Help! My wife is doing man things

It’s been a fairly good source of humor for me to realize that now my wife works full time, and I manage the home, how much she’s doing “man” things – the things I used to do when working a stressful job more than full time. She’s a small, very feminine, good looking girl, who’s girly in every way (her two main hobbies are shopping and eating out), so it’s amazing how she’s picked up all these allegedly “guy” habits.

She dumps keys, sunglasses, diaries, paperwork, junk mail, bills and wallets on the kitchen bench. I’m trying to prepare a meal. This kitchen just aint big enough for the two of us. That would tick me off so much I’d push it off the edge.

I cook, and she doesn’t wash the dishes. It’s a rare occasion that she ever gets to the washing up. I do the groceries, attend to the kids, the laundry, some cleaning (I get a cleaner once a fortnight), pay the bills – the whole shebang. The only thing I don’t do is fold her clothes and put them away. That’s her problem. If they pile up enough, I dump them on the bedroom floor and make a little mountain.

She leaves clothes, socks, jackets and shoes about the house in various places. She leaves her plate at the table, and if she does happen to clear it, it goes somewhere near the sink, but doesn’t ever get rinsed. Then it goes all hard….

She likes to be “fun parent”. They’re the ones that distract the kids when they’ve got a school bus to catch or it’s past their bedtime and “responsible parent” knows that it’s going to turn to muck if the kids get hyper right before bed time, or start crying if the bus is there and they haven’t packed their lunch.

She comes home when she comes home. I don’t get a phone call saying she’s working back late. I never really know when she’s coming home. Then, she’s so tired when she gets home from work all she wants to do is turn on her laptop and vegetate on facebook. She doesn’t want the kids to be talking to her, or me asking her to help out. After tea, all she wants to do is stare at the TV until she’s tired enough to go to bed.

She gets work text messages and phone calls into the night and on weekends. She works some weekends and some weeknights so the kids don’t see her. She’s stressed about work – yesterday she went for a massage and today is going for a remedial massage because her whole body is experiencing muscle spasms. She took pain killers to get to sleep last night. Work life balance? Hardly!

She’s doing all the things I used to do, so it’s a form of natural justice – I can’t complain. It is funny though because these are all things that have been attributed to stuff guys do. But they’re not. They’re what people do, who are using all their emotional and mental energies on their job.

I have come up with a few solutions to save me nagging.

I don’t expect her to do anything. Ever. If I ring her and ask her to pick up some milk from the supermarket on the way home, I don’t expect her to do it. She may well say she’s too tired. I keep powdered milk and grocery milk in the pantry (plan B and C).

I plan my time and budget my energy to get absolutely everything done, so I don’t have to rely on her. If she helps out, that’s a bonus – and often she does. She would do more if she had the energy – I know her heart is in the right place.

I bought a big tub and anything she leaves lying around, goes into the tub behind the kitchen counter. Now if she leaves clutter on the counter, a little nudge and bingo, they’re in the tub!

I try and make the home a calm, clutter free, tidy environment for when she comes home, so that it’s a rejuvenating place. I try and cook her meals she’ll enjoy.

The kids and I eat at 5.45pm whether she’s home or not, so I can still get the kids into bed at 7pm. If I wait for her, it will only make it harder for me and I’ll get frustrated with her and I don’t want to be.

Finally, I understand. I know exactly where she’s living. I’ve been there. I wonder if marriages would be better off, if both partners experienced stressful jobs (not at the same time hopefully) because then they would be more understanding and supportive rather than nagging about their partners’ bad “man-habits”.

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190 Responses

  1. This is entirely too funny my husband does every single “guy” things you mentioned and I hate it when he doesn’t clean off his plate and it ends up hard and difficult to clean. LOL

    • Glad you got a laugh Janee. Just remember, you have to train your man! But make sure you don’t kill yourself (or him) in the process. I’d love to host some “train your man” seminars someday. I think it would be totally fun.

  2. I love that you’re supporting your wife’s career. Kudos!

  3. Lol……….Help! I’m doing girl things.

    I completely get this. Its often hard to see the ‘other side’. My wife and I both work and sometimes, it gets a bit annoying when she gives me the “we” have to do better around the house speech. But work-life balance is just another way of saying teamwork. Its great that you’ve hit upon a plan to bring harmony into the home. This is a fantastic piece, funny and extremely iinsightful. If there are others who feel like I do sometimes, you just helped a whole bunch of people. Great job.

  4. This post really made me smile! Glad you’re supporting her and I am sure both of you do a great job.
    Greets

  5. We have a similar situation. If my guy doesn’t have dinner on the table when I come home at 7 there will be hell to pay.

    • I bet he couldn’t get dinner on the table at 7 everyday!

      I can understand the mindset though. Hardworking guys come home starving and kind of looking forward to sitting down, chilling out and filling the massive cavity in our stomachs. We think that our wives don’t have much to do all day and “how hard could it be???” I think also, we might feel a little unloved if dinner isn’t ready because some lame thing happened in your day. It’s obviously a wrong mindset, but that’s what you’re up against.

  6. Hi,

    Enjoyable writing – things that I can relate to as a working women. But I can see that you are a very loving husband. Take care, and have a great life, together!

    Greetings,

  7. I personally think it is very sad that any family, whether it is the man or the woman working, should have to live this way. Our society is out of control. Every aspect of it seems to be geared toward the destruction of the family. I applaud your efforts and kudos for your gained understanding. I am praying that things get better for you and your family. May you always be blessed.

    • I agree with Tony. My wife recently went to work full time after losing her part time job. We knew the part time thing was great but we just didn’t have enough money for all our expenses. So losing her job and luckily finding full time work was a blessing.

      But it came at a price. There were so many things she did in managing the house and our son that can’t be done or are cut short.

      I pray things get better for all of us.

      • I concur with these comments and your observation on how when people are using “all their emotional and mental energies on their job” they get careless about caring for the home, family, and civility. And it is tough when the separation of duties are as such.

        My husband and I own a business together, yet he is the primary “worker” since he is the rainmaker for clients. I have become the default houseworker even though I am full time. Conversing is one thing, he agrees he should be home earlier, do more of house stuff, stop working late, but he finds it difficult, he has a duty to the client. Yet I don’t need to take it personally.

