The “Easy” Gene

by Natalie P.

July 31, 2007 | Filed Under Parenting, Social idiocy, The Heartless Bitch Way | 15 Comments

What is it with men*? Why do so many of them think that because we are women, we have some built-in, innate, genetic wiring that makes it easy for us to work full time, keep the place clean, feed the rugrats and then load the mess of them in the car along with diapers, toys, change of clothes, drop the daughter off at dance practice and get to that little league game on time?  Oh, and pick up coffee along the way while we are at it.

Yep, if you are a woman, this sort of activity is a breeze. Effortless.  Sweatless.  Stressless. Not worthy of mention. But for a guy, WELL. You get him to pick up the slack and it’s a major ordeal. It needs to be recognized for the herculean effort it is.  It’s deserving of a medal or at the very least sympathy and appreciation for all he’s just done.  Once.  Never mind that you do that shit almost every single day.

It’s like when they expect praise and thank-you’s for washing the dishes, never mind that you bought the groceries (on your way home from work), after picking up the kids from daycare, picking up the drycleaning, dropping off the recycling at the depot, and made dinner. That was easy for you. You’re female. Doing dishes is HARD WORK. If you are a man, apparently.

I remember the summer I decided to ride my bike to work and actually get some exercise.  For a whole 12 or so weeks, my husband had to get the kids off to daycare in the morning, complete with diapers and bottles, clothes, and lunches (I still rode back in time to pick them up after work – so he only had the morning routine).  Basically, he had to do the same thing I had been doing for the last 3 years EVERY WEEKDAY.  After just one week, I got an exasperated, “Do you know how STRESSFUL this is for me?!”  As if, somehow, I had NO idea how much effort was involved.  As if it was easy because, you know, I have breasts and a vagina and that magically makes those kinds of parental activities a breeze.

I recall the first time he said, “The kids don’t have clean pants for daycare.”  I replied, “You know where the washing machine is. If they need clean clothes for tomorrow, then make sure they get washed.”  The same went for food for lunches. Make a list and give it to me before I go to pick them up so I can get things at the grocery store, or get your ass out there and buy them yourself after work. 

Unfortunately, mine was not an isolated experience. I hear similar stories from female friends and family all too often.

I find it ironic, (Ok, ok, I find it fucking FRUSTRATING) that guys whine and moan about women treating them like children, and yet, when it comes to playing an equal role in parenting – and I mean truly equal – all of a sudden it’s just too much work and too stressful.   Guys, how about if YOU figure out how to make 5 nutritious (non-boring) lunches in a row, that they will actually eat. Oh, and make sure you actually go out and buy the food too, since you are taking on that responsibility. (It’s like when Dave Cooks A Turkey – cooking the turkey means actually BUYING it too.)  How about if YOU volunteer at the school for headlice check?   How about if YOU check their backpacks every day after school for rotting hidden sandwiches (oops. Didn’t like THAT one), or juiceboxes that are about to explode, or homework that the child “doesn’t have” but has somehow been scrunched into an unrecognizable ball in the bottom?

How about if you notice the floor crunching under your feet before she hands you a broom, and actually sweep under the table before the baby consumes last week’s Kraft Dinner and stale dog food, has the runs for the next 24 hours?  Why is always her job to notice these things and do something about it?

I remember cooking for a large family gathering. My brother walked by as I was juggling two items on the stove, pointed at the floor and said, “You spilled some food”.   Ah yes, the one bearing the vagina should clean up the spills. Even if the one with the penis is doing nothing more than holding his magnificent dick in his hand and watching TV.

It took every ounce of personal restraint not to immediately CLOBBER him with the sauce spoon. 

While I spared his head from the receiving end of a hot and heavy spoon, I did however, verbally REAM him out and told him that it was obvious to me why he wasn’t getting laid by his wife.

If you see a mess, FUCKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Don’t point it out to the woman.

I also can’t fathom how men can be so oblivious as to think they have just discovered something amazing about the kids, or are the only ones who find things stressful, when you’ve been hauling and feeding and cleaning and clothing the rugrats, er, I mean “little darlings”, day in, day out, for years.  Hell, I remember with my first son, I had to go to an appointment when my son was 4 weeks old. I left him with my husband for an hour while I went to the doctor’s. This was his first time actually having to change the baby’s diaper.  When I got back he said, “Do you know how much that kid shits!? Oh my god! I saved it for you so you could see!”  As if I hadn’t been changing, oh, TWELVE of those a day since the kid was born. 

And don’t even get me STARTED on the whole “single father” as a martyr thing.  Nobody rushes to the aid of a single mother, but the moment a guy is the custodial parent, well! People are bringing over casseroles, offering to babysit, offering to “help out”.  The double-standard is sickening.

