Mommying Your Husband

Mommying Your HusbandLadies: do you struggle with mommying your husband or partner? Do you fight against it? Does he? Has it added to the stress of keeping the romance alive — or is it just one more task on your to-do list? The “helpless man” stereotype has spawned a whole genre of TV ads like this one — but do you have some real-life examples to share? I’ve had a few wine-fueled conversations with girlfriends about this and have seen a few commenter threads over at Corporette (like here and here), as well as a few news stories that made me think about this, so I thought we’d discuss here.

For my $.02 — I probably am guilty of mommying my husband to an unacceptable extent. I’ve purchased pretty much every single item of clothing he’s worn since 2007 (when we met) and manage the family finances in general. Even though we’ve had the exact same routines and habits in place, night after night for years now, if I’m going to be away during the dinner/family/bedtime funnel I try to remind him ahead of time and get our ducks in a row. I text message him when his best friends’ birthdays are coming up. I keep trying to get him to put his glasses and wallet in the same place when he comes into the house, and if I find them elsewhere I’ll move them. (I realize this sounds like going too far, but he’s lost his wallet four times this year, and I keep reordering the same pair of prescription sunglasses because he keeps losing them.) I’ve occasionally had to remind him to shower/shave/get a haircut, etc. I suppose I do these things because I love him and want his life to run smoothly… but I also want to keep MY life running smoothly, even if managing his life in this way adds to my stress and to-do list.

So I’m curious, ladies — are you guilty of mommying your husband? Do you think it comes down to differences between the genders — typical husband/wife roles — or is it just the nature of a partner relationship? Is there a certain line that you try to avoid crossing, either because you or he recognize it as too far? If you’ve backed off, what was the turning point and what did you gain/lose?

Pictured: YouTube 

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Comments

  1. Anon in NYC says:

    No. I don’t have the patience for it. I did have a long-term relationship before my husband where the guy needed a lot more mommying. It ended horribly because we just could not meet each others needs. I was young when that relationship ended, and it really crystallized my wants/needs in a partner.

    My husband had a great example of partnership and gender equality in his parents marriage, and I had a good example from my parents of what I did *not* want in a marriage. Sure, we each have our strengths and I am the person who does things like put birthdays on a joint calendar. But I also email him when he’s traveling for work and ask him for the wifi password. So I think it balances out.

    • Closet Redux says:

      These last two sentences make a really important point. What does it say about our culture that “mothering” a husband is A Thing, but “daddying?”a wife is not. If I remind my husband about his upcoming dentist appointment, then I’m mothering him. If he changes the windshield wipers on my car… he’s just being helpful. I reject this concept. We are in a partnership and partners help each other out, including playing to one another’s strengths.

      • Momata says:

        This!!!!!

      • pockets says:

        I actually think there is such a thing as a man “daddying” his female partner – like sugardaddies and their sugarbabies.

        • PhilanthropyGirl says:

          It isn’t just in that context. I feel like I get daddy-ed sometimes by my husband, in the context of checking up on my self-care (did you take your medicine today? have you had enough water to drink?). It isn’t so much what he says as how he says it.

          It is interesting that as a SAHD, he is primary care giver, and I feel like this has developed more in the past couple of years. I wonder if there’s something about being the primary care giver that flips on the parenting switch in our brains and causes us to mommy or daddy other people in our lives?

    • hoola hoopa says:

      Us in a nutshell as well. We’re partners, which means we work as a team, share the load, work to our strengths, and remind each other constantly, but we absolutely do not parent each other.

      Before we got engaged, I straight up told him that I will NEVER buy him clothes because he’s a grown man. He looked at me like “who asked you to?” I knew he was the one for me, lol.

      Related: One of my biggest advice for new mothers is give the father space to come up with their own techniques. Agree on the big stuff, but he doesn’t need to do every little thing the same way you do. It’s not ‘wrong’ if it’s different. I see many friends and acquaintances criticize or micromanage everything their husband does, then complain that they don’t do anything. Well, yeah, neither would I!

      • Navy Attorney says:

        This related note is very true. Just lower your standards and appreciate that it’s done. If I really need a task performed to my standards, I’ll fix it much later when he’s out of sight/hearing.