        It is tough now when 2 folks have to work out of the house. It used to be because folks lived beyond their means. Not in RI: many people are being squeezed by low wages and high cost of living. Vegetable gardens, DIY, tight budgets, cutting up credit cards are all coming back in vogue. I hope it will last. GDP is primarily based on 70% consumer spending, that just isn’t sustainable anymore.

        But really it is about getting so sucked into the job at the cost of home civility and responsibility. Maybe we invest too much in a the “job” as king, rather than seeing ourselves as whole people part of more than the workforce and consumers. So the next time my hubby says “it is my job” I’ll remind him he is a human being not a “human doer”.

  8. It’s all so very true. How quickly the tables turn once we find ourselves in another position. Suddenly, everything is different, but I’m sure oh so justifiable. What do you do when your wife doesn’t work but still does little around the house? Don’t tell her I said that…

    • My wife works harder now outside of the home and is much more successful. She was trying real hard at home, but is one of those “people” persons that was so drained trying to do all the domestic duties while I worked a stressful full time job with loads of overtime. Because she wasn’t good at it (she’s not very organized) she felt poorly about herself and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get it sorted.

      One of the reasons we decided she should go to work outside was that she would achieve more, hopefully get energized and feel better about herself. The condition was that she only takes a job that utilizes her strengths and talents.

      She’s now working for a not-for-profit organization training business people to voluntarily mentor juveniles at risk of detention. It’s a great program and she’s really good at it, so that helps build her self esteem.

      I’m much more organized so I can get it all done in about three days, leaving me time for a part time job (mental health education) and fly fishing.

      This structure took a fair bit of creativity and experimentation, but we’re much happier and both on the road to recovery. I appreciate her being the main breadwinner because I can’t work a full-time, high-paying job with my health, and she loves being supported in doing something that is significant and helping others.

  9. Role reversal working out! I like that!

    Seriously though it’s not easy for anyone – especially the kids. I’m sure they need time with both parents. I have one wish, and that is that one day pretty soon you all will find a way to have dinner together – everyday. I’m sure you all feel the same way! All the best, and I will check back for the follow up – good news πŸ™‚

    P.S. I really enjoyed reading your post.

    • Hey Genie, thanks for that! I’d say most nights we eat together. I think the hard thing is not knowing, especially like last night when I was cooking a bouillabaisse I wasn’t sure when to put the prawns and scallops into the broth, so I rang her and happily it turns out, she was already in our street! I sympathize with all the girls out there who are expected to have tea on the table for their man, but never sure when he’s going to be home! I recall one wife making a not-so-subtle hint when her man came home late. She said “your supper’s in the oven keeping warm”. It was a salad.

  10. It is clear from this post that she is not only doing “guy” things, but you are doing “woman” things. I love it. It makes me think of the movie Mr. Mom. Such a classic!

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

    • Crystal, I am doing “woman” things, and I couldn’t do it, if that was all I did because I’d feel crap about myself. But I make sure I still work two days a week in mental health education and go fly fishing at least once a week. That makes me feel like I’m workin and fishin!
      The other thing I do, is I use one of my strengths – creativity. I cook all kinds of interesting things and not afraid to try new stuff.

  11. my husband and I both work full time and the some. Thanks for the encouraging words. I definitely need to nag less and love more.

    • hey dearliv, I hope you both don’t have to do that for too long. I think the ideal is both working part time in roles that tap into your strengths and gifts. The other thing is to put a cap on how much we need to live on.

  12. My husband shocked me with his unwavering, cheerful support when he was home and I was working way too much. Now circumstances are reversed for the time being, and I strive every minute to live up to his example. I’m not sure how long my patience would last if this arrangement were to continue indefinitely, however. Best of luck to you and your family.

  13. Thanks for stating the lesson so amusingly — maybe if more people would admit that most “guy” or “girl” things were actually PEOPLE things based on circumstance and not biology, they’d stop with the other dumb assumptions about what men and women “naturally” do.

    • you reasonable person you.

      you definitely took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Very true! Stereotypes can actually hinder us coming up with creative ways to get things done for the best of both partners (not one at the expense of the other).

    • I couldn’t have said it better! A couple weeks ago I wrote something about nagging that wound up on “Freshly Pressed,” and within hours I had comments saying things like “women have unreasonable standards of cleanliness” and “women just need to chill and leave their husbands alone.”

      I wish I could get those folks to come over here and read this post. Like WorstProfEver said, so many “guy things” and “girl things” are about circumstances, not biology. Great post, Jack!

  14. Hi. I’m an emissary from the Man Club. We’ve read your blog and, after reading all about how you’re doing women’s work, we have determined that your Man Club membership is in dire jeopardy. Please fix this at once.

    Word of warning: if we ever hear of you getting a pedicure, all bets are off.

    Sincerely,
    Wolfshades (grunter and belcher and scratcher extraordinaire)

    • hahaha wolfshades, nicely said! I still make time to hunt and fish and get smelly and dirty. The day before yesterday I dragged home a 3.5 pound brown trout that we ate last night in the bouillabaisse I cooked! My balls haven’t shrunk too badly yet, but will keep an eye on things!

  15. I love this article. You are exactly right; not all “man things” are man things at all. Sometimes they are just “stressed-out, over-worked, people stuff.”

    Good job!

  16. I loved this. So often we take each other for granted. Wow! I wish every man and woman switched “roles” for a little while.

  17. Love this. Good luck keeping Mrs. Mr. in line. πŸ™‚

  18. This is a funny, very funny, but actually deep article. It’s like the stepping into someone else’s shoe scenario. I am really happy for your wife that you are so understanding, not only because you have been there, but you sound like a really loving husband too. Hopefully your wife will find a good balance and not overwork herself too much, she needs some destressing too. Thanks for sharing.

    • It’s not so much overwork, she’s recovering from depression as well so with the energy that she has, it’s all she can do to get her job done. I think my burnout actually taxed her so much and having three little ones to look after she ended up unwell too. We’re both recovering very slowly.

  19. WOW! What a fantastic perspective. Reversing the roles has its advantages. What I like most about your post — you get the kids in bed by 7 pm. So many kids today don’t get enough rest.

    My second favorite thing? You both are committed to your relationship and your family. Keep up the good work. It ain’t easy to keep a relationship together.

