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Mad at Dad

ONLY ONE THING AT A TIME

40% of moms are mad that Dad can't multitask. And the more kids they have, the madder they are: 46 percent of moms with three-plus kids are irked by this.

As mothers, we think nothing of stirring a pot of noodles while setting up a refrigerator-repair appointment, sorting mail, and helping a child with his weekly spelling words. And it annoys us when our husbands act put-upon or overwhelmed when we want them to handle a couple of things at once. The dinner hour tends to be especially trying. Randi Maerz, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Keokuk, IA, says she's repeatedly asked her husband to watch their daughters, 4 and 2, while she's cooking, if only to keep them safe.

Instead, he comes home with a list of things he plans to do around the house. He gets to focus on one thing at a time, whether it's changing his clothes or doing touch-up painting on the house. Meanwhile, she's trying to cook with human leg warmers clinging to her shins.

"His priorities always come first," Maerz says. "He's got to accomplish them before he can focus on helping me with the kids." She likes how he takes on house projects, but his inability to acknowledge her needs and his unwillingness to multitask irritate her every day.

Lisa, a mom of two who lives in the suburbs of New York, knows the feeling.

After a full day at work, she can be cooking dinner, helping with homework, and taking notes for a PTA meeting while her husband is in the family room with their preschooler. She'll ask him to sort through magazines to be recycled while he's there, and he'll claim he can't because he's watching their kid.

 

OUT-OF-WHACK WORKLOAD

31% of moms say their husbands don't help with the chores -- in fact, they generate more.

Lucy King is a former executive turned stay-at-home mom in Franklin, TN. Her much-loved husband leaves his dirty dishes in the sink, even though the dishwasher is empty, and can walk right by a basket of laundry without thinking to take it to the washing machine.

"It's like being pecked to death by a chicken," she says. "I call these silly little things the pecks that are nothing, but when they keep happening, they drive you crazy. I think, 'I shouldn't have to tell you I need this.' "

Malbrough, who also stays home with her daughter, says her husband leaves all the housework to her -- even though he works two weeks on and two weeks off as a cementer's assistant. "He said that's my job," she says. "Since we've been married, he has cooked twice that I can remember. He doesn't know how to operate the dishwasher. He's never vacuumed."

Many moms complain they do more family work outside the house, too. One in five moms says her husband finds time for his own errands, like taking his shirts to the dry cleaner, but doesn't manage to fit in such family ones as going to the supermarket.

Traci Magee of Oak Ridge, TN, has a 6-year-old daughter and a job as a school librarian. Her husband assumes that because her workday ends earlier, she can do all the errands -- even though he has no idea of the sort of maneuvering that takes, especially with a kid in tow.

"Right now, his car needs to go into the shop," she says. "Somehow, I'm supposed to be the person who figures out how to get that done. I don't think he understands the logistics of getting a child somewhere, taking her to daycare, planning ahead for all the things that come up." Often, she says, she isn't home until 6 P.M. -- and he's already there. "A woman's expected to be able to wear fifteen hats," she says. "And it's very time-consuming and tiring."

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