Dad: Your mom says you have to do this!

I was heading out to buy groceries and run errands for the family this weekend, and I told Michael the kids needed to pick up their rooms before I got back.

To which he then yelled to the children, “Your mom says you have to clean up before she gets back.” When they protested, he continues to say “Your mom says it needs to be done.”

So I started wondering why he phrased it that way. Is it just easier to blame it on the other parent to get things done? Does it mean you don’t agree with what they asking?

I definitely say Daddy says to do X,Y or Z because I think they are more scared of him.

I asked Michael later why he said it that way and he said he there was no reason. He didn’t think about it all. It just came out.

Does your spouse ever say: Do XYZ because your Mom/Dad says so?

37 comments Add your comment


November 13th, 2012
1:19 am

I don’t think so . . . but then, if he did, I wasn’t around to hear it. :-) I don’t think we ever played good cop/bad cop in that sense. The kids definitely knew that somethings were more important to me than to their dad, and vice versa — i.e., I was the one that normally instigated room clean-ups and was the family’s event coordinator, he was the one that they went to for money issues. I get called when their cars make funny sounds, or they don’t feel good. :-) They knew I was a sucker for going to a movie or the mall or bookstore; their dad would happily take them to almost any sporting event they wanted to go to. :-)

Basically, I always felt like I had quite enough authority on my own that I didn’t have to invoke a “higher authority.”


November 13th, 2012
5:37 am

I say it to my Gf’s kids but I say it like “help your mom out by xxxxxxx, so she doesn’t have to do it”.

But sure, if the mom runs the house, why wouldn’t the say it? And if the kids are more afraid of dad raising his voice (which may be the case with TWG), then why wouldn’t she use it to her advantage?

FCM on my cell

November 13th, 2012
5:53 am

My Dad was good at a different version. I recall they were having a party. I was allowed to attend. Dad would be ready/dressed before anyone nd mom was always last to get ready for social stuff. So I heard her say she was going up to change & ask him to vaccum a room. She goes to shower and dad starts calling me. I came in dressed but hair/ face yet to do. He said your mom needs the vac run go do it. She came back as I was putting back vac and said Mike, FCM needs to get ready, that is why I asked you. He shrugged and said well it is done. He still does that she asks him and if someone else is there he has them do it. lol

Sk8ing Momma

November 13th, 2012
6:38 am

It depends. We will invoke “Mom/Dad said _______” if that is in fact the case AND it is something that parent has specific knowledge about/control over/interest in. When it is something as “generic” as cleaning one’s room, we wouldn’t invoke “Mom/Dad said…” We both know that the kids need to clean their rooms.

IMO, I don’t pass the blame on to my husband by invoking, “Dad said _____” just because I can. We both share parenting, including its unpleasant tasks.

Katherine the Great

November 13th, 2012
6:52 am

Imagine living with that size 12 Mother Jane Goose and hearing her boss the old man around: “Do this, do that…”

There are too many women who order their husbands around like the queen bee. If you take care of your husband right and don’t be a nag that would not happen.


November 13th, 2012
6:54 am

Ditto…DB: Basically, I always felt like I had quite enough authority on my own that I didn’t have to invoke a “higher authority.” I do not recall every saying, ” Wait until your Dad gets home!”

My husband is much more laid back and would have never been considered the mean/strict parent. His parents were both alcoholics and things were pretty random. Luckily, he followed my lead in parenting. A few years ago he told me, ” At the time, I did not see why you had so many rules with the kids but I just followed along. Now, I realize that it was for the best. Especially when I see other kids out there who have no rules.” I had parents who were super strict but when my two came along, I had psychology classes under my belt and five years of teaching. I observed the children who were “good kids” and looked to see what their parents did. Something I still encourage new parents to do.

Mine went to their Dad often, when I was traveling, and still do. He sometimes called me but typically just took care of things. Lots of things he knows about that I know ZIP.


