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happysmileylady

My DD23 sent this to me and I thought it interesting enough to share

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3 minutes ago, Where's Toto? said:

This sort of reminds me about people who say they need to ask their husband to babysit so they can go out with friends.   To me dad isn't "babysitting", he's their parent.  And I can understand clearing dates and times with him, but acting like you're asking him to take on something that's a big favor to you is crap.

I am so very adamant about DH is not "babysitting" when he has the kids.  There's a VERY big difference between "will you be home or do you have to work late" and "can you babysit so I can go out."  

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Have you ever had to argue the definition of cleaning a bench?

'The bench is clean' v 'I picked up a cloth and moved it over the bench, therefore I cleaned it. The fact that it was not clean after I did that is irrelevant."

Yep. 

To the below example: precisely. 

3 hours ago, StellaM said:

On doing things differently - that's fine, if it's just a difference, with no loss to efficiency.

But - I'll give an example - in winter, when line drying hours are shorter, I peg clothes on the line, not by their thickest parts - this is because pegging by the thickest parts means those parts of clothes have less chance of drying in a day. It is no assistance to me if dh hangs things out 'differently' ie ignores the mechanics of drying clothes outdoors on an overcast 16 degree day and pegs by the thickest parts. In fact, he just makes more work for me - it means I have to take clothes off the line, sort into dry and not dry, and rehang the not-dry indoors. If dh continues to do this, despite me explaining why I want him to do it the other way, then he's just being an ass, who cares more about being seen to 'help' than to actually help.

 

2 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

And actually, that's how our Thanksgiving hosting discussion went in our house.  DH is smoking a turkey so we sat down together "Ok, how big a turkey do we want?  How much time will that take to cook?  So then what time will dinner be ready so that we can tell people what time to be here? "  Now, it's still was left to me to text/call everyone coming and communicate time and what dishes to bring, but that's a function of the time I have to do so

Can anyone picture Gollum from the LoTR movies? At some point, something is asked of him, and he says "It hurts us!!!" with lots of rolling around on the ground. That's how those discussions go in my house. Literally. And a lot of, "Can't we just get on with chores xyz." Well no, we can't because--Rosie's example x 100, Stella's x 1000, and lots of other outcomes that are just as bad. 

 

2 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

However, I have to say that when a dynamic is such that one person appears super capable and the other person is allowed not to be, it creates an unhealthy balance.  Asking for help will do something to correct that imbalance.  Saying, "I need help now" puts the onus on the other person to be a freaking adult and step up.  It helps to reset the relationship and eventually move both people to a healthier dynamic where the first can say "this, this, and this needs to be taken care of.  Which do you want to take on?" and then eventually moving into a relationship where that breakdown isn't necessary.
It's a step.  And refusal to take that first step because "I shouldn't have to ask for help" keeps everyone right where they are.

bwahaha!!!

edited for a little privacy

 

Edited by kbutton
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5 minutes ago, Quill said:

One of my biggest worries as I have contemplated taking on FT work is exactly this - I already have the job of home management and I already work for dh’s businesses. So it’s hard for me to imagine him, say, realizing that we’re down to the last glass or two of milk or there’s no more lunchmeat for ds to pack a sandwich, and then doing something about this, as I would. 

Well, and to be honest.....it's one of the reasons I am at home full time.  Our house simply runs better when I am at home.  My DH simply........isn't good at it.  He managed ok when he was laid off, but he was really struggling there by the end.  And he was a single bachelor for like 10 yrs before we met.....he struggled to manage his house then, with just himself.  By that I mean, years of pizza boxes shoved in the space between the fridge and wall (or counter.)  He had utilities shut off more than once due to unpaid bills.   

So I accept that I am better at the management...and the proactive management of it all, especially with 3 kids at home, but it can still be a lot sometimes.  

My DH is a good guy.  He wants to be a good hubby and daddy, and he is.  Household management is not something he is good at and that does, at times, make my job as manager of the house, harder.  

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To be fair to my DH, he is VERY SORRY after these things happen. But he does nothing [realistic] to change it. If asked, he can even list examples of the times this stuff has bitten him in the rear because he didn't listen to me. Instead of trying something a way that works that someone shows him, he'd rather find 20 ways of doing it wrong, one by one, and then still not take the advice/help/suggestion. That is literally not an exaggeration. 

To also give him credit, if everything is hitting the fan, I can ask him to drop his priorities and run to the store, etc. But again, I still have to point out that all is going to heck in handbasket. It's insane--it should be obvious that things are falling apart.

Some people just don't learn...to notice...or from their mistakes...or about themselves...or seem to notice that other households are not like this. Ever. 

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33 minutes ago, kbutton said:

Can anyone picture Gollum from the LoTR movies? At some point, something is asked of him, and he says "It hurts us!!!" with lots of rolling around on the ground. That's how those discussions go in my house. Literally. And a lot of, "Can't we just get on with chores xyz." Well no, we can't because--Rosie's example x 100, Stella's x 1000, and lots of other outcomes that are just as bad. 

Lol.  Oh we totally have had those discussions too.  Some things are easier to discuss together than others.  And some discussions go better than others.   Sometimes I am just like "um, ok, obviously you aren't interested in talking about this, go ahead and go to bed, we will talk later."

 

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4 hours ago, maize said:

Doesn't matter. The point was that asking for help should not have been necessary. This couple had young children needing to be fed and dinner needing to be cooked for a guest--one the husband apparently invited.

There is no reason the wife should have been left to shoulder both those responsibilities alone. And no reason she should have needed to point out that the husband could and should contribute.

Well if you noticed in the cartoon, the husband was entertaining the guest rather than leaving her sitting alone in the living room.  Which IMO is arguably appropriate.  Or do most people invite people in and then leave them sitting alone in a different room on their first visit?