        I do buy DH new clothes at Christmas if some are worn out, particularly ones more expensive than he’ll buy himself. But it’s not like a socks and underwear thing like a mother would do.

        The one mothering thing I did recently is take over his student loan payment. He just wouldn’t put it on auto-pay and he missed it one too many times for my sanity. We used to be 100% dysfunctional when it came to money, to the point I mothered about it and our marriage suffered for it. When our first child was born he decided to act responsibly with his money, so now we’re only 5% dysfunctional and life has been smoother.

        Other than that he’s a 100% equal partner in childcare/cooking/cleaning.

  2. I think sometimes I mommy not because he can’t handle these things, but because I worry that he’ll forget (there’s some precedence there) or that he won’t do them up to my standards, which isn’t fair to him. Your last sentence is on-point for me – some level of mommying keeps my life in order, so I’m fine with it. If I’m having to remind him to shower, though…no. Way too far for me.

  3. I refuse to mother him. He is a grown adult and needs to take away from the stress of the household, not add to it. Before kids, I would have said we were both equally independent and it worked great.

    Now with kids, I notice he wants to be mothered a little bit. I still refuse but it’s starting to add a little tension. I think he sees others at work who advance quicker BECAUSE they have someone at home to do all their household-thinking and emotional labor for them, and wants the same. I always remind him I would also advance quicker in MY work if someone did that for me, which usually stops the conversation. He still contributes significantly at home – he’s the meal planner/shopper/cook and the laundry-doer and the lawn-mower – so we’re still fairly even, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

    I think peer pressure is still a thing, and it’s hard to watch yourself (both him and me) miss out on opportunities because we don’t have the resources to outsource or use a SAHP all of the draining household responsibilities. It’s been a real eye-opener on just WHY there aren’t more women at the top, since SAHMs are still way more common than SAHDs.

  4. PhilanthropyGirl says:

    DH is a SAHD – if he needed mommying we’d be in serious trouble. Before kids, I was more prone to mommy – in part due to my control-freak-self and in part due to he’d lived on his own a long time and needed a few lessons in sharing living space.

    The control-freak part of me has had to let go of judging how the house work is done, when the laundry is done, what the child ate for lunch – I cannot do both of our “jobs.” And if the shoe were on the other foot, I wouldn’t want to be controlled by a bossy spouse either.

    I do help with certain reminders, like making sure a bill gets paid or don’t-forget-the-dish-soap sort of things, but that isn’t mommying, it’s common courtesy.

    • Anononope says:

      Do you ever get grumpy about things not being done? Our kid is currently in full time daycare (8-5, M-F, I handle drop off on my way to work) and will be until she starts kindergarten in ~4 years. I do travel about once a month, so my husband is home with the kid by himself about one week out of the month. But when that’s not the case, and I come home and it’s like… I’m not saying I want him to greet me with a smile and a freshly mixed cocktail, but I *did* hope the laundry would be put away. Sometimes I feel like a huge jerk, but I assume, every day while I’m at work, that he is “at work” in the house, doing things that need to get done. And when I get home and find that he’s done about 2 hours worth of work, while I’ve done 9… it’s hard not to feel grouchy. (Especially since money is tight, but he’s hesitant to get a job because he takes on that full time parenting when I am away for work.)

      Sorry for making this post into therapy! Am I totally in the wrong here? And if so, how do I adjust my attitude?

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m totally confused. DH is a SAHD +child in full time care + he’s doing not much around the house? Why are you dropping off? Can you save money by switching her to part-time care?

        If she’s in full time care, why can’t he work?

      • Yeah I’m confused. Kid is in daycare during the day, so he can’t work because he does the evening/night shift for seven nights a month? I’m a solo parent 5 nights a week every week, working full time plus dealing with the kids every evening/night. I even find time to do laundry and make meals and sorta clean house, because the house would fall apart if I didn’t. It’s super rough and maybe not for everyone, but I don’t get the difficulty here.

