They’ve heard it before, and we are here to tell them again, it isn’t that easy.
“I do do a lot,” they whine. “I put the dishes in the dishwasher, and I put the clothes in the washing machine. You don’t appreciate all the things I do in the home.”
Typical Saturday morning argument from any husband/dad.
However, dear husbands and dads, did you… Put the dishes on and then unpack the clean dishes into their proper place? I think not.
Dear husbands and dads, did you… Wait for the washing to finish, put the wet washing on the line/in the dryer, wait for it to dry, take the washing down/out of the dryer, fold/iron/realise the stain still hasn’t come out and put the clothes into the drawers and cupboards just the way the family member likes them? And then do the next load? I think not.
But it seems once again, no matter how much we “whinge” and “moan”, men still don’t get the point.
Today, on Sunrise the morning team talked about the Tough Mother Challenge. In a nut shell, it is a 48 hour break for mums. But a real break. You know, not the kind were mum prepares all the meals, labels them, puts them in the freezer, makes sure the clean clothes are all sorted, cleans the house and writes a list of things that needs to be done in said 48 hours. Only to come back from the 48 hours to a dirty house, a pile of laundry and possibly naked, dirty children.
Instead activist Alice Morell, who is behind the Mothering Movement, has designed a weekend program for dads to do it all. Really do it all. Keep the kids alive, feed them, water them, get groceries with the kids, take them to their swim lessons, play with them for longer than 30 seconds, doing the laundry (start to finish), make dinner, clean the house and get in the mood for some Sunday night sex.
Dads also have to do some obstacles for extra credit. Going to the toy store with the kids with the purpose of only buying a present for their friends, not them. Baking a cake, having the boys over for some afternoon tea, calling some service and being on hold for an hour with the kids awake and waking up in the middle of the night and hanging out in a dark room for the obligatory 10 minutes.
For the dads who participated in the program last year, Morell tells The Age, "Most of the dads thought they did [enough housework] already and were surprised when they really had to do it all. Some guys got angry because they were so stressed. [But] they all found it very useful."
But...some dads just still don't get it, with some tweeting the Sunrise show that it is "soooo tough" looking after the kids (there was lots of sarcasm in their tone).
One said, "do it everyday for 14 years. What's her problem? #hardenup"
Another, "I love looking after the kids for a couple of days. Too easy."
And just one more, "man bashing continues!"
The thing is very few men actually realise all the stuff their wife does behind the scenes. Even the dads who have "dad's day" (where dad gets the kids to give mum a break) don't take the full responsibilities of running a household on that day. No, they are applauded for taking the kids to the movies, not for finishing the washing, or cleaning the house, or preparing the meals for the week.
In actual fact, the Bureau of Statistics says women spend nearly 34 hours a week doing household chores and looking after the kids while men only did about 18. Stats don't lie.
Still not convinced? Dad, Jason Kimberly did the Tough Mother challenge last year and tells The Age, "It is the cumulative nature of the challenges that is the really taxing bit. Some of the things you can normally skip and think 'someone will do that in a few days time'. You really can't let it mound up. You need to address it at the time."
Exactly Jason. Exactly.
How would your partner go with the Tough Mother challenge?
As part of the challenge, dads need to take photographic evidence of their accomplishments. CLICK THROUGH the gallery for the photos displayed on the Tough Mother Challenge instagram.
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