 

ETA I didn't previously notice your last 5 words in the first quoted paragraph - but I agree with Regentrude that I thought the wife invited the friend.  And I was also wondering whether she made a mistake inviting the friend to arrive at a time when she was feeding and cooking.  If I'm having a friend over, I'm going to try to make sure the timing works so I am sitting with my friend while she is here.  Either I cook/feed early, or negotiate early for DH to do it, or it's so easy it does not require me to be away from my friend much.  Unless my friend is the type who will come into the kitchen and take over the cooking or the feeding.

Edited by SKL

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4 hours ago, maize said:

Doesn't matter. The point was that asking for help should not have been necessary. This couple had young children needing to be fed and dinner needing to be cooked for a guest--one the husband apparently invited.

Why would you think that? The cartoon clearly states "a colleague invited me over for dinner. When I got there she was trying to feed her kids and prepare our meal."

Clearly, the woman was the one who invited the guest.

Edited by regentrude

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Why would you think that? The cartoon clearly states "a colleague invited me over for dinner. When I got there she was trying to feed her kids and prepare our meal."

Clearly, the woman was the one who invited the guest.

You're right, I think in my mind I was picturing the scene with the husband sitting and chatting with her and figured his excuse for not helping in the kitchen was that he was the one who knew the guest so was taking the entertainment role.

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7 hours ago, maize said:

You're right, I think in my mind I was picturing the scene with the husband sitting and chatting with her and figured his excuse for not helping in the kitchen was that he was the one who knew the guest so was taking the entertainment role.

I have experienced instances where dh does invite someone over, while literally not thinking one thought about how that’s going to work. He just thinks, “Hey! Company! People I like here for the evening!” He’s not thinking, “What will we feed them? Do we have everything needed? Can I swing by J&T’s and get shrimp? What about our kids? What about their kids? Oh yeah, little Markie has that horrible shellfish allergy...” 

In the cartoon, if the woman invited the guest and didn’t plan or talk through with her partner how it was all going to happen, then, honestly, that’s pretty dumb on her. 

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I have really mixed feelings about this woman's cartoons.  I think mental load is real, and often people don't treat it like it is, so it gets pushed on one person, or you can't really consciously plan tasks you aren't aware of doing, if that makes sense.

But I also think she's kind of naive about what's involved in that kind of management.  It really does require talking through together and being very aware of who needs to do and manage what, and what expectations are.  Sometimes you don't realise what needs to happen until it stops working, either. You can't just pick it up on an ad hoc basis much of the time, the essence of it is that it isn't ad hoc.  And it can be really difficult and sometimes fraught to negotiate how certain jobs happen. There is a tendency to want to control how jobs are done that you consider to be "your" area, even if you want the other person to take over.

This is one of the most difficult kinds of things to negotiate for a lot of couples I think, because usually it means no one does things quite the way they want, and everyone ends up having to give up some control they might like to have.

The cartoon at the beginning where she is a guest in a way illustrates the problem to me.  I can see a guest coming to my house and seeing me in the kitchen being frazzled, and my husband sitting chatting with them having a drink.  But they wouldn't be connected for us, I'd be frazzled because something wasn't going well in the kitchen and I'd probably want to manage it myself, a second person in the kitchen would not likely be helpful.  What I'd want dh to do is entertain the guests, because it would be rude to leave them at loose ends and I would not be able to think about making them comfortable.  If the guest came in and started working, I'd be both mortified and annoyed.  

Now, that's not true for everyone.  But that's kind of the point.

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I know of a certain person who, when left to his own devices, did not change or wash his bedding for over five years.  He did not once vacuum in that time either, in spite of the shedding dog.  He did manage to feed the dog regularly....probably more regularly than he fed himself.  

I don't know that this level of grossness is a male thing.  I know a couple where the husband works and feeds the family and does baby-care, and the mother sits and plays video games all day. The ten year old also cleans and helps take care of the baby, as does the grandmother.  

I don't think that sort of thing is really reflective of a normal role for anyone, it's about an individual with a problem.

Edited by Bluegoat
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I think I'm an interesting example of incomplete socialisation as a woman in Western society, for anyone who thinks that there is a female gene for cleaning.  My mother didn't work much outside the home, and she took on the full organisational and emotional load.  However, she despised cleaning, and I grew up in a house that was very basically hygienic in the kitchen, very sketchily cleaned in the bathroom, and not cleaned otherwise.  I remember lying on the sitting room floor reading, as a child, and watching woodlice struggle through the dust on the carpet.  Her aversion to cleaning was, she said, caused by her very tidy mother's waves of criticism - my mother was never good enough, so she rebelled.  It was the 1960s: my dad 'helped' a bit but only a bit.

As a young adult, I perfectly mimicked this pattern: full emotional/organisational load; minimal cleaning.  I could see the dirt but I didn't care about the dirt.  It was only after living overseas with household help that I came to appreciate cleanliness in the house, and started to emulate it.

 

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1 hour ago, Laura Corin said:

I think I'm an interesting example of incomplete socialisation as a woman in Western society, for anyone who thinks that there is a female gene for cleaning.  My mother didn't work much outside the home, and she took on the full organisational and emotional load.  However, she despised cleaning, and I grew up in a house that was very basically hygienic in the kitchen, very sketchily cleaned in the bathroom, and not cleaned otherwise.  I remember lying on the sitting room floor reading, as a child, and watching woodlice struggle through the dust on the carpet.  Her aversion to cleaning was, she said, caused by her very tidy mother's waves of criticism - my mother was never good enough, so she rebelled.  It was the 1960s: my dad 'helped' a bit but only a bit.

As a young adult, I perfectly mimicked this pattern: full emotional/organisational load; minimal cleaning.  I could see the dirt but I didn't care about the dirt.  It was only after living overseas with household help that I came to appreciate cleanliness in the house, and started to emulate it.

 

 

I don't think there is such a gene or really a tendency even, I think there are as many female as male slobs, as far as nature goes.  

What I do think though is that women are maybe more likely to be interested in certain type - I'm not even sure what to call it, but a social element to things?

