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Why a husband’s rant on household chores is really going viral

Why a husband’s rant on household chores is really going viral
Posted at 6:25 AM, Oct 19, 2023

These days, TikTok is the arbiter of cool, telling us what’s exciting in terms of fashion, food, dance, and other trends. But it’s also a place for more serious insights about modern-day culture and how it’s changing.

So the latest viral post on TikTok isn’t what it seems at first. It’s a rant on parental responsibility by J.R. Minton (@minton_jr), an outspoken UPS driver who has some opinions about household chores.

To understand why it’s getting such attention (currently to the tune of more than 7.1 million views), you should probably watch it without further spoilers. Go ahead, I’ll wait:

@minton__jr♬ original sound – J.R. Minton

MORE: Couples who tackle housework together are happier, study says

I see what he did there.

Minton begins by proudly announcing that he doesn’t help his stay-at-home wife cook, “clean, do laundry, take care of the kids. None of that.” Cue the outrage.

Then comes the clarification, and this is key. Minton says that he does in fact do all these things, but doesn’t think of them as help.

“I cook. I clean. I take care of the kids. I can’t ‘help’ my wife do those things because they are my job, too,” he says. “Change the way you speak. Change the way you think. And grow the [expletive] up and be a man.”

That’s a lot of suspense involved in a 25-second video clip — with a nice payoff. But for me, real apprehension came into play when I started scrolling down through the many comments, looking for the inevitable haters. To my relief, they are scarce.

Many of those chiming in are appreciative women like @lizzyhansen (“Say it louder for the guys in the back”) or @SydNicole (“How do I send this to my husband without sending it”). Of course, there were a few dissenting voices out there, and Minton hasn’t been shy about responding:

@minton__jr Replying to @C B Skipper ♬ original sound – J.R. Minton

MORE: People Are Applauding This Mom For Teaching Her Son About Household Chores

The above is a reply to someone who couldn’t miss the original point any harder, and it raises questions for me personally. Who are these unicorns who still think it’s a woman’s job to clean up around the house — even if they’re a stay-at-home mom? It’s worth noting here that Minton’s wife has four kids to take care of, so she needs all the help she can get. I have two of my own, and I can’t imagine the house staying livable if it weren’t all hands on deck.

Mind you, my family’s situation is more or less the opposite of Minton’s, but his point still applies. My wife has a full-time job in the medical field while I stay home. And when I’m not writing articles like these, of course I’m cleaning up where I can and taking my youngest to the doctor.

Having kids is a full-time job, and my wife and I never really had a discussion about who would be doing what. These attitudes about gender and domesticity are a relic from pre-Baby Boomer times, and modern families can’t really afford to hold on to them — economically or emotionally.

It’s just like I tell my son when he complains about having to fold his sister’s clothes: We’re all a team here.

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