12 questions for the husbands of exhausted working moms

Over at The Atlantic, Alexandra Bradner has a great piece on the endless childcare and household duties that burden working mothers, as well as the defensive responses she received when she asked husbands to comment on their spouse’s feelings of exploitation and their “please do” wish lists for their husbands:

“Some men wrote carefully crafted arguments about different culturally conditioned spheres of expertise and talent; some listed all of the chores they did—mostly garbage and yard work; and others were afraid to speak at all, for fear of taxing their already stressed marriages.”

Bradner, a philosophy professor at the University of Kentucky, recommends husbands shift their perspective and take on more of the domestic burden not just because it’s “fair,” but because it’s an act of kindness to the exhausted person you love. To that end, she offers 12 questions husbands looking to be more active in home and family life ought to ask themselves. (She thinks that, sometimes, men don’t do more because so many childraising tasks are “invisible” and they remain unaware of how time-consuming and stressful they can be.)

What do you think of this list? Any questions you would add or subtract from it?


1. Do half of the laundry and half of the dishes every day?
2. Buy half of the clothes and toys?
3. Take on half of the management of my care providers?
4. Write half of the lists and notes?
5. Wake up in the middle of the night to calm the baby half of the time?
6. Change half of the diapers?
7. Plan half of the travel?
8. Track half of the household budget?
9. Put the kids to bed half of the time?
10.Make half of the grocery, sports, and afterschool lesson runs?
11. Write half of the e-mails to my kids’ teachers?
12 Watch the kids for half of the weekend and for half of every weeknight?


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