Where I see women and men differing often in approach, people I'd say have essentially similar views on neatness or hard work, is women are often more interested in making a place nice for visitors.  Not just in terms of social pressure, but they really want to do that, whereas many men seem to think, if it's clean and the food is fine, it's good.  Even a slobby women, like myself, if I have guests, will make a real effort to clean up.  Slobby men seem more variable. Now, this may be more socialisation, particularly around women being socialised to buy home products.  I'm not sure.

Where I am more convinced there is a sex difference is the attitude to social connections.  Much more universally I see women more concerned than men with keeping up social connections of different kinds.  Even in case of single people or where spouses have passed away.  That includes maintaining family connections as well, making sure people get together at holidays and so on.  Most men do some of it if they have no female SO, but IME they tend to keep it at a lower level.  I've seen dads for example who were put in charge of kids activities, and one of the first things they all did was cut them back.  Not totally, but somewhat. 

 I suspect that this is in part behind women getting stuck with the mental load around social calendars and obligations, which can be really significant.  There is often a difference in what the husband and wife see as the optimal outcome in that area, so it can be a difficult one to negotiate. 

Edited by Bluegoat
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4 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

I don't know that this level of grossness is a male thing.  I know a couple where the husband works and feeds the family and does baby-care, and the mother sits and plays video games all day. The ten year old also cleans and helps take care of the baby, as does the grandmother.  

I don't think that sort of thing is really reflective of a normal role for anyone, it's about an individual with a problem.

In his case I don't know that it was a "male thing" because "that's how guys are."

I think it had more to do with the fact that he suddenly found himself without a female to do it, which is kind of part of the social structure conversation.  Growing up, his mother did ALL the household chores, he grew up in a house where his father was the typical chauvinist, who never did "woman's work," and his mother was perfectly happy doing "woman's work."  Then, he went from that home to his married home, and his wife took care of all of that.  His wife wasn't quite as happy doing "woman's work" but neither did she really push the issue, and generally found it easier to just do it.  When he lost his wife, his daughter regularly stopped by to handle some of the things.  After about a year, the daughter could no longer come by.  And I genuinely don't think it ever occurred to him in his last five years that bedding has to be washed.  He *DID* manage to wash his own clothes, so I know he knew how to work his washer and dryer.  But I genuinely believe that the details of it it were never pointed out to him and he never paid attention because..."woman's work."  I think after 65+ years of never having ever paid attention to the washing of bedding, he actually needed someone to explicitly tell him, but that that it also never occurred to the people that knew him that he would need to be told. (now, the vacuuming, I think he just didn't know how to work the vacuum and was too embarrassed to ask for help.)

 

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12 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

In his case I don't know that it was a "male thing" because "that's how guys are."

I think it had more to do with the fact that he suddenly found himself without a female to do it, which is kind of part of the social structure conversation.  Growing up, his mother did ALL the household chores, he grew up in a house where his father was the typical chauvinist, who never did "woman's work," and his mother was perfectly happy doing "woman's work."  Then, he went from that home to his married home, and his wife took care of all of that.  His wife wasn't quite as happy doing "woman's work" but neither did she really push the issue, and generally found it easier to just do it.  When he lost his wife, his daughter regularly stopped by to handle some of the things.  After about a year, the daughter could no longer come by.  And I genuinely don't think it ever occurred to him in his last five years that bedding has to be washed.  He *DID* manage to wash his own clothes, so I know he knew how to work his washer and dryer.  But I genuinely believe that the details of it it were never pointed out to him and he never paid attention because..."woman's work."  I think after 65+ years of never having ever paid attention to the washing of bedding, he actually needed someone to explicitly tell him, but that that it also never occurred to the people that knew him that he would need to be told. (now, the vacuuming, I think he just didn't know how to work the vacuum and was too embarrassed to ask for help.)

 

 

This reminds me of a story I heard one about a girl in university, she was close to graduation.  Around Novemener she had a hook-up with a freshman.  And after they did the deed, he asked her advice about how to use the washing machine and how often he was supposed to wash his sheets.🤢

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13 minutes ago, Laura Corin said:

@Bluegoat I think women are socialised to be people pleasers .

 

Yes, for sure.  They are far more concerned about being judged as socially inadequate and usually also more likely to be judgemental that way. I think that stuff is learned.

  But they also are cross-culturally more relationship oriented, and their group dynamic behaviours are different too.  I'm not convinced that is learned.

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It just does not resonate with me at all.  DH always just does what needs to be done. Neither of us are the best planners and everything would be done at the last minute.    If  we have company he is likely planning the meal and cooking.  I’m cleaning and kids are helping however they are asked and the baby is being passed around from person to person and bouncer to pen.  Than we are usually all chatting with the guest around the island while dinner is finished.

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My Dh's step father....who has known dh his entire life.....has remarked to me many times how bad of a wife dh's first wife was because dh had to vacuum or do laundry or cook.  How he 'witnessed' with his own eyes dh doing these things when they came over to visit.  I was always thinking to myself, 'that doesn't make her a bad wife....they both worked until their kids were born and then around that time dh got hurt and she worked while he was back in school and continued to work when he was back in the work force.  

Dh is very good now to pitch in and do what needs to be done.  I don't always like it but that is my issue of control, not his of doing anything wrong.

 

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On 11/21/2019 at 7:39 AM, Where's Toto? said:

Dh actually does a lot more of the daily type management of our home.  I strongly suspect I have adhd but it's not confirmed (I also have a lot of autism traits so that could be a factor too).  I think part of the reason is that dh was single for a very long time when we started dating.   He was managing his own home for a long time.     Our kids are older now but even when they were younger he did a lot.   He always cooks dinner but even more significant to me is he plans it and shops for it.   He definitely handles all the car stuff, regular maintenance and repairs.   I was breastfeeding so he didn't feed the babies much but he would get up and hold them if they were still fussy after eating, changed his share of diapers.  He used to cut up my meat and bring me dinner so I could eat one-handed while nursing.  

