collage by marguerita
first time published in 1975-Revista Manchete
Marguerita-Pagina de Humor
Are All Moms Mad at Dad?
By LISA BELKIN
Published: January 29, 2009
The most read story on parenting.com today is "Mad at Dad," a 4,000-word look at how very angry mothers of young children are at their husbands.
Based on a what author Martha Brockenbrough describes as a survey of 1,000 "nationally representative" mothers from MomConnection, an online opinion panel, the article is a disturbing portrait of motherhood.
"We love our husbands," she writes, "but we're mad that we spend more mental energy on the details of parenting. We're mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs. We're mad that these guys, who can manage businesses or keep track of thousands of pieces of sports trivia, can be clueless when it comes to what our kids are eating and what supplies they need for school. And more than anything else, we're mad that they get more time to themselves than we do."
She continues: "We carry so much of this life-altering responsibility in our heads: the doctors' appointments, the shoe sizes, the details about the kids' friends. Many dads wouldn't even think to buy valentines for the class, for example, or know when it's time to sign kids up for the pre-camp physical, or that curriculum night is next Thursday at 7:30 and you need to hire a sitter and bring a nut-free vegetarian appetizer that can be eaten without a fork. Even moms who work full-time take it upon themselves to store all this data in our already overstuffed heads. We're the walking, talking encyclopedias of family life, while dads tend to be more like brochures."
The story is chock full of survey results. Among the nuggets of data are these:
46 percent of respondents "get irate with their husbands once a week or more," Brockenbrough writes. "Those with kids younger than 1 are even more likely to be mad that often (54 percent). About half of the moms describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it's 'deep and long-lasting.' "
44 percent are "peeved" that their partners "often don't notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids," a percentage that rises to 54 percent among mothers with three or more children.
40 percent say they "are also angry that their husbands seem clueless about the best way to take care of kids."
40 percent "are mad that Dad can't multitask." Among those with three or more children, the anger rises here as well, to 46 percent.
31 percent say the get little or no "help" from their husbands with chores. "In fact," Brockenbrough says, the women think the men "generate more" work for the wives to do.
33 percent say their husbands "aren't shouldering equal responsibility and are less concerned than they are about their children's basic needs, like nutrition and clothing." For mothers of three or more children that number rises to 41 percent.
Nearly one-third "complain that parenthood has changed their lives more than their husbands'."
One-quarter feel that they spends "more mental energy on parenting than dads do.
50 percent of respondents say "their husbands get more time for themselves. The lack of time off is a huge issue for the moms carrying the most anger. More than 60 percent of the moms who get mad weekly - and almost three-quarters of those who are angry every day - feel this way."
There are also a stream of anecdotes. Here are some of Brockenbroughs capsule portraits of women (and these are just the ones willing to share their names and hometowns):
And there are worried warning from experts:
"Anger is corrosive," says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., the mother of two grown children and a University of Washington sociologist who's studied couples' dynamics for decades. "It's like a termite that starts to reproduce more termites. If you never get rid of the termites, one day you're going to lean on a wall and it's going to crumble underneath your weight."
Redford Williams, M.D., director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University, is blunt about it. "Anger kills," he says.
"It's not just that it can damage your heart - which it does - but it's also been found in epidemiological studies to identify people who are more likely to have a heart attack or drop dead from any cause."
What the story is missing, though, are thoughts from fathers. Do they look in the mirror and see the same clueless, clumsy, self-centered oafs that their wives describe?
There is a "Dad to Dad" forum on parenting.com, and one thread asks that question. A few of the fathers defend themselves, others agree with most of what the article throws their way.
Does this ring true in your house? And what to DO about all this anger?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
collage by marguerita