Do you have any tips on how to break gender roles. My husband and I both work yet he literally expects me to prepare 3 meals a day for him. If I don’t have dinner ready he is annoyed rude and disappointed. Although I am just as busy as he is he will not lift a finger around the house and expects me to do all the cooking and cleaning. I’m just as tired as he is, if not more and don’t know why I’m expected to do it all just because I’m a girl.
Dr. Zoe Answered:
Married men who do more housework have more sex. True fact. Apparently enough women are struggling with this issue, that researchers have decided to study it. Try sharing that with your husband and see if it helps!
There is a public consensus that gender roles are changing and things are equal in the house, especially with millennials or older Gen Z’s. But it’s just not true! My experience and a quick Google search will tell you that the home is the last Alamo when it comes to getting on board with gender roles. And even when the work is shared 50/50, the wife still carries the psychological brunt of the care-taking of the family
Men are taught, often silently, to not be feminine—to not take on feminine roles. It may not be a conscious belief that women should have certain jobs and men have others, but the belief is certainly there! And somehow the masculine jobs always accumulate to less around the house.
This makes sense because men have historically been bringing home the bacon. The problem, of course, is that we women are bringing home plenty of bacon these days! And we’ve been bringing it home for a while now, so it’s frustrating that we still have to have this conversation. But we do.
So, what’s a woman to do?
1. Don’t ask him for help. Those words indicate that you don’t think the house is his domain. Instead, put him in charge. Give him a task that is 100% his, so he can expect no help from you.
2. Make a chore list and discuss it with him. It sounds elementary, but a list of who does what around the house is a very logical, non-blaming way for him to see that maybe he’s not pulling his domestic weight.
3. Don’t criticize. Wait, let me say it again: do not criticize! That’s a surefire way to guarantee that you extinguish his helping behavior. No matter how horrible your daughter’s hair looks, do not tell him he braided it wrong. If you don’t want to feel like his mother, don’t act like it.
4. Capitalize on your strengths and divide and conquer. Honestly, you probably shouldn’t be asking him to braid your daughter’s hair if he’s more capable of signing all the kids up for their extra curricular events and doing the carpool. That will set him up for success.
5. Don’t just do it. Resist that urge. The “I’ll just do it myself” martyrdom hurts everyone and makes you very difficult to live with. Don’t do it yourself. Let him know that you expect him to do it. And don’t stand around micromanaging him while he does. Go take a nap and let him do the heavy lifting. He won’t do it like you because he isn’t you. But done is better than perfect.
6. Give the guy a little credit. Many women have difficulty thanking their husbands or praising him when he does a small thing because they feel he is so off the mark. They don’t want him to think that he’s on track when he is not. But that’s a critical mistake. There’s this little behavioral trick that when you praise small tasks towards something you want, an individual is much more likely to try harder and take on more. So praise, praise, praise when you notice he does something!
Life’s not fair and although the tide is turning, it’s moving quite slowly. He’s gonna need a little push from you, but it’s doable.
You’ve got this! It just takes a little grit and grace.
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