I do handle the vast majority of house cleaning (he will do dishes if they are there) and laundry.   Which is probably why our house is such a mess.  😉 

I'm not sure this is the kind of stuff many people are talking about (basic cleaning or changing diapers). My husband takes care of the cars when they need repair, helps with kids, and shops and cooks, but there's so much *mental* stuff that isn't even on his radar! He doesn't keep track of who needs to be where, or when they need to be taken or picked up from activities, or what they need to have with them. He'll drive kids to activities if I ask him and if I set an alarm to leave and pick up, but I'm the one who needs to know which child has an activity, when it is, what they need to be wearing or taking, and when they need to be picked up. He doesn't know what bills are due or how much money is in the account. I had to let him know that Thanksgiving is next week and shopping needs to be done soon despite the fact that we host a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house every year. Planning when to get our Christmas tree, getting out decorations, and gift shopping is all up to me and I'm responsible for delegating holiday jobs to him. Calling for hotels for sports travel, calling for an appointment for the doctor or dentist, sorting mail and taking care of important things, signing up for next year's health insurance, noting deadlines for signing up for things, attending special events and noting them on the calendar(awards event, church activity, sports meet, parent observation night)...those are the kinds of things that I'm constantly thinking about having to do that he doesn't even think about as things needing to be done. THAT is what leaves me exhausted.

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17 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

I'm not sure this is the kind of stuff many people are talking about (basic cleaning or changing diapers). My husband takes care of the cars when they need repair, helps with kids, and shops and cooks, but there's so much *mental* stuff that isn't even on his radar! He doesn't keep track of who needs to be where, or when they need to be taken or picked up from activities, or what they need to have with them. He'll drive kids to activities if I ask him and if I set an alarm to leave and pick up, but I'm the one who needs to know which child has an activity, when it is, what they need to be wearing or taking, and when they need to be picked up. He doesn't know what bills are due or how much money is in the account. I had to let him know that Thanksgiving is next week and shopping needs to be done soon despite the fact that we host a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house every year. Planning when to get our Christmas tree, getting out decorations, and gift shopping is all up to me and I'm responsible for delegating holiday jobs to him. Calling for hotels for sports travel, calling for an appointment for the doctor or dentist, sorting mail and taking care of important things, signing up for next year's health insurance, noting deadlines for signing up for things, attending special events and noting them on the calendar(awards event, church activity, sports meet, parent observation night)...those are the kinds of things that I'm constantly thinking about having to do that he doesn't even think about as things needing to be done. THAT is what leaves me exhausted.

Yeah see my spouse does at least half of that anyway, I’m the one he might delegate a signature page to or some planning down the road, but mail, bills, insurance, timing of work events, etc, he handles entirely on his own and they never really cross my radar unless they directly involve me.  I pick up the kids because my body is here for it, but when he is available or I have another commitment, like tonight, he takes over with minimal instruction.

Like, I’m cooking two turkeys for a church event right now that won’t be done when I leave.  I delegated the turning off of the oven to my oldest with a phone timer and then texted him to take it out when he arrived because it’s 40 pounds of bird and too heavy for them.  But the delegation of that is hardly ‘mental load’ so much as it’s common sense that the person who started (but isn’t around to finish) the job has to detail where in the process they need help.

They don’t have to think about these things because I’m the one who set the birds to cook and knows the recipe.  But my two oldest girls OR husband could have done the whole thing if I hadn’t been around to do it, too.  Instead we split the load on it but someone still has to take point, you know?  Just like I open the mail I’m given even though he checks and sorts it - it’s not because I’m not capable or her won’t delegate, it’s just that it’s his task generally and he only involves me when I’m required.  That’s normal here, and seems like it should be normal for any functional partnership. I am having a hard time understanding why all these things are seeming to fall on your alone or be burdensome - are we really saying he isn’t doing things or thinking about them when you are? They might be different things but I’d expect any adult to still be planning or working through their areas of dominion and responsibility as is required, right?

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It was incredibly satisfying, reading that cartoon.  🙂  

What isn't so satisfying: the implication that men need to KNOW so that they can rescue women from themselves.  (Not that this is the only implication.  It was just one that hit me as I thought about it).  Blech!  

Good piece!

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Yeah see my spouse does at least half of that anyway, I’m the one he might delegate a signature page to or some planning down the road, but mail, bills, insurance, timing of work events, etc, he handles entirely on his own and they never really cross my radar unless they directly involve me.  I pick up the kids because my body is here for it, but when he is available or I have another commitment, like tonight, he takes over with minimal instruction.

Like, I’m cooking two turkeys for a church event right now that won’t be done when I leave.  I delegated the turning off of the oven to my oldest with a phone timer and then texted him to take it out when he arrived because it’s 40 pounds of bird and too heavy for them.  But the delegation of that is hardly ‘mental load’ so much as it’s common sense that the person who started (but isn’t around to finish) the job has to detail where in the process they need help.

They don’t have to think about these things because I’m the one who set the birds to cook and knows the recipe.  But my two oldest girls OR husband could have done the whole thing if I hadn’t been around to do it, too.  Instead we split the load on it but someone still has to take point, you know?  Just like I open the mail I’m given even though he checks and sorts it - it’s not because I’m not capable or her won’t delegate, it’s just that it’s his task generally and he only involves me when I’m required.  That’s normal here, and seems like it should be normal for any functional partnership. I am having a hard time understanding why all these things are seeming to fall on your alone or be burdensome - are we really saying he isn’t doing things or thinking about them when you are? They might be different things but I’d expect any adult to still be planning or working through their areas of dominion and responsibility as is required, right?

No, he's really not thinking about them at all. Many important things would never get done if I didn't do them because he's not even aware that they need to be done. A few years ago he was diagnosed with adult ADHD, so that probably explains a lot. 

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13 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

No, he's really not thinking about them at all. Many important things would never get done if I didn't do them because he's not even aware that they need to be done. A few years ago he was diagnosed with adult ADHD, so that probably explains a lot. 

