The Other Side Of Anger

February 4, 2009

Before I had children, I understood that parenthood would be challenging. I read a lot of books about it, actually, because I was a little worried. Would the first months of my child’s life be like boot camp? Would I go insane from sleep deprivation? Was I going to be comfortable breastfeeding? Would I gag at all the shitty diapers? Could I do this? I was pretty confident that I could do it. I figured that I was about as well-prepared as any mother could be, and, besides, I was not in this alone. My husband would be right there with me, doing his share and gagging at runny poos. We would be doing it together, and together, we would be strong.

And then Emilia was born and it was, as expected, hard. And my husband was there, just as I had expected him to be, and he provided all the support that I could hope for. He provided all of the support that I could hope for, and more, and yet: I found myself feeling very, very angry. At the situation. At him. Mostly at him.

I was struggling with post-partum depression, which of course exacerbated things, but it was more than just a byproduct of the depression. It was a deep, almost aggressive, resentment that burbled up in my throat – burning, like an acid – and choked me, every time that he walked out the front door to go to work, or to pick up milk or cat food or whatever, his arms swinging freely, his keys dangling casually from his fingers. Maybe I’ll just stop by the barber for a hair-cut, he’d say. Or, I’ll swing by the grocery store on the way home from work. Or, I’m headed out to work; call me if you need anything; love you! The bastard.

He could just walk out the front door, just walk right out and head off to wherever, totally unencumbered, totally unburdened. He was free. I was not free. I could not even go to the bathroom without undergoing complicated rituals to ensure that the baby would not scream for the five minutes that I would be out of her line of sight (having failed to master this activity, I soon resorted to waiting until she had one of her two eight-minute naps of the day, or jerryrigging the baby carrier so that I could hold her and pee at the same time.) If I wanted to leave the house, even to venture the half-block to the bakery for a take-out cappuccino, I had to plot my outing like a military manoeuvre, making certain that my plans were in accordance with nap schedules and feeding times and stocks of supplies and the appropriate alignment of the stars. I was not free, and I resented my husband’s freedom with a fury that sometimes made me tremble. I was angry. I was sometimes not sure whether I was angry at him, or myself, or the universe, or all three. Usually I settled for just being angry at him.

Last week, the New York Times reported a story – originally posted on, later covered by Jezebel – about moms of young children feeling anger toward their husbands. According to the original story, nearly half of all moms who took a survey about anger reported that they “get irate with their husbands” at least once a week. Fully half of them described their anger as “intense.” Moms, the study concludes, are mad. Which, whatever. I could have told them that.

The story that I would tell about this anger, however, might be a little different than the one told in the Times. The story focuses on the imbalanced distribution of parental responsibility in most households, and their characterization of that imbalance rang perfectly true for me (“We carry so much of this life-altering responsibility in our heads: the doctors’ appointments, the shoe sizes, the details about the kids’ friends. Many dads wouldn’t even think to buy valentines for the class, for example, or know when it’s time to sign kids up for the pre–camp physical… We’re the walking, talking encyclopedias of family life, while dads tend to be more like brochures.” Yes, I said to myself, reading this. YES.) But I’m not convinced that that imbalance necessarily leads – must lead, should lead, justifiably leads – to rage directed at one’s spouse.

Is it really my husband that I’m angry at when I find myself trapped (yes, that’s how it feels sometimes) alone inside the house with a squalling baby? When I’m awakened for the umpteenth time in the night by a baby who won’t take a bottle? When my husband reveals that he doesn’t know when Emilia should visit the dentist, or when Jasper should go in for his next well-visit? When he complains about being tired or overwhelmed while I’m scrounging in the medicine cabinet for the Ativan? Sure, I feel angry – I sometimes feel very angry – but is my anger really directed at him? And if it is directed at him – should it be?

My husband is not – I am pretty sure about this – acting maliciously when he walks out the front door to go to work. And he does not actively try to avoid retaining certain information about the household schedule or the children’s appointments or how many Valentines Emilia needs to bring to school next week. Nor is he making a conscious effort to disregard how challenging things are for me when he complains about his own exhaustion. Sure, he’ll never be as exhausted as I am – nobody will ever be as exhausted as I am – but that doesn’t preclude him from experiencing his own sleep-deprivation-related discomforts. So why do I feel anger about these things? These things are not his fault. He’s a supportive husband and father, but he’s got his own challenges to deal with: his job pays the mortgage, his cooking skills keep us from living on soup and donuts, his ability to stay awake at night and get up early in the morning to wrangle baby is required to keep his sleep-deprived wife from going batshit crazy. This new household order isn’t a walk in the park for him, either. So why do I – and, presumably, half of the married mothers in North America – blame him for the seeming imbalance in that order?

