For parenting blogger Clint Edwards and his wife, Mel, life had blessed them with three children, a happy life together and a wonderful (if not a little messy) home. After 10 years of marriage, the young pair had tread through a lot of life’s ups and downs together when a relatively unassuming episode sent them skyrocketing to viral fame. The incident started with the kind of regular weekend phone calls that parents and their adult children commonly have. It was then that a question Edwards’ mother asked left him utterly flabbergasted. His eventual answer threw the virtual world into a frenzy and left everyone with a lot of food for thought.
1. An Unassuming Inspiration
Oregon man Clint Edwards was minding his own business as a loving husband and father to three adorable little kids when he found that he had become an unassuming viral sensation. Clint wed his wife Mel in 2004 and, like any married couple, they’ve experienced much of what life has to offer together.
The pair had been by each other’s sides while pursuing several degrees, moving across the country, raising children, buying cars and a home – no easy feat! But, an incident in the summer of 2017 made Clint Edwards stop and reevaluate everything.
2. A Traumatic Event
Clint Edwards’ parents divorced when he was still at the rather tender age of nine. His hard-working single mother then did everything she could to raise her son right and provide him with the type of love and security that every child needs.
As a grown man, Clint said he recognized and appreciated all that his mother did to sustain their household. Clint later became a family man himself but realized that he’d had no male example to follow. That being said, it’s all the more surprising what he ended up doing.
3. A Family Man
Clint Edwards and his wife Mel, whom he describes as “charming” and a “spitfire” are the proud parents of Tristen, 10, Norah, 7, and baby Aspen. The devoted father has pledged to put his all into parenting and being a family man, but still, life always throws curveballs.
An obviously caring and involved father, Edwards describes his kids as “snarky, needy, wonderful and frustrating.” With children constantly running around making messes, having meltdowns and needing to be cared for, things sometimes fall through the cracks and Edwards was about to have an awakening revelation.
4. Forging His Own Path
Along with working hard to help pay the bills, keeping his three bundles of joy happy and healthy, and keeping the fire aflame in his marriage, Clint Edwards is the writer of “No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog.”
It’s safe to say he has a lot on his plate as he also has a day job as a student services coordinator at Oregon State University. Describing himself as a father and husband learning by trial and error, it’s even more surprising how he decided to handle a certain situation.
5. Pitted Against the Odds
Ten years after his parents separated, when Edwards was 19, his father, unfortunately, passed away. In his blog, Edwards has detailed how growing up he had quite a few step-parents, step-siblings and all kinds of complicated family relations throughout his life.
Yet, he felt that no one ultimately filled the role of a permanent father figure for him. Given, Clint Edwards isn’t the only one who has found themselves in this situation, the circumstances of his background make his story all the more interesting and impressive.
6. A Strong and Surprising Mother
Even though Clint’s father didn’t have a very active role in his son’s life, he remained close to his mother over the years. His mother did all she could to help guide her son through the ups and downs of life.
She juggled two jobs, working long hours and staying up late to support her three children. One time she even taught Clint how to make pancakes over the phone while she was at work. There’s no question that Edwards has always deeply loved his mom, but a pivotal conversation they had one day unexpectedly left him completely taken aback.
7. The Question that Sparked an Internet Sensation
Clint Edwards was talking on the phone with his mother one Saturday while doing the dishes when she asked him a question that temporarily left him lost for words. In the middle of doing his part taking care of the chores, his mom completely caught him off guard with a question about his wife, Mel.
Clint Edwards later shared the details of the conversation in which his mother asked: “Doesn’t it bother you that Mel won’t keep a cleaner house?” Admitting that he didn’t initially know what to say, he eventually formed a response that was so perfect it became a viral sensation.
8. Grappling with Reality
“I didn’t really know how to respond to my mother, so I floundered,” he said when looking back on his shock over his mother’s pretty critical inquiry. Edwards remembered, however, that his parents were part of the Baby Boomers generation.
