Scott Haltzman, M.D.
Manage chores and household responsibilities
How can we better manage chores and responsibilities? In about 70% of households, men are the primary breadwinners, and even in households that men aren’t the primary breadwinners, they put a lot of emotional stock in terms of who they are as a breadwinner. A lot of their sense of self is tied into their role. Now, what will happen is that men will come home at the end of the day, and their wives, who may have already been at work themselves, may be home. Or, maybe they stay at home most of the time with the kids. But, either way, when the husbands get home, the wives say, “You have not made contributions to this household today. What have you done for our family?”
And that’s extremely frustrating because the reality is that a man actually feels like (and I believe that he is) he is making a contribution to the household and to the family working so hard every day. So, I think that when we talk about each member of the household making a contribution, it just can’t be the contributions within the confines of the house.
You know, the other day, my wife needed some music downloaded on her iTunes, and she had her iPod. She knew how to get into iTunes, but she couldn’t download it properly. And I said that I would love to do it for her. You know, I felt great about doing it, and I felt like I could make that contribution. But, later on, when she looked at the kitchen sink and said, “How come the dishes are still dirty?” That was a little frustrating for me. I think that on both sides of the coin, both partners need to accept that regardless of what their partner is doing outside of the home or what their partner’s activities are that are different than expected, they’re still making a contribution to the family.
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