in. You are useless if you have to ask.
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I feel like you and I have the same brain and the same husband and it freaks me out but I really love feeling like someone else feels this way and I’m not crazy. Thank you for all of these working-mom-life comics, you are an incredible woman.
How about you just talk, every team has a leader call out the plays, you want to simplify things for the caveman male, just speak your thoughts. Next week the topic will be lack of communication but you can’t ask your spouse to take out the garbage while you do the dishes? Wow
Gerry, I see your point but I disagree with it in part…
I have been married to my lovely husband for over a decade. There are certain things that come up, that we still have to communicate on, but not everything should be this way.
For example, my husband takes out the trash. That’s his number one job in our house. I do everything else. Trash day in our house has ALWAYS been Tuesday. Up until the last three years or so, I would have to remind him every single Monday night to take the rubbish out, and to include the trash from the bathroom, or he would forget. That’s about seven years of weekly reminders. At that point, it’s not about communication- it’s about him not caring enough to remember by himself, and treating me like a mother instead of a wife. A wife shouldn’t have to remind her husband of chores that are completed daily or weekly. It’s different if it’s something out of the norm- either person is liable to forget. But if it’s a routine thing (I.e. the trash goes out Monday night, Thursday is recycling, you see a sock on the middle of the floor, or see that your magazines are taking up the table, General, everyday clean up) then it is a person’s own responsibility to notice and remember, or come up with a way of remembering, unless that person is younger than 16 years old.
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Gerry, you’ve missed the entire point. The entire point is that you shouldn’t HAVE to ask, because if you HAVE to ask, it means you have taken on 100% of the mental load – and instead of doing their share, the other person is blissfully ignoring every single job, problem, schedule, etc etc on the basis of “if they need help, they’ll ask”. And a married couple is not a sports team, though even on a sports team the captain doesn’t have to hold the hand of every teammate and give them step by step instructions at every single point!
If you say “Nah, one person will be the leader in this couple, and if they need help, they’ll ask” – you’re saying you AREN’T a partnership, but rather treating your partner like they’re your supervisor and you’re their employee. And not a very good one at that.
It is your house too, your jobs too, your chores too. You should CARE, and you should care enough to actually THINK about what’s needed and taking the initiative to go do it. Otherwise you end up with a partner who knows you don’t see yourselves as equals, who resents you because you’ve shown you don’t actually give a damn about your shared life together, and can’t even go away for the weekend without stress because they know you are so uninvolved in the day to day running of the house that you can’t be trusted to look after yourself and get everything done, let alone look after kids or pets properly.
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@Janet and @Lauren. What would happen if you just *don’t* remind them? And skip doing their chores for them, especially if said chores aren’t imminently necessary (as in threatening a child’s health or future)? In other words just go on strike. Or at least designate a part of the chores as yours and deliberately ignore the rest until he doesn’t.
@Max, the problem with “going on strike” is that you therefore only give them tasks/chores that don’t result in the house being destroyed or in an unacceptable state or that aren’t so important as to be a danger if they are not done. This isn’t a fair sharing of the load in any way at all and if you think the partner can’t see that the jobs they are being trusted to do aren’t that important, you’d be surprised, and in most cases makes the situation worse because then the tasks *really* don’t get done as they are clearly not urgent or a priority.
Furthermore, why should the mental loaded partner have to deal with emotional distress at the chaos? Why isn’t a conversation and open communication enough? Why are people capable in the office/on site but not at home?
Also, @Gary, that is not what teamwork is. Why can’t there be a co-captaincy or co-coaches? It happens in sport and business all the time. Your reply is a total cop out. “Me cave man, you cave woman.”
The work to be done in a household is fairly obvious and repetitive.
I want my thoughts to be more than what to tell a housemate what needs to be done, they have a brain and can think for themselves.
It’s not complicated, it’s simply laziness on their part.
