mistermomblog finally breaks the “BRO code”

This is Part 1 of what is sure to be a “loaded” series…

In this post-recession period (if it’s really over), money is tight, job security is a thing of the past, and both men and women are working longer hours.  What hasn’t changed?  In dual-income families, women still do the majority of what I will refer to as ‘child and household management.’  A disproportionate amount of child-raising and household tasks falls to women regardless of which spouse works longer hours or has a higher income.

What are the most common ‘child and household management’ tasks that keep the modern family from coming unglued?

  • Kids activities and sports:  This category covers both the after-school and summer activities necessary to keep your kids from becoming amorphous blobs (and to be well-rounded, college material, etc.).  Someone needs to research the choices and then communicate with their children in order to make a decision.  But, that’s only the beginning.  Someone also needs to fill out the forms, send in a check, and manage the logistics of how your kid is getting to and from that activity.  And, someone needs to make sure your kid has a clean uniform (the hardest part!).
  •  Homework: Irrespective of what time you get home from work, someone needs to sit down with the kids to help with homework assignments and/or lend moral support.
  • Parent/teacher interaction: Someone needs to meet your child’s teacher at the beginning of school to establish a dialogue.  Someone then needs to schedule parent/teacher meetings, be aware of the important general parent meetings at school, and be able to reach out to the teacher if any issues arise over the school year.
  • School presentations, plays and recitals: Someone needs to help get kids prepared with costumes, line rehearsal, etc.  And, someone has to actually attend the performance, whether it’s an in-school class presentation or an evening performance.
  • Household chores:  Someone has to wash and fold laundry, do the grocery shopping, make lunch for school, plan dinners, load and empty the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen floor, pick up after the kids, etc. If you are fortunate enough to have domestic help, then someone still needs to manage that domestic help.
**I am likely missing some important items here, so please let me know.

Now, ask yourself, how involved is my spouse in any of the above responsibilities?

We are in a very different environment than pre-2008, and the signs of stress on families (particularly moms) is increasing.  I, for one, do not want to be around when my wife goes ‘postal’ from too much stress.  It seems inevitable that husbands/dads will have to step-up with these more traditional ‘mom’ duties, and some of them are doing so.

Full disclosure; I was the worst of the worst in all of the above areas.  While working, I rarely helped with homework and house-cleaning.  I often had to ask directions to find my childrens’ classrooms.  I missed in-school presentations and evening performances 80% of the time because I was “too busy” with work.  I didn’t even know how to operate the washer and dryer (really…).

I believe we are at the beginning of a major shift in societal views of traditional parenting roles and duties.  This cultural change is being further reinforced by the ever-increasing population of stay-at-home dads who chose that role.