After a wife’s hilarious revenge on her lazy husband recently went viral it prompted some soul searching among the married couples of the world.
While adding impossible items like “unsour cream” and “seedless strawberries” to your husband’s shopping list (then turning your ringer off) may seem trivial, it actually highlights a chronic problem in the male/female dynamic.
Men’s domestic reticence.
Commenting on the aforementioned mommy blogger’s post one amused follower wrote: “The thing is, my husband calls me no matter what I send him for, every time. Part of what makes this funny!”
Of course: this is a vast generalisation. Times have changed and so have men. But for the laggards, or those men that worry they still aren’t doing their fair share of domestic drudgery, we thought we’d investigate the most common complaints women have about their husbands.
Drawing from a thread on Reddit’s 1.1million strong AskMen community, in which a woman details her immense frustration with her husband, as well as Harper Bazaar’s widely-shared article, “Women Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up,” these are the most common ways husbands irritate wives.
Although this habit is often associated with wives more than their husbands, as one unfortunate woman explains in the Reddit thread: “How do I get my husband to stop some annoying habits without nagging him like I am his mother?”, men can be guilty of it too.
Opening up about her husband’s irritating quirks, she said, “He goes to a home improvement store or hardware store for one thing and spends hours there when I am waiting for him to come home with the thing we need to finish a project. Then he comes home with hundreds of dollars worth of stuff.”
“He sits on the couch watching TV,” she adds, “And falls asleep every time after I ask him to come to bed.”
“Sometimes I joke about it, but sometimes it annoys me.”
“He also takes a long time in the bathroom,” she added. “He isn’t doing anything, he just takes forever.” Sound like you? Consider yourself warned…
Not Taking Charge Of Emotional Labour
Harper’s Bazaar journalist Gemma Hartley tells the following story, revealing one of women’s biggest frustration with men: their cavalier attitude towards household tasks. “For Mother’s Day,” she wrote, “I asked for one thing: a house cleaning service.”
“The gift… was not so much in the cleaning itself but the fact that for once I would not be in charge of the household office work.”
“I would not have to make the calls, get multiple quotes, research and vet each service, arrange payment and schedule the appointment,” she continued. “The real gift I wanted was to be relieved of the emotional labor of a single task that had been nagging at the back of my mind.”
“The clean house would simply be a bonus.”
Not Anticipating Enough
The problem? As Gemma recalls, her husband, “Waited for me to change my mind to… something he could one-click order on Amazon.”
“Disappointed by my unwavering desire, the day before Mother’s Day he called a single service, decided they were too expensive, and vowed to clean the bathrooms himself.”
“He still gave me the choice, of course. He told me the high dollar amount of completing the cleaning services I requested (since I control the budget) and asked incredulously if I still wanted him to book it.”
Not Reading Between The Lines
However, what Gemma really wanted him to do was, “Ask friends on Facebook for a recommendation, call four or five more services (and) do the emotional labor I would have done if the job had fallen to me.”
“I knew exactly how exhausting it was going to be. That’s why I asked my husband to do it as a gift.”
The result? Gemma was gifted a necklace for Mother’s Day while her husband stole away to deep clean the bathrooms, leaving her to care for their children, “As the rest of the house fell into total disarray.”
Our friend on the aforementioned Reddit thread had a similar problem with a similarly well-intentioned husband, who went to the effort of buying a c-pap (a device that helps prevent snoring)—but never uses it.
“We spent a ton of money on it and he snores like crazy.”
The conclusion? Whether or not you split domestic duties 50-50 or 90-10 (both of which may be fine, depending on your respective ambitions and employment situations), whichever partner is out gallivanting around the office and listening to podcasts on their ‘dreadful’ commute home needs to recognise how much emotional labour goes into being the manager of the household.
Which means if you have decided to split your domestic duties equally, don’t wait around to be told what to do. Or in Gemma’s words: “I don’t want to micromanage housework. I want a partner with equal initiative.”