AMEN. When my mother married my stepfather, I watched her take care of allllll the household things while taking care of 3 kids and working like a madwoman. Funny (not funny) enough, he even used that BS line “she’s better at it than me” — and still does.
And she still rants because he doesn’t help out around the house, but she never required him to do it. As a teen, I remember her complaining to me once and I said — you should’ve trained him from the beginning. It’s as simple as that.
Some might take offense but it’s what we do in relationship — train each other. Our actions/boundaries/requirements teach the other person how to treat us about what is and isn’t acceptable. It’s 100% our responsibility to be honest and honor ourselves by not taking on more than is fair.
Unfortunately, my mother still does all the things for my stepfather, but seeing that taught me to train my partners from the beginning. I’ve always dating wonderful men who wanted to take part but I’ve never settled for less than equal housing duties and neverrrr washed laundry that wasn’t mine.
But I will say this — if you go this route then you’ve got to give them the space to do it on their terms and in their way. No hand holding. No micro-managing. Divvy those chores up and let them go.
As women, it’s also our responsibility to remove ourselves from the role of mother any time we find ourselves there. I don’t know about you but I can’t respect and be sexually attracted to a man that I pick up after constantly or “mother” — right? Maybe that’s part of why women are statically shown to lose sexual interest in their mates sooner..? Who knows.
Just saying — they won’t do it our way and that’s okay.
This whole mothering thing is a real issue for both sides of the camp, but I do think it’s a fixable situation if both partners want to make a change.
Thanks for the great article and solid reminder. I wish more women (like my mother) would stop dishonoring themselves and their partners. Men can do it, but we’ve got to give them the chance.