My point: it’s not my husband’s fault that I carry most of the burden of responsibility for caring for our kids. It’s just the way that it is. I could blame him – and believe me, sometimes, in my darker moments, I do – but mightn’t it be more reasonable to blame society’s patriarchal hangover? Or even more reasonably: mightn’t I blame the choices that we have made as a couple, that I have made as a woman and mother? We made choices as a couple that established a certain division of labor in our household, and we agreed upon those choices. I’m a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom. The children are in my care for a far greater share of the day than they are in his. If he didn’t work, things would be different. If he lactated and could breastfeed, things would be very different. If parenting were just an easier gig, things would be different. I could justify my anger as rightfully directed at him if I felt – if I believed – that he just didn’t take the care of our children as seriously as I did, or if he actively shirked parental duty and left the burden of work unfairly to me. But he doesn’t, and so I can’t.

And my guess is that this is very probably true for many women. Pressed with the question, do you get angry at your husband?, any one of us might say, “hell yeah, I get angry!” Do you feel that you work harder in caring for your children, that he doesn’t do as much as you do, that things are easier for him? “Yes, yes and yes!” Does that make you mad? “YES!” But are we really mad at our husbands and partners, or are we mad at the circumstances of our parenting arrangements? Are we really a continent of enraged mothers, silently seething at our significant others, filled with justifiable rage at their failure to measure up to our needs and expectations? Or do we all just find parenting really, really hard sometimes – not to mention isolating – and so just fall easily into the trap of resenting our partners for not – from our blinkered perspective – having it as hard? When we talk about being angry at our spouses, aren’t we really, many of us, talking about being angry about hard this motherhood business can be, and about what a drag it is that the larger share of the burden of childcare has, over the course of human history, fallen to women? You know, as the ones with the boobs? Is this really about our own husbands at all? Or this about long-standing, world-historical tensions concerning divisions between men and women generally?

None of this is to say that my husband doesn’t f*ck up sometimes, nor that he is perfectly attentive to my every need as his parenting partner. Sometimes he’s just an outright doofus about things. And so I feel completely justified in feeling a teeny bit – maybe a whole lot – pissy when he asks why I can’t just go to sleep earlier, or maybe nap when the baby is napping, or when he doesn’t put away the laundry or when he says oh, hey, would you mind terribly if I just went out for a while to do whatever and left the kids with you? But the larger issues, the challenges and obstacles and difficulties that provoke real anger and deeper frustration: these are not his fault, and my emotional struggle with these should not be his cross to bear. This should be our shared burden, one that we manage, in part, by acknowledging that we both ache from the strain and and that we both buckle, sometimes, from the weight.

And then he should mix me a drink and rub my feet. Then we’ll be good.

Where are you at with this whole angry-at-mah-hubby thing? Are you one of the 50% of the population that’s filled with rage? Would a foot-rub help? Is it just me, or does even talking about mother-rage feel discomfiting? Like, if I had a good feminist household I wouldn’t even be talking about this crap because dude would have a prosthetic, lactating breast machine strapped to his chest and would be nursing our baby himself while I added a few more degrees to my CV and maybe found a cure for cancer? GAH. Maybe I get angry because I fetishize the inside of my own head. That shit’s tiring.

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    Eva Robertson February 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Great post. I struggle with this question almost every day of my life: do I hate my husband, or do I just hate myself? Am I an enraged, embittered, unfulfilled woman whose husband just happens to get the brunt of my otherwise indiscriminate anger? Or, did I marry the wrong person, and he’s the one who’s made me this way? (Victim’s question, I know).

    I know that husband-directed rage among married women with children is more common than many women like to admit, though certainly not true across the board. It comforts me that I’m not alone. And it is my primary goal to understand the problem better.

    I read the Motherlode article the other day and felt that it was way oversimplified. The mothers portrayed in that article struck me as control freaks who needed to micromanage every detail of their childrens’ lives to the point that anyone’s help would be inadequate, if it weren’t first rejected. The article made me dislike “moms” as a category, and root for dads. How can any self-respecting mother truly view it as a “duty” of parenthood to make class valentines, much less expect that from a father? And the mother who won’t let Dad take over for fear that, in her absence, the kids will get too much TV, hotdogs and cheezits? Come on. We have to pick our battles if we want a life for ourselves.

    I am derisive of these moms, because I think they make their own beds, but I’m also one of them, if not taken to such an extreme. I’m home with the kids full-time, and I feel trapped and resentful. I feel like I deserve a medal if I manage to keep my kids happy and make a nice family meal. It’s not something I can do with any regularity.