I don’t think men are from another planet. I just think many men don’t INHABIT this one most of the time. I think it’s time they put their feet on terra firma, preferably in their spouse’s figurative shoes, and stopped thinking that women have some “easy” gene that makes domestic chores and childcare effortless.  They need to notice when shit needs to get done and step up to the plate without having to be asked, or heaven forefend, nagged.  They need to quit whining and stop looking for a medal every time they hold up their end of the stick and do something we have been doing, unappreciated, every damn day.

 

* Ok, don’t get your Calvin Klein’s in a knot – I know I’m being hyperbolic. I know there are SOME men out there who actually respect and realize that it’s just as much work for women as it is for them.  And there are some men who truly do share in the childcare and household chores.  I just think they are still very much in the minority.

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15 comments so far
  1. Sedna July 31, 2007 3:54 am

    Thank you.Thank you!

  2. marzena July 31, 2007 4:16 am

    Very well put Natalie. It’s quite a turn-off when a grown-up man behaves like a five-year-old and STILL thinks that mommy will clean up his room, do his laundry, find his clothes, prepare the food, clean up after him… and so on.
    Good to see that the maturity and responsibility standards for men went up a bit, though they are still far from equal.
    Many women seem to accept this state of affairs because that’s all they know, without even realizing how they are cheated into this exploitation.

  3. Fiona July 31, 2007 8:38 pm

    I am sitting here chuckling a rather lot. I had just finished blogging on the same topic, traipsed over here to see what you were writing about these days and found this.

    Synergy and signs .. they are everywhere!
    Thanks for the validation!

  4. Talia August 1, 2007 8:28 pm

    Exactly!

    When my guy was out of a job and I came home from work, before even saying “hi”, or “how was your day?” I would get “are you going to do the laundry today”?

    Which is pathetic considering he had been home all day.

    He’s never gone grocery shopping w/ me yet I’m always making dinner for the both of us and he still has the audacity to complain that he doesn’t like something. Shoulda gone w/ me, jerk!

    Or I’d get a call while I was at work, guess who it was?

    “I’m hungry”

    “Ok, I’m at work, what do you expect me to do?”

    I don’t even have children but feel like I already have a pre-teen. I need to work around my schedule to make sure that shithead isn’t hungry, or has clean laundry, or god knows what?

    I think not.

  5. Natalie P. August 1, 2007 11:49 pm

    Talia,

    That guy must have one HUGE dick and be fabulous in bed. Otherwise, I can’t figure out why you put up with that crap. Even so, you might want to consider the now immortal advice of Dan Savage, “Dump The Mother Fucker Already”.

  6. Kimberly August 2, 2007 7:16 am

    Bravo! I had a “live in” last year and every time he did something around the house, he behaved like a child who just learned how to ride a bike (or anything for that matter). Seems he was looking for a pat on the head or perhaps a medal or blowjob? Not sure. He was 28 years old so not sure what that was all about other than “look what I can do so please stroke my pathetic ego so I will continue doing these things.”

    It is a shame that in the year 2007 this “double standard” is still kicking and causing issues between men and women. How many more generations of fuckwits is it going to take to realize that it is just as easy for a man to pick up a broom as it is for a woman?

    I have a seven year old son and he already knows that “m” stands for “mom” and not “maid.” He knows how to vacuum, do laundry, clean his bedroom and has even taken interest in learning to cook and do dishes. I don’t baby him or “over nurture” him. I want him to know that household chores and parenting are not gender-specific activities. I believe it all starts in the home. I really do. If a dude’s mother did too much for him as a child, chances are he will expect his partner to do the same. Same goes for idiot females who can’t do ANYTHING without first seeking her partner’s approval. UGH. So discouraging and disgusting.

  7. Amy July 17, 2009 3:51 pm

    when people ask me why I have no desire to get married, I’m going to give them a copy of this blog.

  8. beth July 18, 2009 2:37 am

    What the hell with the sexist generalizations? Get a grip, women. You’re not helping the cause.

  9. thegnu July 19, 2009 11:01 am

    you know, i’ve dated some really horrible women. i’m talking about trying to get pregnant so i’d be stuck with her, then stalking me for 6 months. another treated me like shit and called me a cheater for a joking flirting comment to someone on the internet that i hadn’t seen for a year. that one belittled my taste in music (i’m a musician), made me wrong about everything, and called me a sexist for calling circumcision genital mutilation.

    i mean, as for your brother, yeah, mine is that way, too. i’m a guy.

    but the thing was i was just dating the wrong women. by no means does that mean that most women are worth my time (viz your “calvin kleins” comment), but that does mean that if i want to tolerate abusive controlling women, then blog about it, it just shows that i entirely refuse to take control of my life. which is pretty passive. which is pretty stereotypically female.

    which is pretty ironic.

    i mean, here’s a thought. why not govern a personal relationship on a personal level with the person you’re in it with? if you’re dating someone who is part of a conspiracy to keep you down, you’re an idiot or a masochist.