        You need to have a conversation about what he is contributing to the household. If you’re both not happy, it’s time for a change. Based on the limited info you’ve given here, it seems like he’s leeching off of you with very limited contribution to your life.

      • Anononope says:

        Hm, ok. Well I do daycare drop off because it’s like 3 buildings down from my work, so it just makes sense. The work he has always done is retail management, so the hours are not 9-5 type hours, and I guess the concern is like, if he has to work from 3-10pm on a Wednesday when I’m out of town, how would childcare work?

        I mean, I think the answer is that he applies for jobs, tells them the limitations (“about once a month I’ll need to make sure my schedule doesn’t conflict with ABC, but I can always give you notice of that at least two months in advance.”) and see if he can find an employer for whom that isn’t a dealbreaker.

        I should say, he DOES cook every meal and do the groceries and the dishes… but that’s still not really a full time job. :-/

        sigh, thanks for reinforcing that I’m probably not a terrible person for wondering when he’ll start doing more.

        • Anonymous says:

          when you’re out of town and he has to work, you have a babysitter do daycare pick up and bedtime. If you don’t already have a regular babysitter for date nights etc, try asking at daycare if anyone wants to pick up extra hours. They are qualified and familiar with your child.

          I’d suggest on days you are away and he works 3-10, that he bring the child to daycare for the afternoon only so child gets some parent time in the mornings.

        • Anontoo says:

          Genuinely asking, not judging- why is your child in full time childcare if your husband is at home every day? Can you guys switch to half day to save money if he’s not working? Or maybe no childcare and use the money for a maid etc. to take care of some of the stuff you feel like he’s not accomplishing. That way it’s done and you avoid arguing?

      • PhilanthropyGirl says:

        You know, I do get grumpy. We’ve had multiple conversations about housework expectations. Such as – you don’t clean the bathroom only when it looks dirty. Please clean the bathroom every week. You don’t only do laundry when YOU are out of shorts. Please do it regularly so we all have clean clothes and I’m not tossing unmentionables in the wash at 9 pm so I have something to wear the next day. It was more about clear expectations than micromanaging how he did things.

        But very-active-toddler doesn’t go to daycare, so DH is home with him full time. So while his day might involve more fun things than mine, like reading stories and going to the park, he also has to deal with the constant DADA DADA DADA and someone undoing half the work he does. When he’s picked up toys three times and the living room is still a disaster when I come home, my initial response might be annoyance that I’m stepping on duplos, but mostly I’m just glad I can see the carpet at all.

        If DH were home all day, with no child to care for, and wasn’t working? You’d better bet I’d expect laundry done, kitchen clean, bathroom clean, and dinner made. And probably a glass of wine waiting for me when I walked in the door.

  5. No, because I married an adult. If he loses something, he can be responsible for replacing it. His personal grooming habits are something he can deal with. The bedtime routine is different on the nights he’s in charge, and DD knows the two different routines and has no issue with it.
    DH and I work similar hours, have a similar number hours where we’re the parent in charge, and though it’s not perfect, have split major chores in a way that works for us. I don’t have the time, patience, or inclination to mother anyone who I did not actually give birth to.

    I’m not saying I’ve never helped him out (Oh, I’m ordering from Lands End anyway, do you need pants? Is a convo we have more than once a year) but he does the same for me (I never worry about having flash drives/external storage because he seems to always have one for me before I run out of space) but it’s a two way street.

    • yeah, this.

    • same here says:

      This is my attitude too. We also don’t do “kin keeping” for each other- I don’t remind him of his mother’s birthday, he’s not buying gifts for my family because I forgot, etc.
      I don’t consider household management roles like finances or maintenance or whatever to be mommy-ing. We just take the tasks that we are better at and stay in charge of those.

      • Navy Attorney says:

        “Same Here”, you just made me feel better about my comment about financials above ;)

    • Anonymous says:

      Same. I don’t think there’s anything more to say “I married an adult.” In terms of managing the household/finances, we both have our roles. I may do the laundry but he always does the dishes. I may plan vacations and make reservations but he manages the finances. We help each other out but I definitely take no responsibility for his family birthdays, his hygiene/grooming (what???), or buying his clothes. I can barely manage that stuff for myself!

