A Reddit user shared that both her parents and her in-laws think that her daughter should become "head of the household" instead of her husband in regards to cleaning and cooking.

By Zara Hanawalt
January 05, 2021
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Credit: Getty Images

Another day, another story of parents being told how to handle personal family matters. Only this time, there are some larger factors at work here. And we've got to say it: This scenario seems pretty darn sexist.

A mom posted a Reddit thread about her new work situation, which will involve a longer commute and frequent travel. She and her husband discussed how they'd make it all work, and they came to a pretty clear conclusion: The husband, who is working from home due to the pandemic, will take on more household responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. Sounds reasonable, right?

But the couple's parents don't see it that way. "[M]y mother wouldn't let my daughter go off and play with her brother until she'd washed all the dishes, despite her volunteering to help cook (of her own free will) earlier on in the day," the original poster wrote. "When I stepped in and said that she could go, my mother was annoyed, and said that my daughter needed to quickly learn how to do things like clean and cook, since she'll be the one 'in charge' with me gone."

It's worth noting that the daughter in question is the couple's older child (their son is 4), and at ten years old, it seems appropriate for her to help out with some chores. But, the sexism seems pretty clear here: Why can't the grown male adult who will be home be "in charge" instead of the child? And, more importantly, would this same sort of pressure be placed on this kid if she were a boy?

According to the original poster, all four grandparents see eye-to-eye on this and believe the couple's daughter is "the next best thing" when her mother is not around.

But commenters on the post don't see it this way. "These people have set the bar so low they think that Dad is incapable without help from a 10 year old child," one user replied.

Sexism aside, there's an all-too-common issue at work here: Parents, not grandparents, are responsible for determining their kids' level of responsibility. You want your ten-year-old to do more around the house? Great. You prefer to let your tween go play instead of cleaning up after meals? Also great. Want to hire someone to help around the house while a parent travels? Still great.

We get it: Grandparents care deeply about their kids and grandparents, and they almost certainly mean no harm (and they're probably influenced by generational differences). But if the parents in this situation say the father should simply take on more at-home responsibility instead of putting it on a child's shoulders, that's the way it is.

One commenter shared a similar sentiment, writing, "I also worry about the fact that when you, the parent, told her to go play your parents undermined you and told her to keep doing what they say. This is a no. You are her mother and if you say she can go play then she gets to play. End of story."

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