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Gerry, communication is about things that aren’t readily apparent as part of being a functional adult. If I notice that we’re out of eggs and I need my spouse to pick some up on the way home, which they cannot know is needed otherwise, I communicate this. If we’re low on clean laundry and I’m cooking dinner, then I don’t need to communicate that a responsible adult needs to do this task, and since the other responsible adult is indisposed by taking care of another mandatory task, the spouse should do laundry instead of watch YouTube and eat Cheez-its. My spouse doesn’t have to communicate this for me to know it should be done, so why can’t men understand vice versa. The entire point is that there shouldn’t be caveman males. That’s a ridiculous norm. Somehow it’s acceptable for a grown man to not know how to independently not wallow in his own filth, prepare his own food without a drive through or microwave, and make his own appointments for things like doctors. If there is a relationship dynamic where if the two people were separated, one would be a functioning adult and the other would not, there is an issue, and it’s not really the woman’s job to teach their grown husband how to adult.
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Haha. Way to mansplain.
Team mansplainsville USA. Yay!
Gerry look at Emma’s other comic “you should have asked” and you’ll see why this attitude is extremely problematic.
While I appreciate your point, Gerry, at some point you have to wonder whether your spouse failing to “get it,” or needing multiple reminders to do everything and anything of what should really be shared work, is in fact a lack of respect.
Just like Janet, my husband of nearly 15 years needs reminding to do everything. Yet when I do remind him, he either passive-aggressively ignores me or bites back: “I’m not your slave!” Then we end up in endless circular arguments where he tries to make out I said he does nothing (I didn’t), and brings up everything he did that year down to going to the tip once in the summer…
IMO, if you can remember EVERYTHING you did that year (or even that week…), and feel the need to regurgitate all of it to defend yourself, you are obviously not doing enough.
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Wow– I was unaware grown men were children. Thank you for the enlightenment. Your wife is your equal and you are a grown-ass man. Yes it’s too much! She isn’t your mommy! Do you ask your boss at work for this level of hand holding?
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Yes, I can ASK. The entire point is that I shouldn’t *have to*. We fill the garbage every day. We make laundry every day. We make dirty dishes every day. Why must I ask you to actively participate in your own upkeep? You can SEE the garbage can is full. You should ANTICIPATE that if I cooked, there are dishes to be cleaned. You might GUESS that the laundry won’t put itself away. It didn’t yesterday. Why do you act as if today is the first day you’re being introduced to the chore? And every day is a new ‘today’? Ugh.
It’s exhausting over time, and it makes the wife feel like she has a man-sized child she’s doomed to care for eternally. No has to remind you to make a mess; no one should have to cue you as to when and how to tidy up.
Seriously only kids under ten get a break bc they’re still learning. If I have to parent you, I’m not having relations with you. And if you’re a teenager, you know better, just pick up after yourself and your mom will be SO GRATEFUL you have no idea. You’ll get more freedoms. Trust me.
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Just tell him what you want! It’s not rocket science. It’s called Communication 😉
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Bearing the mental load IS asking people to do things and it’s exhausting
Seing that the kitchen must be cleaned is not rocket science either
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But cleaning the kitchen isn’t the only task either. Asking people to make assumptions generally does more damage than good.
Exactly Ms. Emma.
Oh and then we are known to be pushy and nudge-y. I don’t want to be seen as that person but it’s the men that put us in that situation on purpose. Not cool.
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Next we will see Mark and this other guy stealing breast milk from their partners because they clearly never truly left their moms’ teets and they’re really trying to argue about some chores. Grow up children.
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Men are capable of taking responsibility. They don’t need women to direct them in every single moment of their lives. This man is asking for specific direction so he doesn’t have to do the simple mental work of LOOKING AROUND for himself. It’s infuriating, lazy, and making excuses for it enables this behavior.
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And if you do direct them in every moment, you become the person who emasculates them. Don’t do it!
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But when you have a husband that is very logical and has a snide comment for everything it’s hard to communicate with a person like that.
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LeeAnna – I found that the best way to communicate with a husband like that is through a lawyer.
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Thats the whole point – you shouldnt have to ask!!!! Why cant he just look for himself and see what needs doing without constantly needing to be prompted? That’s whats not rocket science, him behaving like a mature, responsible adult and not having to be constantly directed and pointed in the right direction like a child. Strange how organised and motivated men are when its something for them or something they are interested in……………………..
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Yes, you should, for the very same reason you say in the last line. If we’re not interested in something, then we won’t do it. You don’t want to ask your man to do something not because of a “mental load”, you don’t want to ask because you want men not only to do those things, you want him to WANT to do those things. And that’s never gonna happen.
Jose A. Zapata,
To that logic women can also stop doing things we don’t want to do without being prompted by an outside source. I like it.
