A married woman who was “forgotten” by her husband on Christmas Day has exposed the worryingly common act too many men are guilty of in a heartbreaking video.
Aubree Jones shared a “PSA for husbands everywhere” after Josh, her husband of 12 years, captured the moment she realized he hadn’t bought her a gift for the 10th year in a row.
The clip shows the Jones family home filled with presents for the kids, Josh and even the dog, while poor Aubree’s stocking lies unloved and empty on a chair.
“Why’s it empty?” Josh can be heard asking, after noting everyone else’s were stuffed to the brim.
“Santa didn’t come for me,” Aubree, who is sat on a couch in her PJs, responds solemnly.
The video quickly amassed millions of views, as women resonated with the familiar turn of events, proving too many men are guilty of forgetting their wives and partners during the holidays.
Melbourne psychologist Carly Dober said the video highlights how women in heterosexual relationships carry the brunt of the “mental load,” a task which is rarely recognised by their partners.
Dr Dober explained it can take many forms, including planning birthdays, Christmases, and other celebrations and remembering what needs to get done in the household or in the relationship and when.
“It’s when women are in the role of delegating all the tasks to respective family members or friends, and making sure they actually get done,” she told news.com.au.
“It can also include emotional labour, meaning being the one who listens, comforts and problem-solves.
“Even in the most progressive relationships this can be a point of contention, in which the woman still does the bulk of the work and it isn’t acknowledged – and may in many cases simply be ‘expected’.”
A recent Australian study found women take on the mental load of planning and co-ordinating activities for children in 78 percent of families, despite only being the primary carer in 52 percent of homes.
Aubree, who is currently expecting her sixth child, stressed Josh is a great dad and partner – but said he “dropped the ball” and the video was a “wake-up call.”
“I’ve taken on this role as an unspoken responsibility because I enjoy it more,” she told news.com.au.
“But just because you enjoy something doesn’t mean it doesn’t add additional stress to my already busy schedule as a wife and stay-at-home mum.
“The previous years, I had just filled my own stocking, but that was the first time I didn’t do it, and instead left it completely empty.
“When Josh saw the empty stocking, he realized that should have been his responsibility, and he dropped the ball.”
The couple, who document their life as a large family on TikTok, decided to share Josh’s failings in a bid to highlight the issue with others.
“I wondered how common this is for other mums and we both agreed we should post it as a PSA to other husbands who may not realize that many women either have empty stockings, or have to fill them themselves,” she said.
The clip made an impact, sparking an outpouring of support, as well as anger among women who argued it highlighted the “exhausting” reality of being in a relationship with a man in 2023.
Shawnda Patterson, a popular dating coach, said that Josh’s actions are an example of why more and more women are choosing not to get married.
“The holiday magic that that woman created for everyone, even down to the fact the dog had a stocking, yet no attention was paid to her, no effort, no nothing,” she stated in a TikTok video.
“[The look on] her face, she laughed but it looked like she wanted to cry.”
Patterson, who has amassed over 350,000 followers with her feminist videos calling out patriarchal behaviours, went on to argue these behaviours can spark the end of marriages.
“That woman looks tired … and this man is oblivious to it. But this is how men lose their wives,” she said.
This is a sentiment shared by Dr Dober, who said the person carrying the bulk of the mental load in relationships is usually “exhausted” and “frustrated”, adding this one-sided behaviour can have a negative impact on someone’s life.
“When people do not have the energy and time to spend on themselves and their wellbeing because they are busy attending to others, this can impact sleep, impact down time, and self-care,” she said.
“It can also damage partnerships by making the person who carries the burden of this work feel resentful, unappreciated, unimportant, not supported, and taken for granted.
“This can cause rifts with couples who may struggle in managing this. Ultimately, people (typically women) want the relief from planning and delegation.”
Women responding to Aubree’s videos certainly echoed this, with many sharing their own similar experiences.
“The first year this happened to me I bawled, the second year I was used to it,” one wrote.
“Yup. That’s just the harsh reality of being a mum and wife,” another scoffed.
As one stated: “My husband has been warned that mine better NEVER be left empty again and I’ve sent him all these videos as a reminder.”
“I haven’t gotten a single present under the tree in 15 years. I can’t tell you the last time I actually got a gift for anything. You become numb,” one mother added.
Others argued Aubree should “leave”, stating it was “never going to get better.”
“This is why I’m divorced. I refuse to live in the background and never be cared for while in a lifelong commitment,” one said.
“This is absolutely heartbreaking, get out,” another pleaded.
Aubree however said her husband was committed to “doing better” and has filled her stocking in the two years since the video was filmed.
“I really just want to bring attention to husbands who may not realize a small thing like lollies, moisturiser, and socks in a stocking can make their wife feel seen and appreciated,” she said.
“My hope was that women who currently have empty stockings (or fill them themselves) would send the video to their husband and open the doors to communicate their need in a lighthearted way.
“However there has been a lot of negativity and it has shocked both of us.
“It makes me realize how many women there are who have felt hurt from someone forgetting about them in the past.”
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