    • One of the reasons the kids go to bed at 7pm, is that by that stage, we’ve had enough. They’re all super active and will talk non-stop until 10pm if we let them. But by 7pm, we’re all talked out, and we need the peace and quiet. We’re kind-of “over it” by then. We let them read or do something quiet in bed and lights out generally by 8pm.

  20. Loving the role reversal! So maybe it’s not a gender thing at all. It’s just a “work full time with kids” thing?!

    Sounds like you two work well together. Kudos to you!

    – Lindsay
    http://www.thedailyawe.com

  21. you are a rare type of person. how do you get the strength of understanding over something like that?? you deserve a reward or something. i think you are the perfect example of how a husband should be (supportive and tolerant). way to go!!! and you do have a point, its not just ” man stuff” its anybody’s stuff if they have a stressful job.

  22. I love this post! You are a true partner to your wife, and that is admirable. We should all strive to be the same for the ones we love.

  23. I’m amazed at this post and your determination to do so much and keep her in a calm place. And I’m even more amazed at your understanding. My husband I both have stressful jobs right now but I do find myself doing a lot more than him around the house, but he does help out where he can, so I’ll take it. Best of luck to you both!!

    • Statistics confirm what you’re saying. In households where both work full-time, the wife is still doing more house-chores than men. Is it an ownership thing, or maybe women have higher standards? I do think that to ease some of the potential conflict, getting a cleaner once a week is a great solution and well worth the money.

  24. Love this post. And I especially love that you look at the reversed role situation with such humor!

  25. You’re a great hubby.

  26. haha..hilarious…agree with yasmine! you are a rare type of person..wish a lot of men would be like u!! and yeah…asmolitor is right!! you are admirably a true partner to your wife…cheers!!!

  27. My wife doesn’t work. When I come home from a 13 hour day I find every available surface in the house is supporting towers of ‘stuff’. What it actually is I’ve no idea. She tells me she’s been so busy all day – presumably building towers of “stuff”. I scrape a small space clear on the table so that I can eat and hope that I’m married to a budding conceptual artist and not someone who has contracted some strange obsessive “stuff” tower building disorder.

    • I genuinely laughed out loud reading your reply! Not something that happens often to introverts. Sorry. I feel your pain.

      I used to come home after a long day and find her still in her pajamas and the breakfast and lunch dishes still there and no food being prepared. It was chaos.

      Sometimes I would drive home and sit in the car in the driveway just trying to get the courage to go inside.

      As I became unwell, my need for tidyness actually increased. The clutter was doing my head in. That said, certain people are hopeless when it comes to keeping a house tidy. It just overwhelms them and they don’t have the “systems” to organize it and find a home for everything. I truly hope you come up with some creative solutions!

  28. Thank you for this post! I’ve come to terms that I will probably be _that_ wife in the future– it’s good to know that not only are there other women out there who can fulfill that “manly” role but that there are partners out there who are supportive and understanding. πŸ™‚

  29. Love this post, I know that this is the way life will be in the future for me and my bf. It gives me insight and helps me see that it can work, thanks for sharing!

    • Remember, every woman has to train her man. Hopefully his mother did the pre-training, but you still need to housebreak him. Smart women learn how to do this without her man noticing!

  30. What a fascinating article, and well done to the both of you for being so supportive of eachother.

    I hope your wife finds a balance in her life between work and home soon. Living to only ‘work work work’ completely sucks, whether you’re female or male; your children are only young once.

    Best of wishes to the both of you!

  31. […] It's been a fairly good source of humor for me to realize that now my wife works full time, and I manage the home, how much she's doing "man" things – the things I used to do when working a stressful job more than full time. She's a small, very feminine, good looking girl, who's girly in every way (her two main hobbies are shopping and eating out), so it's amazing how she's picked up all these allegedly "guy" habits. She dumps keys, sunglasses, d … Read More […]

  32. are you serious? No no no..
    it’s not meaning that i really need to know at all but eh, well, i think man’s life is very, very simple than woman’s life…
    hahaha…

  33. Great stuff! I can totally relate to both sides. My husband works full time, and I have my own consignment store. Some days I’m at home with the kids too, so the domestic stuff falls on me as well. The days I’m at my store, i come home and want to do the “guy” stuff too πŸ™‚

  34. haha great read, very funny. You are a great husband and it’s good to have one of those around! It’s not always just the female putting up with the guy…its just the sterotype! good for you.

  35. relationships are always hard, but simple things like what you’ve been doing is very importante to make it easier. good point.

  36. Great post, it was entertaining and cheering. I like your point that these are not “man” things but the things that any person in a stressful or demanding work environment would do. To give behaviour a gender name is a common fallback for cheap laughs or jabs at the other sex, and I was worried that this would be just another story like that. So I was refreshed and moved by your charming story!

  37. […] kimddavidson Today I read this blog, and thought I would a brief excerpt from it (find the rest here) and then share some thoughts I had when I […]

  38. then you do wife things

  39. Great post, It sounds like you’re a very supportive husband. I have a roommate who sounds very similar to your wife and I’m not nearly as patient as you are. Good luck with everything, hopefully things will work out to a point where you can have a two parent home

  40. Absolutely awesome post! My husband and I have both been there at some point – doing the stress-outed people stuff. We both have jobs with long commutes and a toddler, so now we alternate who gets to be the slacker. πŸ™‚

    • Hey Donna, that’s tough. I really feel for you. Hopefully you don’t have to do it for too long. It’s not a good feeling when you’re torn between important things.

  41. Funny, she’s doing man things! I love it!! Good life together! My husband does a lot of that, but he likes to food shop! I am blessed!

    evelyngarone.com

  42. It can be tough when the roles are reversed. Your comments about making sure there is little at the house to stress your wife reminds me of a text book descrition of what a housewife should do for her husband. But really, in the end, it is all about making life run smoothly no matter what stage of life you are in.

    • Yeah I saw that 50’s woman article too. That was sooo funny. Actually I think having the home a stress and clutter free environment is nurturing for everyone.

  43. thanks…you’re.an.inspiration.and.a.hero.for.love

  44. Thanks for sharing your perspective. It is certainly not easy for both parties.

  45. It sounds like things swing back and forth in your relationship, and perhaps this is a far swing in her direction. I hope (for both your sakes) that some balance will be reintroduced into the equation soon. You both deserve it.

