Ladies… and gentlemen… how often do you see something like this?
No big deal, right?
Well, if your partner needs help… it is.
I’m not saying it happens all the time (and I’m sure the opposite happens sometimes, as well), but it happens enough for Facebook posts like the following. Zawn Villines spitting fire and her post going viral in a big way.
“On every page I follow, in every parent group I am in, I see the same thing: mothers talking about how exhausted they are, how hurt they are by the imbalance of work in their heterosexual relationships. The problems are all some variation of “I just gave birth/am up half the night breastfeeding. Why do I have to also make dinner and clean while my spouse watches TV?”
The advice is always the same: Be gentle with yourself. You can’t do it all. Parenthood is hard.
Blah blah blah.
I don’t know which of you needs to hear this, but I’ll give you some better advice: Divorce his ass.
This cultural norm where a man buys his free time with his partner’s labor, suffering, and sometimes with the literal destruction of her body is misogyny on steroids.
Men are not innately incompetent or lazy or incapable of doing their fair share. Tell that jackass to get off the golf course, get his ass home, get up in the middle of the night with the baby, and start earning the right to stay married.
And remind him that not all men are this way, and that a dude who doesn’t do his fair share is not exactly a prize. He is replaceable. Lazy men who think you should have to work 168 hours a week while they work 40 are easy to find.
If my spouse can pull his weight while litigating police and prison death cases and dealing with the unending horror of our current legal system, then your Johnny Do Nothing husband can manage to get up with the damn baby and stop blaming your postpartum depression on your woman hormones.
If he gets free time and you don’t, if he gets to sleep and you don’t, if you have to do the grunt work and he doesn’t, guess what. It’s not an accident. He knows exactly what he is doing. Division of labor imbalances in marriage are a form of spousal abuse.
Stop making excuses for shitty men.
ETA: A couple of people have pointed out that this is heteronormative. Of course it is. This is not something that happens by accident. It is a type of oppression perpetrated by men against women. It’s simple misogyny. And our entire culture endorses it. We tell women that they’re just naturally nurturing, that men just can’t do better. We preach self-care and self-compassion, but when someone practices the self-care of calling out garbage behavior, we tell her her expectations are too high.
Then, when a woman has a husband who does pull his weight, we tell her to be “grateful.” Friends, you do not have to be grateful for a husband who does an equitable share anymore than you have to be grateful for a husband who does not beat you. This should be the bare minimum in a society where women are viewed as full human beings.
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What do you think of Villines’ advice? Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.