Mental Labor

A Viral Tweet About Birthday Invites Perfectly Highlights Moms' Invisible Mental Workload

A mom tried to plan her 3-year-old’s birthday party. When she talked to kids’ dads about it, they all did the same thing.

A mother holding her baby and scheduling appointments. A viral tweet from a mom just highlighted the...
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The invisible workload of motherhood is no joke. Even in the most communicative of partnerships, moms tend to take on a ton of mental and emotional labor, like planning kids’ extracurriculars and taking care of routine doctor and dentist appointments.

Sonya Bonczek, a mother of a 3-year-old, just saw another aspect of moms’ often-invisible workload come to light when she was trying to invite her child’s classmates to his birthday party — and when she shared it, it went completely viral on Twitter.

“Been running into dads of my 3yo’s classmates and asking for their emails for his birthday party and so far 3 out of 3 dads have proceeded to give me their wives’ emails instead. This is now a social experiment,” Bonczek tweeted on July 12.

Within hours, tons of other moms started sharing their frustrating experiences of being the assumed taskmaster of the house.

“My husband is a teacher and this fall our oldest son is starting at that school where he works. The school just sent out an informational email about dates & forms we need to fill out etc, and they only emailed one of us, guess which one,” replied another mom.

“HE WORKS THERE” she added for emphasis.

One of the most irritating, but unfortunately somewhat expected, replies to the viral tweet was that of men saying that they simply cannot be trusted to take care of a calendar — which is strange, considering that many men have jobs and careers that presumably give them responsibility for tasks and deadlines.

Others said they simply “don’t have interest” in planning things, implying that somehow their wife adores the administrative tasks.

Another bizarre response from men? They didn’t want to give their personal email address to a woman, because they are afraid their wife would think they were having an affair. Many also framed the situation as “a strange woman” asking for their email as opposed to, you know, a parent of one of their child’s classmates.

“And even if the wife had a question about the ‘random woman’s number’ in your phone just... tell the truth? It’s a mom of you’re kids’ classmates, saved for the kids’ socializing. Truly not seeing the issue here?” tweeted one mom. Others added that if trust is an issues (or if there is a lack of balance in mental workload for the kids), creating joint email accounts for both parents to use could be helpful.

To be fair, there were also some dads who said they were in charge of most of the scheduling and also grew frustrated when people like school administrators would automatically ask for their wife’s contact information. Some also voiced that other moms would express discomfort in coordinating plans with them instead of their wife.

But overall, the replies showed that we still have a long way to go in terms of equal distribution of child labor between parents. Dads: your wife is not your secretary, your personal household manager, or your mom. Give out your own email address.