One of my very good friends talks and reads frequently about the "mental load" or "emotional labor" for women. It's things like, in my relationship, it's my job to keep track of EVERYTHING, including when we are going to see his parents and what weekend day his mother works (every damn weekend I have to remind him that she's at work on Sunday mornings when he decides it's a good time to call her). Or how he's the one who wanted 2 dogs yet it's my responsibility to take care of everything vet-related and to arrange dog sitters when we're going out of town. Or how, several months ago, together we made a decision to do a "paint your pet" night and, before I bought the tickets, I verified with him that we weren't doing anything that evening. A few days later I get a text at work asking when the paint night was and when I respond with the date, I get another text: "oh, I have a work thing that night. I told you a while ago and I figured you would have kept track of that." WHY on earth would I keep track of when his work dinner, that I'm not invited to, is?
Here's a couple articles she sent me the other day after this topic came up at my bridal tea this past weekend:
Why Did Becoming a Mother Bring Up All These Retro Beliefs About Gender? - Lenny Letter
Stop Calling Women Nags — How Emotional Labor is Dragging Down Gender Equality
It came up because one of my friends left her 3 children with her husband for a couple hours so she could attend. He was bringing them to some farm or something and before she left, she asked him if he had everything he needed for them for the day. His response was "well you packed the bag when we went to the football game so I should be all set." The football game they had gone to was 3 weeks ago and her husband literally had no idea that the bag would need to be re-packed because she always does it.
My mother still talks of the year, ~25 years ago, when she was taking a course on Thursday nights and my father refused to practice my brother's spelling words with him. She identifies this year as a turning point in my brother's schooling. My father also apparently didn't feed us dinner on these nights and my mother would come home at 9pm to children who hadn't eaten since school lunch 10 hours earlier. It was also past our bedtime when she came home.