Ask Scary Mommy: My Husband Thinks He’s Exempt From Parenting Because He Works More
Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy's advisory column, where our team of experts answers any questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parents and anything else that confuses you.
This Week: What Do You Do If Your Spouse Feels Like They Have A Free Parent Card Just Because They Work More Hours Than You? Email at email@example.com
Dear creepy mom,
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I work from home part time (pandemic or not, I always work from home) and my husband has a typical office job that he has been doing from home since March. His job is pretty intense and he works a full day every day. My job requires concentration and I can't let up, but I work half as many hours as he does. He believes that if our children (ages four and two) have a need all day long (that is, a million times over), then I'm the one who has to fulfill it, no question. His argument is that I work fewer hours and be home all the time anyway, so "nothing has changed". While these things are true, it is strange that he simply refuses to acknowledge a crying child or a hungry child (his "office" is in our cave so he has very little privacy from them) because he is working . When I work, I have to work and meet their needs with little to no intervention from him. Am I wrong to believe that he has to amplify it? I know he won't work from home forever, and things will go back to normal at some point, but it pisses me off, TF.
I really can't tell you how many times I've heard women describe the exact same frustration over the past 10 months. Please know that you are not alone. But please also don't know anything about your husband's demeanor or attitude that is acceptable.
While this year has thrown many of us into a loop when it comes to balancing work from home with parenting and school, it has not released anyone from the responsibility. If anything, it has left us all with a significant amount of additional stressors. Why your husband thinks it's okay to act like he's the only one molested here is worth investigating.
I don't care if he works 12 hours a day. I don't care if he cures cancer in your cave. I don't care if you work 13 minutes a day. He's the other parent, he chose to be a parent, and regardless of whether the kids are around or not, he's a parent. He can't just take off his dad hat when he opens his laptop. If he's out of the office and can't calm his crying child directly, he can't help it. But when he's at home, right on his kids' faces, when he hears them express their needs, and he's inactive to save someone's life (or more realistically, in the middle of a bullshit meeting that has an E. -Mail but he can't get out) then he should be able and ready to stick a quick needle into what he is about to be "Dad" and not just "Cog in the Corporate Machine." ".
We all do. We all do our best. Some employers are very sensible about this, which comes with a deadly pandemic, childcare crisis, economic disaster and mental health crisis all occurring at the same time and all. And some employers believe that everything should be business as usual, because American capitalism is a special kind of abuse. If this is part of your husband's problem, it sucks. It really does. This is patriarchy to you - he's a male employee, so no one likely takes into account the fact that he is responsible for raising his own children during the work day.
But he knows he is responsible for raising his own children during the work day. And that is exactly what he has to do while working from home.
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