Ah, gotcha.  See even when he isn’t doing home stuff my husband is managing his work load (design plus management, it’s a lot) and we both tend to keep very mentally busy.  But that makes it equal because I wouldn’t say we have a huge disparity in our executive function and organization, though I am way more of a procrastinator.

I wonder then if maybe it’s the *disparity* between partners that makes this the most glaring.  Like if both people are behind the ball or don’t stress the lists they work, albeit at maybe a messier level or with more unpaid bills.
 

Or both people are more efficient or equally occupied by their personal task lists and there isn’t a lot of slack or resentment. 

 

Like maybe the pain and exhaustion comes in when one person feels the drag of the other’s lack, more than the absolute level or division or what gets done and by whom?

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1 hour ago, mom2scouts said:

I'm not sure this is the kind of stuff many people are talking about (basic cleaning or changing diapers). My husband takes care of the cars when they need repair, helps with kids, and shops and cooks, but there's so much *mental* stuff that isn't even on his radar! He doesn't keep track of who needs to be where, or when they need to be taken or picked up from activities, or what they need to have with them. He'll drive kids to activities if I ask him and if I set an alarm to leave and pick up, but I'm the one who needs to know which child has an activity, when it is, what they need to be wearing or taking, and when they need to be picked up. He doesn't know what bills are due or how much money is in the account. I had to let him know that Thanksgiving is next week and shopping needs to be done soon despite the fact that we host a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house every year. Planning when to get our Christmas tree, getting out decorations, and gift shopping is all up to me and I'm responsible for delegating holiday jobs to him. Calling for hotels for sports travel, calling for an appointment for the doctor or dentist, sorting mail and taking care of important things, signing up for next year's health insurance, noting deadlines for signing up for things, attending special events and noting them on the calendar(awards event, church activity, sports meet, parent observation night)...those are the kinds of things that I'm constantly thinking about having to do that he doesn't even think about as things needing to be done. THAT is what leaves me exhausted.

To me the whole - planning, shopping, preparing dinner would be a HUGE mental load, and I am super glad I don't have to do it.

I used to do the bills but dh took them over when I started my own business.  We both know what they are, when they need to be paid, and can both easily see how much money we have in the account.  He was in charge of driving dd to TKD on the days I had tutoring until I switched my schedule so we could all go to the gym while dd is at tkd.  He knows their schedules of when they are at the classroom with me, when they are at home, what days he brings them over at lunchtime, what time tkd is (two different times depending on what day it is), when we have 4-H, etc.  I do have a calendar on the wall with all this stuff but it's more for me than him.  He has it down pretty good.  

He also made our dentist appointments (ugh, I don't want to go), I do make the kids annual physicals but he has made and brought them in the past for various "sick" visits.  I make my appointments, he makes his own.    

I guess we share mental load pretty evenly except most of mine has to do with my classes, 4-H, and homeschooling, while his is the house, his job, his parents, my mom, the cars, and anything unusual.

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I'm a single parent, so I don't have these husband issues, but I have a question - isn't it illogical / inefficient for both parents to duplicate all that mental effort?  Is there really much benefit to everyone knowing everyone's schedule, what they need to take, and on and on when only one parent is needed to do the driving / packing / etc?

To me it makes more sense to write it down in a common location, and whichever parent is "on" looks at what needs done and does it.  Holding it all in anyone's head, let alone two people's heads, seems like bad management to me.  It's a sure recipe for disaster if my own life is any indication, LOL.

Also - if there is to be sharing, there needs to be agreement on what the mental load is going to be.  To use the linked example, Person A decides to have Company.  My housemate used to surprise me with that kind of thing, and it's totally unfair.  I could go on for pages about all the reasons why talking politely to Company may be the best I can do once she arrives.  (Like maybe I just finished 36 hours of stressful work and then found out I had 45 minutes to clean the whole house and make myself decent for company.)  Did I have a say in whether today was a good day to have company?  What time she should arrive?  Whether (and when) we should cook or order delivery?  Kuz usually there is no need to be that fancy and create all that stress / "mental load" in the first place.  But if we mutually agree that it's a good idea, then we can be mutually responsible for that decision.

My sister is like that.  She will invite people over and have a super spread and work herself into the ground - and then get angry.  There is no need!  We like her regardless of her cooking and how perfect her house looks.  This week, she invited us all over and then, for the first time in 13 years, she said we're having pizza and Subway.  Hooray!

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22 hours ago, HomeAgain said:


That's how it happens in our house, too.  We discuss ahead of time.  This isn't 1950, and everyone has a part. One person isn't mommy to all.

However, I have to say that when a dynamic is such that one person appears super capable and the other person is allowed not to be, it creates an unhealthy balance.  Asking for help will do something to correct that imbalance.  Saying, "I need help now" puts the onus on the other person to be a freaking adult and step up.  It helps to reset the relationship and eventually move both people to a healthier dynamic where the first can say "this, this, and this needs to be taken care of.  Which do you want to take on?" and then eventually moving into a relationship where that breakdown isn't necessary.
It's a step.  And refusal to take that first step because "I shouldn't have to ask for help" keeps everyone right where they are.

 

Oh, one can take that first step and the second step never happens because "putting an onus" on someone only works if they feel like stepping up and behaving like an adult. I don't think this "allowed not to be" thing is very prevalent because it's not actually possible to make an adult treat you with respect if they don't want to.

l lived with an adult at one point who considered it a favour to me if he turned the shower off properly. The way to make him feel like turning the shower off properly was to thank him for saving water for the garden, using the bucket I'd put in there to catch the drips. Or so he told me. I could only bring myself to do it once. Putting the onus on such people to grow the hell up simply doesn't work. They won't do it until they are courting their next spouse.

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11 minutes ago, SKL said:

I'm a single parent, so I don't have these husband issues, but I have a question - isn't it illogical / inefficient for both parents to duplicate all that mental effort?  Is there really much benefit to everyone knowing everyone's schedule, what they need to take, and on and on when only one parent is needed to do the driving / packing / etc?