  6. Legal Canuck says:

    The big thing I mommy him about is his health. Heart Disease runs in his family and I do not want to be a widow with 2 small kids. But whenever he finally goes to the doc, he is healthy and then gets pissed off that he wasted time.

    I have learned to let him cook and clean and I don’t say anything if it is not done to my standards. He is capable of doing both and is an excellent parent. When I travel, I do remind him to check the calendar for the kids activities but he does the same for me.

    I do buy most of his clothes but he has no style :) if it was up to him, he’d wear polos and dress pants every day (he is management and needs to dress better).

    We are truly a partnership. And he gets pissed when people ask if he is babysitting or how he is coping with me gone. He copes better than I do!

    • Health mothering says:

      Your comment on this made me laugh, because I do the same thing with reminders for physicals, dentist appts and derm checkups. I recently insisted DH get a physical for the first time in a few years, and that he be totally honest with the doc about how much he drinks in case he should have liver tests. He came home triumphant that the doctor said most men can handle 2-3 drinks a night most nights of the week with no problem, and his liver function is great.

      Otherwise, no, I don’t mother my husband. We’re both capable adults, and we both adulted just fine before we met. We’ve fallen into a division of labor that has me doing more laundry and him taking care of car stuff and home maintenance, but just to divide and conquer, not for lack of ability on the other’s part. He’s a great dad and it’s not worth the mental bandwidth for me to micromanage how he does things with the kids.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’d get a new doctor. Regular drinking doesn’t just affect liver function. Colo-rectal cancer is extremely common even if it’s not talked about as much as breast cancer or lung cancer. Three drinks a day is a risk factor just as much as smoking for colo-rectal cancer- that’s just one example.

      • Shelca says:

        Holy cow I did the same thing! Sent him to see a doctor and asked him to be honest about the amount of drinking. Doctor was judgmental and scolding older woman doctor and then the liver tests were all just fine. Basically proving to him that he doesn’t need to change anything and he’s winning at life and also that doctor is just a mean nag like me. Total backfire. I wonder at what point the liver function tests get bad? Do you have to be circling the drain?

  7. Anons says:

    I am just going to link one of my favorite articles about why husbands should not expect to be mommied:

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/9055288

    I still do more of the housework and emotional labor, but that is because his career is more important to our family’s finances and I have a “part time” lawyer schedule that does give me more flexibility than his 70 hour weeks. He pulls his weight.

    • Anons says:

      And here is my favorite quote from the article (from a man who had his wife leave after being sick of mothering him):

      “She wanted to be my partner, and she wanted me to apply all of my intelligence and learning capabilities to the logistics of managing our lives and household.

      She wanted me to figure out all of the things that need done, and devise my own method of task management.

      I wish I could remember what seemed so unreasonable to me about that at the time.”

  8. Famouscait says:

    I have had to spend significant portions of time as a primary caregiver to my adult husband, which I think actually helps both of us reject those roles when he’s well. Some things I do because I care more about them than he does (like, ordering him new polos when I think his have all become shrunken/stretched/worn out). But, when he decides he needs new suits and ties for an important work trip, that’s a decision he makes, and I will suggest a day/time to shop together (because I am waaaaay better at scheduling). His mother does the “mothering” things like reminding him when MY birthday is (?!?) and it drives us both crazy. We had some productive discussions when I was pregnant that led to him making even more of an effort to keep track of his own “stuff”. And we split the childcare pretty evenly, so no complaints there, either.

    And just today, I got a nice thank-you text from him, because he was sick the past few days and I had to drive him around town yesterday to various doctor appointments. I think a heart-felt thank you can make all the difference in how love and care is given and received.

  9. CPA Lady says:

    Generally, no. And I’ve been vocal about it. The first time I left my husband alone with our child for 48 hours, she was 6 months old. I left no instructions, because, hello, he has a brain. It went great and he’s been a lot more confident since then. Its not like I have some kind of magical innate knowledge of childcare and housework. I figure stuff out on my own and encourage him to do the same.