You’re wrong about one major point though. Women don’t want men to WANT to do the mental load, the mental load is annoying and endless. We know, we’re the ones doing it. We’re saying that WE, as in women, don’t WANT to be doing it either. What we want is for men to SHARE in the RESPONSIBILITY of the mental load. Precisely because it’s no fun. But when men refuse to take it on because they don’t WANT to do chores, they don’t LIKE to do chores, they can’t get themselves to do it because it’s *no fun*, well that makes those men hypocrites because we don’t like or want to do them either. It also makes them, by will, mentally dependent on their women in the same way that children are. And whiners. Not in the sexy Jamaican way, in the annoying kid on an airplane way. It also means that men hold women at a higher standard than they hold themselves at. Yet again. No surprise that women are pushing back.
A lot of men now have a partner/teammate in earning an income outside of the home. For example: when I married I had a business that I owned and ran for 13 years and had started from nothing, I owned a house that I bought for myself 7 years prior, a car less than 5 years old, furnishings for that 4-bedroom house, investments, and a small savings – and that’s just what I had accumulated for myself since moving out at 19 with not a penny to my name (I’ve had as many as 5 jobs at once to get ahead). So my husband is relieved of having a wife who depends on him for financial stability, in fact he has a wife who adds financial security on a regular basis. Not because she was told to, not because she WANTED to or it was FUN, but because she acted on it with her own drive and self-discipline and reaped the rewards (rewards that he now enjoys as well). What’s more, he has a wife that has done it all, played every role in upholding a household, and found that the stuff that men usually get tasked with fall under the easy parts of home ownership and management, and yes that includes both going to work and home & lawn maintenance.
He could have been a house-husband, a stay-at-home dad if he chose. I would have gladly taken on the breadwinner role. But he didn’t want it. I understand because I don’t want it either.
Because women are now savvy to what it takes to earn a living and run a household, we are asking to have a partner/teammate inside the home in return for being a partner/teammate outside of the home. That means that men will now have to hold themselves responsible in the same way that women do in the home, for the benefit of the team. It’s not about WANT it’s about RESPONSIBILITY. That means having a WILLINGNESS and REGULARITY in the way that you help. That means KNOWING HOW TO HELP or KNOWING WHAT IS NEEDED without having to ASK or BE TOLD. That means finding a way to make yourself useful instead of needing her to do that for you. This isn’t a sport, you don’t get to choose to not have a home that needs tending to, you don’t get to choose your level of commitment to the team or say, “I don’t like this game, I don’t want to play anymore.” You want to drop out of the local soccer team, fine, but if you choose to play you better bring your a-game and not have to be told what to do all the time. You don’t get to drop out of shared responsibilities unless you also choose to not participate at all. Want to not share chores with someone? Then you should be single, find a woman who wants the role that you want her to have, or be prepared to pay a cleaning service.
I literally had to tell my husband that I won’t be accountable for counting his clean underwear to determine when he needs them washed. I told him this after he berated me for his lack of clean underwear and socks. Why am I responsible for taking stock of his clean underwear? How is it my fault that this grown man is out of clean socks? He has a powerful brain, eyes, hands, and mouth. I don’t wear whites so they aren’t on my radar. Women aren’t psychic [either]. Nor do we have a burning desire to have to constantly clean up after another adult. Or do chores. Or perform roles that were forced on us through childhood play and societal training. Most women don’t WANT to do chores any more than men do. Yet my wonderful husband felt perfectly comfortable expecting his laundry to just magically be done for him. Comfortable enough that when his whites ran out he took it out on me. Why?
He now helps with the laundry and all is well. We usually do it together, or will decide together when it needs to be done and how it will be implemented. He saw how ridiculous he was being once I explained to him that: not only could I never expect these things from him in reverse, but society has tried to brainwash me into believing that I am not to expect these things at all, from any man. And also that society has made it abundantly clear that men are allowed to feel that they have a pass for life so long as they have a woman in their home. And that’s why change is slow. Because men think it’s “no fun” they refuse to see their own privilege and be of help. I still don’t keep stock of his dirty socks and underwear. Why should I?
After that he got on me about the bed not being made when he comes home. I’m often the last one up, he said, so I am the one left to make the bed. One week I got up early every day, was up and dressed before him. That week the bed didn’t get made. When he complained I told him that it was his responsibility, as he had gotten out of bed last. And also to stop holding me to higher standards than he holds himself to.
