A mom on Reddit is challenging a popular comment working moms who manage to get it together, or at least make it seem that way, receive from their unhelpful partners: the “I don’t know how you do it” remark.
To men, it might seem like a compliment for moms, but for the Redditor, who goes by the username our_tracks, it’s a saying that just goes to show how much men aren’t doing their fair share at home.
“Just because I CAN do it all, doesn’t mean I SHOULD do it all,” she began her post, which appears in the Parenting Subreddit. She then listed the many things she does for their young son and her partner each day, in addition to working. What’s noticeably and infuriatingly absent is any help from her partner.
“I get it. I’m killing it. I get up with our baby while you sleep in. I make all our little guy’s food from scratch while sipping a (now cold) cup of coffee. [I] defrost something for dinner. [I] get him and I ready for the day. [I] drop him off at daycare. [I] go to work and try to get as much done as the non-parents. God forbid someone realizes I have a life outside of the office,” she wrote.
And in the evening, it’s a similar story: she’s still doing all the work for their family.
[I] run out [of work] early every day. [I] pick up our nugget. [I] make him and us dinner. [I] put him to bed while you kick back and watch TV. Or, more likely, you head out to a bar for a drink since you’ve had a such a stressful day.”
She finished her post by telling her partner to stop with the compliments and to step up instead. “I don’t want to hear ‘You’re amazing! I don’t know how you do it all.’ You know why? You don’t frickin’ know. Because you don’t do it! BE 👏🏻MY 👏🏻PARTNER👏🏻” she wrote.
Users on Reddit shared some advice for the frustrated mom, so her unhelpful partner gets the message even sooner.
Redditor thesillymachine suggested taking it easy with dinner and housework to see how he’d react, writing, ” … I’d put the kid to bed and sit down to watch TV or buy some drinks for at home and have one with your husband. If he doesn’t want to help, the house can just fall apart. Maybe he’ll start understanding. Order food or something super easy for dinner … I personally do this. We both deserve a break and after he comes home, we eat dinner and relax together. With the exception of putting kids to bed and putting food away, everything waits. He helps with bedtime too.”
User nahchannah recommended using busyness with work as a reason to get her partner to pitch in more. “The trick is, you’ve got to go stealth. Tell him the week before that you’ve got a ‘late meeting/conference call’ one afternoon the following week. Then you’ve got another one the week after … Come home during bed-time or later. Then throw in a few ‘morning meetings’ that you can’t miss, so you need their help to do daycare drop-offs … then maybe two in one day … Then they’ll slowly slowly get a taste of their own medicine …”
User hattycw took more of an extreme measure, but it was worth it. “I was having a really bad day—like a ‘I’m going to divorce you if you don’t start stepping up’ kind of bad day … MIL came and picked me up and I gave him half an hour notice. So he had to do lunch, nap, play, dinner and bath time. And oh boy, that worked. He looked GREY when I got home. He’s never not offered to help if he can since. 😂”
And Redditor bigtoebigtoe suggested a tactic that sounds like it’s straight out of a movie—but worked well in helping a mom she knew who had been begging her partner to do more around the house. “She got him to agree to do a role reversal with her. She had him do everything she usually did and she did everything he usually did. She said after that he had more sympathy for how stressed out she was and started doing more without being asked… I wonder if you could try that?” the user wrote.
User Sleepingbeauty___’s tip kept her advice simple: “To that I’d say, ‘I’m miserable doing it all. Do you want me to be miserable?'”
And of course, several users told the OP she should have a discussion with her partner about how she feels and what needs to be done, but the mom said that she’s tried “different tactics,” but since there are always “unexpected shifts,” she finds herself having the same conversation with her partner over and over.
In an update to the post, the mom revealed that she has already restarted her efforts to get her partner to help more—by asking him to make bottles for daycare this morning, because she was already feeding their baby breakfast and was finished making more baby food. Unfortunately, he didn’t react positively. “He asked why I didn’t prioritize better this morning, as in, if bottles needed to be made, I should have done that over mangos. I explained mangos were going to go bad and I hate throwing out food. I don’t have time to do both this morning and there’s two of us to divide up the work. He then asked why I didn’t do it last night before bed. Like I’m to blame for this bottle situation,” she wrote. “I lost it. I told him just to make the damn bottles! I can’t do it all! His response? I’m a bully. Yes, a bully. Dead. Serious.”
We certainly hope the OP find her fellow Redditors’ suggested strategies helpful, because her partner’s response is frustrating AF. And if not, may we recommend reading this?