One Friday, my husband lamented he was so tired from work. He’s a hard worker, I’ll give him that.
But when he’s done with work for the day, he washes his hands of everything else.
Sometimes, he cooks, but that usually happens when he wants to eat the Chinese foods he grew up with that bring him comfort. Please note these are NOT the same dishes you see at your local Chinese restaurant. We have really Americanized that cuisine.
Mostly though, he plops onto the couch with the remote poised in his hand while I run myself ragged in the kitchen. Meanwhile, I hear the kids bickering. But he sits, now a part of our furniture, blissfully ignoring it all. I bound up the stairs to see what was going on and help resolve the conflict.
Then back I go into my kitchen lair.
Dinner is served, and then the plates are empty in a flash. And suddenly, no one is anywhere to be found, so there I am, cleaning up.
My husband has gone on a walk, the kids report.
I clean up, and then I sit down to do some work. After a full day of work, mind you.
He’s busy watching what he wants to watch.
Does this sound familiar to you too?
Moms who do it all KNOW. And the things moms do that go unnoticed are astounding. It seems there are more lazy dads out there these days. But why?
Why should I be the first one up every day? I get everyone going with breakfast, pack lunches, and shuttle everyone where they need to go. Then I work all day. And then, I have to deal with everything around the house.
If things are messy, it’s apparently my fault. But if I’m not working and earning, I’m not doing my share.
It seems awfully unfair that I must do it all and be admonished for sitting down with a glass of wine on the weekend when everyone is all tucked into bed.
So, I’ve put this post together in hopes that the lazy dad in my house (ahem, that’s YOU, honey!) and all the others realize all those little things moms do that go unnoticed. Come pour my glass of wine when you’re done reading this, babe, and let’s talk about the things you have no idea that I do for you and the kids.
Things moms do that go unnoticed
I’m sure I’m leaving some stuff off of here, but these are the main things we do that no one seems to realize while the lazy dad gets to relax after work.
- Managing schedules
Keep in mind; I work too! So, I’ve got to handle my appointments and deadlines. Hey, that teeth cleaning of yours? I’m the one who called the dentist and scheduled it for you. I’m the one that has RSVP’d to events, brings the kids where they need to go, and all of that. I know which class each of our children is in at which time of day. Do you know that, lazy dad? Nope. You don’t. Because I’m busy managing all of that.
- Hair and clothes
As a mom of daughters, I can tell you this is ultra-important. You may have less of this to worry about if you have boys. But I know you, mama. You’re going through those closets and drawers to nab out things they’ve outgrown. And you’re helping them look like they didn’t fall into a garbage barge before walking out the door for school.
These kids leave the house with pants and shoes on because we are paying attention. My husband once didn’t realize our eldest (who was in preschool at the time) wasn’t wearing shoes until she walked out to the car.
- Kids’ friends
Can you name your children’s friends? I can, and I know my mamas can too. I manage these relationships and try to be friendly with the parents to coordinate times for the kids to play. You see this as fun and bubbly, but it’s work. I’m not best friends with these parents, but our kids adore each other, so I’m going to put on a happy face and shuttle them to play with that friend so they can have a great day.
- Meals and shopping for food
Ok, here, my husband sort of help. And by the sort of, I mean that he wants to go pick up something else to make some weekends. Other than that, I’m the one making the grocery list, planning meals, and packing lunches on the days my kids don’t want the school lunch offering.
I’m the one keeping track of prices, working with the ingredients we have, making notes of what we’ve run out of. On the other hand, you don’t tell me until after I get back from the store that we’re out of something. Yet I’m lazy because I didn’t read your mind. Great!
- Every appointment ever
This goes with scheduling a bit, but no one in this house would ever have an appointment for checkups or teeth cleanings if they weren’t for me.
- Gift shopping
I don’t know your boss, yet you ask me to buy a gift for them. And for this person. And that person. Your mom, your dad, everyone. I have to go looking for these things, and then I’m made to feel guilty for shopping like I’m going out buying myself diamonds.
When it comes time for my birthday or Christmas present, I appreciate the go-ahead to buy what I like, but I wish you’d pick something for me so I could be surprised. Instead, buying myself something becomes an afterthought because you treat me like one.
My personal favorite is when a lazy dad complains about a mess. You live here too! I work, and you work too. Can’t we both approach this like adults and pick up the slack when something needs to be done? My kids are thankfully getting old enough to help out more, but I can’t tell you how often my husband will complain the coffee table is messy, and he’s the one who left things on it.
Oh, and those clothes you’re wearing? They’d still be stinking in that laundry basket if it wasn’t for me.
- Vacation planning
When school is out, my husband sounds like a grand hero when he declares we’ll be taking a family vacation. The kids cheer, but I do not. Why? Because I’m the one who has to find time in my overly busy day to search online for ideas that are within the budget we have set.
I’m also the one that has to help everyone pack. The kids get a list they follow and do a great job with, but my husband wonders why I’m not packing for him. You, sir, are an able-bodied adult. You can remember to pack your underwear, can’t you?
- Managing hygiene
On top of the grocery list, I also am the one who has to remember to check the shampoo and other hygiene essentials. Is it time to change the toothbrushes? Are we out of soap? Don’t ask lazy dad; he won’t know!
Every night, I have to sign off in the journals for the kids. I have to check mountains of papers to see their grades, go over anything they didn’t understand, and help with the homework. I have to pay attention to when library books are due, so no one incurs fees, and I have to teach our kids good habits, so they will be able to manage themselves as they get bigger.
- Filing all the paperwork
When tax time rolls around, guess who is stressing to get everything filled out and sent to the accountant? Me! When the school has forms at the beginning of the year or permission slips, or I need to write a note excusing an absence, it’s me doing it too. The only thing he signs is when the paperwork is all done, just once so it can be filed. I wish I were a lazy dad!
- Fixing things
My husband can fix a few things, but it really comes down to me. If something we can’t fix ourselves breaks, I have to call the right person for the job. For example, if it’s a plumbing problem, I need to reach at least 5 of them to compare prices, then schedule a time when they can come and fix the problem.
- Finding things
Lazy dad in our house has actually asked me to find something that was in plain sight right in front of him. The kids can never find their socks or lose earrings and guess who has to go on a hunt, usually dropping whatever she’s doing, to find the missing item? Yep! It’s ME!
There’s more, but really, this is just a sampling of all the things we do as moms that go unnoticed daily. I don’t mind doing these things, though, honestly. What I DO mind is being told I’m lazy for sitting down after cooking dinner and cleaning up from it when I’ve worked all day too. That’s annoying and that needs to end.
Either pick up some of these things we’re doing behind the scenes or start encouraging us to take those breaks we need. Husbands, please, my own husband included, you barely see the tip of the iceberg that we deal with as moms. You don’t see what’s under the water, and we’re drowning there.
Please, please, please, let us rest. Clean up more, make appointments for us for a change, and say ‘thank you’ more often. You can also choose one of the gifts from here as gifts provide a sense of happiness.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.