parent opinion

PARENT OPINION: Why I'm no longer thanking my husband and kids for doing their 'fair share'.

Yesterday I walked past the lounge room and saw leftover fish and chips scattered across the floor. 

"Can you guys pick those up?" I asked juggling a freshly bathed baby under one arm and pyjamas and nappy supplies under the other. 

"Yep, come on guys let’s help your mum out and pick these up," said my husband, standing up. 

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Helpful right? Innocent phrase uttered without thought. 

Except I immediately I felt an intense anger arise. 

"No, you're not helping ME out. Believe it or not I’m not the maid. I don’t get paid. Picking up mess is not actually MY job. You are helping yourselves and our family out. Thank you."

I know people would roll their eyes at this or even perhaps think 'at least they are helping, it's not a big deal.'

But words are a big deal. 

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So many times I hear this:

"Come on kids, help Mum out by doing the dishes."

"Help Mum by cleaning your room."

“Give Mum a break and put your toys away."

"I helped YOU out by popping the groceries away."

"I’ll do the dishes for YOU tonight."

"I cleaned the house for you while you were out."

All extremely helpful tasks. Except by using these phrases all other people hear, including my own children, is: "Your MOTHER'S JOB is to clean up and by doing these tasks we are doing the extreme FAVOUR of helping HER by giving HER a break from HER job."

Image: Supplied. 

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It happens so easily without you even realising.

For example, I started doing the dishes every day. Mainly because I was sick of asking and I like them done before food begins to congeal and stick. 

Except that meant I did them every single day. Of course it was seen as my job. Any task you perform daily becomes YOUR job. You become so brainwashed that when you finally see someone else step in, you automatically thank them for doing what has become YOUR job. It’s such an easy pattern to fall into.

The language used is so important in how you view yourself and how others treat you. 

Other phrases I have to actively avoid in relation to household duties are: "Can you do me a favour?" and "Can you help me out please?" 

These phrases say to everyone around me that the tasks I am referring to are my responsibility. And that they are being so nice to help me. 

There is a big difference in being grateful someone is helping you versus just being thankful people are playing their part. 

It’s the same reason I don’t say things to my kids like: "Thank you for helping ME out and putting YOUR clothes away."

You are not helping me by acting like you're doing me a favour. Like you are giving me a break from a job THAT IS NOT MINE.

- You do the dishes so we have clean plates to eat off.

- You wash your clothes so you don’t walk around covered in your own filth. 

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- You put your toys away because walking on LEGO hurts like hell at any age. 

Because it’s part of being in a family or a team. Because it’s helpful for you to learn how to be a productive and functioning adult. Or it’s helpful to society to just BE a productive adult.  

Image: Supplied. 

And no, I won’t thank you or give you a medal for doing the dishes. Because you haven’t done MY job for me. You’ve just done a job. Your reward is having clean cups to drink from. Congratulations. 

So next time help me out by realising it’s not me you're helping out.

Do yourself a favour and realise it’s for yourself and the rest of the household as much as it’s for me. 

Don’t expect praise. Don’t feel like I should be grateful. You are not doing you me a favour. You do not need to be rewarded with sex or free time or endless praise from other women. You are not helping ME out.  

Ladies, when you see your partner or kids doing their fair share please stop thanking them for doing "YOUR" job. Because they're not. 

Feature Image: Supplied.


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