    In the meantime, I hope you find comfort in knowing you are her hero, even though she may not be ‘present’ enough to recognize it at the moment.

    • I think things do swing a bit which is good. Being flexible as a couple means that as family dynamics change, we can come up with creative solutions to work around the circumstances. I’d say our preference would be for both of us to be part time and have one day per week just to ourselves.

  46. Changing places I think is always good. When my wife was the only one working whenI couldn’t find work for months I automaticly did all the house work. To be fair and with out her asking me. But what I don’t like about people or rather females because I’m a male is; You girls are many times so duoble standard with sh?t. I mean if your going through something you want guys to under stand but if the guy is going through the same thing you don’t give a f?ck. I mean if the guy bust his ass all day and sometimes into the night he’ll get grief when he steps through door. Which is why some guys dread going home and go to the bar first. Females are said to be sooo understanding, Bullcrap! I don’t believe in the guy or girl getting over in a ralationship. But in this day in age girls get over. I mean a ggirl can have 40 male associates that are just a “Friend”. Let a guy have 1 female associate and you girls go bannas. I know most guys cheat but I think it’s becuase of the resentfulness guys carry on a subconsious level of how as guy have to bring everything to the table and girl really just has to look preety and lay on her back. If you ask her to do more than that she spouts off that she’s a new age woman and doesn’t cook. Which is why I’m glad my mom tought me how all the chores around the house so I don’t need a woman for much. I can cook my own food. I love my wife but I will never get married again. I’m sorry but with all the females I’ve met and the drama they bring. I won’t do this again. I know some guys can get out of control with telling the woman what to do. But I see way more of the reverse thing. Which why I don’t put up with female double standrd crap no more from anyone.

  47. Oh my god! Did my husband just write this? Well, we don’t have kids, but yup…this is pretty much me.

  48. She sounds like she is extremely the woman I am. I have been brought up in a big family so.. I do what ever my brothers do. =)

  49. I hope all you efforts are appreciated.

  50. You sound like a very good and understanding husband. Your wife is lucky to have you, and it sounds like you are lucky to have her too!

  51. Do you put on a fresh dress and spritz on some perfume just before she comes home, too? I’m just kidding. Your understanding (and accommodation) of your wife’s annoying habits gives me a new way to look at my husband’s annoying habits…a more forgiving and understanding way to look at them. Thank you for this post – I am so glad I read it.

    • haha, actually you might have a point there! Maybe I should look half decent for when she comes home. Doesn’t take much effort for a bloke to look okay (it’s not like we have to do hair and makeup).

  52. I do most of the things you say you do, sans kids as I don’t have any. And I have a full time job. But the laundry part I totally agree with you – I refuse to put the hubs’ clothes away. I’ll wash them but he has to do the rest.

  53. Your marriage is a combination of my husband and I. I sure hope she doesn’t read this! Or I hope she does and it gets you somewhere…if it does, I am going to copy it and send it to my husband!

    • She doesn’t read this blog. I wanted the freedom to be able to say stuff candidly without fear of upsetting her. There’s other stuff here about our marriage connected with my burnout that’s still fairly raw for her. Maybe someday…..

  54. That’s really neat. I’m sure if I worked in the military for 8-12 hours a day I’d understand my Fiance a little more, and if he had to take care of all the stuff I do around the house, he’d understand me a little more πŸ™‚

  55. Excellent post, see my reply above. To me the observation that this want’ just a “Man thing” but rather “They’re what people do, who are using all their emotional and mental energies on their job.” was the essence.

    Still no excuse to forgo ones civility and responsibility to the home and family.

  56. This is an awesome post — and something that my fiance and I have been dealing with personally since we began our relationship. Thanks for sharing.

  57. It sounds a lot like my house at the moment. My boyfriend just drops things everywhere and magically they get picked up/washed/ put back. Although I do hold him to some responsibilities (hell he works 9 am to 6pm and I’m working 6am -8 pm).

  58. What a great post. I really got a kick out of reading it. You are so right, that once you are in that stressful world it is so easy to get caught up in what is not important. We need to get back to the basics of family being the most important thing in our lives, not work. great post.

  59. Great post! You are supportive and understanding and I am sure some of the “traditional” stay-at-home moms can learn from you. As you have shown, regardless of who is in which role, a marriage can still work. Kudos to you and all the other men who do the same! LB

  60. Haha I’m uncomfortable with my wife deviating from gender stereotypes, ha! But not…

  61. I wish I could be a stay-at-home husband. Since I don’t have kids, it would definitely give me more time to write.

  62. Love and gratitude to you for seeing a loving perception of your life and your wife! My husband and I both use to have stressful jobs. I own my own business now, but it gives me the freedom to create balance and support him in all the ways I can. I focus on that every day and love, peace, and understanding grow miracles in life!
    πŸ™‚

  63. We don’t need more men like you, we need more PEOPLE like you.

  64. lol…you have come up with some good solutions and suggestions. Interesting to note though, that obviously the “gender stereotype” roles are not necessarily because of our sex- but because of the roles that we have within the family… good post!

  65. Great post.

    I work alone at home all day and make sure, as much as I can, to do the housework and clean and tidy — my poor partner has an insanely busy job (6 meetings every day and an hour commute each way) so he needs to come in the door to somewhere calm and lovely. I don’t mind doing it and it’s clear to me that my time and labor help reduce his after hours.

    It’s retro to care about this if you’re a woman but the whole point, as you so well put it, is to minimize further stress on someone in the corporate trenches.

    • That is brilliant! Well done. You really “get” what it’s like for your man. Hopefully there aren’t too many women who see you as a sucker and a second class woman because of what you’re doing. And I also hope your husband appreciates everything you’re doing to support him.

  66. […] My Wife is Doing Man Things Posted on August 24, 2010 by lindseyinfeminism Cross post from here! FYI – it was written by a […]

  67. FANTASTIC post. Just last night I got on my hubs about zoning out on the laptop as soon as he gets home. And last week, I threw a hissy fit over the sight of his jacket and dirty work boots on the carpet.

    This post just put me in my place. I need to look at it like you do more often. I’m usually very understanding but during these long hot summer days I need a little reminder to “plan my time and budget my energy to get absolutely everything done, so I don’t have to rely on (him). If (he) helps out, that’s a bonus – and often (he) does. (He) would do more if (he) had the energy – I know (his) heart is in the right place.”