Since then we make the bed together with some exceptions. And we both make the bed when we are last out of it and home alone. It’s a more fair system that we both had to compromise for in order to both benefit from it. His receptiveness and willingness to try it a new way are part of the many things I love about him. That and I can call him out on society’s shit brainwashing of him and he’s like, “oh, I didn’t even think of that because I’ve never had to.”
I remember watching a friend cry because her husband didn’t know the name of the school their then 5-year-old was attending (he was left to wait for the bus with his son that morning and called to ask). This same friend is in a traditional marriage and begrudges all of the added work load that she faces every day while her husband remains blissfully uninvolved. You don’t want to make your wife cry because you just don’t care, do you? Because her tasks are “no fun” so you don’t want to even consider how to be of help without first being pressured.
I sat out the kitchen chores a lot as a child at Thanksgiving gatherings, hoping no one would give me work to do while I was so full and relaxed, but truthfully telling myself there were already plenty of people helping and that I wasn’t needed if I wasn’t called upon. But I’m not a child anymore. Sometimes you do things because it’s wrong to not do them. You help because you know help is needed. This applies to work, to community, to family, and especially to spouse and home. You help because it’s the right thing to do.
So the real truth of women’s frustrations come from men using excuses of all types to get out of lending a hand enough to have a grasp on the whole picture. We’re frustrated with men refusing to give “women’s work” enough of a try to have an educated opinion on the matter, with men who conveniently forget that being a wife is based on a system of slavery between the sexes. I mean, why is a woman’s work “beneath” a man after all? And why does he get to put his nose up to it but not her? How is it that he doesn’t even have the skill-set in the first place, let alone the refusal to learn it?
It’s about tasks, but it’s also about accountability.
Want more examples?
My husband volunteered to be responsible for taking out the trash. One week he asked me 3 days in a row if I would put a new bag in the bin on his way outside with the trash, to which I agreed because I was next to the bin and had free hands. For some reason, he stopped replacing the trash bag with a clean one after that and I would come to the trash with something gross and drippy to find there was no trash bag in the bin. This was incredibly frustrating, do I need to explain why? Imagine needing to put something messy in the bin and time is of the essence, and you are stopped in your tracks because there isn’t a bag. Why did he stop doing the complete chore? Why, after lending him a hand 3 times, did he assume that he had successfully unloaded that half of the task onto me? Don’t take out the trash without replacing the bag. I couldn’t believe I had to actually address this with him. I was dumbfounded, embarrassed for him that I even had to say something, and angry that it was so easy for him to not even consider that he was adding stress to my day over something so easy to do.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. My point is that men get to slack off, then get to get angry at us if they perceive that we’re slacking off. I see it at home and in professional environments. Women are rarely the slackers in my world, but I can’t say the same for the men. So now I’m starting to get angry at men for finding excuses to slack off while also accusing us of slacking off. Are women also often guilty of slacking off? Maybe, but I don’t know them, they aren’t friends or family of mine.
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If you have to be told every single time though, you’re basically admitting you don’t care enough to become actively involved or make yourself aware of what needs to be done. And that you’re happy to turn your partnership into a manager/employee dynamic, blissfully leaving everything to the “higher up” until they delegate a task to you. Do you know how insulting that is?
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Exactly! And if it WERE an employment situation, he’d be fired for incompetence. Once you’ve been shown what needs to be done and how how often it needs to be taken care of, you’re not going to CONTINUE to go through training; you have to be self-regulating, or let go of your duties. Period.
“It’s no one’s pleasure to deal with your exhausting azz.”
You’re right it is not rocket science but the ones who do not want help make appear as if the situation of household work is beyond their mental understanding or not of their culture.
You’re confusing instruction with communication.
Instruction is one-way only,
Communication is two-way
Communication, a conversation, should not be needed to have to preform a menial task such as picking something up off the floor.
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I WANT him to not have to be reminded constantly and to show initiative. If I have to *place an order* every time I want him to do something (ie. “Change the litterbox. Take out the garbage. Wipe up that spill. Take the wet clothes out of the washing machine and fold the dry clothes that are in the dryer.”), I’d get a Roomba.
Funny, my wife does this exact thing. “I didn’t know you wanted that cleaned up too… It’s been there for days/weeks since I left it there…”
It goes both ways. And no, I’m not perfect.
