Why Do Moms Tend to Manage the Household Scheduling?
Sonya Bonczek wanted to make sure she was inviting all of her son’s favorite kids to his fourth birthday party, which is in August. But she quickly realized she didn’t have all of their parents’ email addresses, and her son’s preschool doesn’t give them out. When she saw one of these parents at pickup, she flagged him down and asked for his contact info for an Evite. “Let me give you my wife’s,” he said.
“I didn’t even think about it,” Bonczek told me. Until the next day, when the same thing happened again. She saw a dad at the local pool in their Chapel Hill, N.C., neighborhood, and asked for his email — he gave out his wife’s instead. When this happened a third time in a single week, Bonczek, who works at the University of North Carolina Press, took to Twitter:
The tweet went viral, and the replies to it are like answers to a wild Rorschach test, revealing all kinds of intimate and specific interactions among parents. Some dads responded that their wives are just better at scheduling kid activities, and many people pushed back that moms are better at it because dads aren’t really trying and women have been socialized to manage their children’s schedules. Others responded that they wouldn’t feel comfortable giving a “strange” woman their email, because they’d be concerned it was inappropriate. Dads in families without moms expressed that they’re often left out of kid socializing because it takes place in female social circles.
And lots of people responded with a reference to Season 2, Episode 1 of “Girls5eva,” in which one of the main characters deals with a similar scenario: Trying to record a comeback album with her girl group, she keeps getting emails about her son’s karate classes. When she tries to include her husband on the email thread, one of the other moms just creates a new thread that deliberately leaves him off.
This plot point was inspired by the real-life experiences of Meredith Scardino, the creator and showrunner of “Girls5eva.” She told me that her son started a new preschool in October 2020, just as she was in the middle of production for the show’s first season. Even though Scardino’s partner, Andrew, was the one at drop-off every morning, she found that she was getting the calls from the school nurse if, say, her son fell during gym class.
“Same with after-school activities,” Scardino said. If a parent was planning something, it was always a mom, and she’d only email other moms. “I found the assumption so interesting that it went to me, because I was like: How did they even get my email? How did they know who I am? No one’s even met me or seen me! It’s sort of the assumed idea that the mother is the one who knows everything and schedules everything.”