59 Comments

Such a great post! A must read for every parent!

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THIS LIST IS INCREDIBLE! I would add general monitoring/care of an ill child (or adult), teacher gifts, fundraisers, researching, signing up, and facilitating emotional labor for important safety-related activities like swim lessons.

As my ex used to say, "just tell me what you want me to do and I'll do it." Ummm no you are an adult man, not my kid.

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Also, THIS: "I get to pretend that rare tasks, like changing the oil, take up as much time as the hundreds of tasks outlined above."

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This whole post is really hitting a nerve - after an unplanned c-section and postpartum hemorrhage, I was (trying to) recover in the hospital. My ex was sleeping on a couch in the hospital room and I needed something. HE WOULD NOT WAKE UP. I finally had to throw an apple at him <eye roll>

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What I experienced in my marriage (in addition to all of the above) was the tasks I had were all fairly time sensitive. Mealtimes, nap times, etc. stuff that required being done within a certain immediate time frame. His tasks were not as time sensitive- sure you can’t put off the oil change for six months, but if it doesn’t get done this Saturday, you’re prolly ok for next Saturday. And then when it is time for his not so time sensitive tasks to be done, it often required me to change my time sensitive tasks to accommodate his actual completion of said task. Unwillingness to shelve my time sensitive stuff for the nontime sensitive stuff would result in those tasks not being completed because I didn’t accommodate and support him in doing the thing.

I’d imagine having a list of things to do whenever you get around to it is a lot easier than having to get dinner on the table by six so bedtime can happen at seven when we both got home from work at 5:45.

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Amazing list!! I might add, "I can state an opinion on parenting without doing any research or study and expect it to be treated as valid."

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I do not have to learn how to cook or make food that doesn’t come out of a small rectangular box because someone else has done and will always do that for both myself and my children.

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Jul 13, 2023·edited Jul 13, 2023

Did anyone tally it up? I really want to see the results. Mine was only around 15, and most of that was societal stuff.. I think my upbringing made it so I'm actually really good at matching energy. I was an only child too, and he was #3 of 9, so he actually taught me to change a diaper, scrub a toilet, and he was up with each of the babies. The areas he does badly in besides societal junk is birthday parties (I tried having fancy ones when the kids were young, but don't bother anymore, we only celebrate "milestone" birthdays and the kids mostly plan those) and some scheduling/clothing stuff (I insist on the schedule, and I wouldn't want him handling it because I actually want control over it). I don't do much on this list myself and never have, because I just don't want to honestly.

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This is amazing. I wish I had this list when I was married. But like you said it's about unfuckable and and unfixable. I'm so happy for the work you do. You're incredible.

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I would add 1. "If I am a stepfather I am praised just for being there but I do not help with any of the above tasks." 2. "If I am a stepfather I am not criticized in the same way stepmoms are criticized for "not loving them as their own" or for struggling in the role of a stepparent. 3. "If I'm a single dad I expect my new partner to take on all these tasks regarding my children and to have a good attitude about it even though these aren't her children." 4. "If I"m a single dad I undermine the authority of my new partner by being the fun dad while casting my partner in the role of the evil stepmother when she tries to setup routines, structure or correct inappropriate behaviors in my children."

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“I do not know the names of my child’s teachers.”

“I do not know what subjects my child is taking for GCSE”

“I do not know the names of my children’s friends and cannot recognise them on sight”

“When parents come to our house to collect their children after a sleepover I do not know which child belongs to which parent”

“When my diabetic child suffers a hypo I do not know how to treat that hypo without resorting to google” (ok this one is pretty specific to my own domestic situation BUT STILL)

“When my diabetic child’s blood glucose alarms go off in the night I do not even wake up”

I mean, I could go on, but I’m too tired to.

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Jul 13, 2023·edited Jul 13, 2023

This is a tough one and also such a huge trigger warning you may not want to include it in the main list, but this played out in my family:

"My privilege over my children is so extreme that I can sexually abuse my daughter(s) and not only will I still be treated like a good dad, there is a whole cultural script dedicated to denigrating my victims as consenting harlots with 'daddy issues.' At no point will my deep and profound betrayal of the trust my daughter has in me be addressed. She will always be the crazy, dirty, and responsible one. And when she dates or marries mem just like me as I taught her, she will be further shamed for falling for red flags. My parenting will never be to blame."

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- I feel entitled to make comments on my kids' nutrition, screen time, and behavior without making ANY effort to contribute to changing them or learning about them.

- I feel entitled to take credit for "progressive" parenting choices my partner bears the brunt of (cloth diapering, natural birth, breastfeeding, homeschooling, car-free travel, etc)

- I expect credit for picking up a few things at the grocery store while my partner plans and executes weekly meals and shopping

- I expect kids to learn to pick up after themselves without understanding or contributing to the work that it takes to teach them

- I question the importance of birthday parties, field trips, holiday get-togethers, gifts, events, playdates, vacations, kid activities etc. in order to belittle the effort that goes into them. I don't have an alternative plan for how my kids can get the benefits of these activities without the activities themselves.

- I get to have the fun and easy conversations with my kids while leaving the hard conversations (conflict, feelings, sex, chores, etc) to my partner.

- I complain that my kids have too much stuff / that the house is messy, without contributing to decluttering, cleaning, chore charts, etc.

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- ‘I won’t have to plan dentist/doctor/therapy appointments’: is on the list. I’d like to add: ‘and do not have to take my child to these appointments, my partner does.

- If my child is sick, I can go to work. My partner takes care of my child, even if she works too.

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I don’t have to clip my child’s nails, clean their ears or worry about arranging haircuts for them. I don’t think about asking my children to wash their hands before they eat. I don’t have to be concerned about my child’s personal hygiene ever. I don’t notice if they are acting out of character, running a temperature or feeling ill unless it’s incredibly obvious, like they suddenly throw up in front of me - and then I won’t be involved in the clean up/care afterwards either.

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My husbands score is 79.

We’re on holidays at the moment. Well ... he is! I’m still doing the majority of everything. He’s in a mood because our son doesn’t want to go to the beach, he wants to go to the pool instead, so he’s shitty because he’s not getting his own way. He grumbled at me “do we even have dry towels?”. Yes, of course we do, because when you passed out on the couch watching a movie with kiddo at 7.30pm last night, I was racing around hanging up swimwear and towels so they’d be dry for this morning.

I went out for an early walk (the only time I’ve been alone all week) & brought him back coffee. I don’t drink coffee. He did nothing except sweep the floor of the room while I was out. I got back, had to pop out again to the supermarket, then came back to do the dishes from yesterday, make the beds and put on a load of washing. While he sat on the couch.

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