miodrag ignjatovic/iStock(NEW YORK) — Christmas is the season to be jolly, the songs tell us, but that is not the case for some moms who feel the burden of doing it all.
“I take on 98 percent and my husband takes on about 2 percent,” said Danielle Shermer, a mother of two from Dallas, Texas.
“I have to wrap the presents. I have to plan our meal for Christmas,” she said. “I have to buy all the food for Christmas. I have to move the elf every night.”
The idea of women doing it all for the holidays was portrayed on the big screen in the 2017 comedy A Bad Moms Christmas about three moms who rebel against all they are expected to do in the holiday season.
“You’re a mom … moms don’t enjoy, we give joy,” one character says in the movie.
The way the characters feel in the movie is is not far from real-life, experts say.
“They were so worried about making the holidays magic for everyone else that they really started to hate the holidays,” said Gemma Hartley, the author of Fed Up, a new book about the unpaid, invisible work women do. "When it comes to the holiday workload, we really need to start retraining the way that we think about care work and emotional labor so men and women can start taking it on equally."
For men to jump in and help out over the holidays, it’s a skill that takes time to learn, according to Hartley.
“It takes time for them to learn initiative when it comes to emotional labor," she said.
There are ways that partners can communicate about expectations and the need for help without devolving into a pre-Christmas argument, according to relationship expert Bela Gandhi.
Here are Gandhi's three tips:
1. Know what you need: "You know your partner and you know what their strengths are. Ask them how they can best help you. But first, you have to ask yourself, 'How can he help me?'"
2. Be specific in your request: "Your partner wants you to be happy and when you give them specific requests, they will most likely comply."
3. Discuss at a peaceful time: "Maybe it's after dinner. Maybe when it's when you're going to bed. Then have the conversation and watch how things can get better. It's amazing."
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