November 13th, 2012
7:02 am

Re: nagging

I have often wondered why women get a bad wrap on this. I think I have figured it out. I have been known to nag:

Trash day tomorrow…as it is every week
Please pick you socks up from in front of the couch
Please mow the lawn this weekend
Your tags from your shirts ( dry clean) are all over the bathroom floor
Put a coaster under your drink on the coffee table, so their won’t be a ring
Why is the trash in the kitchen sink when the can is right under the sink?

No one ever needs to nag me on:
the laundry needs to be done
we need toilet paper, milk, kleenex
the floor needs to be mopped or vacuumed
there is nose art all over the front window from the dog
the dishes are over flowing the sink
there is nothing to eat for dinner

THAT I BECAUSE I AM A ADULT AND I HANDLE THESE THINGS WITHOUT A REMINDER…HAHA No one needs to nag me. I think that those who are nagged would eliminate the problem if they would just do the things that they are being nagged about, before nagging.

Atlanta Mom

November 13th, 2012
7:57 am

In my experience, my husband never wanted to be the bad guy, so it was always “mom says”. It made me very angry.
This reminds me of an earlier column about a household having a “fun parent” and a responsible parent. Just more of the same. Fun parent doesn’t want to be the “mean” parent and make the children do something they don’t want to do.

Voice of Reason

November 13th, 2012
8:32 am

Ha, this is funny because my definition of what is considered, “clean” and what her definition of what is considered, “clean” are two completely different things.

I could see myself saying, ‘kids your mom wants you to clean your room!” because while most people would consider their rooms to already be clean for the most part, she does not. So, then, it really is her that wants it to be clean to her standards. The kids understand that mom is a little extreme. We just accept it and move on.


November 13th, 2012
9:00 am

Parents should keep a united front in front of the children. In my house, when I told the kids to do something, he reinforced it. He didn’t say “because Mom said so”, he would say, “because you were told to do something.” Didn’t matter who told them, they were given instructions and had to follow through, or there were serious reprecussions.

Like I told my youngest, We are the boss, you are the employee. If you don’t like our rules, there’s the door.


November 13th, 2012
9:44 am

Kids, can’t live with em, can’t shoot em.


November 13th, 2012
9:49 am

When it comes to the normal chores – cleanup, prep for bed, setting the table – it is not ascribed to any particular parent. It is a commandment and must be done, period.

However, there are certain things that are dad/mom specific. For instance, when I cook, kids are not allowed in the kitchen. Stragglers will be put to work or in timeout (or even spanked depending on the number of times they’ve been told to git). My wife will often lay out the clothes for my oldest even if I’m getting him ready. If he protests, I will say “this is what mommy laid out for you to wear, so get in it.”


November 13th, 2012
10:26 am

@misawa – why aren’t the kids allowed in the kitchen while you are cooking? How old are they?

I look at it this way...

November 13th, 2012
10:35 am

…if YOU said those exact words to him, then he is by all means entitled to say “mom says” because you really did say it – but, if he is the one who initiated the thought regarding the chore and starts out that “mom wants” then by all means you have a complaint.

And, I am like MJG, I am an adult and do not need a “higher authority” other than “because I am the parent”, and no one needs to remind me of the those “needs” she listed, either…


November 13th, 2012
10:49 am

Nope, don’t use the Poppy said or Nanny said..They know they have certain things to do and they need to do it..The girl of course (in our house) does much better at this than the boy..

I think I could repost all of MJG 7:02 am post and that says it all..

@misawa..My two aren’t allowed in the kitchen while I’m cooking if it’s just to play (boy)..They are allowed to be in there if they want to help and learn to cook..They are 10 and they both enjoy cooking some..Of course the worst on this is the husband, he will walk into the kitchen and just stand there..Umm, what do you need, nothing..Ok, get out of my way.. :)


November 13th, 2012
10:50 am

My husband does that and I HATE it!! All it does is set up a good guy/bad guy scenario and I’m always the bad guy. It comes out in the form of they want to ride in daddy’s car to whatever event, and when we go out to eat, they fight over who gets to sit next to daddy. They want to be where ever daddy is because daddy doesn’t make them do any chores. It’s always “Mommy said to do this” and “Mommy said to do that”. I HATE it!!


