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You can lead a man to “his share” of household chores, but you can’t make him do them

May 29, 2014

My latest blog post for the Los Angeles Times:

And I also read Elizabeth Kolbert’s review of Schulte’s book in the New Yorker:

“Schulte singles out for censure two men in particular. These are Pat Buchanan, who, as an adviser to Richard Nixon in the early nineteen-seventies, persuaded the President to veto a comprehensive child-care bill, and her own husband, who’s referred to only as Tom (but who a quick Google search reveals is the NPR correspondent Tom Bowman). Tom doesn’t even know where their kids’ dentist’s office is. He almost never takes them to the pediatrician. He is ‘supposed to do the grocery shopping’ (the italics are not mine), but he refuses to take a list and often returns having forgotten such useful items as toilet paper. One Thanksgiving morning, when Schulte is preparing a multicourse dinner for eighteen, Tom grabs a six-pack of beer from the refrigerator and heads over to his friend Peter’s house. This holiday fecklessness triggers a crisis, which Schulte claims is therapeutic and eventually leads to a more equitable distribution of household chores.”

My take on all of this: You can lead a man to a “more equitable distribution of household chores,” but you can’t make him do them.

I’m with Kolbert when she wonders: “As for why, deep in ‘theĀ  overwhelm,’ [Schulte] has chosen to cook an elaborate dinner for eighteen, she never really explains.” If my husband had been Tom, he wouldn’t have grabbed a six-pack of beer and fled. He would have made it a 12-pack.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

 

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One Comment
  1. Excellent post!

    You husband is a lucky man.

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