Why does YOUR WIFE have to direct you? Use your brain and clean your own house. Take responsibility for yourself and stop making her bear the management and the mental work.
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That’s not what he was saying.
She is expecting him to direct her. All he is saying is that the reverse of what is happening in the comic is also possible.
Anecdotal evidence of one situation in which the reverse is true doesn’t mean that this comic isn’t overwhelmingly accurate for most women. If you have that situation than you know how exhausting it can be and should be able to relate rather than telling us we’re all wrong because your individual experience is different.
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Her face in the last panel is completely perfect.
I shared this content with my husband at 11pm. not good timing. He was enraged, insulted, hurt and basically furious. Stopped out of the house. Came back (whew). I told him I wasn’t trying to start a fight or hurt him. I was trying to share a great articulation of how I feel, what it is like to be me, why I hate working outside the home, in addition to working inside the home. I told him this is why I am edgy, snappy, bitchy, stressed, covertly exasperated. I just trust our love and that he would CARE how it is for me (and many women). Let me say this: It has taken our marriage and home life to a new and wonderful place. He looks around to help, asks me if I am OK and what is on my mind, what could I delegate that he might not be aware of (signing kids up for camps etc)…I feel 10 years younger. So much relief. It is really really a mental load. And when it is shared in conversation as much as actual effort, the EXHALE is the force of a tsunami. Thank you for sharing all of this. And thanks to my husband who de-escalated enough to really hear me. I couldn’t take it any more. It was just too much. And I don’t want my daughter to be raised to believe she has to carry the load, someday. I was modeling that….so, no more. Our family is a “WE” and our home is “ours” and the mental load is shared as are the chores.
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I have a typo: stomped not stopped
“Enraged”? Wow. Was it misplaced embarrassment? Likely. It should’ve been.
I’m glad he finally got his act together and that you’re (both) happy.
He ‘looks’ but he doesnt ‘see’ and doesnt realise it. What dont you see Emma?
Why men always doesn’t have COMMON SENSE… Oh my….
Ahhhh…someone has finally expressed exactly what life looks like inside and outside of my head! Thank you.
I am a man (somehow that feels relevant to say). Your comics have had a real impact on the way I perceived the mental load and responsibility of running a household. I think your explanations and examples are easily recognizable for most hetero couples and that is kindoff heartbreaking to me. Ever since I read your comic about mental lead (title: you should’ve asked) I am really trying to unload my partner, but it has been a struggle and we are desperately trying to figure out why.
This comic in particular is comically and tragically insightfull. There’s a guy with clear intentions to help out and to do his part, but wholefully ignorant on how to accomplish that. I feel like he thinks this task (doing the dishes) is most relevant and important to his partner at the moment, while he doesn’t recognize the cornucopia of other tasks. It is bittersweet that he tries and failes, and I get the frustration of the partner who doesn’t want to explain that there are many ways he could help at the moment.
Nevertheless, behavior change is hard (I know, I studied for it). And you can learn to nourish and harvest the good intentions of our wellmeaning, but very ignorant men. Solid communication is key (it is incredibily challenging to have good communication. not just to say and listen to the words, but to hear the things your partner is trying to say with his/her words and actions.). Patience is key. Forgiveness is key. And you have to learn to laugh about eachothers faillures and give and take feedback with a light touch.
All of this is effortfull, but energizing in the long run. I recognize that this puts even more mental strain on the ludicrous mental burden allready on most women. This should definitely be a shared responsibility. I can imagine many people will not be able or not willing to go through these lengths to create a true equal partnership. But I am willing, and trying. And that is thanks to you Emma.
So thanks! A lot! (also from my girlfriend!)
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Thank You for expressing this in words,
If being a life partner/married spouse were a job, most men would be fired in the first few weeks. Lost thier jobs. FIRED. Love doesnt get the jobs done! And love becomes resentment and bitterness if you are the only one doing them.
I will never marry again for this reason. They can live alone and do all these chores for themselves or delegate and PAY for them to be done, like cleaning and cooking and yardwork. But once you step in and take over they are little boys again and off the hook because mommy is in charge and getting it done.
