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The Washington Post’s Fathers’ Day message to dads: Shut up and pitch in with the housework

June 22, 2015

My latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

CEO Slaughter: My h̶o̶u̶s̶e̶k̶e̶e̶p̶e̶r̶ husband does the chores

So you might be wondering what it takes to be a good dad in Washington Post-land. Here’s what it takes: Doing all the housework so Mom can pursue her career.

That was the gist of the Post’s lead Father’s Day “Outook piece,” titled “Don’t Worry, Working Moms: Just Leave Dad in Charge at Home” by Anne-Marie Slaughter.

High-power-career wives (Slaughter is president and CEO of something called New America) have been trying to get their husbands to do more laundry-folding and lunchbox-packing since God knows when–but the husbands never seem to perform up to snuff. (And of course the stuff that husbands actually do around the house–shoveling the snow and repairing small appliances–never actually counts as “housework”). Slaughter claims to have finally put her finger on the problem. Quit treating your husband like a part-time homemaker and start treating him like a full-time homemaker. Don’t “micromanage” the chores he does. Just tell him he’s “in charge” of all the chores. There!

“For men to take charge, however, women have to be willing to step aside, despite all the cultural expectations that we’ll run the home front no matter what. Andy and I have, after some debate, come to an understanding that if he’s the lead parent, he gets to call the shots about schedules, how things are organized (I can never find anything in our kitchen), the punishments to mete out when the kids break the rules and myriad other parenting decisions. I don’t like it. But he says that if I want to change it, I can stop traveling as much as I do and focus less on running things in my office. Otherwise, he’s not about to be micromanaged.”

“Andy” is Slaughter’s husband, a “distinguished professor of international affairs.” I like the “some debate” part–I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the Slaughter household for that!

But my favorite sentence in Slaughter’s Outlook essay is this one:

“[W]e are fortunate enough to be able to pay for a full-time (and indispensable) housekeeper.”

Uh-huh. That’s one way to get a distinguished professor to get that load of laundry done. Being a CEO is hard.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

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One Comment
  1. ANother column written by someone w/ too much time on her hands. Perhaps she should do some laundry–get her out of the rut she’s fallen into.

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