Psychology 409b September 26, 2006

Outline 2: Lazy Husband 25-48

Hmm… motherhood? What about fatherhood?

By Christina Afonin


Instructions for this activity are found at:

Instructor: Dr. Leon James


Joshua Coleman, Ph.D. (2005). The Lazy Husband. (New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press). Reviewing pages 25-48.


  1. The Problem with Motherhood
    1. Whoever cares the most has the least bargaining power
    2. Hormones triggered during nursing may stimulate a connection with infant and mother
    3. Father may not have this connection during infancy because of lack of lactating mammary glands
    4. Karen and Carl Example

                                                              i.      Carl chooses the “wait-and see”  approach

                                                            ii.      Karen reacts to the first sign of distress

                                                          iii.      How does Karen get Carl to change?

                                                          iv.      Carl has more power in this situation because the infants tears are not as affective for him as they are for Karen

1.      Convince Carl of the importance to her

2.      Convince Carl of the importance to the infant

3.      Persuade Carl that his current activity is irrelevant when compared to caring for the infant at that moment

                                                            v.      Regardless, people do things they’re unmotivated to do in life, because of the positive consequences

  1. Male Status at the Bargaining Table
    1. Shock or surprise meets a helping husband
    3. Display of gratitude for the husbands help. Um, what about the wifes? Dr. Laura also writes this in her book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
    4. I don’t feel taken advantage of, I don’t feel I’m taken for granted, or am not doing more than is fair for me to do.
    5. What to do to change your partner’s behavior

                                                              i.      Appeal to his sense of fair play

1.      always lead with appreciation before a request

2.      request, followed by empathy

3.      empathy and understanding

4.      request

                                                            ii.      Suggest that changing his behavior will benefit him in some way

1.      imply win-win situation

                                                          iii.      Cash in on a favor

1.      introduce topic in nonargumentative, nonconflictual way

2.      here [might] ignore for the moment that he doesn’t help that much anyway

3.      here the phrase “do it for you” is used to make clear that it is now a favor she is doing

4.      the request

                                                          iv.      Show him how much you’re contributing

1.      empathy and appreciation- keeps situation from escalating

2.      list contributions and end with request

                                                            v.      Disclose how unhappy you are with the current arrangement

1.      say straight-up what the workload is doing to your health, piece of mind

2.      Create a to-do list. Dummy it up

                                                          vi.      Work with his priorities

1.      knowing your partner’s priorities and pet peeves improves your bargaining position in marriage

                                                        vii.      Consider eliminating some of the chores

1.      you may have to accept a somewhat higher degree of clutter regardless of his help or not

2.      Lower your standards

a.       Simplify meals

b.      Clean house less frequently and less thoroughly

c.       Don’t bathe the children every single day

d.      Get the kids to do more

3.      Child help

a.       Clearing dishes

b.      Putting away toys/games

c.       Making bed

d.      Cleaning room

e.       Cooking; with supervision

f.        Laundry

g.       Mowing lawn

h.      Running

                                                      viii.      Make trades

1.      time alone

2.      weekends or nights with friends

3.      purchases (equivalent value to yours)

4.      doing things with him that he especially likes, which you don’t

5.      sleeping late on weekends

6.      time with his children from prior marriage

7.      agreeing to spend time with his friends or family, those that you don’t necessarily like

                                                           ix.      Improve your bargaining position

1.      going back to work after child is older

2.      improving attractiveness

                                                             x.      Women sometimes feel they have no right to complain:

1.      because the grow up watching mother take on majority of responsibility

2.      low self-esteem prevents them from feeling entitlement

3.      views of women’s responsibilities prevent from demanding more

  1. Divorce Culture and Bargaining Power
    1. “geriatric gender gap” 14.7% females over the age of 65 were poor, compared to 8.2% males
    2. Unpaid child care is not measured and counted as labor, therefore; women forfeit billions of dollars a year in retirement income
    3. Men maintain solid track on their careers because they don’t take time off to raise their children
    4. Women are more compromised with the issue of divorce, because usually, they become the custodial parent
    5. Dominance models used in example (Jessica)
  2. The Husband’s Power (or Lack Thereof)
    1. In homes where the wife earns more money, husbands usually do more parenting and housework


Related Links: -I entered “lazy husband” into a google search, and along with a few other jokes and websites, this came up. Although entertaining, it portrays a wife’s wishes that backfire in her face. In this case, I don’t know that the husband’s listening to his wife was a good thing. -This was an interesting website because it was a review of sorts of Joshua Coleman’s book. After reading it two or three times I’m still not sure if Lisa Parsons is being sarcastic or if she’s actually being completely honest. I haven’t been sold to the book, personally, I disagree with a lot of what Coleman believes is good advice and have to wonder how his marriage is doing. -I know we should probably be looking up relevant things pertaining to the topic, but try looking up “housewife” and staying away from the “desperate housewives” links. They’re everywhere! So I typed in “how to be a housewife” and this came up. It will never cease to amaze me how much negative publicity females get especially if they are housewives, or homemakers, when does their day of appreciation, or recognition come? All these damn books on how to compliment the husband and you’ll get everything you want, what about the females?


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