    My husband on the other hand? I have noticed that when he takes over with the kids, he gets TONS done. He can clean the house up, do home repairs, get papers graded, shovel the driveway, and make a great dinner. Even take a nap. How does he do it? The kids don’t get out to the park or the library; they don’t get whole, nutritious foods; and for recreation, they play with his power tools, watch videos, watch more videos, and get dragged to his office. When he wants to nap, they nap or lie with him, or watch a video.

    I wonder if my husband were the full-time parent, would this be the norm? Or would he rearrange his life to be more kid-friendly? I suspect that he would have a ton of hobbies and that he would flourish in them. He might even be able to have a job at home (like you, Bad Mother). Explain to us how you manage that?

    But anyway, in recent months I have finally developed an interest of my own, other than my kids. It is the first time since leaving my full time job that I have actually felt drawn to something other than my kids and housework (which I have to admit, has never been a draw exactly, even if it has been pleasurable). I have created my own blog, and set reading and writing goals for each day. I could do this ALL day long, but instead, I have to steal time from my kids to do it. And the kids are getting less from me. We are not doing all the museum/library/park/mommy playdates that we used to do. The kids play around the house and create chaos. They pull apart the pantry and the game chest. They dress up and make pretend. They fight, scream, and come crying to me. I suggest options for them. They don’t take me up on them and instead pester me. I yell at them, send them to their rooms, feed them, or give them a video. My only self-imposed rule is that I will read to them when they ask for a book, or when I think that would be a nice interlude for them.

    When hubby comes home, the laundry is not done, the house is not clean, and the dinner is sometimes made, sometimes not. He is not complaining, although I think I detect some regretful amusement at the fact that his wife has become more lax and forgetful and it falls to him to pick up the slack if he wants or needs something.

    But he has always said (in response to those rages that he wishes would go away), “I just want you to be happy.” And he’s reading my blog, and enjoying it. So, we’ll see if this works.

    Last thing: there is a video/list floating around the web, entitled “Nine Phrases Women Use”, which speaks, I think, very much to this subject of women’s anger. I don’t find it particularly funny — it’s quite demeaning actually — but it is resonant. Check it out at: Or, read my commentary at

    Trenches of Mommyhood February 5, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Oh the anger. The rage. I remember it well. And definitely believe that PPD played a large part. Now that the boyz are 7,4 and 3, it has subsided. But it manifests itself in other ways, now that our roles have changed. I work full-time out of the home with a long commute. Hubby is now responsible for more of the traditional “mommy” duties during the week. He cooks dinner every night. He packs snacks/lunches and backpacks. He gets them dressed, teeth brushed and on the bus/takes them to preschool. He does pick-ups from the sitter’s house. I am simply NOT THERE to be able to do so. That was our arrangement when I decided to go back to work full time.

    Yet. On weekends? I am the one cleaning. I am the one doing laundry. I am the one buying new shoes/clothes/coats/etc. When all I really want to do is CHILL, RELAX and spend time w/ my boyz who I don’t see nearly enough of during the week. (I won’t even mention the Mommy Guilt I feel about my working arrangement. It smothers and chokes me daily.)

    So yeah, I’m angry. Deep down, I’m angry that I HAVE to work. That he doesn’t make more $$$. That we’ve gotten ourselves into this financial situation by not making wise economical decisions in the past.


    Gina February 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I definitely get the rage. My husband and I both work the same hours, have the same long commute, and if you want to get really nit-picky – I make more and get the insurance too. And yet, I do WAY more than he does.

    katesaid February 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Oh, it’s complicated.

    The short answer is, I have had that anger, in the past. That resentment, when even when I was working 40 hours a week outside of the home I was still somehow running more than 50% of the household details. But it has eased… as the kids get older, as my husband gets more involved with the small details (making him take the kids to get their hair cut and see the doctor is a very important thing – hard to let go of that control, for me, but really good for him to experience those responsibilities).

    In May 2007, I went to Paris for 10 days with my mother and sisters. I left the kids with my husband, and I did not leave behind one single instruction. No lists, no reminders. We have the calendar on the fridge, and I trusted him to get our daughter to art class and softball, etc. And he did it, and it was hard, and that’s precisely when I stopped being angry.

    Because suddenly I felt like my role in the house was more of a choice – because the household really could continue to function if I stepped out. And feeling that choice went a LONG way toward defusing that rage.

    (Yeah – that’s the short answer. Hah.)

