We may have just rung in 2021, but it seems some people may be thinking it’s 1951. A Reddit post from a mom dealing with some interfering grandparents reminds us that we still need to be shielding our daughters and sons from sexist BS.
On the AITA subreddit throw91818 explained that she has recently taking a new job with a long commute and frequent business trips, while her husband will now be working from home and picking up more of the household duties that they used to share evenly. Her parents think this isn’t going to go well for her 10-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
“My husband now working from home was the main reason I applied for the job, and we discussed extensively the changes it would bring,” throw91818 explained. “He is perfectly happy with the few alterations he would have to make (e.g. cooking every family meal, whereas before we did an equal share).”
That sounds like a logical way of functioning as a family. But throw91818’s mother has instead jumped to the conclusion that the 10-year-old girl now needs to fill in the gaps left by her mother.
“[She] said that my daughter needed to quickly learn how to do things like clean and cook, since she’ll be the one ‘in charge’ with me gone,” throw91818 wrote. “I corrected her and said that my husband would be in charge, and that I have no concern about his abilities, since he’s perfectly capable of completing domestic tasks on his own. Sure, the kids can help if they want, and my daughter already does little chores like making her bed and cleaning up her room for pocket money, but we’d never expect more than that.”
Now both of her parents as well as her husband’s parents have called to pressure them into making the daughter her replacement.
“Am I going mad?” she asked redditors. “My daughter is a child, not some Stepford wife in the making or someone who needs to be taught housewife skills before we sell her off to a rich count as a part of a business deal!”
No, you are not going mad, throw91818, though we wish we could say this attitude surprises us. Giving children chores around the house is healthy and beneficial for their growth, but a 10-year-old does not need to feel the burden of being “in charge.” She should feel like she has a responsible adult around who will care for her when she needs one.
While nowhere in her initial post does this mom call the grandparents’ attitudes sexist, everyone reading along was quick to spot their prejudice.
“OP, have you tried making them actually say it out loud?” Waylah asked, in the hopes that the grandparents might be forced to realize their sexism. “Like, play the honest confusion thing, ‘I get that you care about us, which is great, but I don’t understand why my daughter should be the one to fill in for me instead of my husband. Why her?’”
“They’re saying that the 10-year-old girl should become the wife when Mom is away,” indi50 wrote. “Creepy AF. Even the ‘best’ — or least worst — interpretation is the standard sexist crap. A man can’t manage to feed his kids and clean the house, so a female child must give up her childhood to do it for him.”
We love how Flentl flipped this situation around to show its absurdity: “Husband can do the menial chores while 10-year-old daughter handles the important stuff, like home maintenance and finances.”
In response to a comment about her parents’ take on gender norms, throw91818 seemed to have a revelation. “I grew up with my brother, and looking back now, I do remember doing more domestic tasks than him, but I always put it down to being the older one,” she recalled. “Even 40 years ago, it was more of a different time, but I am upset that all of our parents seem to think that it’s acceptable now. I’m not honestly sure what they’d be saying if my son was the 10-year-old and my daughter the younger one. However, I’m sure it wouldn’t be so firm as they’re being in the current situation.”
Others pointed out how the grandparents were discrediting the husband’s abilities too. Aesient offered a mic-drop statement for throw91818 to give to her in-laws.
“MIL, FIL, I am so sorry that you believe you raised your son to be such a helpless blob of a human that a 10-year-old child is more capable of household tasks than he is; however, I assure you that is not the case. While you and my mother may believe your husbands are such utter idiots when it comes to household tasks that a female child can do better, I refuse to hold the same belief and allow you to harass me and my prepubescent daughter for not following such outdated thinking.”
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