Originally Posted by Prairiemother
My dh, who doesn't regularly take out the garbage, recently told me with a tone of shock in his voice that he read that women interpret their husband's taking out the garbage as a sign of affection. Apparently he didn't think of it that way!
And it sounds silly, but I wonder to what extent biological differences influence house-keeping desire. I'm going to mess this up, I know, but I recall reading a few years ago something to the effect that men do not react physiologically to the sound of babies "fussing" (women do); when babies are in distress men and women react equally. Could it be a similar mechanism with mess? Although I know there are many men who are very orderly, my husband not being one of them. We had a fight once because he was doing almost no housework at all, and I could not keep up - the fight ended when I had the revelation that he simply did not SEE the mess that so tortured me every day - I think if we ran completely out of clean dishes and laundry he might start to think that something should be done about the house, but anything less than that and he's happy as a clam. (There must be a grubbier analogy but I can't think of it at the moment.)
Yes! This is KEY to the issue.
OK, so admittedly, my husband is er...well, a slchum, for lack of a better word and also because I'm hindered by MDC rules.
But, in his defense, which pains me to have to come to, some of the issues between us probably are biological/physiological/gender based, as you said above.
I am CERTAIN that DH does not react to a baby's crying the way I do. I am certain of that. By the same extension, I have seen DH over and over again not be impacted by our toddler's whining, at least not in a parenting manner. He might be come annoyed if the whining is loud and continuous but DH can ignore the whining if, say, he's watching tv and wants to wait until commercial to tend to our child. I see this all the time.
A baby's crying and even a toddler's whining impact me much differently. Some of that is biological. Obviously, with a newborn cry, I felt a compulsion to assist, comfort, care. I still do, even if it's not my baby. I've been in a situation a few times at like doctor's offices where a very non-AP mom had a crying newborn and left the baby strapped in the car seat and put a pacifier or bottle in their mouth and rocked the car seat with her foot, while reading a magazine, when the baby so obviously needed/wanted to be held, and the baby just continued to wail. I don't want to judge a tired mom, but I did feel like offering to hold the baby myself and felt a very strong emotional need to do so. I highly doubt my husband would have had that same reaction!!
And when I heard my own baby cry? Usually I had let down of my milk! So, biologically, my reaction is much different than DH's.
DH doesn't mind if he misses our child's school events. If it's during the work day, or even in the evening, DH is OK with not going. I dragged him to a parents' night one time, and he was totally disengaged and said foolish things and when asked questions by the teacher, it was dreadfully apparent he hadn't be paying attention or listening to her. It's not that DH doesn't care, it's that he'd just rather do something else.
And then, finally, DH doesn't "see" things. The floor is dirty? Well, it would have to be really dirty before DH would notice. His senses are different. I have witnessed so many times in our marriage that DH just does not notice a lot in the environment around him. He's not one for details. They go wholly unnoticed. And a lot of parenting is in the details.
And, then, as I've mentioned before, my husband is an extremely linear thinking person. And has trouble, though he would deny it, with social connection, emotional reading, and understanding the feeling of others. He reads people wrong all the time. Especially women! Emotions to him make people "emotional wrecks," "insane," a "pain in the a**.," and "weak." This is what he's said about my girl friends who've called me with things going on in their lives. DH just doesn't connect emotionally to people. He also has the sensitivity of a neanderthal. And his sense of humor has gotten cruder as he ages and his language so much worse. Off note, I was watching the Real Housewives of Orange County (embarrassing I know! I don't know why I was watching that but I was sucked in!) and I felt really unnerved and really, really vulnerable when the women kept using the B word to describe themselves. Skinny b, crazy b, free b, whatever the adjective, they would describe themselves as a b rather than a woman, a lady, a person. Maybe it's become so common place to use that word, especially on tv, but I hate it. I shudder and it's because DH is so darn comfortable calling mainly me but my friends and other women the b word ALL THE TIME. And sometimes the c or the w word. It really, really bothers me. Again, DH says it doesn't mean anything. That it's basically PG in our society now. It doesn't feel PG to me and I've asked him to stop, and made emotional pleas, but they've fallen on deaf ears.
So, I don't know if it's a lack of sensitivity, or biological differences, or what, but I know there are big differences in how DH perceives the world and how I perceive the world. And that impacts our expectations, performance measures, and acceptance standards when it comes to marital partners and the all important debate about parenting, career, and household management.
I think DH doesn't do his fair share. DH would probably say I am difficult, I have too high expectations, and he does a lot. He probably thinks he does more than most husbands, and he does more than the model his dad showed him growing up (not an equal model and not relevant to us since his mom stayed at home with the kids).
Certainly, it does seem that biology and personality differences cause the discord.