    Piece of Work February 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I had TONS of resentment towards my husband when the kids were babies. And then I had TONS of guilt about it because I knew, rationally, that it wasn't his fault, though it sure as hell felt like it, and it sure felt better to blame him than to just accept my lot. It got much better when the kids were ages 3 & 4. Once they are more self-sufficent, that resentment just goes away.
    But you are right, there is a lot of anger, and maybe it's directed at the husbands, but they are not doing things intentionally, most of the time.

    nickelcitygirls February 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I agree and disagree.
    I used to get mad at my husband, because he didn’t feel guilty at making plans…he just went ahead and did them. And I felt guilty, leaving him home alone. Well, that’s all my own baggage and I got over that by setting ‘dates’ with myself and following thru. (usually buying expensive tickets to something…every 3 months or so)
    And let me ask you this…if you worked in an environment where certain things were just ‘done’, and you knew that they would get done, and done well, would you step in and take that task over. Just because? Probably not. He doesn’t have to sweat this stuff because you are…even they are BOTH of your kids.

    But do you have to sit there and ‘eat it’ when the boss is being a dick, because the babies need shots?

    Good post!!

    Anonymous February 5, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    A little off-topic, but I have to admit my anger is mostly directed towards the moms with the “easy” babies. You hit on it in your last post, the moms that look at you like you’re stunned because your kid is putting you through the wringer while their’s sleep twelve solid hours every night. The moms that don’t realize that it’s largely luck and not parenting skills. Ok I’m done venting now. thanks.

    mothergoosemouse February 5, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Tallulah, you’re falsely assuming that the angry women here don’t work themselves, aren’t just as financially responsible for the family as their husbands.

    In fact, many of us bring in just as much, if not more, money to the household income.

    Furthermore, it’s not a matter of trading the “perks” of being the breadwinner for the sacrifice of being away from the children all day. Whether we work outside the home or not, much of these responsibilities still fall on us.

    watercookie February 5, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    I’m not a mom yet but what you’ve written makes complete sense, in my opinion. I don’t look forward to experiencing that anger myself but I’m sure it’ll happen!

    Take care. I hope you get some sleep soon!

    blissfully caffeinated February 5, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Oh, YES. Hell yes. I was so furious for months and months after our second child was born and my husband traipsed off to work 3 days after my C-Section that I had divorce fantasies constantly. It’s better now, because we divide up the work so much more equally since our girls have gotten older. But I still get furious when he complains about being tired when I am the one who gets up with the kids at night.

    Colleen - Mommy Always Wins February 6, 2009 at 12:02 am

    This is exactly why I work. (Well, that and I still make quite a bit more money than Hubs does, but stick with me here.)

    Even if we could afford for me to stay home full time I don’t know that I could. Right now, we flip-flop shifts. I work first and he second and we’re home with the boys for the hours we’re not at work. We rarely see each other, but right now its the perfect balance for us. Even if we wish things were a bit different, there’s a lot of happy and very little anger.

    Of course, it helps that in every situation he knows EXACTLY how I feel – cuz if I have to leave the house with two kids to grocery shop so does he.

    Candace April February 6, 2009 at 12:12 am

    Funny. I just typed your blog into my address bar so I could link it on a post riffing a little on this topic.

    I think that there’s a LOT going on here.

    Maybe some of it is the instant gratification idea–like we can’t be primarily moms now and then primarily something else another time?

    Or maybe we’ve bought into the idea that motherhood isn’t “good enough.” “Women’s work” (not that child-rearing is, but mothering by definition would be) gets devalued–wrote a paper once on how the prestige of teaching fell once it was labeled such.

    Dunno. But I know I like reading your thoughts.

    SUEB0B February 6, 2009 at 1:37 am

    I don’t know about this parenting stuff. But I do know that, as children, we liked Dad better because he was less angry. When Mom was gone, he let us eat pancakes for dinner and wear dirty shirts. I think that women are way too hard on themselves and make life so complicated. Sometimes the brochure version of parenting is what kids want – a birthday where you don’t have a party but you get to play down at the lake all day and get taken out to ice cream after, rather than a big production number where the tablecloth matches the napkins. I know someone has to be the onsite, always on-the-ball parent, but I also think women could learn something valuable from men and their relaxed cluelessness.

    sarah February 6, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I know in my head it’s ridiculous to feel anger when my husband leaves for WORK! Hello… no house or food if he decided to stay home… But I do. I can’t even explain it, because it doesn’t make sense.


    I started to read him this, so I could maybe explain my irrational rage at the fact the poor man goes to work, and he admitted to me that he had read the parenting article in the magazine b/c he wanted to know why I was mad… he said he was surprised to see that I was ‘normal’ – ha! I have noticed a HUGE!! change in him since he read it (noticed the change before I knew he had read it) When I wake up in the morning, I find the house picked up and dishes done… um. wow! Seriously… he has been getting up early and cleaning the house BEFORE work. How can I be mad???