    He currently plans, shops for, and cooks dinner every night with no input or help from me whatsoever after I almost lost my mind at him asking more questions about how to boil pasta than I thought were humanly possible. “Which pot do I use? How much water do I put in? Do I need to put in salt or olive oil? How much?” on and on. I didn’t want to get stuck in the cycle of it being easier for me to do it than to explain it, but instead of explaining it, I shrieked something like “do whatever you would do if I weren’t here” like some kind of deranged harpy. I don’t know if he googled it or read the directions on the box or what, but he figured it out on his own. This is a man who can install an HVAC unit. He can learn how to boil pasta without asking me a million questions. I am willing to pitch in with many things in our common life, but there are some things I completely push back on when he starts acting helpless, and this was one of them.

    I also don’t have a problem with him doing things differently than I would. It’s exhausting trying to control someone 24/7. I don’t even care that I ate fish sticks for the first time in 15 years now that he has taken over cooking. Because I do enough already. Being my husbands mother is not something else to add to my list, and I will gladly eat a pile of heavily processed fish-like sticks in exchange for having a more equal partner.

  10. TJ – I know this comes up from time to time but as we transition from summer into fall, what do people wear on the weekends? I’m realizing as I move out of the true “baby” phase where I needed the flexibility of a lot of athleisure and the high-spillage, leakage convenience of old t-shirts that I need some new ideas for cute and casual that is kid-friendly.

    • Navy Attorney says:

      straight leg jeans + casual shoes (think mocassins, boat shoes, Chucks) + a bit of a drapey sweater (all the things in The Limited). Top with a casual jacket, like a jean jacket or corduroy blazer. Elastic in jeans are no longer your friend after childbirth, so I wear a more structured straight leg made of cotton with a minimal amount of spandex/stretchy material. I read this somewhere, maybe on AintNoMomJeans. There is a magical website about this.

      • Navy Attorney says:

        I said the Limited because they’re cheap, so you don’t mind about the leakage, but not so horribly cheap that it looks terribly cheap.

  11. Won't Admit to anyone in Real Life says:

    We met and married pretty young. I was still as student and he was working full time with a commute and a complete and utter slob (his apartment, shudder) so I fell into the mommy role (pay all bills, all shopping, all housework, all cleaning, all emotional labor (remembering gifts and thank you notes, making appointments), taking out the trash, dishes, everything), he mows and will occasionally fix something if I can’t.

    When I started working full-time I was not super happy about it but I could deal.

    Now he stays at home with the kiddos and all of this is still on my plate. He carries the brunt of the childcare stuff and I need instructions about routines, etc. occasionally but his only household contribution is mowing.

    He’s a great dad, and a loving spouse, but I am swamped and am honestly pretty excited for the kids to hit school age, him getting a job, and then we can start affording to send out laundry and hire a cleaning service at the very least.

    • Anononope says:

      Oh, hey, similar boats perhaps, as my novel of a post above demonstrates! (But who will do school pick up once kids are that age? Will he be able to get a job that allows for that? …definitely projecting my own worries here.)

      • Won't Admit to anyone in Real Life says:

        I sympathize (and yes, I get annoyed when I come home that not only do I have to do all the housework, I’m picking up the mess they made all day).

        As far as school pick-up, our school system has a pretty good after school care program and I will be able to flex my schedule to come in early and leave early enough to get them. He really is good at the kids (gets them dressed in weather appropriate clothing, feeds them, handles the MDs office on his own like a pro).

        He just really is a not tidy person, I keep having to tell myself he isn’t acting this way at me, but it’s tough when we can’t afford to pay anyone to help pick up the slack…

    • anon for this says:

      I met and married my husband pretty young, too. Maybe that’s why he has trouble with some “adulting.” He is a crappy planner – if it’s not right in front of his face, he won’t take care of it. Like stocking up on groceries in advance, etc. It just does not occur to him. He is great at hands-on parenting, but the planning ahead all falls to me, i.e., I have to buy the winter coats in the appropriate sizes. I have tried to deal by having him do the mindless stuff that needs to be done, especially dishes and laundry. He knows it has to be done every day, so it’s not something he has to recognize. And he knows now that I’m not doing it, so it’s on him.