My litany is if you could do it for yourself before, you can do it now, as I am not your chauffer, your maid, your cook, your laundress, your psycotherapist, your nanny, your mistress, your savings bank, your dog walker/pet sitting service, your mother, your father, or your whipping post. I am your partner, your bestie, your confidant, your reality anchor, your dreamcatcher, your lover, your friend.
I am a widow and my husband owned his house when we met and he continued to pay to get chores done after the marriage. I was never, ever berated or held to some servile standard in the household, and he even helped me learn about finances and pay off my own school debts and start my own LLC. I helped him reconcile with his family and take back his professional career just by believing in him when he no longer did.
I have never met anyone else who could or would be that enlightened creature that he was, so I stopped looking.
I still own the house and had a child (very young widow) after his passing. I would encourage all you ladies not to settle for the mommy role in your partnerships. It is a losing proposition for you everytime and a winning one for them. Full Stop.
“I feel like I should be doing something (to help) – but what?” is often how I feel.
I’m a woman (and a feminist), but I’m neurodiverse (got diagnosed in my 30s with both Autism spectrum and Attention deficit disorder (ADD)) and though I fall into the category “high-functioning” (there are good blogposts on the internet on why that label is deceptive) I need very clear step-by-step instructions when I’m to do something which I’m not well familiar with, or I risk freezing up and so tend to avoid doing things to not put myself in that situation.
My Dad is undiagnosed but basically fits the old textbook definition for Asbergers, and he is even worse with it. He doesn’t have a problem to do the dishes, as long as someone points out all “irregularities”, e.g. how to handle a pan encrusted with food, nor with vacuuming (which I’ve had a problem on and off during my life due to the sound) as long as there aren’t little things littering the floor (and the furniture) that’s to be vacuumed – if there are, the task will probably pass the threshold of what he can handle and that means it doesn’t get done, at all (instead of doing what’s possible and just avoiding the tricky areas; it’s often all or nothing with our brains).
I stumbled upon the earlier post about mental load (“You should’ve asked”), and realised that this mental load is what easily trips me up when trying to do practical things. That’s why I need lists, step-by-step reminders and help at the very least when trying something new (like when I was to wash and wax my leather shoes…).
Additionally it tends to take me longer than average for something to become a habit, my brain (which on one hand relies heavily on habits as autistics tend to do) needs a lot of practice to switch from manual to automatic (if you wonder what I mean, think about your day and what tasks you did which just “happened” without you actively thinking about it, maybe things like washing in the shower, brushing your teeth, putting the coffee on? for the most parts I actively think about what I’m doing when I do something like that – basic tasks don’t just pass by, they take conscious effort to start and complete).
Another example is that when doing the dishes my Mom and lots of other people I know automatically wipe off the counters afterwards. It’s not something that my brain connects with doing the dishes, it’s a different step that I’ve had to learn to add and still need to try to remember to do.
Of course most of your partners who are frustrating you in not sharing the mental load aren’t neurodiverse, and even for us after learning how to do things (which will probably take several repetitions, most won’t remember all the steps and their order the first time) we can make a commitment to keep that as our task (my Dad is usually the one to keep track of trash day, although my parents don’t have a clear agreement on that), but I want to point out that not everyone sees the world the same.
My brain probably wouldn’t notice any of the other tasks needing doing (though that can vary from day to day too, as how well my brain functions depends on so many small things I’m not even aware of, though sleep and nutrition are definitely part of it, as is social overload; my brain stops connecting the dots when I become mentally exhausted, and that can happen from “normal” things which the majority of people won’t find tiring and some even find invigorating).
So please talk and explain these things to your partner if they’re willing to listen and learn (I’m not talking about those arses who bask in their entitlement, you’re probably better off without those). Things won’t change overnight, and it will take work from both your parts – you can’t just assume your partner knows what you mean regarding a task and what is included in it (my sister’s spouse could do laundry fine, but to him putting things into the bureau meant throwing everything as it landed, and he wasn’t willing to make the effort when my sister tried to explain that it left her clothes wrinkled and disorganised so that she couldn’t tell what she had to wear – so if she wanted some order for her and the kids’ clothes that meant she had to do the laundry herself, as he didn’t see the point for himself and wouldn’t understand her point on why it was important to her; he’s mostly a good guy and father, but he was set in his ways and not open to try to work with my sister on making things easier on her; a bit like https://mustbethistalltoride.com/an-open-letter-to-shitty-husbands/).