    I’m thankful parenting mag and you, Cathrine were able to put it into words for me.

    sayvandalay February 6, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I just want you to know that I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, and this is one of the best things you’ve ever written. I shared it with my husband, highlighting some of the parts that apply to us. Thank you for so eloquently putting these thoughts into written form, because for the life of me, I had no idea why I was so pissed at him. And yeah – what you said. :)

    Ms. Single Mama February 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I think much of this anger is – as you said – over anger that we, by default as women, have to handle 80% of the child rearing.

    But think about it — just 20 years ago — it was standard fair for women to stay home. Today, we grew up with a different story. You can have kids, have the fabulous career and the great husband. Yes, you can do it all.

    So some of the resentment felt by stay at home moms, could be, because their husbands do get to leave and they don’t. That is a new feeling and expectation.

    And it’s fucking with our heads.

    I wrote a post about this – I really hope you take a second to read it, although I know you’re sleep deprived and impossibly popular.

    Mrs. Vladdevlor February 6, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I went through that stage of being mad (especially at my husband) but now I think I’m more mad at the parenting arrangement, like you said, I love my daughter (of course) but sometimes it just feels like I’m on call 24/7 whereas my husband does get a break from his work and so sometimes it doesn’t seem fair.. But I think I’m learning to accept the whole thing, since I don’t think I’m going to be changing the way society makes us do certain things in a certain way… :)

    Mimi February 6, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Um, have you met me? I’m angry most of the time. I soooo well remember being angry when Pynchon came home at 5:17 instead of 5:10, because that seven minutes was everything to my sanity. Mad that when I was on leave, he walked out the door every morning and let it all go, but when he was on leave I pumped milk 3 times a day and cried a lot. Continue to be mad because SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS how FUCKING HARD is it to remember to pack extra underpants in the bag? Where the health card is? Where the Little Ponies are hidden? Etc. Why do I have to, in addition to being the Mommy of First Resort, have to manage the adminstration of life single-handledly? Honestly. That pisses me off.

    autumncircles February 6, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    You asked if it would be different if he stayed home and you worked.
    Well, from my experience – Yes and NO.
    For the first eight years of our kids lives, my husband had his own business and worked from home while I worked corporate (choice we made due to fear of losing the health insurance my job provided and his could not). The only difference was our physical daily locations. I was the one to leave in the morning to a cold cup of coffee. He cooked, he cleaned, laundry, helped the kids write, play, interact, go to the park, grocery shopping (INCLUDING VEGGIES/FRUIT), and made a small income off his business – you name it. I was ANGRY because he was doing what I thought, imagined, had ingrained in me by society, my maternal heritage, etc. was MY JOB and why the fuck were the kids well adjusted, happy, healthy little bundles of joy instead of whacked out terrors who desperately needed their Mommy to stay home?
    We are on equal footing now – both working outside the home while our kids are in public school – and you know what?
    I still get angry at him. And even though I know it’s NOT HIM that I am angry at anymore, I am unable or unwilling to suppress it. Thank God I have told him this so we can survive this very difficult, surprising and joyful journey of married together parenthood…Thanks for reading long rant – Peace!

    Melanie February 6, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    I’m right there with you on anger – I’ve never experienced anger so intense in my life before becoming a parent – but not on one thing. I don’t have a husband to direct that rage at. I’m a single mom, and let me tell you that the rage is still there. Only it swirls around me in a choking dust storm and has nowhere to lash out at – not even at my son’s father, as I’m quite happy that he’s gone. Before I got it a bit under control my son witnessed me throwing a shoe at a door. Two days later I put a hole in my (fragile old plaster) wall with a vacuum. Now he doesn’t witness it any more, as he started throwing things too!

    Anyway, I think perhaps the anger is part of being a mom. It’s everything all wrapped up, the exhaustion, the frustration, the isolation, hormones from hell, feeling responsible for everything, never getting to really look after yourself, missing sleeping in, reading books, evenings flopped on the couch doing nothing more than staring at the TV. In the case of married or partnered moms it winds up being directed at the husband/partner.

    I’ve had a book recommended to me, but still haven’t picked it up. Budhism for Mothers, I think the title was. Might be worth a look.

    Lydia February 7, 2009 at 7:18 am

    I am angry as well. I work full-time in a high-stress job, hour commute each way, trying to finish a PhD and have a 4 year old and 9 month old.

    There are many levels on which I am just nuts… but it sure does seem like my husband has it easy. He works 5 minutes from our house, university job in which he seems to have it pretty easy.

    I love my children more than I can believe, but they still drive me crazy sometimes. And I am the one who handles all the minutae of our life. Sometimes I just hate it.