 

Apart from the obvious, sometimes Primary Parent has the flu, I would argue that there is a good reason to duplicate a lot of the mental effort of maintaining the home and family. That is what keeps people feeling like part of their own families. It creates bonds of belonging, without which, men in particular feel isolated from their families. Cooking pancakes on a Saturday morning might let him feel like a king, especially if someone else cleans up after him, but often, it is the annoying stuff that keeps us most engaged, therefore most human.

 

Disclaimer: An improperly eloquent argument is not an intended insult towards anyone or their husband.

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It sounds like a lot of you on this thread have husbands who are really involved in the household and that is amazing. I'm kind of jealous! My husband isn't really like that -- he pitches in when asked, and he does have certain chores which are regularly his, but most of the daily maintenance is my responsibility. If I don't do it, or ask for help explicitly, it just doesn't get done. When I grumble he comes up with not super practical suggestions like we should just eat off of paper plates to save dish washing. (But what about the pots and pans, the dirty counters, and the stove top? Washing a few plates is not a big deal.) 

When my kids were babies, my mother came to visit me once a week. I loved her visits. She'd set the babies up with a toy (half the time it was some toy she'd made out of tin foil or something) and they'd be miraculously happy playing alone and then she'd wash all my dishes and listen to me talk about my week. I think women did more of that for each other in the old days, and I think that must have made a huge difference to their quality of life. Just having more hands around to help, and more ears around to listen and validate that the mundane details of life really do matter, is a gift. It also takes the pressure off of the marriage, so that husbands and wives don't have to fill every role for each other. 

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7 minutes ago, Little Green Leaves said:

 When I grumble he comes up with not super practical suggestions like we should just eat off of paper plates to save dish washing. (But what about the pots and pans, the dirty counters, and the stove top? Washing a few plates is not a big deal.) 

 

Ha Ha Ha Ha!

When my DH was single, his solution was to eat over sink lol.  That way he didn't have to worry about clogging up his trash with paper plates.  

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

 

I wonder then if maybe it’s the *disparity* between partners that makes this the most glaring.  Like if both people are behind the ball or don’t stress the lists they work, albeit at maybe a messier level or with more unpaid bills.
 

 

I agree it’s probably the disparity.  Both DH and I are ADHD.  We both struggle with routines and planning.  But we both are good at doing what we see needs done.  Thanks to google calendar and Alexa reminders and auto-pay we keep our house functioning fairly well.  Certainly not as clean and well run as some but passable.

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12 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

Ha Ha Ha Ha!

When my DH was single, his solution was to eat over sink lol.  That way he didn't have to worry about clogging up his trash with paper plates.  

Yes! See, I find it oddly hard to argue with this kind of logic.

Hard to agree with, but also hard to argue against.

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5 minutes ago, Little Green Leaves said:

Yes! See, I find it oddly hard to argue with this kind of logic.

Hard to agree with, but also hard to argue against.

Well, sure it works for a single bachelor! lol.

Not so much for a family with 3 kids lol

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1 hour ago, SKL said:

I'm a single parent, so I don't have these husband issues, but I have a question - isn't it illogical / inefficient for both parents to duplicate all that mental effort?  Is there really much benefit to everyone knowing everyone's schedule, what they need to take, and on and on when only one parent is needed to do the driving / packing / etc?

In our case it's because who takes dd to tkd or who pays the bills or whatever could change from week to week.     It's better if we both know what's going on so we can save on texting back and forth with details.  Especially because the signal at my science center stinks and I can't send texts from within the classroom, I have to go up front to the lobby.  Can't do that during class. 

Granted, our schedule isn't that complicated so it's not that much of a mental load.      

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3 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

I'm not sure this is the kind of stuff many people are talking about (basic cleaning or changing diapers). My husband takes care of the cars when they need repair, helps with kids, and shops and cooks, but there's so much *mental* stuff that isn't even on his radar! He doesn't keep track of who needs to be where, or when they need to be taken or picked up from activities, or what they need to have with them. He'll drive kids to activities if I ask him and if I set an alarm to leave and pick up, but I'm the one who needs to know which child has an activity, when it is, what they need to be wearing or taking, and when they need to be picked up. He doesn't know what bills are due or how much money is in the account. I had to let him know that Thanksgiving is next week and shopping needs to be done soon despite the fact that we host a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house every year. Planning when to get our Christmas tree, getting out decorations, and gift shopping is all up to me and I'm responsible for delegating holiday jobs to him. Calling for hotels for sports travel, calling for an appointment for the doctor or dentist, sorting mail and taking care of important things, signing up for next year's health insurance, noting deadlines for signing up for things, attending special events and noting them on the calendar(awards event, church activity, sports meet, parent observation night)...those are the kinds of things that I'm constantly thinking about having to do that he doesn't even think about as things needing to be done. THAT is what leaves me exhausted.

This is my reality, right down to the fact that I am assumed to read all the @!*&$#% health insurance renewal and submit the darn thing in the measley-assed one month time window we get. 

Most significantly, my dh never really got onboard with the tech revolution so he is inordinately stymied by stuff that needs to be done online. (Which is now All The Stuff!) He loses track of simple things, like his iPad account password, and then gets furious when he can’t do XYZ because he doesn’t have the necessary things. It also stands to reason that I am therefore the default manager of all the digital things (which is ALL THE THINGS! 🙃) because he’s so fumbly with that stuff. (On the upside, it’s doubtful he ever had an Ashley Madison account!) So, I am the signer-upper of activities, the overseer of school assignments and grades on Home Access, the health care portal-traverser, the investment and banking manager, the services and subscriptions foreman, and the college-apartment rent payer. 

If I die suddenly...