    • OhSoAnon says:

      My husband and I met when we were ‘older’ (40s and 30s respectively), he had lived on his own for years, had been married, and even had a child. AND had been in the military!

      Yet he still sucks at the logistics of adulting and the responsibility creep amazes me. He’ll claim there’s lots of stuff he does outdoors, but 1) that’s seasonal 2) we’re in a town home, and 3) he can’t even take out the trash once a week without it taking forever and complaining about it…

      So yea, it’s not necessarily a byproduct of an early marriage.

      • Won't Admit to anyone in Real Life says:

        Oh the “but I take care of the outside stuff” logic. Sure you mowing every ten days or so and shoveling the snow a dozen times absolutely equals EVERYTHING else. Surprisingly my offers to switch have been declined…

        • Are you me?! I say all the time “I would gladly mow the lawn once a week if you will do the dishes/cook dinner 7 days a week.” For some reason he never takes me up on it.

  12. I do, and I don’t like it. Only since we’ve had a kid. Before, his bad habits (losing things, drinking to excess, being late) were personal traits that I found annoying, but that did not greatly affect me. I could just go do something else while he managed his own time, poorly.

    Now that we’re supposed to be a family unit and team, his bad habits mean that when he has to spend time dealing with those things, it takes away from our time as a family and/or his ability to relieve me from my role as primary parent. Example – when we’re trying to get out the door in the morning, if he has to spend 20 minutes looking for his keys … again … he can’t help me get toddler ready and that affects all of us.

    I can’t make plans for myself on the weekend, because I assume he’ll have put things off that he *could* have done during the week and will be busy doing those all weekend while I primary-parent our kid. And it’s not that I don’t want to spend time with our kid – of course I do – but it drives me nuts that he can’t recognize that any time he wastes while kid is at daycare more work for me once our kid is home … if he isn’t parenting the kid, I am.

    So I end up doing his laundry in the evening after kid is in bed so he won’t spend hours doing it on the weekend. I take his car in for oil changes. I’ve stopped asking him to do it because he’ll promise to do it, then won’t, then will get on my case for ‘nagging’ him – it is just easier to do it myself rather than waiting for him, him not getting it done, then me spending all of my weekend time solo-parenting while he did laundry.

    • Anonymous says:

      A default weekend day might work for you. Basically, he has default childcare on one day – unless he arranges something with you a certain amount of time in advance (like by Wednesday night). You have default childcare on the other day and have to arrange with him in advance – this means that you can still go out for brunch with friends or whatever on your day – it just has to be planned.

    • Navy Attorney says:

      Can you just go do your thing anyway and let him figure out how to do a chore and watch a child? Having the toddler around is his punishment/incentive to do it when he has time.

  13. OhSoAnon says:

    I do more of the adulting around the house and it drives me nuts. The responsibility creep happened while we were dating and has gotten progressively worse as we got married, bought a house, and had a baby.

    Husband says that he’ll do whatever I tell him, but just doesn’t get that 50% of it is just figuring out that crap needs to get done. And doing it the right way — I’m not talking about the right socks or putting the dishes in the dishwasher — I mean making sure the diaper bag has enough snacks and wipes and the laundry isn’t ruined…

    Laundry for example — not that hard to do, not even that time consuming if you stay on top of it, but it’s only marginally more work for me to actually do the whole process than it is to ask him to do it, remind him to do it, remind him to stain treat, remind him to separate, remind him to put it in the dryer, and then take it out and fold it. I don’t care if he folds my t-shirts differently, but I do care if he doesn’t check the toddler’s clothes for major stains and they get set it, or if he over stuffs the washer and puts his heavy cargo shorts in with my t-shirts and I end up with holes in my shirts.

    It’s really the mental work that I don’t feel is being shared that exhausts me…

    I know we need to have a talk about it and officially divvy up tasks, but our work-free, kid-sleeping time is so limited and either I’m pissed off and don’t want it to be me yelling at him, or not and I just want to enjoy spending time with my family.

