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Pre-2008 Posts

Husband on Strike

Hathor the Cow Goddess posted a blog entry directing readers to a petition titled "Husband on Strike is Wrong" urging moms and dads who believe in family bed and attachment parenting to sign.  The petition was a response to a story making the rounds about a mistreated Michigan patriarch who had started a blog called "Husband on Strike" to chronicle ongoing actions he was staging on the roof of his house and in his yard.  The site of his resistance?  His wife was spoiling their children, ages 2 and 3 months, and ignoring his feelings.   Hence, the creation of the National Association of Desperate Husbands.  His personal demands?

  • The master bedroom must be a child-free zone.  The three-month-old, Jayla, falls asleep in bed with his wife, says he, forcing him to retreat to the couch. 
  • Continuing with the bedroom theme, it must be his and his wife's "place of escape" instead of a "dungeon filled with diapers."
  • Dates with his wife and no kids. He wanted to to go to a fancy restaurant without the kids for their fifth anniversary, but she wasn't going for it.  I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that her infant was breastfeeding.
  • Earlier bedtimes.  The 2-year-old, James, sometimes retires around 11:30 p.m.  His wife, who works a day job as a social worker, likes that because she gets time with James.  The husband, who works from home as a marketer, wants his wife all to himself. 

James found the media attention gratifying: , "“I feel like, wow, in 24 hours, I was a king, helping families and inspiring men."

The only trouble was, in his multiple interviews, he failed to mention that in 1995 he pled guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct, meaning his name turned up on a search of the Michigan Sexual Offender Registry.  He said that shouldn't matter; he became a born-again Christian and changed his life, so all that stuff is in the past, a relic of his misspent youth.  Heck, everybody knows born-again Christian men are beyond reproach.

I think the best and safest place in the world for these children is in the arms of their mother with their dad on the couch.  I think that when you have babies and children, there IS no place of escape from them for a few years, including the bedroom, especially the bedroom, whether it's a dungeon full of diapers  or no.  I think a working mother of a 2-year-old and an infant might not find the idea of, say, expressing breast milk, assembling bottles, binkies, diapers, in diaper bags, and hiring a babysitter so as to go to dinner alone with husband all that appealing.  To a dinner lasting two hours, max, she is mentally adding an hour and a half on each end, first to gather and assemble babies and baby artifacts, afterwards to retrieve babies from the sitter's, stash them into carseats when they are sleeping, tired, or crabby, then haul them home, change their diapers, feed them, and whatever else, the "whatever else" including the phenomena familiar to mothers wherein babies awakened and driven home late in the evening think they already had their sleep for the night and arrive home ready to play! 

I think it's entirely typical that a man who would create that particular list of demands also would assume his past as a sex offender should be irrelevant.  It doesn't surprise me that he felt the call to reach out to men everywhere who are similarly persecuted and neglected; he is probably hearing every Sunday at church all about the way husbands are priests in their homes and about women's duty to be godly women and  mothers who guard the sanctity of the marital bed from the onslaught of rampaging offspring (especially while the couple is engaging in possibly creating yet more offspring).  What is really striking to me is, this is a stunt a woman would never, could never pull, or be able to pull off.  First, because it's still the rarest of  husbands who would ever want the amount of time with their infants and toddlers that this mom wanted; second, because women know how much time and energy are involved in parenting infants and toddlers; three, because a woman staging that kind of protest would be instantly marked as a Bad Mother, denounced in the media and, if applicable, possibly disciplined by her church.  Fourth, because a woman who had any history as a sex offender (even though most woman sex offenders are actually prostituted women, not predators) would take for granted she'd be outed immediately, the news shouted from the mountaintops, with horrible results not only for her but for her children, who would now have to navigate life with everyone knowing their parent is a perv and a perp.  Women think about these things.  Men rarely do.  It always seems to me that it's around issues of parenting that the ongoing subordination of women to men continues to be most visible, most obvious.

Cheryl

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Husband on Strike

  1. >

    Why do I feel like hurting someone? GRRRR… hold me back.

    Cheryl: You made so many good points in this post. GREAT points.

    >

    I believe that the prevailing attitude among men and some women, is that mothers are the only ones capable of providing what their babies need as far as time, nurturing, physical care, etc. The dad is on the outside looking in, and while enjoying the procreating aspects and looking good to the rest of the world (church) for having these beautiful children and this lovely wife making him look good…he is pouting, and punishing the woman for not having more energy, more time, more sex drive. I’ve personally experienced this, and have been driven to the brink over it many many times. It seems enough to the man to change the occasional diaper, to piddle around in caring for the children, and people smile at the thought that he is “sharing in the responsibilities”. We women are capable of fooling ourselves into believing we’re blessed and lucky to have a man who will do this or that with the children.

    Posted by NewDay | April 4, 2006, 1:29 pm
  2. When my son was born, my husband accused me of loving the baby more than him. I was in such awe of this child, I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t and that he could not see that now everything we did should be to see he was nurtured and grew up to be a fine loving person. I had even told him that if we had kids, they came first before our wants and he agreed with me. However, the reality was he was jealous of this child. My conclusion after we divorced was that he did not get unconditional love as a child and therefore was incapable of giving it. I didn’t either, but the experience of birthing this child made me realize that and that, that was what I had to do. My sons are fine young men. They have gone through stuff because they are not macho idiots. They learn from their mistakes. They get hurt, but also know they can carry on. I am so proud of them for that. My philosophy was that everyone has to find their own way. They were to question everything, including me and they did. I learned as much or even more from them, than what I taught them. They will still have to deal with alot of stuff and have to make decisions. We even had the discussion that would I still love them if they became serial killers. I said yes, but that does not mean they should not be punished. I often wonder if some men just want kids because it looks good for an employer. They dont get that it is a lifetime committment. Some women too, I must add.

    Posted by rhondda | April 5, 2006, 8:50 pm
  3. rhondda, while your comment is a nice description of your love for your children, I can’t help but notice this: My conclusion after we divorced was that he did not get unconditional love as a child and therefore was incapable of giving it.

    Funny how it all comes back to blame on a woman at some point. Someone was just commenting on this the other day. Men blame their wives for everything and then the wives, who know it’s not their fault, turn that blame back onto their mother-in-law. Maybe, just maybe, your ex is an asshole who felt entitled to be the king of his home and acted like a resentful third child when he was expected to be a contributing member of the household. It amazes me that people are always so willing to look for someone else (read: a woman) to blame in cases where men are jerks.

    Posted by Hekie | April 6, 2006, 11:31 am
  4. Oh, and in reference to the actual post: wow, what an asshole. The entitlement going on here is just phenomenal.

    Golly, what a terrible woman! She works full time and has an infant to care for, but the second baby of the house just isn’t getting enough loving attention! I bet he was one of these guys who was really into the idea of impregnating his wife, as well. The reality of life with young children (that he doesn’t seem terribly interested in) must really suck for this poor guy.

    Guys like this perfectly demonstrate that women can never win. If she opted out of some of the childcare to be his dream bedroom minx, guess who’d be bleating about kids who weren’t getting enough maternal attention?

    Posted by Hekie | April 6, 2006, 11:36 am
  5. oh my god, what a narcissistic creep. the baby is a few months old and he’s already publicly resentful. yeah, real ‘King.’

    Posted by rabfish | April 12, 2006, 3:03 pm
  6. I was just wondering if this guy was still doing his stunt. He really came off as self-centered when I saw him on the news. Eating up the attention and trying to milk that 15 minutes for all it is worth

    Posted by Lovethisarticle | July 9, 2006, 3:44 am

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