Oh! Here’s a funny. Yesterday, I was looking in my huge recipe binder where I keep all the important recipes, including recipes from his mom and my mom. He made a remark about the binder and I said, “This binder will come in handy if I die suddenly, because at least you will have the recipes for everything you’ve been eating all your life!” Then I added, “Oh, BTW, you probably don’t know this, but the food needed for these recipes does not magically show up in the pantry. You have to go get it!” 😃

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18 minutes ago, Quill said:

This is my reality, right down to the fact that I am assumed to read all the @!*&$#% health insurance renewal and submit the darn thing in the measley-assed one month time window we get. 

Most significantly, my dh never really got onboard with the tech revolution so he is inordinately stymied by stuff that needs to be done online. (Which is now All The Stuff!) He loses track of simple things, like his iPad account password, and then gets furious when he can’t do XYZ because he doesn’t have the necessary things. It also stands to reason that I am therefore the default manager of all the digital things (which is ALL THE THINGS! 🙃) because he’s so fumbly with that stuff. (On the upside, it’s doubtful he ever had an Ashley Madison account!) So, I am the signer-upper of activities, the overseer of school assignments and grades on Home Access, the health care portal-traverser, the investment and banking manager, the services and subscriptions foreman, and the college-apartment rent payer. 

If I die suddenly...

Oh! Here’s a funny. Yesterday, I was looking in my huge recipe binder where I keep all the important recipes, including recipes from his mom and my mom. He made a remark about the binder and I said, “This binder will come in handy if I die suddenly, because at least you will have the recipes for everything you’ve been eating all your life!” Then I added, “Oh, BTW, you probably don’t know this, but the food needed for these recipes does not magically show up in the pantry. You have to go get it!” 😃

OMG the health insurance renewal.  Every single year..."Honey, can you please email me the stuff they sent you, I need to make sure there aren't any changes."  He will say "Ok"  Then a week later, "Hey, did you guys get any of the insurance crap?"  And he responds with...."Oh, um, we had a meeting....."   

*sigh*   Ok, so did they give you anything in print?  Or did they email it.  He doesn't know.  He doesn't have time, he will check tomorrow.  Which means I need to email him tomorrow to remind him to check.  

 

 

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I don't know what it feels like to not always be the single person always responsible for absolutely everything.

Sounds pleasant though.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

OMG the health insurance renewal.  Every single year..."Honey, can you please email me the stuff they sent you, I need to make sure there aren't any changes."  He will say "Ok"  Then a week later, "Hey, did you guys get any of the insurance crap?"  And he responds with...."Oh, um, we had a meeting....."   

*sigh*   Ok, so did they give you anything in print?  Or did they email it.  He doesn't know.  He doesn't have time, he will check tomorrow.  Which means I need to email him tomorrow to remind him to check.  

 

 

Health insurance is the bane of my life. Can we just move to some nice, socialist country where I don’t have to parse this out every year? I swear I can live with paying double for gasoline if I can just catch a dang break on the health insurance...

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2 hours ago, Where's Toto? said:

In our case it's because who takes dd to tkd or who pays the bills or whatever could change from week to week.     It's better if we both know what's going on so we can save on texting back and forth with details.  Especially because the signal at my science center stinks and I can't send texts from within the classroom, I have to go up front to the lobby.  Can't do that during class. 

Granted, our schedule isn't that complicated so it's not that much of a mental load.      

OK but again ... write it down on a shared calendar?

I'm one woman with a full-time job, two busy kids, and plenty of my own personal / extended family stuff.  I have a written schedule / calendar, list of addresses, a specific sports bag for each activity, etc. so that if I need to ask for help / delegate to a paid helper, it's not difficult.  I also have 2 email inboxes etc. so everything for work etc. is also written down.  Who could remember all that stuff?

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4 minutes ago, SKL said:

OK but again ... write it down on a shared calendar?

I'm one woman with a full-time job, two busy kids, and plenty of my own personal / extended family stuff.  I have a written schedule / calendar, list of addresses, a specific sports bag for each activity, etc. so that if I need to ask for help / delegate to a paid helper, it's not difficult.  I also have 2 email inboxes etc. so everything for work etc. is also written down.  Who could remember all that stuff?

I do have a calendar on the wall so it can be checked if there's any doubt, but really our schedules aren't that complicated.  99% of it is the same from week to week.   We're a family of introverts and fairly antisocial so we don't go out much.  

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13 minutes ago, SKL said:

OK but again ... write it down on a shared calendar?

I'm one woman with a full-time job, two busy kids, and plenty of my own personal / extended family stuff.  I have a written schedule / calendar, list of addresses, a specific sports bag for each activity, etc. so that if I need to ask for help / delegate to a paid helper, it's not difficult.  I also have 2 email inboxes etc. so everything for work etc. is also written down.  Who could remember all that stuff?

This requires that the other party actually look at it.

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4 hours ago, SKL said:

- isn't it illogical / inefficient for both parents to duplicate all that mental effort?  Is there really much benefit to everyone knowing everyone's schedule, what they need to take, and on and on when only one parent is needed to do the driving / packing / etc?

Yes, I would have seen no point in it. We found division of labor the most efficient thing. I did kids activities/schedules/doctors appointments/school stuff/food. DH handled taxes/finances/vehicles. Each handles their domain and does not burden other with details unless asked. Whenever primary person needs other person to help with task, they communicate just the necessary information: "Regentrude, can you take my car for an oil change next week?" "DH, please drive DS to judo on Wednesday because I have to work late." I don't need to know details about vehicle maintenance schedules and he didn't need to know judo details. Important things we all went to were put on both our calendars (weekend with judo tournament out of town, for example).

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4 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Yes, I would have seen no point in it. We found division of labor the most efficient thing. I did kids activities/schedules/doctors appointments/school stuff/food. DH handled taxes/finances/vehicles. Each handles their domain and does not burden other with details unless asked. Whenever primary person needs other person to help with task, they communicate just the necessary information: "Regentrude, can you take my car for an oil change next week?" "DH, please drive DS to judo on Wednesday because I have to work late." I don't need to know details about vehicle maintenance schedules and he didn't need to know judo details. 