November 13th, 2012
10:56 am

The only time we typically do it is when we are reinforcing what the other parent said NOT taking over the authority but rather showing a united front. If my husband told our son to go do something and I see that he’s not doing it, I will usually say something like, “go do what your dad told you to do.” Not because I’m trying to put the ‘blame’ on my husband but b/c I’m reinforcing that he can’t get away with anything just b/c dad isn’t standing there looking over his shoulder.


November 13th, 2012
11:07 am

@MotherJaneGoose – LOL!! so true!!

In our house there isn’t any “because Mom/Dad said”.

I tend to only ask for something to be done twice. The first time is a general “this is what you need to get done” and I give them leeway on when and how (within my timeframe of need). The second time, I say “this is what needs to be done and it needs to be done now” because, by this time, if they didn’t remember to do the task on their own, it will be forgotten again.

I guess sometimes you have to be either a nag or a dictator, sigh.


November 13th, 2012
11:14 am

No Nagging necessary. I use the 1, 2, 3 approach.

I will ASK the first time (please go clean up your room). I will TELL you the second time ( I asked you to do this 10 minutes ago, now go do it). 3rd time, you get punished.


November 13th, 2012
11:39 am

To me, it seems that Michael was literally doing just as you told him to do. So, now the wife can’t complain. But since you are thinking too hard about this, then I would say next time “clean up your rooms before I get back.”

At our house, the kids seem to think that means throwing stuff in the closet or hiding stuff under the bed. That’s not “cleaning” to me, but it would be to my husband.

a reader

November 13th, 2012
11:40 am

I agree that with those who don’t like it. It’s like the spouse won’t put on his/her big boy/girl pants and be the other grownup. Learned helplessness with taking charge and it drives me nuts.

And it’s different from when you catch them not listening to something the other parent said. Then you get to say “Hey, Dad said to do that so go do it!” (or Mom said….).


November 13th, 2012
12:24 pm

When you are a single parent it doesn’t matter


November 13th, 2012
12:45 pm

We didn’t do that playing them off thing, perhaps because they did not dare ask, “Why do we have to do this?” There were no child-to-adult whys when a demand was given.


November 13th, 2012
12:51 pm

It seems to me that scenarios like this lead to dad saying, with a shrug of his shoulders, “You know, that crazy mom. We gotta do what she tells us to.” which makes you out to be the nutcase.

I would have LOVED it if, after the divorce, my former husband had said, “No, I can’t let you (ride a 4 wheeler, practice with the gun, stay in bed all day, watch scary movies, eat junk food till you throw up, you fill in the blank) because your mom will kill me if I do. However, he did not; just left the mess for me to clean up, figuratively speaking, when they came home from his house.


November 13th, 2012
1:00 pm

I’m guessing tomorrow’s topic may be another version of why men cheat?


November 13th, 2012
1:08 pm

We’ve been over this before. You want to tell us what needs to be done, then reject our efforts when it’s not done exactly how YOU would have done it. That’s a recipe for conflict and ambivalence. Eventually, anyone stops listening when you complain a certain number of times. If you want us to do things, then let us do them and leave it alone.

In other words, if you want us to do more of the domestic issues we’re talking about here, then comepltely give up the control of those issues. It seems some of you want us pulling our fair share (heard that alot recetnly) but you still want the glory, recognition, authority, encouragement and sympathy of doing it all yourself.

Soccer MILF

November 13th, 2012
1:52 pm

There are a few things my husband HAS to do. Allow me not to work, pay for a nanny, keep me in luxury and occassionally one other thing. ;)

Its that other thing he gripes aout the most.


November 13th, 2012
2:15 pm

Jeff I am willing to abdicate many of the chores around here…he/she/they can do them how they see fit. If the kitchen/dishes/bathroom are clean enough that nobody gets sick then do it however you think is right short of having the dog lick it all clean.

As to the laundry, just don’t turn it all gray or pink and we are fine.

Now see, you do have to have some common ground before you abdicate. :)

(Then again I bet he/she/they would have rules on things they normally do too….like don’t kill lawn when you water. rake the leaves into the drain…there has to be something).