    But your post helped me to put words to my anger and also ask the questions you did. I think I am more mad at the situation than the man. Although the man maddens me too! I wish society in general placed more importance on “motherly tasks”.

    Maybe that’s the job for our daughters!

    Haley-O February 7, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve actually written quite a lot about anger on my blog — partly as a good way to deal with it and to connect with others who are angry! I really think anger is like anxiety — that, as you put it SO WELL, “fetishizing the inside of your own head.” Our minds are just so heavy all the time — not only are we trapped in our homes, can’t go out on a whim, etc., but we are trapped in our heads, constantly second guessing ourselves. And, it gets tiring, and it gets to be too much. Sooner or later, we explode with it — in the form of anger toward our spouse, who comes dilly-dallying in after a day of adult interaction, interaction with people WHO WILL LISTEN. And, sometimes, it’s like you have ANOTHER baby to tend for, as you put dinner on the table, etc.

    It’s f*ing hard.

    ALSO, I notice, when I’m not sleeping, I get ANGRY. After a good sleep, I feel better. Less anxious, less angry.

    We resent them, too, because they can’t possibly give us the emotional support we need – because they can’t understand…, because of that “patriarchal hangover” thing….

    this comment is all over the place, too. Because I, too, never get to sleep. I’m an angry BEAST! ;)

    voiceofbragg February 8, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Hello fellow blogger, I stopped by your site and thought maybe you would like to swap links with me, after adding with the title “Blog Till Death” to your site, message me and I will add yours…have a great day

    crunchycarpets February 8, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Don’t get me started…
    I feel rage when I am told my grumbling about sleep is unjustified…as HE is the one working long hours and working from home too…while I go to bed early.

    I go to bed early because I can’t think anymore and KNOW that in two or three hours I will have kids, dogs, and snoring husbands disturbing ANY rest I try to get.

    I get fed up being told how trivial MY issues are compared to his big money support the family issues.

    I get told of dealing with weekends where HE suddenly notices the kids and pushes HIS way with the kids over what they have gotten used to with ME all week long.

    Don’t get me started..

    Mamalang February 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I have experienced this anger, and sometimes I still do. But I work outside the home, and still do all thos things. So for me, it isn’t about freedom, but being overwhelmed and needing some help. Which for the most part, he’s awesome about providing, but there are still those days.

    And you know what? I’m sure he gets angry at me sometimes, because I left crap in the garage again, or whatever. That’s part of marriage.

    But I understand that anger.

    JohnMcG February 9, 2009 at 12:29 am

    A couple thoughts from the perspective of a man whose wife seems to be coming out of this anger with our children being 5 and 3.

    We laugh it off a bit, but I think there are significant downsides to this:

    1.) As the Parenting article noted there are significant health concerns for women carrying this level of anger.

    2.) Would you want the job of Dad? You get to work a full-time job outside the home, have your free time and paycheck eaten up, and have the person you wanted to love and support you be constantly furious at you even when it’s not really your fault. Sign me up!

    Like it or not, being an involved Dad is still somewhat of a “choice” for men, and it’s a decreasingly appetizing one.

    And I don’t know a way around it. HBM recommends drinks and foot rubs, but my experience is that those are as likely to be spurned as welcomed.

    @sarah wrote: Seriously… he has been getting up early and cleaning the house BEFORE work. How can I be mad???

    Not to be glib, but my suspicion is she will eventually find a way. I tried this route as well, and nearly ran myself crazy, thinking if only I did a few more things, worked a little harder, scrubbed the dishes a bit more thoroughly, then she couldn’t be mad at me. My experience is this had the opposite affect.

    There’s also the train of thought that over-doing chores like this is an effort to “control” one’s spouse by removing plausible reasons she might have to be mad at me.

    And I am now carrying scars, and they don’t go away. Being called a “third child” while working two jobs and doing more than my share of the household chored and requring nothing from her (she admitted) to take care of me hurts.

    I know most of the readers are thinking, “that’s nothing compared to what we’ve been through…,” and that maybe the case.

    And maybe there is no way around it, and we just have to suck it up. But I’d sure like us to know before we give up.

    Janani Barath February 9, 2009 at 8:50 am

    I love reading your blogposts…. I am writing from India and when i read this blog I sometimes feel that it is a really small world with women facing identical problems and at other times I feel like you are from a different planet :)

    Ali February 9, 2009 at 9:45 am

    When i was playing the part of stay at home mom…from when emily was born, to when josh was born 20 months later, until he was almost 2..when i went back to work…i spent A LOT of time being angry and jealous.

    that i couldn’t pee. that i couldn’t go out to lunch. mostly that i couldn’t take a shower, get dressed and walk out of the house every morning. I WAS MAD THAT I COULDN’T LEAVE. i was 100% trapped with all this baggage.

    but now that both the husband and i work it’s so 100% different. we are a team. we have equal remembering responsibilities…playdates, parent/teacher conferences, to buy the milk. that, to me, made it so much easier. things didn’t get DEFAULTED to me just because i was the one at home.

