‘Don’t pat yourself on the back for helping’ Dad criticises HIMSELF for attitude to housework

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  • A dad has taken to Facebook to speak out about partners that ‘help’ with housework, slamming the idea that you’re doing a good thing by giving your other half ‘a break’ if they usually do all the cleaning and cooking.

    Mike Reynolds, a dad-of-two and blogger at Everyday Girl Dad, has taken to Facebook to criticise himself for thinking he was being a good partner by ‘helping out’ with household chores.

    The father of Leah, seven, and Charlotte, five, explained that keeping your home in order is the responsibility of both parents and urged other dads to think this way too.

    Mike started his post simply with: ‘Guilty’, and continued:

    ‘This morning as I was making lunches for the kids I thought to myself ‘it will be nice to give Andrea a break from this on her birthday’.

    ‘Truth be told, I probably make lunches the most often in our house because my brain wakes me up early. But the simple fact that I thought of making lunches as ‘helping’ reminded me of how unfairly labour can be distributed in the household.’

    The blogger continued to refer to the idea that household chores are the duty of just one parent as a ‘privilege’.

    ‘Imagine the privilege, or lack of understanding, to be able to refer to doing work around the house as ‘helping.’

    ‘Making lunches, washing dishes, sweeping up dirt, folding laundry, picking up LEGO, signing tests, writing book order cheques, remembering it’s hot lunch day, getting money for popcorn day, feeding the cat, cleaning the kitty litter isn’t ‘helping out,’ it’s ‘equitably splitting labour.”

    Mike continued to ask other parents to challenge their thinking, and not to let this mindset ‘linger’.

    ‘If you find yourself thinking this way, fix it right away. Don’t let it linger.

    ‘This was a good reminder for myself that thinking you do a lot around the house isn’t the same as actually doing a lot around the house. Maybe you do do a lot but just thinking you do doesn’t make it so. So talk about it.

    ‘And if you feel like you are actually the one who does the majority of these small but significant pieces of labour, talk about that too.

    ‘Just make sure you don’t pat yourself on the back for ‘helping.’ If you’re only ‘helping’ then I bet you there is someone in your house who is feeling overworked and emotionally sapped.

    ‘It ain’t all roses and glory, we all know that, so make sure you’re all doing your fair share of the shit shovelling too.’

    Both mums and dads have shared their thoughts on Mike’s post, with many explaining their own situations.

    One commenter explained how she and the father of her child split the housework, ‘My boyfriend is on parental leave while I went back to work after three weeks. It’s frustrating when people see me back and ask ‘oh, well if you’re here, then who’s watching the baby?’. Or when people find out he’s the one at home, they say ‘oh he’s babysitting!’. No. He’s parenting. The thing he signed up to do when we decided to have a kid. We each have our household tasks that we prefer, or are better at, and others are split pretty 50/50.’

    A fellow dad commented, ‘Word up. Working on this decidedly difficult but incredibly necessary rewiring every damn day.’

    Another Facebook user simply congratulated Mike on his post, ‘Very well said sir.’

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