    And although we are the more “traditional” family arrangement (mom at home, dad at work) I so greatly appreciate that this was written by a stay at home dad. I totally agree that it’s a PEOPLE-thing, not just a MAN-thing.

  68. Brilliant post. It’s so great to see that people really can work together and understand the stressed each goes through every day. Seeing things from the “other side” is something I try to do before I get angry with anyone, but it’s not easy unless you know exactly where the other person is coming from. Like you do with your wife. “They’re things people do” is an excellent line. You did a great job highlighting this here.

    Thanks for the wonderful read!

  69. I’ll ask my husband to read your post, it’s great!

  70. What a great post. I think it is interesting to see the gender roles almost completely reversed. I think that men and women function better (usually) when some of their life is in the “traditional” gender role (stereotypes come from somewhere!); men often feel a need to provide, while women frequently feel the desire to nurture. It is great that you two get to switch roles and experience what the other felt; you know how terrible it is when she leaves clothing or dishes out, and she knows the feeling of not wanting to be bothered after a long work day.

    Also, you are a great husband! If you are handling everything as logically and as compassionately as you described, and planning ahead, then you are a rare man indeed. The world needs more like you. πŸ™‚

  71. In my perfect world, my husband and I both work at fulfilling jobs we love and the MAID does all the work, including picking up after us. Hey, I can dream can’t I? Loved your blog….North Coast Muse @ http://sally1029.wordpress.com

    • Sally, I’m a huge believer in getting a cleaner. I happily work an extra day per week picking tomatoes so I can afford to get a cleaner for four hours per fortnight. The one we have is an absolute machine and she does stuff that I hate doing in half the time it would take me to do it.

      I get her to do the stuff that really drains me; vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom/shower/toilet, mop the floors, change the bedding and she also tidies the kids bedrooms (they tidy every second day or so but she gets it almost perfect).

  72. This is such an interesting post, it only shows that if two couple really understands and supports each other marriage will workout and love will getting stronger, you are such a great husband, very understanding and supportive, i know your marriage life will be full of happiness and it will last forever and more.

  73. I teach gender to college students, and most of them have it in their heads that men act one way because they are “men” and women act another way because they are “women”. Men and women are not exactly the same, but we are far more alike than we make it out to be sometimes. As an earlier commenter noted, the most awesome part of your post is the how these are things people do when they are in a particular situation. I will definitely be sending my students to check out this post. BTW kudos to you and your wife for adapting to your situation and making your relationship work.

    • Gender roles is something I’m really interested in as well. I think our wiring pre-disposes us in certain directions, so if we take the two sexes there are certain generalisations that can be drawn where the average man will do certain things more often than the average woman, however the overlaps of the bell curves will obviously mean there are lots of exceptions which makes generalizations somewhat flawed.

      For example men are bigger, have better spatial awareness and sense of direction and our eyesight is suited to longer distances – all geared for hunting and providing.

      Women on the other hand are able to focus on more than one thing, are more relational (better at emotional intelligence and language), have eyesight suited to close up work and are more nurturing hormonally, so it suits them more for raising children in a communal (village-type) environment.

      How all that translates into modern day life is the job of creative individuals, who are aware of the wiring, our traditions, cultures and mindsets and who are prepared to experiment.

      I still have lots of traditionally “male” urges and can’t be “domesticated” for too long before going nuts so I make sure I schedule time in wild places to get my sanity back.

      I think there’s probably a good argument that individual temperament, personality, and strengths probably far outweigh gender issues and that building relationships based on the individuals and their context rather than their genders is much healthier.

  74. What a great view on life you have! Thank you so much for sharing it with us all. Great ideas that I will be sharing with many. πŸ™‚

  75. omg, it’s your lucking and your misfortune too.

  76. Hope staying home works for you two:) Nice job on freshly pressed;)

  77. “If they pile up enough, I dump them on the bedroom floor and make a little mountain.” This is literally the best idea I’ve ever heard for this phenomenon. I also recommend the use of a “Man Room” in this case a “Wo-Man Room” which is a single room devoted to them and their stuff (mental & physical).

    • yeah I think the “man room” is a great idea. I think maybe each one should have an area where they can have as much mess as they like…. let’s face it, we can’t change the other person, so we just need to find work-arounds to save our own sanity. Sounds like you’ve done that well. By the way, do you know what clothes on the bedroom floor is called? A floordrobe!

  78. She’s doing all the things I used to do, so it’s a form of natural justice – I can’t complain. It is funny though because these are all things that have been attributed to stuff guys do. But they’re not. They’re what people do, who are using all their emotional and mental energies on their job.

    I expected to come out of this post being angry at yet another sexist featured post (thanks, WordPress!), but when I read this paragraph, I was so happy.

    Thank you for pointing out that behavior is not based on sex. Thank you for pointing out this point about gender stereotypes, the identities culture, not biology, expects us to play. Made my day.

  79. wow, hillarious
    haha

  80. I have to say, I love this post! My guy and I both exhibit “man-habits”. We both work part-time jobs (although I’m looking forward to a full-time position soon and he’s current going to school for his BS). When we come home, we both tend to zone out with the tube or our laptops. Let’s just say not much gets done around here, LOL.

    • Hey elyn, when you’re zoning out on your laptops do you email each other? We do! I know the feeling of just needing to zone out. I hope that people can get to the point they’re not so wasted from their responsibilities that we don’t need to zone out quite as much, which leaves something in the tank for our relationships πŸ™‚

  81. OMG we’re SO on the same track!! Except I cook, shop for, and plan the meals and he does the cleaning, bill-paying, and other ‘responsible’ things. Cooking qualifies as leisure time for me, so we both benefit.

    I love your style! Can’t wait to read more of your stuff.

    –JustKittie

    • hey justkittie, thanks for your comment. You sound like you’ve divided the duties according to your strengths (or maybe the least-hated chores). Well done!

  82. I can only say you are a great husband and is funny the way you share your experience with us. I wish your marriage and family well.

  83. This post really made me smile and very good

  84. My wife, primary school teacher, got angry that she was to do the double duty: working outside and maintaining the family. To give her ease, I now wash my own clothes, tidy up the house, sit by her fetching things or putting them away while she cooks, check the doors before sleep. Fortunately, My son Dipto, a student of class 8, run errands and do groceries. My caring words and actions has endeared me to her. She is now sanguine that I’ll be always there with my love and care for her. We are now a perfect family. By the way, I’m an assistant professor in a college.

