Do Women Underestimate Men’s Homemaking Abilities?

don't underestimate men

Having five children within six years, I was fortunate enough to not need a gym membership. Actually, I had no choice; the island has no gym and I, having no driver’s license at the time, had no choice but to hoof it when I wanted out of the house.  But, honestly, I loved it.  With about 50 pounds of children, groceries, books and various necessities in a double push buggy stroller (with buggy-board attachment for the too-tired-to-walk-anymores to stand on), it’s a wonder anyone had to ask me how I lost the baby weight.  And now it seems like only last month I was staring at solitary walkers in envy, but, truth is, it was closer to two years ago.  Now I’m planning in less than a month to leave my children and husband for all but a dozen weekends of the next year while I attend a horticulture course. Where has the time gone?

Other than a couple close friends, only since the new year began have I started to tell people about my upcoming schooling adventure.  After congratulations and best of lucks are said, the most common response from folks (all women) is to tell me how “lucky” I am to have a husband who can manage the house and children in my absence.  Many have then gone on to say that their husband “could never do it.” Why does this surprise me?  Is my husband that exceptional?  Yes, Johnny is amazing with the children, in the kitchen and homefarm, with finances, and at juggling multitudes of things at once.  But, forgive me Darling, I think it’s more likely these women are underestimating their men.

Not once did the thought cross my mind that Johnny wouldn’t be able to handle it.  I definitely know the house won’t be as organized.  It will become much messier before being cleaned and he may need reminders to change the children’s sheets.  They probably won’t see the inside of the library unless I am home.  And their Saturday trips to buy sweets at the shop will be nearly eliminated.  But I am certain they will have clean clothes, three square meals a day, play dates with pals, loads of crafting and building projects, more sweets in the pantry, and as many cuddles and hugs as they could ever want and more.  He definitely won’t do things my way.  He couldn’t do things my way.  I wouldn’t expect him to do things my way.

I have done, or will soon do, a few things to help in my absence like making salad dressings and plenty of spaghetti sauce for the freezer.  I’ve mended a pile of clothes and teddies and child-proofed my sewing/craft room so it can be used with limited supervision.  I have made green cleaners and a chore list for the children so, in addition to animal care and sorting laundry, they will now be responsible for cleaning their own bathroom.  That’s it.  Johnny will just have to figure out the rest.  I have no doubt that he will, and I honestly believe that most men would find their way if in the same situation.

Women, don’t underestimate your men.  They know more than they say, think more than they speak, & notice more than you realize.”                                                                                                                  –aranislandgirl

10 Comments

  1. Well said Melissa! I think any of us, men or women, can manage without the other at home. The main point is what you mentioned regarding it not being done ‘your way’. My way, your way, his way, her way…..doesn’t make any difference, they will never be the same. The important thing is that the important stuff will get done! Doesn’t matter how it gets done. I think when we get all full of ourselves we think it important that things are done ‘our’ way….but really it doesn’t matter…it’s just what we prefer. I also think many people like to feel that their spouse could not manage without them being there. It may make us feel needed, but the truth is the other person will mange somehow. The world will not come tumbling down without us (even if we sometimes want to believe that it would).
    I believe that given the chance each of us (husbands included) will rise to meet a challenge. Sometimes it’s good so that we can see just what we are capable of.
    Very exciting that you are about to start your course. When is your first day?
    Stan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Stan,
      My reply to these women was just that, they wouldn’t do it your way, but, sure, they’d all survive. And if there’s one thing my children have taught me it’s that there’s more than one way of doing things. It’s lovely to see them figure things out without my interference and the same in this case goes for Johnny. They will all pull together and care for each other and the home.
      I don’t know the exact first day, imagine that. But I received a letter over Christmas to reply expressing my continued commitment to going. I was told first week of February but no exact start date. Our plan is for me to go up the previous week and get settled in to my new abode. When I know, I’ll let you know!! So excited! Hugs to you and the Mrs.
      Melissa Xx

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  2. Five children under 6! I cannot imagine! What a lively home you must have. I agree that men are just as capable of keeping the house reasonably organized and clean as women, and some are much more capable than some women. I don’t think it is as much an issue of capacity as habit and cultural expectation. In many cultures men aren’t expected to be domestic…and there is a definite advantage for them in not being so! Likewise, if the home is the woman’s area of competency and control, there’s some subtle advantage to finding your husband incompetent in that area since it keeps your place in the family secure. As long as you are willing to accept differences in standards and agree on some key must have things, both people can manage just fine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • My children were all under six for most of a year, and now they are ages four years through ten years. And yes, it is lively! You are so right about some men being more capable than some women and habit influencing expectations and beliefs. I don’t really care for generalities, but cultural differences are definitely a consideration regarding homemaking and who does what. That reminds me that I’ve had it said to me many times over my years living here that men in Ireland are less involved in child/domestic areas. I can’t really add much to that thought but believe individuals figure out what works best for them in their own homes. Hope you are having a great weekend!

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  3. Roz Hill says:

    When I go away, Phil just doesn’t function!
    It’s not that he can’t , he is a great cook and shares the cooking most of the time. He is very domesticated and you may laugh but he prefers to do the vacuuming and the dusting ..so it gets thoroughly done I guess. He wouldn’t let me plant the tree’s either, I had to do the back filling… Which he inspected! ( I just let him get on with it for a quiet life.)
    My job is washing up ,keeping the place tidy, preparing the veg ( he likes to doo the meat) after all he feeds the animals and cures the hams!
    ….. But when I am away he goes visiting, can’t stand being alone.!
    He should wear a t-shirt saying “put the kettle on love”. And then it’s now sit with me while I drink it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kinda sweet, seems like he’s lost without you. I think Johnny is going to miss me very much too, he referred to that today. Always a good idea to keep an eye on the bigger picture (a quiet life 🙂 )… like when letting them plant the trees and cook the meat! Sounds like you have a good system of cooperation that works for you two.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this. It’s true women and men both under/overestimate each other’s abilities based on preconceived notions from society, media, wherever. I see so many tv shows half-joking about that sense of “fear” once a man is left alone with children, as if he were dealing with foreign objects. Surely they must have picked up some clues on how to take care of them and once the intent is there, things often fall into place. It sounds like you and your husband have a really harmonious and trusting relationship where you don’t expect the other to be just like yourself. I hope I can find someone like that myself one day! Haha cheers, have a great day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is grossly exaggerated in media, etc and I don’t really find it humorous, usually what it’s attempting to do. We have a nice thing going alright. I’ve no worries for you finding just what you want, I doubt you’d settle for less 🙂 .

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Janet says:

    I recently finished my undergrad work at a decidedly non-traditional age. When I first considered going back to school I was worried about the homekeeping that had been my responsibility up to that point. But I was pleasantly surprised that all was done – children fed, laundry completed, and hugs given.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If there is interest in family life and providing for the family, if there is good communication between partners, these things have a way of working out. Sometimes it just takes someone believing we are capable of something to believe too and then achieve it. Congrats on finishing your undergrad! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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