Moms are superheroes. They’re nurses and chefs, chauffeurs, and therapists. Mothers sacrifice everything for their families, including their carers, bodies, and independence.
But at what point is it enough?
Society Expects Women To Give
Society burdens women with unrealistic expectations. We scoff at career moms, guilting them for daring to have an identity outside of motherhood while ridiculing stay-at-home moms for their lack of financial contributions.
Moms can’t win.
We also expect mothers to sacrifice themselves for their families. Mothers can no longer have hopes, dreams, or aspirations. Their lives must revolve around their husbands and children.
Fathers have no such restrictions. We celebrate fathers for their career goals and working long hours to “provide,” even when it’s not necessary.
One Woman Had Enough
One woman came to Reddit seeking validation after making a different choice. The Original Poster (OP) said she divorced about a year ago after spending years as a family maid who also worked a full-time job.
She said she enjoys joint custody with her ex, and the days off have given her breathing room to rediscover herself and her interests.
“It’s wonderful to have “days off” so much new free time when they are not home, so I have been able to explore new hobbies,” she shared.
Son Still Expects Servitude
It’s hard to change people’s expectations. When they’re used to you doing everything for them, they don’t want to change. Kids, especially, may not even realize how unequal the arrangement is, and that’s how society ends up with men who expect their wives to act as domestic servants.
OP realized she led her kids astray and is working hard to remedy that. She said her two younger children are starting to understand, but she’s struggling with her 17-year-old son, who can’t fathom why his mother refuses to do everything for him.
The issue came to a head when OP’s son signed up for a bake sale. He volunteered to make cupcakes but neglected to tell his mother and had no plans to bake the tasty treat himself.
“I was about to leave for my meeting last night, and he was panicking about not having it done. He asked me if I could do it, and I told him no since I was leaving,” she reported.
But OP’s son had plans too. He was about to leave to hang out with his friend and couldn’t understand why he had to give up his plans to complete his responsibilities when his mother could just not have a life and do it for him.
“We got in a huge fight about me not helping him out,” she said.
Son Includes Dad in the Argument
OP’s son was incredulous that his mother wouldn’t do his work for him and enlisted his father for help.
Of course, the dad, who was used to women’s servitude, took the son’s side. He called OP a jerk and admonished her for refusing to handle their 17-year-old son’s responsibilities.
OP feels like she’s in the right. She wants her son to understand that women aren’t servants and feels she only has a limited amount of time to reach him before college.
However, she’s still unsure and came to Reddit wondering if she should have just baked the cupcakes.
Not Helping Was the Best Option
Reddit assured OP that she did the right thing. Rescuing him would only reinforce his lazy attitude and teach him that his wants come before his responsibilities.
“Your kid needs to learn this valuable lesson about making commitments and responsibility. You’d be doing them a disservice by solving their problem for them,” said one user.
Son Had So Many Options
Many Redditors were baffled at the son’s audacity. He signed up to make cupcakes, forgot about it, then expected his mother to save him while he went off to hang out with his friends.
He had so many other options.
Cupcakes don’t take long; he could have made cupcakes and then went to his friends. He could have invited the friend over to make cupcakes with him. He could have even offered to stay and make cupcakes with his mom, which, although still bad, would have been better than what he expected.
The Father is a Giant Problem
It’s clear why OP divorced her husband. He expected and still expects this type of servitude, and he’s teaching his kids that she’s in the wrong for not delivering.
“I bet their father never steps up either. I don’t see where he baked any cupcakes to help his son,” said one user.
“Even after the divorce, your ex still thinks of you as a servant.. and worse, your son is following in his footsteps,” replied another.
But OP Enabled It
Many give OP credit for trying to fix the massive problems she helped cause, but it’s fair to point out that she helped create her monstrous son.
“OP has been enabling her husband’s misogynistic messaging for most of her oldest son’s life,” said one user. “He’s probably going to go out in the world and try to do this sh*t to some unfortunate woman.”
She’s Trying To Do Better
OP is trying to fix it, though. She realizes she went wrong and wants her kids to do better.
She said she’s implemented a family cook night to teach them all how to cook and has made them responsible for their laundry. Although her younger kids are learning the lesson, the 17-year-old has entrenched himself in misogyny and refuses to help.
He uses weaponized incompetence whenever he’s expected to do his own chores.
“He started washing his own clothes, and he still does it wrong and ruins shirts ( I put instructions on the washer for him), but he keeps adding bleach, and I think he is waiting for me to break and do his stuff again,” she said in the comments.
Don’t Give in OP!
Reddit users implored OP not to give in. A 17-year-old still has time to learn and grow. She needs to continue setting boundaries and refusing to assist with his chores.
Let him fail. Let him walk around with ruined clothes because he refuses to wash them. Allow him to go hungry at school because he failed to pack a lunch.
Seventeen is old enough to learn how to adult. His refusal is nothing more than misogyny, and if she gives in, there’s no way he will improve.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.