    • hey tinku, it sounds like you guys have done what we’ve done and that is gone through the difficult process of finding out what works best for the both of you. I think this area causes a lot of conflict for couples who are “trapped” in some kind of model they inherited from their parents and can’t break out it.

  85. Can you come live with me for a while?? I read somewhere that the “wife” role is really important – aka, someone to take care of the home and show support to the spouse that works full time, but now that so many families have both parents working outside the home (like my husband and I do) neither of us has a “wife”. I’m the woman, but I want a wife too! How amazing it would be to come home to a clean house, dinner ready, and the kids ready for bed… sounds like a dream come true.

    • greeneyedgirl, you are so right! We realized too that everyone wants a “wife”. We all want someone who can get things sorted on the domestic front, look after the kids, have a meal on the table and give some comfort and support. My wife wants a “wife” too. Isn’t it funny!

  86. Great post
    my husband and I have both had a couple of stressful weeks at work, so we’ve both been doing those things. Our house looks like a bomb hit it. Hopefully things settle down for at least of us now, and we can regain some semblance of order around the place. We always try to do what we can for the other to make life a bit easier.
    He has today off, so i’m hoping the floors got mopped

  87. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! I enjoyed your post, it sounds like you’re both learning from the role reversal.

    Sorry about your burnout as a Pastor, but I definitely understand how it can happen!

    http://learning2hear.wordpress.com/

  88. My wife and I have switched back and forth and if there’s a healthy way to balance each other out so both are the Responsible & Fun Parent, hey, let me know.

    Good luck.

  89. I really enjoyed reading this. It’s amusing and well-written. Also, you’re a very understanding husband πŸ™‚

    This post also reminds me of my parents, who are in switched roles right now. It’s great when couples do this without arguing about how it damages their egos. What is ego, after all, when you’ve got such good teamwork?

    • Having depression really belted any ego out of me. I felt very broken and useless as a result. So having my wife working so that I could recover definitely made me appreciate her more and made the transition much easier.

  90. Nice one. I will be a lurker on your page…

  91. Good Post !! I had to share this with my married friends, and they had the same reaction as I did. Laughing their lungs out till their eyes bulged.

  92. wow. its such a rare treat to have a man do ‘woman things’ and be happy with it. kudos to you and your wife for having this arrangement. funny post by the way. πŸ˜›

  93. great story πŸ™‚
    nice meeting you.

  94. It’s revitalizing to hear that men go through and experience the same emotions and setbacks that women do. Sometimes I really think that men don’t understand and would never be able to put themselves in the woman’s shoes… And then posts like this bring me back to reality. Thank you. πŸ™‚

    • I’m pretty sure that the sexes have a lot more in common than different! Sometimes I’m talking to her at night and realise she’s not listening. Then I stop talking. After a while, she realises I’m not talking anymore and wants me to repeat myself. Then I say don’t worry about it.

  95. Ha Ha….
    I feel lucky.
    I’m single.

  96. A long time ago when my children were growing up, my husband worked 9-5, and I worked 11PM – 7 AM. When I got home from work the children were waiting for the bus to go to school. My husband had cooked their breakfast and got them out the door. I walked in to a breakfast on the table, kissed hubby good-bye, ate breakfast and then slept until the children came home from school about 3:30 PM. I then got up and started laundry and cooked the evening meal.

    This arrangement worked so well for us that we continued this routine even when we both worked day shifts. When working the day shift and I knew I would be working overtime, I would put a meal in the Crockpot (slow cooker). Even if I had to work overtime, the meal was cooked and he could then see that he and the children ate on time. He ironed his own clothes and sometimes ironed my clothes while I was busy cooking or doing other chores. We worked together to get things done, and we taught the children home skills so they not only helped with the chores, but would be able to take care of themselves when they were adults.

    However, he never expected me to mow the lawn. I thought that was nice. πŸ™‚ And I never expected him to do laundry.

    I’m very glad that you understand your wife and the stress in her life and you are doing all you can to make life better for her when she comes home. I hope that she will be able to have less stress soon. Glad you are able to work a few days and enjoy outdoor manly activities.

    We need more people like you! Thank you for this funny and insightful article.

    • well done Jean, a great example of yet another way to skin the cat so to speak. It’s inspiring to see how people work these things out. Some people don’t and their marriages sadly don’t survive. I think one advantage of your arrangement would be you don’t have time to fight??

      • We didn’t fight much, it’s true. Several ways we cooperated. He was a morning person. When his feet hit the floor every morning he was as awake as he was ever going to be. He was a natural for getting everyone up, organized, fed their breakfast and out the door. Not me, getting up was a drag. I am not all full of energy and bustling around in the morning. My steam rolls in at night.

        But, I got some harsh scoldings from my MIL for not cooking breakfast on work days. She let me know that I was not a good wife because hubby cooked breakfast. But, he never seemed to mind. He came home to a home made meal after a long day at work. No fast food; no take out, or order in; no soup out of a can and a sandwich; we ate my home cooked meals every night. I guess I learned that from my mother. She worked outside the home and yet we had a home cooked meal every night. I loved to cook, so cooking was not a drudge for me, it was satisfying, and I think it was also art. πŸ™‚

        On Saturdays I made up for not cooking breakfast weekdays by cooking pancakes or something the family especially liked as a treat.

  97. i absoultely enjoyed reading this !
    i loved the way you handle things..and the way you see the bigger picture..
    you really should do one of those seminars !
    hope things work out with you and your man-acting wife .lol

  98. this is so funnny

  99. OMG That is what happening in my home. the only thing is it doesnt happen between me and husband. but between my mom and my dad (we still live together). Both my parents are still working full time, get home after 7 p.m. but my dad being the super dad always clean up the house, prepare breakfast for my little sister, and do the laundry. while my mom who also working, after arrive home basically do nothing.. she opens her laptop and play magic lines or solitaire.. ouch.. that’s not a good example of team work.. different case with yours I guess. I really appreciate you helping your wife

  100. Dear The Scraphead Pastors,
    I really liked this blog and I recognize a lot of my own experiences in it. It was very cute and interesting. I advertised it on my own blog, hope OK for you!
    Andrea
    genderthoughts.wordpress.com

  101. Me and my girlfriend both do various things from that list XD I sometimes moan but know that I’m just as bad (and get told this ><) but we love each other too much to get really mad at each other about it! =D

    • good on you, as the bible says “love covers a multitude of sins”. Keeping that love alive really keeps feelings of goodwill going which makes allowances for a whole heap of “guy stuff”

  102. It’s funny how some things are universal. I was a stay at home dad for seven years before the divorce. My ex would actually mess the house up on purpose. The cleaner the house was when she got home, the more stuff she would leave laying around or mess up. She complained about dinner and tried to convince the kids that they didn’t like what I cooked — even though they were eating and enjoying it. I think it was immaturity and jealousy!?

