I don’t know how all American moms and dads divide up household chores these days—but I hope and believe that they divide things as evenly as possible. But when I read Brad Kearns’ Facebook post, I felt like I took a trip back in time. When I grew up, moms always cleaned the house, did the laundry, washed the dishes, shopped, cooked and did basically everything around the house. And I guess this was because moms were home more than dads.
Generally, we’ve come a long way in America, though many homes probably still have this kind of stereotypical division of labor. And many other countries are a bit behind. Take Australia, for example…
It all started when Brad received a text message from his wife, Sarah. She was at home with their children, and she told him that she had something wrong with her liver. She needed to go to the hospital, so Brad rushed home from work to take care of the couple’s two children: two-year-old Knox and six-week-old Finn.
Brad writes that as a father, he would otherwise “can get respite” after working 40-plus hours a week because it’s socially acceptable for dads to bring in money while moms “continue doing what women seem to so effortlessly do.”
But suddenly, Brad was forced to be the “mum.”
Brad humorously describes the way he handles the kids, who communicate with him by yelling or crying loudly. What it’s like to feed Knox two-minute noodles when there’s no other food in the house. And what it’s like to rock a baby to sleep and then have him roar “as if I’ve thrown him at a wall by his legs” as soon as he lays him down on the bed and the baby loses bodily contact with his father.
Brad also describes how he has to repeat the procedure every two hours throughout the night. “Did you know that sleep deprivation is a form of torture?” he wrote on Facebook.
He continues to tell about the chaos that occurs the next morning: how his younger son can’t sleep, while the other son goes off on snacks. Then there’s a sudden knock on the door.
“Have you ever been in a situation where someone walked in on you doing something you shouldn’t be? That’s the feeling I got when I opened the door to my mother-in-law. So there I was: unshaven, hair a mess, wearing the pants and socks from the day before and a hoodie covering up the fact I had no shirt on. Hadn’t showered, not yet brushed my teeth, Knox comes running out in his sleeping bag asking for a new yoghurt muesli bar to be opened.”
When Brad’s mother-in-law arrives the previous night’s dinner was still on the table, the couch was covered in stickers, and the whole house was messy. And it was then that he felt defeated. He had failed being “mum” after just 16 hours.
“I have not even mastered the ability to keep my own personal hygiene as a mum let alone the ability to keep a house, educate children, prepare meals and even venture outside for activities.”
Now Brad hopes that Sarah will get healthy as soon as possible.
Read Brad’s Facebook post in its entirety here:
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