Before we both forget, go ahead and join the community here at Get Real, Man. It might not up your apple game, but then again, it might. I’m excited to introduce you all to Dave Pidancet. Dave is a fantastic writer, an even better father, and a friend. When I said I was looking for additional contributors and he showed me what he had written, I jumped at the opportunity to share his words with you all. I think they’ll strike a cord. If you like it, let Dave know in the comments and connect with him.
Hi Latham. Loved this, Dave. Made me think about the division of labor, as always. I think of them as swim lanes - we work better with clear dividing lines. The ones that are fuzzy are the ones that create tension. Especially during those pressure cooker early years of kids. Thanks for putting some more language around them.
What an illuminating essay. As I was reading it I was thinking my wife and I have a pretty good balance of the invisible labor - with both of us working full time. By the time I finished, I realized I don't come close to her and can do more. So, thank you on that front.
Also, what really resonated for me and I loved was this: "But if you’re not sacrificing something, it’s likely your partner is." I wrote a piece last spring titled, The Invisible Authors The Visible (about heart) - and this essay on invisible labor is a wholly new take.
It will change our household dynamic. Thank you. And my wife does too :)
This is fantastic -- thanks to you and to Dave. It reminds me of a recent episode of Freakonomics, which I'll share below. There should be a requirement for couples to go through counseling together to discuss these issues before they get married. It's an enormous source of misunderstanding and resentment. I won't get into my own experience of it here, but a lot of fairly progressive people struggle much more than they think with swapping breadwinner roles and reaching some kind of understanding about invisible labor. Dave is right that beating the previous generation of men is a laughably low bar and won't move the needle an inch. But I think many well-intentioned men still struggle to see where the actual goalposts are. I've joked (but not really) that some progress could be made on this front if invisible labor were quantified, if gains were celebrated, and if men had some way of knowing how they stacked up against other men. That isn't the standard that a partner cares about -- and some of this is relative to each relationship -- but men need to feel that they're actually gaining ground. There could be value to tapping into their competitive spirit. Too often men doing invisible labor are not celebrated for progress they make and penalized by ongoing expectations of traditional breadwinning. For my own part, positive affirmation and objective measures of progress do a lot to incentivize this important work.
Thanks for sharing Dave's humor and wisdom Latham. Excellent piece. I'm in the same camp as James with having some lightbulbs go off re the unpaid labor and how much of it I thought I was contributing to. This is a perfect addition to the Real Man conversation. I always look forward to your articles Latham, but now you have me also looking forward to who else you might curate here. Hats off to you and Dave both.
Dave, this was great. I always knew that there was more to housework than the actual chores that we divided with my wife. Having a name for it helps a lot. Thanks to you and Latham for opening up Get Real, Man to this contribution.
Wow I think the author just came up with a whole area for coaching. He basically wrote an article on how to coach new stay at home dads or husbands who can't figure out alone how share the load of family. This is probably a great niche and one that will only grow.
This is another example of someone with spatial giftedness. Not surprising that he, a writer, has this.
He can see between the lines of societies messages and in that space, an opportunity for making a living while making the world a better place. Win for this dad and author.
So many mic drops in here Dave! So good! And I love what you’re teaching your sons. Invaluable.
“Acts of service” Is my top love language so you better believe I devoured this like brain candy ... TOO good Dave!! From this breadwinning wife, thank you for spreading the word! And it doesn’t have to be thankless. I know I need to do a better job showing my husband a bit more appreciation for the invisible tasks that get crossed off that invisible list I don’t know about. Latham thanks for passing the mic!
As a single parent who did most of the cooking and cleaning even before being a single parent, this certainly resonates. Also, dude, just tape a label on the apple. 😂 I kid.
It's a thought-provoking piece that sheds light on the often overlooked but essential work that goes into maintaining a functioning household and family life. The journey into handling the "invisible labor" at home as a stay-at-home dad is both relatable and eye-opening. Thank you for sharing this enlightening piece with your readers.
Thank you, Dave. The comments below are as rich as the essay itself. Your insights, when layered with the Nobel Prize award to Claudia Goldin on "advanced our understanding of women’s labour market outcomes", show how layered this topic is.
The apple story was so familiar, and had me laughing along at the memory of how I would twist myself into knots!