Women who grew up with fathers, brothers, or any male equivalent in their household have likely witnessed the phrase “boys will be boys” in action. Many men grow up with the notion that specific tasks are assigned to them based solely on their gender, such as yard work or taking out the trash.
Similarly, the girls in the household are immediately assigned work to do as well. However, the work typically involves them maintaining a household by cleaning, ironing, and washing clothes.
While we’d all like to think the current generation of parents is teaching their male, female, and non-binary children chores that will help them as they transition into adults, it seems like some are still keeping a firm grasp on gender norms.
On TikTok, one mom’s attempt at making her future daughter-in-law’s laundry tasks easier wasn’t received well. After seeing the mom’s video, another user scolded her for not teaching her son how to do laundry on his own.
A woman tells a mom on TikTok to teach her son how to do his own laundry instead of handing the task over to his wife.
Many parents think about the adults their children will grow up to be. Some wonder what college they’ll attend, if any, while others may wonder when they’ll have children of their own and likely hope it doesn’t happen while their child is still living under their roof.
Parents often consider when their kids will get married and how married life will treat them. In November 2023, a TikTok user named Laura Danger (@thatdatrnchat) showed how one mom was already planning on her 11-year-old son’s wife being his housemaid.
On Nov. 6, Laura reposted a video of a mom who addressed her “future daughter-in-law” on camera. Although her son isn’t even a teenager yet, the mom said marriage would “be here before you know it” and wanted his future love interest to know what she was getting herself into.
The mom shared that her son habitually puts his clothes in a laundry hamper with the clothes inside out. After years of turning her son’s clothes inside out for him, the mom had an “aha” moment and decided she didn’t want her future daughter-in-law to “spend her entire marriage” doing the same thing. So, to help a fellow woman out, the mom started returning her son’s clean clothes to him inside out and left them there for him to sort out on his own.
While the mom likely had good intentions, Laura at @thatdarnchat wrote that she was “sooo close” but no cigar. In the middle of the mom’s post, Laura, who was shown reacting to the video, interrupted the mom. She then went back to where the mom said she didn’t want her daughter-in-law putting her son’s clothes the right way during her marriage and suggested the mom just “teach him how to do it” on his own.
Laura also said a better option would be for her son to learn how to do his laundry from a male figure in his life if he has one. The content creator then shared a screenshot of a report that says boys often have “more leisure time” than their female counterparts, and most of the girls’ leisure time is spent doing double the amount of housework, volunteering, and errands, in addition to doing just as much paid work as the boys.
Laura added that the expectation of girls to do more work in the household significantly affects “people’s opportunities” in the future while also allowing boys to grow up as men who can’t do tasks like laundry. She then told the mom to trust that her son is “capable” of taking care of himself without another woman’s assistance.
“If you don’t want his future spouse spending their time doing his laundry, then don’t teach him that it’s his future spouse’s responsibility,” Laura said. “He’s capable. Treat him that way.”
Thankfully, many moms on TikTok disagreed that sons don’t need to do their own laundry.
Like Laura, I admittedly side-eyed the mom in her TikTok. While I think she had her son’s future spouse in mind and appreciate how she knew thinking about her 11-year-old son’s wife was odd, I agree with Laura that she should direct her energy to her son.
Disregarding the fact that the mom assumed her son would marry a woman, or anyone at all, passing down a passive-aggressive way to do laundry isn’t the move she thought it was.
Instead, the mom should teach him to do his laundry so he’s prepared for when he eventually moves out alone — unless she’s planning on following him to college to fold his clothes the wrong way, which is highly plausible with this woman. No shade, but shade.
Many moms watching Laura’s TikTok also felt their sons should know how to do laundry long before marriage. The women said they taught their boys to do their laundry, and they also married men were raised to do the same.
“I taught my son to do laundry at like eight because he’s going to be an adult one day,” one commenter said.
“I have the best mother-in-law because my husband was used to doing his own laundry, so when we got married, I was doing my laundry, and he was doing his,” another wrote.
“Yeeeessssss!” a third commenter cheered. “My daughters won’t put up with a man who won’t do his own laundry. They’ve watched their dad do his own and know that’s an expectation.”