When there's a *division* that works great. 

 

When DH handled all the car stuff, I didn't need to know the vehicle maintenance schedules either, other than how that impacts other schedules (ok, so you will be changing the oil on the van on Saturday, just let me know what time so I can plan out when to grocery shop).  But, now that he has had to start outsourcing, he expected to hand all that *management* off to me.  And, quite honestly, I am just not going to manage it.  He *still* understands the problems better than I do, and I am not going to take over researching the mechanics, calling to make the appointments, and making sure we can get the vehicles in.  The fact that he isn't executing the process anymore doesn't mean I am going to magically take over the management of it.  

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4 hours ago, Rosie_0801 said:

Apart from the obvious, sometimes Primary Parent has the flu, I would argue that there is a good reason to duplicate a lot of the mental effort of maintaining the home and family. That is what keeps people feeling like part of their own families. It creates bonds of belonging, without which, men in particular feel isolated from their families. 

I don't think that having my DH wash dishes or do laundry or work in the kitchen would make him feel more "part of the family". Doing these things certainly does not create a "bond of belonging" for me either. What makes me feel a bond of belonging is spending my Saturday hiking with my kids and DH. I don't derive a sense of being part of my family from household tasks.

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I have a friend with four children all involved in time intensive sports and activities. She was telling me she was overwhelmed with work and some health problems and asked her husband if he would be responsible for getting one dd to dance class that week. He said, "Yes, as long as you remind me." She was so frustrated. She said, "No! I want to get something completely off my plate! I don't want to be responsible for reminding you. I want it to be your responsibility to remember it and do it!" This is what I think of as the mental load. 

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19 minutes ago, mom2scouts said:

I have a friend with four children all involved in time intensive sports and activities. She was telling me she was overwhelmed with work and some health problems and asked her husband if he would be responsible for getting one dd to dance class that week. He said, "Yes, as long as you remind me." She was so frustrated. She said, "No! I want to get something completely off my plate! I don't want to be responsible for reminding you. I want it to be your responsibility to remember it and do it!" This is what I think of as the mental load. 

Right!!! Exactly!!!!

 

On TUESDAYI said to Dh-Hey, I have been working on cleaning out the fridge and we have been cleaning ABC....you probably should take the trash out tomorrow.  He said, ok, remind me in the morning (mind you, it was like 7pm on Tuesday, not midnight, it wouldn't have been the end of the world to take it out like........right then.   And even then, I actually said ok, I will put a post it on your coffee pot.   No, he wanted me to wake up with him and remind him.

Well turns out on Wednesday, I totally slept through my alarm.  I still got up before he left and still "reminded him," but by then it was "too late."

He got home at 6pm today....that's when the trash got taken out.  Including the extra bags that DS7 didn't know what to do with.

 

ETA: it's also very important, in a discussion about mental load, to understand that getting one child to her dance class once a week isn't just about the actual physical act of driving the kid to dance.  There's making sure that the dance outfit is ready for the kid each week.  It's making sure that the dance shoes are where they are supposed to be, which might mean ensuring the week before that when daddy and kid come back, daddy ensures that the kid puts the shoes away right away.  It's making sure that if the kid's class happens at dinner time, the kid isn't going to be *SO HUNGRY* smack in the middle of class (ie snack before, or separate dinner or whatever.)

The mental load isn't just about the *DOING.*   It's about all the other advance planning and proactive thinking that goes WITH the doing.  

 

 

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24 minutes ago, regentrude said:

I don't think that having my DH wash dishes or do laundry or work in the kitchen would make him feel more "part of the family". Doing these things certainly does not create a "bond of belonging" for me either. What makes me feel a bond of belonging is spending my Saturday hiking with my kids and DH. I don't derive a sense of being part of my family from household tasks.

 

My argument wasn't about chores, but mental load.

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

Right!!! Exactly!!!!

 

On TUESDAYI said to Dh-Hey, I have been working on cleaning out the fridge and we have been cleaning ABC....you probably should take the trash out tomorrow.  He said, ok, remind me in the morning (mind you, it was like 7pm on Tuesday, not midnight, it wouldn't have been the end of the world to take it out like........right then.   And even then, I actually said ok, I will put a post it on your coffee pot.   No, he wanted me to wake up with him and remind him.

Well turns out on Wednesday, I totally slept through my alarm.  I still got up before he left and still "reminded him," but by then it was "too late."

He got home at 6pm today....that's when the trash got taken out.  Including the extra bags that DS7 didn't know what to do with.

 

ETA: it's also very important, in a discussion about mental load, to understand that getting one child to her dance class once a week isn't just about the actual physical act of driving the kid to dance.  There's making sure that the dance outfit is ready for the kid each week.  It's making sure that the dance shoes are where they are supposed to be, which might mean ensuring the week before that when daddy and kid come back, daddy ensures that the kid puts the shoes away right away.  It's making sure that if the kid's class happens at dinner time, the kid isn't going to be *SO HUNGRY* smack in the middle of class (ie snack before, or separate dinner or whatever.)

The mental load isn't just about the *DOING.*   It's about all the other advance planning and proactive thinking that goes WITH the doing.  

 

The problem that you might be running into in part is that it's difficult to take on mental load as a one off.  

I run all of the schedules for my kids.  My dh helps out but it's mainly my bag.  I usually manage to hold a lot in my head without errors, except when things change.  My dd is supposed to have been doing something new recently - twice I have forgotten to tell her.  I'ts just not yet integrated into the management part of my consciousness - by next week I expect it will be, that's usual for me.  By the same token I forgot to put out the trash this week.  It's fine when I do it every week, like when dh was working away from home, but now that it's an infrequent and irregular thing, I am far more likely to forget.  

My experience has been that if there is too much mental load on one person, unless it is temporary, you need to permanently shift some tasks, and be prepared for a transition period.  Even with stuff that seems like it should be simple and obvious like taking out the trash. Otherwise you won't really change the mental load much if at all.

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