If your partner didn’t learn all parts of taking care of a home as a child, or like me sort of learned but have trouble relating what I know to a new situation, you might have to “be their Mom” for a bit and teach them (and actually let them do it, not do things for them when they don’t ‘do it right’ or are too slow – my Mom used to do that all the time for me as I was growing up, which is probably one of the reasons I’m having so many difficulties as an adult; the point is not to give up and/or give in, you might temporarily have to act Mom, but you’re definitely not supposed to stay in that role).
And if you aren’t satisfied with their execution, explain why you think something should be done in a certain way (I need to see some point to doing things differently to what I know, otherwise I’ll stubbornly stick to my old way; but the reason to change can be a myriad of things, including that it’s important for one’s partner as in the link above, though personally a rational reason makes it stick better to my brain).
Also you have to be prepared to give in areas that aren’t as important to you, to listen to what is important to your partner or how they’ve usually done a task, and if your aren’t satisfied with that way you have to work together to evolve a way to do the task that is both of yours as a couple.
I’m not trying to preach, though I realise some may read it as that, I’m just trying to offer up different views (as managing the housework is an area I’ve had to work a lot with myself, and is still very much a work-in-progress), because though the majority of people are neurotypical, all our brains are slightly different, unique, and we all have different experiences, and in living with other people we all have to be prepared to adjust and compromise – it can’t be a one-way street, regardless of which direction it feels like it’s going. But once a relationship becomes inflamed, all parties often see it that way, that they’re the one to give all the time with the other only taking.
And like a body needs time to rest and heal after an inflammation, so does a relationship. Business as usual will only aggravate the inflammation further. Hopefully you will resolve these irritants before they grow inflamed, because once there it will get infinitely harder, and easily spiral downwards until the best option is to break away.
Above all: Keep calm and apply patience, patience, patience…
You’re melting two different things. A person with ADHD will have issues sequencing her tasks so it requires a lot of patience from the partner. However ADHD is not an excuse for everything, with some pictograms or lists you can learn to be a good partner. Impulsivity and hyperactivity are more hard to manage though, but methylphenidate can help.
But most partners don’t have ADHD they just don’t feel responsible for housework, as a consequence they DON’T SEE tasks to be done. This requires motivation and training. I find it sad that you consider that it is the woman’s work to take on all the emotional work and again be the one who is patient, pedaguoge, as if the partner was a little kid.
On the contrary women have to feel more entitled to expect more, they are entitled to be angry, they are entitled to a respectful, adult partner, not a whining kid who has to be emotionally managed all day long.
> I find it sad that you consider that it is the woman’s work to take on all the emotional work
She never implied it _must_ be the woman, she is merely replying to the case of your blog post. She also already made the disclaimer that she’s not asking to deal with entitled idiots-
“I’m not talking about those arses who bask in their entitlement, you’re probably better off without those”
She is talking about these men:
“If your partner didn’t learn all parts of taking care of a home as a child”
And how do I know? I was one of these men. As a child, I had to do almost nothing at my home (I did go out and buy grocery from the store), my mom took almost all the load of the house. This meant that my brain never understood the idea of taking responsibility for house work – not because I was a lazy idiot – but because brains don’t magically understand things without first hand practice.
Now things are different – my wife had the same issues you described in your post but thankfully she was more understanding. She helped* me realize how to detect when something needs to be done and with few months of practice I am able to help with cleaning the house, the dishes – and most importantly – on my own, WITHOUT her having to tell me what to do.
* the word _HELPED_ is the keyword. Its not her “responsibility” to guide me about everything, but then who will help me understand this if not my life partner?
Responsibility is a skill that is learned, and just like every other skill it varies among people. If your partner is low on that skill, you can either complain or help him/her improve it – it won’t happen automatically.
Well this comic assumes that the man has already cleaned a table once in his life.
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The point is that she shouldn’t *have* to ask. He should be able to see what needs to be done & take action on it.
