"He Says My Job Isn't as Tiring": Working Mom Says Husband Only Counts Manual Labor as Stressful

Amid increased discussion of the mental load that women bear in their families, this working woman's husband says his physical job is more stressful.


Oct. 10 2023, Published 11:39 a.m. ET

As more and more discussion pops up around the mental load that women carry in their families, this woman on Mumsnet certainly has something to add to the convo.

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She and her husband both work full-time jobs. But as in many cases, she carries the domestic burdens of the home, including when it comes to their kids.

But because her husband's job is physical, and this woman works at a computer, he insists she has nothing to "moan" about when it comes to stress.

Hoooo, boy. Let's get into this one...

mom working at table with child
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"He says I just sit and talk at people all day.”

In a post on the "Am I Being Unreasonable" (AIBU) subforum on Mumsnet, a user named Menomama (we'll call her Mary) said that she works a full-time job in which she runs workshops and gives lectures online.

Though she's usually remote, she said she recently had to do a lot of traveling for some in-person sessions. She said that the many hours of traveling and working over the course of six straight days in a row left her exhausted.

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When she told her husband about her tiring week, he told her to quit moaning, as all she has to do is "sit and talk at people all day" for her job.

For context, Mary says her husband has a manual labor job that often sees him getting 15,000 steps in a day. (He also often takes a nap the minute he gets home from work most days. Hmmph.)

But anyway, the conversation with her husband left Mary feeling "incredibly hurt."

She noted that "this was an eye-opening conversation as I do most of the household (admin and practical) and parenting-related things which I feel is stressful, but after 20-plus years together it has suddenly dawned on me that we have very different opinions on what is stressful."

"Hence," she continued, "I don’t see any incentive for him to change anything about the setup."

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Mary ended her post by asking if she was being unreasonable for feeling the way she does. She was also hoping that folks in the comments could help her explain to her husband how she can justifiably feel stressed.

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People in the comments section had plenty to say about this one.

One commenter summed up her point well by writing: "He currently has it made, he gets to nap and leave everything to you. If he really believes that anything that doesn't involve physical exertion isn't tiring then he can take over ALL of the admin associated with running a home, can't he? But I doubt he will."

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Overall, the comments were supportive of Mary. But plenty of folks also understood that if the husband hadn't worked an office-type of job before, it made sense that he couldn't really understand how stressful it can be.

As one commenter explained: "My husband used to work retail and would get really frustrated when I'd complain about being tired from my office job as he was on his feet all day and dealing with customers in his face. He now works an office job and is wiped out mentally by the end of his week."

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The commenter concluded: "It's taken a role change for him to put himself in my shoes. He has since apologized for not getting it."

In general, though, most folks figured no one should be fighting over who has it worse. "Urgh, people who think everything is a competition are tedious," said another commenter. "What does it matter really if something is more tiring, can’t be just be an empathetic partner?"


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