  103. thank you for a smile πŸ™‚ great read! You should be writting books…

  104. Very nice post..
    Interesting, the way you see it.

  105. Maybe my marriage would still be alive if I was as good a “house-husband/stay at home dad” as you are.

    • Really sorry to hear that. We came pretty close to ending it but having depression means it’s difficult to make decisions! I guess there’s an upside to everything…..

      • yes, well my husband also suffered severe clinical depression and almost committed suicide and God intervened and he came home to confess. After his treatment, I too, suffered from depression but was force to push through it and work through a busy Holiday season. As soon as that season was over I took a leave of absence and never returned. My husband had a good job now. I spent the last couple of years dealing with what happened to my husband, things that came to light during his hospitalization that finally made sense. Things that deeply affected our 10 year marriage and the realization he could do more around the house and chose not to. Unfortunately, as I dealt with why I was lousy around the house, I checked out as I saw my husband resort back to his old ways and get off his meds. That was a deal breaker for him and asked for a divorce this year. We are both Christians and it is very difficult for me right now. I am hurt that I supported him through all the jobs he lost (due to is reactions to superiors, part of stuff he learned during treatment), his depression and all the years of struggle and he just gave up on me. I is still hard to believe he would do this after 13 years and now I have to start my life over.

  106. amazing post!!!hope every guy is as supportive as you are…

  107. Bravo for being a supportive husband!

  108. Then what steps are you taking to get her back in her femininity and your masculinity? πŸ˜‰

    • She’s still pretty girly… still loves shopping and eating out and thankfully she still has enough energy for grooming so she’s still attractive….
      As for me, I protect my masculinity fairly closely. If I was just “domesticated” all the time, I’d go nuts. I make time every week for fishing, fly tying, or ride my motorbike and the UFC always gets recorded and watched.

  109. Just read this post, and then clicked on “Marriage made in hell” from November. What a difference 10 months can make! The contrast between the two posts was striking.

    As a divorce lawyer who sees the carnage wrought on so many lives, daily, I want to congratulate you on the growth and maturity you’re displaying. Both of you.

    • Thanks David. One of the reasons I blog is to try and see some change, but I don’t read back through very often. You’ve just pointed that out to me, so I appreciate that. We are making slow progress!

  110. Good on you for being supportive, I don’t think a lot of men would be in your position. It’s great to see that you’re offering the understanding that she needs which is so often a ‘woman’s’ job, people start getting the impression that men have no empathic faculties at all! You’re a great example to a lot of men.

    • I’m not naturally empathic, but if I’ve experienced something, I definitely feel for someone who is experiencing the same thing. Interestingly, I think recent research has linked empathy to attachment….

  111. WOnderful post!! My husband and I both have stressful jobs, but I do more of the “man” things. πŸ™‚ He cooks, does dishes, etc. Guess I need to suck it up and help more!!

  112. This reminds me a little of my situation… Only I work full-time (40 hours a week or more) and still do as much (or more) than my husband around the house while he works 12 to 20 hours a week. I wake up at 7 or earlier (4 today) every day to take our dogs out (which I’m fine with as he isn’t an animal person), head to work and arrive at 8, labor over frustrating and tedious lines of programming code and database entries, often skip lunch, leave work around 4:50 to 5. I get home at 5:15 or so, when I make our dinner, take the dogs (we don’t have children, but we have two puppies) out again and feed them, clean up our dishes because if I don’t he just lets them pile up in the sink and doesn’t even take the consideration to put the larger breakables on the bottom. Thursdays I also do my business clothes laundry cycle for the week. Saturday I do all of his clothes (assuming he’s put them in our dirty clothes pile; with everything else I’m doing I will not go hunting for them), my casual clothes for the week, and our linens and towels. I manage our budget and pay all of our bills on my paycheck (mainly because it’s significantly more than his. His is reserved for gas and groceries). Make sure nothing’s past due, keep a running inventory of essentials like bath soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, and the like… And lay out a list of things he is to buy at the store. I tell him this list verbally and text it to him. Sometimes he still leaves items off or skimps on things that count to me (like toilet paper. Advice to the husbands of people who were raised in an upper middle class home: scratchy toilet paper is an agitator after almost nine hours working at an office), but I hate shopping so I’m grateful that he does that for me. He takes the trash and recycling bin out and sometimes will change the clothes from the washer to the dryer for me. He also will run cycles in the dishwasher on occasion. I am the one to put the dishes up when they’re clean. I’m the one to rinse out coke cans and other recyclables.

    I too have decided to stop expecting his help around the house. When I expect his help and it doesn’t come it only frustrates me. If I expect nothing then at least when he does help out it feels nice.

    I hope your wife realizes how lucky she is to have your support. (Oh, and sorry the comment ran so long.)

    • Great comment there. I feel your pain! You’ve worked out that expecting someone to change can lead to frustration and having false expectations of what someone will do also has the same effect. It’s good you have him doing some things. I think you have to take a long term view. My hope is that it will be a little fairer as time goes on. I think it takes time for some people to “get with the program” and it definitely takes time to change one’s perspective.

      Conversations about the issue are important, but not arguments. Find ways to talk about it in neutral tones if you can, otherwise he’ll be defensive and that doesn’t work. If you’re mad about it, your emotions are your responsibility. Deal with them, so you can tackle the problem from a good place. Good luck!

