How Can I be Your Lover When I'm Too Busy Being Your Mother
by Sara Dimerman and J.M. Kearns...
Wage-earning women are still doing
the heavy lifting at home.
Contrary to some reports in the media, men
have not caught up with women in
housework and childrearing. Dimerman and
Kearns take a hard look (in Chapter 4) at
current sociological research.
The data says that women are still doing
two-thirds of the homemaking, and if you
look at the "core tasks" (like cleaning and
laundry) which are unrelenting and
non-glamorous, the amount is
three-quarters or more. Women are also
doing two-thirds of the childcare. AND
THOSE ARE JUST AVERAGES. Things are
much more out-of-kilter in many homes.
THE FATAL TWIST
This causes women to become
mothers to their husbands, which
devastates their marriage.
Diane Flacks, CBC Radio
interviewed Sara and
J.M. outside the
Gourmand Cafe on
Here's her fascinating
take on the book:
When I heard about Sara and J.M.'s book, like many women,
I had a feeling it was about me. But I didn't have a husband
who was dropping his boxers right beside the laundry
hamper, or acting clueless in the kitchen. I have a same-sex
partner. I am a wife and have a wife. But still, I have found
myself turning into the gatekeeper, the responsible one, the
controller. I've seen myself treat my lover as my child. This
book helped me see that these behaviours are about
territorial control; about the fact that women who work
part-time or are self-employed or are the default parent are
just not as valued in society, and we look for validation in
our home roles. We stake our territory and then defend it,
sometimes with deep resentment.
I immediately tried the strategies in the book on my partner.
I just unilaterally disarmed - stopped nagging, tsk-ing, and
expecting her to read my mind, and it turned the tide so
drastically, that I think we're ready to negotiate and make
some real change.
This book is not about "gender wars" or "mommy wars" or
any unpleasant and well-trod pap that makes every modern,
even remotely feminist mom's eyes roll. It's about the real
dynamics that happen between loving spouses once they
become a family and share a home.
This book is for everyone and I hope it sparks a revolution of
love and domestic bliss!
Deeper into the Book...
"Ms. Dimerman, a Thornhill counsellor and parenting expert, realized she'd hit on the
crux of the problem for a vast number of marriages in distress. While media plays up
statistics showing men are doing more of the household duties than ever before, most
research shows women are still stuck with the lion's share of the work, even if they
work outside their home and this, Ms. Dimerman says, breeds resentment - and
torpedoes romance." -- York Region Media Group
Advice columnist Kate Carraway tells it like it is
in THE GRID -- Street level in Toronto:
"What's a nice girl like you doing mothering some
dude?...The who-does-what stuff almost always gets
worse with the stability of marriage and the 24/7
screaming festival of young children-and then you'll start
thinking of him as a lazy, incompetent beast, and he of you
as a shrill, bossy harpy. Of course, that is all very
'anti-erotic,' which is my favourite new phrase from
Toronto-based therapist Sara Dimerman."
Rosemary Counter dishes to
her SEX FILES readers in The
We all know the old joke: the
overworked wife's got three rowdy
kids and one big kid -- her husband.
Haha, right? Not so much, says J.M.
Kearns, co-author of the new book
How Can I Be Your Lover When I'm
Too Busy Being Your Mother?
"Mother syndrome is the situation
where a woman finds herself being a
mother to her man instead of the
partner she wanted to be," Kearns
explains. His co-author, family therapist Sara Dimerman,
after more than 20 years of listening to couples bicker
about the small stuff, found their problem boiled down to
this dynamic: mean mom versus bad child. "Both feel
disrespected in different ways."
More From Zosia
Bielski's article in the
As many wives and
girlfriends who work
full-time jobs find
themselves tasked with
running the household
(and his wash cycle),
intimacy is the obvious
"If she becomes his boss,
which is the bottom line
here in the domestic
realm, that sets the tone
for the whole
relationship," Mr. Kearns
Women lose respect and desire for partners they are
mothering: "You've been mommyfied. The mother-child
template presses the wrong buttons," the authors write.
...It's up to the man to link his domestic lassitude to his sorry
sex life, says Mr. Kearns, pointing to reams of research that
suggest loading the dishwasher can turn her crank: "The guy
doesn't realize that doing his fair share is actually going to
have an effect on intimacy and all the emotional stuff he
thinks is a separate department.