    • Yes–the mental work is so much of it, and when you never have to do the mental work, you just can’t appreciate how much goes into it. I am with you. My husband is a wonderful caring man who will do anything I ask, but not on my timeline (i.e. RIGHT NOW PLEASE!) and he will never think of things on his own, which would be a dream come true.

    • Can you figure out what tasks he can do without your help and divide that way? For example, with cleaning Mr. AIMS sucks at doing things like making the living room look good generally (artfully arranged piles of magazines, as a concept, do not compute for him) so he cleans the kitchen and bathroom where all that’s required is elbow grease and I do the stuff like fluffing pillows just so and vacuuming corners he doesn’t notice, etc. In terms of time, it ends up being the same and I’m happy to not clean the toilet so it works for us.

      With laundry maybe you could do the pre-treat as you put the clothes in the hamper (keep the spray right there) and then have a time each week where laundry just gets done so that you don’t have to remind him to do it; it’s Saturday morning and he just does it.

  14. A friend of mine and I were actually talking about this the other day – there are men that you can just tell were dressed by their wives/girlfriends. She had a funny but very un-PC term for it. I honestly don’t find it an attractive look so I refuse to dress Mr. AIMS in half-zip turtlenecks and chinos. I did help him figure out some clothing choices some years ago because I like clothes and he doesn’t care much, but beyond figuring out his sizes and some general “that’s cool” and “that’s not,” he mostly does it on his own. I do like shopping though so I will buy him things from time to time and he always says those are his favorites but I refuse to take over or pick out his clothes for him (which some women I know do all.the.time). If I am being totally candid sometimes I do want to buy him more clothes but I am loathe to add to my to do list.

    In terms of other things – I’d say I don’t “mommy” but we all play to our strengths. I do buy the gifts for his family but that’s because I care and he doesn’t and prior to me no one got a gift and so they know the gifts are basically from me to them. He cleans the kitchen and the bathroom every week, does the laundry pick up and drop off, and cooks at least 1 to 2 meals a week. Do I love that he will buy things we already have when he cooks because he doesn’t look in the pantry first? No. But we always use extra Dijon mustard eventually and him doing it on his own is worth it to me.

    FWIW, I wonder if the men that require more intervention would be better about not loosing their glasses or wallet if they had to deal with replacing the items themselves after the fact?

  15. Editrix says:

    I wouldn’t say I mommy my husband, but that’s largely because a) we’ve been married 10 years and I’ve mellowed/learned to pick my battles; and b) with a kid, and with the hectic last few years we’ve had, I have no time or energy for micromanaging anymore. Our balance of household labor is way off, but I don’t care as much if it’s 50-50 anymore … I mostly just care that it gets done. So he might complain about my interference, but it could be much worse. The only thing I get on him about even occasionally about is doctor’s appointments. He needs to be seeing a physician regularly (borderline diabetic) and he just won’t go. But after a while I got to a point where I was like, “well, make sure your life insurance is up to date” … I whistle past the graveyard because what else can you do?

  16. This post truly speaks to me. We’re a young married couple (mid to late 20s) with a toddler and I feel that I am constantly mothering my husband because he honest to goodness. Does. Not. Care. If I didn’t say anything about showering, my husband would go DAYS without one. If I don’t schedule and make him go, he wouldn’t get a haircut, beard trim, etc. Ever. If I don’t leave a list of things to accomplish around the house during the day (he watches DS while I’m at work then works at night) NOTHING would happen. If I say something about not cleaning he just says “well I can’t read your mind, how did I know stuff needed to get done?” Uhhh because you have eyes and can see that the bathroom floor needs to be washed??? And his inability to choose appropriate clothes for situations has been a thorn in our marriage (came to see me at work– I’m a hospital administrator, in ratty sweat pants and a cut off t-shirt and flip flops) so I’ve bought him most of his wardrobe in hopes that it means that he’ll always have SOMETHING to wear that’s appropriate no matter what he chooses (because I refuse to dress him since he’s an -adult-). A lot of it comes from his family where things like this were not considered important (personal grooming, household cleaning, etc) and it’s frustrating because if he had been given the tools when he was supposed to get them then we wouldn’t be here!! /end rant

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