      • I admit to getting frustrated about it. Mostly when I dwell on how unevenly distributed our chores and responsibilities are laid out. When I don’t think about it I’m more efficient in accomplishing the tasks I do. But I don’t know. With my other half there might just be a little time required. And oh well. Because really, yeah, I cook for two and clean extra dishes and do extra laundry, but if I were living alone I’d be a lot less happy emotionally and would be doing everything I am now except the above mentioned things would be in smaller portions (which means I’d have to go shopping too. ugh).

        Anyways, I still think it’s awesome how supportive you are of your wife, and still hope she realizes how lucky she is. Thanks for responding, and best wishes. I’ll be lurking. =)

  113. I’m your newest fan! I’m so happy to have found your blog- there’s no question it’ll help keep my marriage intact, it already has. My husband and I just laughed our way through this post. Thank you!

    • hey helen, glad you could laugh. These sorts of issues really create a lot of conflict if not resolved creatively. You’ll either laugh or cry!

  114. Has she cleaned the gutters? Mowed the lawn? Changed the oil in the cars? Fixed a leak? Repaired anything. Chopped and stacked firewood?

    Um, I didn’t think so.

    Believe me she’s not doing guy things.

    But you’re definitely doing girlie things.

    Don’t get me started………..

    • Hey ryoko, yeah I’m still chainsawing and splitting the wood – helps stop my balls from shrinking. And yeah she’s not really doing guy things – only things that guys have been stereotypically blamed for. I take it you’ve had some irritation from the expectation on guys these days to get in touch with their feminine sides? It certainly isn’t that acceptable these days to be charging around full of testosterone – it’s definitely seen by the fairer sex to be somewhat neanderthal and immature….

  115. Thanks for writing, Jack. I think it’s so great that you try to maintain a peaceful home for your wife for when she comes home from work. I am a stay-at-home mom and try to do the same for my husband, although I admit that at times it makes me feel like an example from a 1950s Good Housekeeping magazine–like I’m betraying my feminist foremothers or something. But reading your post is just one more reminder that taking care of someone else (who’s also taking care of the family, in their own way, by making the money) just makes good sense. No matter which gender ‘s doing what. Thanks!
    P.S. I do wish your wife could have less stress in her life though. Perhaps she could take up meditation instead of facebook. It can do wonders.

    • Hey amy, I know what you mean about betraying the sisterhood! I guess our foremothers really did fight hard for equality and pushed the envelope to make opportunities for women and emphasized that so much, that in not taking those opportunities and continuing to be a stay-home mom you could feel like a second rate woman.

      Lots of progress has been made for women so hopefully the balance can shift so that whatever women decide to do, whether staying home or going to work, they will be considered just as significant.

  116. This is hilarious…but serious at the same time. I hope this switcheroo of roles hasn’t negatively affected the relationship between you and your wife, as well as children.

    Great post.

    • lucy, it’s really helped our relationship. we were kind of at war before we made the change. She didn’t run the home well and that made me cranky and there was lots of conflict and tension. Now it’s much much better.

  117. That’s very admirable of you… Doing your best to understand and be patient. she is very lucky to have you πŸ™‚

    some people don’t understand even when they’ve been in that position before… then they suddenly “forget”.

    i wish you and your wife all the best and i hope that the situation will get better soon πŸ™‚

  118. Thats so scary. Your wife turned into my husband in a matter of minutes. We both work, but I still have to do everything around the home and he just plonks his sh!t down whereever, whenever. *sigh*

    • NNNOOOOooooo. So sorry for you Lauren…. maybe you could email him this link as a warning. Tell him, if he ever burns out, he’s going to have to pick up your shit……all day every day. πŸ˜›

  119. lololol!!! This is my life I am telling you. Except we both work, but my husbnad tends to the house more. I swear I DO MANLY THINGS:). Now you have mne thinking when did this all start. http://www.nomam.wordpress.com

  120. well.. i’m going to be a really bad wife… so i hope to hell my work keeps me as busy as your wife’s keeps her… that way i have an excuse. =p

  121. We needn’t wonder to hear that wives do men things because many men too are doing nowadays women things forgetting their masculinity. O’ my God! (Laugh out loudly)

  122. Hi Jack,
    I had been writing/reflecting on traditional role expectations and the reversals we are seeing recently, had been researching how to start my blog when I came across your brilliantly written, lucid and very humorous post!
    A link to this post is now on my blog.
    I would very much appreciate your feedback on my posts as I am new to this blogging world. Thank you for all you do!

    http://menshandbook.wordpress.com/

  123. Husbands that make their wives work out full time if that’s avoidable should consider and reconsider please this serious matter towards rescuing the future generations from being frustrated humans of the society as that has been observed by most wise people of our time

  124. Should husbands that make their wives work out full time if that’s avoidable should consider and reconsider please this serious matter towards rescuing the future generations from being frustrated humans of the society as that has been observed by most wise people of our time?

  125. Well, what positive steps are you taking to get your man nature wife to get reversed as more a woman than a man? (laugh out loudly)

  126. your wife is lucky to have you.. and well, you’re lucky to have her. Cheer!

  127. You are on amazing husband! But like you said, you know where she’s coming from! Reading this, I laughed to myself, because my fiancee and I are much the same, except in the sense that we’re both stressed out almost always! I work part time but go to school full time, and he works part time, in the middle of getting a new job, and also going back to school for CNA come this fall. So, just that alone will make things crazy between us. We’ve been together for 5 years, and have seemed to have managed our stressed and crazy moments some how.

    I applaud you and your wife, your busy lives, and how you two still manage to deal with it all. It’s not easy and is something that can hurt a marriage if not dealt with the right way. More couples need to be like that, or even just read this. It could help.

  128. Well, if your wife is a mom of some children out of you, I wouldn’t like to see her allowed to go for a full time work.

    Even then if she is going out for her full time job taking your consent, I wonder what a nature husband your type guys are to tolerate the deserted scene in your house.

    Your children in a such situation have to live in frustration without their mom at home the whole day till night, especially the youngest one must be living by her breastfeeding plus other eatables etc.

  129. I agreed completely that a couple should experience both sides.

    A short while ago, me and my husband lived just that situation. We don’t have kids yet, but I was the one working full time while he was taking care of the house.

    It was a great change of roles, because it made us understand each other “worlds”.

    Who said it needs to be a man who goes to work everyday and a woman that stays at home cooking meals and tidying up?

    Funny and very interesting post, worth being freshly pressed!

  130. it is really interesting, thanks for sharing

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