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Mad at Dad

HOW ANGRY ARE WE?

46% of moms get irate with their husbands once a week or more. Those with kids younger than 1 are even more likely to be mad that often (54 percent). About half of the moms describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it's "deep and long-lasting."

Bridget Malbrough, who lives in Houma, LA, says she feels angry "the majority of the time." She and her husband have been married for four years, though they separated temporarily after the birth of their daughter, who's now 1.

Her husband doesn't seem to pay attention to or understand his daughter's basic needs, says Malbrough -- for instance, that babies need a lot of sleep. He recently came home from a shift at work at 8:00 in the morning, when Malbrough and her daughter were still snoozing. They'd been up late the night before, and both mom and baby were zonked.

"He just decides he's going to wake everyone in the house up," Malbrough says. "He doesn't think she needs to sleep as much as she does." And, she adds, not only does he violate the universal "never wake a sleeping baby" rule, but once their daughter's awake, she's the one who has to tend to her.

Many moms -- 44 percent -- are peeved that dads often don't notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids (it jumps to 54 percent for moms with three-plus children). We hate that we have to tell them what needs to be done, that they can step over a basket of laundry on their way to find the remote control.

Erin Niumata, a New Yorker and a mother of one, has a husband who's handy with a vacuum because he hates to see debris on the carpet. But he's oblivious to other things -- he never remembers to clean the bathtub, for example, even though she's asked countless times and can't do it herself because of a back injury.

"I hate nagging," she says. "If he asks me to do something, it's done. But if something doesn't matter to him, why should he bother? He'd never forget to TiVo something he wanted to watch, mind you."

Terry, another New York mom with three kids and a full-time job, gets irate every morning during the mad rush to get the family out the door to daycare, school, and work. "I'm making breakfast, getting dressed, and screaming at everyone to get ready -- while he's at the computer," she says. "He always hops-to when I ask him, but it bugs me that he doesn't just pitch in and help on his own. I have to ask every damn day."

Lots of moms -- 40 percent -- are also angry that their husbands seem clueless about the best way to take care of kids. We know we didn't marry buffoons. We married smart men who can fix cars and garbage disposals, men who empty mousetraps without getting the heebie-jeebies, men who can keep track of their fantasy football trades. So why can't they remember to put kids in coats and mittens before sending them off to school? Why do they give the baby a bottle right before we come home, all bursting and ready to nurse?

"My husband is sometimes lax when it comes to keeping an eye on the kids," says Sarah, the mom of a toddler and preschooler in New Jersey. "No one's ever gotten hurt, but once I came home and found that my toddler's brand-new -- expensive! -- rug was covered in marker. It was clear he'd left them on their own for a while, with markers. I was furious. I'm still furious."

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