Well, that cartoon pretty much describes my entire 8-year marriage. (Full time working mom with 3 littles here.) And I did speak up and say I got the dishes can you just take out the trash or change the baby, or clean up the counters. That one thing may or may not happen in then it was back to “what do I do now?” “ok I helped I can go chill out now” I got so sick of “instructing” a perfectly capable adult on how to help. And if I did not instruct, that capable adult sat on his ass chatting with his social media friends while I ran around in circles. I am happily divorced as of last week and the funny thing is now that he has kids half time and has to run a household he is seeing what a large task it is and how mentally exhausting it can be to “manage it all” and for the first time ever he is engaging with his kids in things not only he likes to do but what they need to be done or like doing. He is finally learning to parent and take care of others instead of just himself. Women can act like this too. I have “mom friends” whos husband does it all. It is called helpless and not taking responsibility. Growing up with someone wiping their ass all the time so figuring if they ignore it it will get done by the “doer” of the family. But you know what marriages don’t last if they are not a partnership to deal with all the bullshit menial tasks that come with taking care of a family. You must support each other and help each other. At least if you can’t help with a house chore, give me an awesome message after I do them all and don’t expect sex afterward! How bout that for giving back? Even divorced I still manage all the medical, school and signing up for the extracurricular activities for the kids but you know what even the 50/50 parenting of taking care of kids 3 days a week while I work is more helpful than the 8 years of watching someone sit on their ass checked out while I did it all.
Gerry’s upsetty. Everyone bare his emotional stink as well as the garbage he clearly can’t take out without being asked to first.
This goes both ways. I can’t count the number of times that my wife has completely ignored the dishes by the sink, the groceries I’ve brought home, the trash on the coffee table. the mess in the cat’s litter box. Meanwhile, I’m in the middle of putting in my third load of dishes of the day, and my wife complains that, “We don’t have one clean bowl in the home? I wanted some popcorn!”
No, I just put three of them in the dishwasher. But I’ll go ahead and hand-wash one now, because apparently that’s out of the question for you.” I suppose I should just be grateful that she didn’t interrupt my job to ask me to make the popcorn for her.
The mental load sucks…but it’s not just women who carry it.
I was so into this, when I suddenly realised the countless times that I have acted exactly like the man at my parents’ house. Feeling like I should do something, hesitating to do so, asking my mom if she wanted me to finish what she was already doing, later my mom being frustrated because for instance I did not hang the washed clothes outside to dry, and me being like “you didn’t ask me to do so”. Now I am writing this I remember I accuse my husband of acting like a child in the house and not like an adult. What is this staff? Considering it is someone else’s business I guess, and avoiding to take the responsibility?
I would say you’re excused as a kid because it’s a learning process which you have not been through when you’ve never had a household to run and haven’t learned yet what kind of tasks there are, and especially when you haven’t had your own kids to raise and take care of.
But not as a (neurotypical) adult who has lived alone before. Then there is no excuse really!
The comic is spot on, but so many comments are absolutely counter-productive. Prepare to get angrier like that.
Speaking as someone who lives alone and REFUSES to do the housework for two grown people; Women have agency in this. This dynamic is established by TWO participating people. Both of you are responsible for this. If only by women tacitly, gritting their teeth, and reluctantly picking up the slack of the man. These comics are great, ASSUMING that both parties are WILLING to make a change. And why would a man volunteer to make a change in a paradigm he is clearly benefitting from? No one concedes power willingly.
If women want true change they have to acknowledge the fact they need to stop participating. Stop signing up to be in relationships where you do >80% of the housework. Stop staying with men in these relationships. Otherwise, shut up, suck it up, and continue to be miserable. Also, continue to model these behaviors for your daughters and don’t be surprised when she ends up in a similar relationship dynamic.
Exactly my husband!! At least he does things if he’s asked to do them. Thanks for your comic about the mental load. I had never thought about it before. Over the years the number of my husband’s designated chores has dropped to zero because it’s absolutely exhausting for me to have to ask every single time, especially for things that must be done daily. Furthermore I have to tell him to do them NOW, or he will put it off and completely forget about it. Even if there are zero clean dishes left, or the trash is full. He’ll just eat off of paper towels and leave trash on the table like a bachelor. He won’t do chores unless he has no other choice. Sometimes I want to leave him to his filth but there is a child in the house that should be provided with a certain standard of living.
Once he did the dishes and cleaned the microwave over the weekend and expected to be praised. I told him that you’re supposed to clean your own damn house and he got upset. I felt bad and apologized. Ridiculous right?
Anyway I showed him your comic today. Like the man in the comic, he’s well-meaning and willing to help. Just not very proactive. He’s lucky he’s cute. Lol