    Robbin February 9, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Oooh. Put me in the 50%. Because I read the article and I wanted to CUT IT OUT and post it on my refrigerator.

    I think they nailed it for me with this – I get furious because my husband simply CANNOT multitask. I have to juggle sixty things at once – including a lot of business travel. I am the one to handle all the daycare “extras” – the valentines, the parties, the spare clothes. He pats himself on the back if he remembers to brush Harry’s teeth before he gets out the door.

    I don’t know what I am expecting from a gender that evolved to follow the ass-end of an animal for hundreds of miles, hunt it down and kill it. God bless them – they were simply made for single-mindedness and they can’t help it. But it still pisses me off.

    Shawna February 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    I’m sorry but no, I am not angry at my husband. Not never, but hardly ever. Not just because he takes a lot of parenting responsibility on – though he does – but also because I’m just not that overwhelmed most of the time. I am lucky enough to get a decent sleep almost every night because, though I’m up feeding multiple times, the feedings are very brief and I have the enviable ability to fall asleep quickly after each is over. Also, if I’m tired from an unusually difficult night I often go to bed around 8:00 pm the next night. I really think this sleep thing is key and that I’d feel completely differently if I didn’t get enough.

    I do get to feeling isolated and bored, especially in the winter when it’s hard to take the baby out at all and walks are pretty much off the table. But rarely does that translate to anger at my husband.

    Anne-girl February 9, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    I’m a woman, a new mother, and am angry at times at my husband. And yet, what really got me was SUEB0B’s comment.

    YES!!! Why do we complicate everything? We are living in an age of hyperparenting, cluttering our lives up with too much stuff, too many obligations, going here, there everywhere and not taking enough time to just be. My son is teaching me how to just be. And not to care about matching napkins and tablecloths, or the dust bunnies under the beds.

    I used to criticize my husband when he folded the cloth diapers wrong, or filled the bath with 1/2 cm too much water. This really put a strain on our relationship. I had to give up control, and god damn it–lower my standards. Things don’t always have to be perfect. Once we stop being so hard on ourselves I think we’ll lose a lot of that anger…

    Avonlea February 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    It seems to me that several issues can contribute to the anger. For situations where the mom stays at home, there is the anger about him walking out the door after a shower and getting to pee by himself and eat lunch with adults or alone, while she can’t.

    Then, in general, for WOHMs or WAHMs, there is the whole self-imposed vision of what a ‘mom’ does or should do – self-sacrifce and home-cooked meals and clean houses and running the household. Things based on what society has told us we should do.

    For me, I think I have enough selfishness (or self-preservation) to know that I *need* to have alone time and down time. No, I don’t cook every night. There may be piles of mail on my kitchen table and dustbunnies under the couch, but without my downtime or without enough sleep, I get angry.

    Bianka February 10, 2009 at 6:26 am

    My hubby is a stay at home dad. He definitely picks up his share of parenting responsibilities, but what I get mad at him about is ‘chores’. His idea and my idea of what needs to be done vary greatly. I believe that sweeping up Cheerios, throwing away cheese wrappers, placing cups in the sink, etc. etc. etc. should be done as you walk by them or as they are used. HE on the other hand believes that it should all be left alone until the end of the day and done all at once. THIS DRIVES ME ABSOLUTELY CRAZY.

    ChefSara February 12, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    I agree with the poster who said she feels jealousy more than anger. My husband is fabulous. He realizes that what I do as a SAHM is hard work (perhaps because as a grad student, he works from home sometimes and sees how much I do). Every night, he says “Thank you Baby” when I serve dinner, and takes care of the baby when he gets home. He stays with the baby once a week while I take the dog to agility, no questions asked. And he tells me on a regular basis what a great mom I am. So how can I be angry at him? But I am jealous…that he regularly sleeps til 8:30 or 9, while the baby is up at 7:30 every day; that he didn’t have to get up for the middle of the night feedings, since i was breast feeding; that he can leave the house without wondering if he remembered the diaper bag, extra burp cloth, etc. But I *chose* to be a SAHM mom, and as hard as it is, I wouldn’t change it for anything. And I could not ask for a better husband or father. So, even though I am jealous, I’m not mad.

