Stay-at-Home Mother ‘Underappreciated’ by Working Husband

Gillian Sisley

This viral Reddit post sheds light on the invisible labor that is expected of stay-at-home mothers.

Emotional labor has been a large talking point in recent years. Emotional labor is characterized as jobs and tasks that take mental or emotional work to complete, but are rarely recognized as being work. More often than not, women are the ones who take on additional emotional labor, and are rarely recognized for their efforts.

Some examples of emotional labor are a mother knowing where everything is located in the house, and instead of a child looking for the item themselves, they ask the mother where it is instead. Or a woman keeping a mental list of groceries that are needed, or remembering birthdays, or being the one to organize social events.

Another area that tends to fall in the responsibility of women more so than men is childcare. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that women spend 77% more time caring for children than men do. And when this labor is expected of the woman by male partners, and not appreciated for the difficult work that it truly is, that can create significant issues within a relationship.

Such an issue was highlighted this week on social media, when a post on a community board went viral after a husband complained that his stay-at-home wife wanted more appreciation for the childcare duties she provides for their children.

Stay-at-home parents have the hardest job in the world.

A recently viral Reddit post that was published by user u/Particular-Willow-17 on January 19th highlights this inequality of labor, and it has received almost 7,000 upvotes and close to 2,000 comments.

In this post, a husband clarifies that his wife is a stay-at-home mother who looks after their 2-year-old twins. It was agreed upon that the wife would be a stay-at-home parent. That said, childcare is an exhausting form of labor, and even more so when one is dealing with twins going through their terrible twos.

The husband states that his wife recently came to him and said that she felt burnt out, underappreciated and taken for granted. The husband asked what he could do to help out, and the wife simply said that a gesture or expression of appreciation would go a long way.

The husband then admits that he didn't take any of these actions, and thus got into a massive argument with his wife. The wife expressed that while her husband works from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, she works 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 7 days a week and never gets a break. For this reason, she feels taken for granted.

The saying 'it takes a village to raise a child' exists for a reason.

Raising children is one of the most difficult jobs in the world. It is high stress, and for parents it is unpaid, and doesn’t allow for much time off. A parent is responsible for raising a functional and respectable human being who participates in society, and that is no little matter.

Parenting is not a gendered job. There undeniably remains a belief that certain tasks are more female-oriented, which feeds into the gender equality gap experienced in most heterosexual households. In fact, studies show that women are the ones to take on a majority of the responsibility in heterosexual relationships, both in and outside of the home.

The husband first published his Reddit post because he was wondering whether or not he was in the wrong for telling his wife to get over her feelings of underappreciation. That said, he did admit that he tends to relax on the weekend, while his wife goes about her day as usual and uses weekends as a chance to catch up on cleaning.

What do you think? Is the stay-at-home mom justified in asking her partner for more appreciation when feeling she's being taken for granted? Or should the husband be able to sign off of all responsibilities, including childcare, when he finishes his workday?

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