November 13th, 2012
2:19 pm

@Mayhem – safety issue more than anything else. If I’m walking back and forth between counter, sink, and oven I don’t want to have to dodge kids – or more specifically, their toys. I’m not really a multi-tasker either, so kitchen work requires concentration for me. It’s that Y chromosome of mine. :)


November 13th, 2012
2:34 pm

Kids are 4 yrs and 21 mos. And the younger one wants to play right under foot.


November 13th, 2012
3:02 pm

@ Jeff…if the toilet paper and/or paper towels got put on AT ALL, I would not complain …no matter what direction it is facing. My Mom was the queen of picky pants. I am not. I do not care if there are lines in the carpet after vaccuming. If it is has been vacuumed …hoorah! Any attempt at housework here is appreciated.

Here is something I HAVE learned…when my husband does the dishes, the trash under the sink gets noticed. This is because he has to put things in it from dinner and then complains that it fills up so quickly ( there are two of us who live here…haha). When I cook and do the dishes, the trash is not noticed. I have to remind him to take it out. I do not complain that the hamper fills up so quickly with dirty clothes. I just put them in the washer/ dryer. I am out for an entire week and do my laundry while I am gone, at the hotel. Then, I get to do the laundry in the hamper when I get home…HINT…it is not mine. Rarely does anyone else do laundry around here. One of us is amazed that two spouses could live in the same house and they each do their own laundry…it is not me. I am thankful that he has ALWAYS had a good job over the past almost 30 years. Not every husband has. I guess asking for someone else to do the laundry or vacuum might be too much. I did not expect it when we first got married and thus it has carried through.

I was gone for an entire week and my daughter came home. She cleaned the house for me and told me how bad it was. She laughed when she told me that “Dad said he had kept everything picked up.” I will say this…my own Mother would FLIP if she were alive to walk in and see this house sometimes. I cannot keep it clean and be 1000 miles away …at the same time.


November 13th, 2012
3:05 pm

@MotherJaneGoose, you summed it up beautifully.


November 13th, 2012
4:00 pm

I do the laundry, dishes, take out the trash, and several others, but i do them my way. If the GF cooks, does that bathroom, whatever, I never say a peep about what she does or how she does it.

If you think you can undo years and decades of “training” your spouse has received in not doing anything, you’ll be disappointed everytime after only a week.


November 13th, 2012
4:03 pm

I’m curious, though. If you get mad and/or “punish” your spouse/kids in other ways besides yelling, it doesn’t really sound like that’s working either. If the issue has been going on for a long time, why do you expect it to change overnight, and only by being more harsh yourself towards them. Why no change in YOUR behavior?


November 13th, 2012
4:33 pm

Jeff…you are correct. I grew up in a house where my Mom never worked and she did everything in the house. Dad brought home the paycheck. I have always worked. I did not know it would be o.k. for my husband to cook dinner sometimes, dust or even mop the floor. No one told me and I did not see this at home. I spent years being bitter and finally decided that I cannot do it all. I would much rather do my job, which I enjoy, than keep a spotless house. Thus, the choice has been made. My husband’s mother did not keep a clean house, so he that was not something he learned. He does not care if things are just so. That is my guilt trip. I have stopped being angry. I just let things go.

Fred ™

November 13th, 2012
5:26 pm

MJG: How come you seem to pick up so many stalkers, like “Katherine the Great” at 6:52? Is it the same person using different screen names? Personally I LIKE to read your posts and you come across to me as a wonderful person whom I’m sure people are proud to be friends with. So if you ever get discouraged by the idiots, just remember that there are more of us that “like” you then there are of them, the asshats.

Jeff: You can try all you want, but there is no equivalence to a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and a marriage.


November 13th, 2012
6:10 pm

@ fred…well thanks partner…haha! I do have just a few friends both here and across the US. My own two tell me that I have more friends under 6 than anyone they know. I worked with 3 schools in NM and they have already asked me to come back out. I am excited. It was fun to meet new children and teachers too! No one likes everyone, that’s for sure. I do not know why some people get their kicks out of making rude comments to and about me. PSSST…some days I am not too wonderful…we all have a few days like those each year :).