    Expat Mom February 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Yup, I`m angry. I have a 3 year old, a nearly 2 year old and work full time from home. I HATE that my husband goes out to get milk and doesn`t come back for three or four hours, because he doesn`t have to. I hate that he gets to go AWAY to work while I have to parent and work at the same time.

    That being said, my husband lets me take naps and he does clean the house. But sometimes, I just want to get out without children and he freaks at the idea of looking after them both! To which I say, “HA! Try working AND looking after them!”

    Abby February 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who’s eternally pissed all the time. It’s so comforting to see it’s 50% normal. Sort of. I feel absolute rage at the husband. And mostly it’s because he thinks I’m on vacation every day because I get to stay home all day. “Get to” being the magic words there. He complains about being beat after four days of work so he NEEDS that three-day weekend all to himself to catch up and rejuvinate. Excuse me? I don’t get evenings off, or weekends, or holidays, or sick days, or any other kinda damn day off. EVER. I empathize with the lady who said she has to beg her husband just to watch the kids for one lousy hour a week so she can go to a class. Same thing here, except I actually have to give a good enough reason–good enough to counter his whining–so I can actually go. Mind you, this is after he’s said a billion times that if I need a break from the kids, why, just ask! I’ll be there for you, honey! But when it actually comes to the asking, he rolls his eyes and sighs like I’m asking him to donate a kidney. Be a damn man for crap’s sake. I love you, but you’re pissing me off with these melodramatic acts you’re putting on just to get out of watching your own damn children for more than the five minutes you see them in the morning before you saunter off to work. At a job, mind you, that I used to do myself and I KNOW it’s not half as hard as what I do now. And yet he acts as if he’s the one who has it the hardest in this family and why can’t I just give him a break? I’ll tell you why I can’t just give you a break; you helped make ‘em, you can help take care of them. No more excuses, I’ve had it with them. No, I don’t feel bad for being pissed at him. Because he doesn’t do the best he can. He makes promises and breaks them when push comes to shove. Screw that. I’m justifiably mad.

    Rita Arens February 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    I’m not mad. Anymore. My husband and I instituted a “no drudgery” rule. We don’t keep track. He bought Valentines this year. I stopped griping about cleaning the house. He started cooking healthy food. He knows her feet are size 10 1/2.

    I’m not sure how it happened, except to say we almost split up last year, and maybe the alternative looked a lot worse.

    Mommy boog February 26, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    OMG…you do not realize how on point this is in my life right now. I feel very angry with the hub most of the time, and blown that he does not have the same mental log I do of all the stuff that needs to be done. This was so validating that its not just me!

    Jill February 26, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Suzanne Sommers was on Oprah talking about pre-menopausal women and how they walk around seething all the time.

    I thought, “I seethe. I seethe a lot. Seems like 30 is early for menopause, but, what the f, there has to be some reason I am grinding my teeth all the time.”

    I want to stay home with the babe, so I’ll pull the “I work full time AND…” fill in all the shoe size, bill pay, dog groomer tasks as well.

    Poor him. You are so right. Not his fault though I don’t think it would kill a brother to remove 1 rotten thing from the fridge during 1 of the 27 times he opens it during the day.

    Vicent March 11, 2009 at 2:56 am

    Well, a very sad post for me. Thank you for remembering that marrying is a losing proposition for men.

    In my experience, it’s the woman in the relationship who wants the baby and then pressures the man to have him. And then, she feels rage at him, even if he is working to pay a stay-at-home mother, so there is a division of labor. Isn´t this insane?

    What about thinking that a baby is a MAJOR job instead of dreaming of a fairy tale? What about not having a kid if you don’t want to make a huge sacrifice?

    What about the man being angry at the woman to pressure him to be parent and to make him work more to allow her to take care of the baby? Wait, no, I forgot that men are adults and rational creatures. I forgot that they understand that life is hard and don’t blame others on the consequences of their own decisions. Too much to ask for women who feel entitled to be angry without rational reason.

    It’s better not to get married and not to have kids. With the divorce rate in 50% (70% of divorces initiated by the women) and men losing their assets and their children in family court even so. I knew that.

    But makes me sad that women are never satisfied, even with a loving husband, even with a man who has given up all his bachelor life to be with her, who works to support a mother to take care of his child, who want to his child to be cared for by his mother. There are good men out there but less and less because they are awakening to the fact that no matter they do, it will never be enough.

    For women it’s never enough. There is always a reason to complain and to feel like a victim. To be angry. Men get married to have love and peace and what they get: a woman who is angry at them without reason.

    Single moms do not have anyone to be angry at. So they can be free of these bastards called husbands. Please be a single mom and you will not have anything to complain.

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