  10. Meredith July 19, 2009 11:54 am

    It seems very unhealthy to me to write a blog post about this problem instead of working it out with your old man or getting individual or group counseling.

    I’m sure you aren’t a bitter misandrist, but that’s how you sound. This isn’t a fucking gender war. We live in a patriarchy, but that patriarchy is run by men AND women, and I’m sick to death of “feminists” who aren’t feminists or even very nice people.

    Of course men shouldn’t behave in the manner that you described. But you make it sound like MOST men behave in that manner, and MOST women are fucking super goddesses. We’re all human, and generalizations are not only worthless but destructive.

  11. Natalie P. July 28, 2009 11:27 pm

    “It seems very unhealthy to me to write a blog post about this problem instead of working it out with your old man or getting individual or group counseling.”

    I did work it out. It’s called a divorce.

    And if this problem weren’t so prevalent – if I were the only one experiencing it – I wouldn’t be writing about it.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1044971522691_100///?hub=Canada

    Yes, MOST men aren’t contributing equally in household chores. Still. And I have no qualms about not being “nice” in my presentation of the facts.
    What part of Heartless Bitches International did you not get?

  12. Cari July 31, 2009 11:16 pm

    Thank you! My ex was unemployed while he was living with me. He’d wake up before me, eat half a box of chocolate cereal, I’d wake up, shower, clean up his three-hour-old breakfast mess, get to work on time, spend ten or eleven hours there, come home, he’s still in his pajamas, dirty laundry’s everywhere, he’s left dishes all over the place, and throws a shit-fit when I ask him to pick them up. I get dinner done, served, and cleaned up and then he has the gall to tell me to rub his feet.
    He got kicked out eventually.

  13. Steve August 7, 2009 6:12 am

    Don’t you have a sammich you should be making, instead of making excessively ridiculous generalizations?

    Srsly, I agree with beth. I’m sorry you married a douche, but hey, that was your call. My mom had two brain surgeries and went blind, and my dad cared for us, her, and kept building the company he started to pay for it all cause mom couldn’t do anything, let alone her well-paying professional job. She recovered a lot, and eventually took over much of the homemaking duties they originally divided that he took on when she got sick. Again, sorry you bet on a lame horse, but again, that was your call.

    The problem here isn’t the men, it’s a generation of women raised on Disney notions of transformative love, men rescuing women to complete them, and that whole bag. You want men who take action, responsibility, and an equal role? They’re out there, they’re just looking for the same thing. You loved him when he was lazy, why should he change? HE’S getting what he wants, you weren’t bright enough to find someone to give you what you want. It may be his fault for being lazy, but it’s your fault that you thought you could bring him ’round to sharing the load.

    Hope I can be half the father my dad was, now I’ve got some dishes to unload.

  14. Natalie P. August 7, 2009 3:29 pm

    Steve,

    Your lame attempt at a sexist remark aside, you are right in that I mistakenly expected someone to change and grow up simply because I had – we met when I was 18 and married at 21, and people change a lot when they have kids. Or at least some people do. That being said, I don’t confuse lack of experience with stupidity, and neither should you.

    Cari put up with far more than I would EVER have.

    I also agree that there ARE guys out there who really do understand what being an equal partner is all about. I currently live with one. But if you think guys like him are the norm, you are sadly mistaken.

  15. AK November 6, 2009 11:35 am

    Am wondering if we could do a Lysistrata on this one–dont fuck until the guy picks up after himself.

    Never mind the diamond ring. Never mind the roses and chocolates.

    If a guy doesnt pick up after himself, dont fuck him and dont marry him.

    If he suddenly turns into a dissociated oblivious slob after you marry him, dump him. And..wait and see if he remains diligent in doing his share of the household KP for two years before spawning a kid.

    I confess I chose not to marry. I am a mess at personal housekeeping, and I am a woman. And I knew I’d never tolerate the noise, lack of rest and the gender role shit that too often kicks in after marriage–and knew I wouldnt have the energy to deal with kids, plus a husband who might, with no warning revert to being a kid after getting hitched.

    I watched what my mother went through and decided, no thank you.

    And.. being a parent is a job in its own right. I knew I did not have the temperament and stamina for it, and sensed even 20 years ago, that there is little if any social support for mothers and children–by social support, I mean media influences instill wisdom and kindness, and are not instrusive and not designed to foster greed, extract money and support ignorance.

    Parents, even good ones who back each other up at home, are forced to swim uphill against marketing that exploits nagging children and tired parents, decreased earning power, and long commutes.

    The biggest threat to family life is economics and sheer exhaustion which leaves people too tired to combat sexism and unjust social and familial arrangements.

    A full seven to eight hours of sleep is, IMO a human right and a medical necessity and working women, especially mothers, run short on sleep. When tired one lacks energy to set limits on lazy spouses and nagging children.


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