“I believe my mother’s perception of our house really reflects the era she grew up in,” he later reflected. During that time, his mother was instilled with certain expectations about the cleanliness of houses. Furthermore, the account made him recall something his father had once told him.
9. Experience Isn’t Always the Father of Wisdom
Although he didn’t really know his father all that well, there was one tidbit of advice that his dad had passed on that stuck with Clint Edwards throughout all the years. Soon enough, he began pondering his father’s suggestion on choosing a wife.
What his dad advised about a prospective spouse was this: “Stop by her house unexpected. See how it looks in there. You can tell a lot about a woman by how she keeps her house.” Keeping that in mind, it led Clint to say the unexpected about his relationship with his wife.
10. A Messy Situation
At this point in their lives, Mel and Clint Edwards had been married for more than a decade. With three little tykes running around, it was no secret that their house wasn’t super tidy and definitely not as neat as his mom’s house.
Unlike his father, Clint wasn’t bothered by somewhat disorderly surroundings when it came to the decision of whom to marry. In fact, it wasn’t the mess that bothered Clint at all, in this whole scenario it was something else that left him feeling unsettled.
11. A Sign of the Times
Clint Edwards’ parents came of age in the middle of the 20th century when stereotypical gender roles were more of the norm. It was a common-held mindset that the woman should be responsible for all domestic duties while the man was out making a living.
As Clint continued to wash the dishes he contemplated the viewpoints that he parents held and how to respond to what his mother had previously stated about Mel cleaning the house. No one, however, was expecting what he would say.
12. Acknowledging the Truth
Clint realized that his mother wasn’t trying to be hurtful when she asked about her daughter-in-law’s home cleaning practices and frequency, rather she had made the assertion out of genuine curiosity. It was true their abode wasn’t always in spotless form.
“I will admit, though, there is often kid clutter, dishes in the sink, and half finished art projects on the counters,” he later reflected. Although such remarks about personal tidiness could easily offend many people, you’ll likely never forget how Edwards ultimately reacted.
13. The Underlying Concern
To tell the truth, Clint Edwards was not upset or angered by what could have been inferred as criticism for a messy house. Although that matter was resolved, he still felt that he needed to address the insinuation that his wife should be tasked with cleaning their home.
As thoughts raced through his head, Edwards admitted that, unlike his father, he never thought about cleanliness as a decisive trait to look for in a spouse.” I will also admit, [our house] isn’t as clean as my mother’s home, but that doesn’t bother me. In fact, I don’t really think about that at all.”
14. A Heartfelt Acknowledgement
Edwards did, however, think about how much the times had changed since his parents initially got together. What he realized were all of the attributes that actually were priorities in his relationship. “I thought about how I liked what she had to say. I thought about how she made me feel,” he revealed.
“I thought about how she smiled a lot. I liked that. I thought about how she was sweet and thoughtful, and how she seemed like the kind of mother I’d want for my children.” As all of the dialogue was internalized, he had yet to express to his mother the most epic realization of them all.
15. An Important Lesson for all Couples
“I didn’t really know how to respond to my mother, so I floundered. I never really know what to say in moments like this,” Edwards admitted of the moments before he thought of what could only be described as the best response ever.
For all of those who are married or are thinking about getting hitched one day, this is where you should really pay attention. In fact, for anyone who shares a household, Edwards’ next words underline a key approach to maintaining any sustainable relationship.
16. Bypassing Anger
It was then after struggling to regain his bearings and process what his mother had said that Clint Edwards came up with the perfect response. He knew his mother’s question about whether his wife’s cleaning habits bothered him was innocent and not accusatory.
Some people might have been angry or defensive but his reaction was straightforward and he couldn’t have expressed himself in a better way. He finally collected himself after “a few moments of struggling to find the right words.” he recalled.
17. The Perfect Response
All the while doing the dishes Clint Edwards eventually formed an epic answer to his mother’s question. “I didn’t get into this marriage for a clean house. I got into it because she seemed like someone I could spend my life with,” he finally asserted.
“I see our marriage as a partnership, so cleaning is as much my responsibility as it is hers,” he said looking back. Edwards’ statement honed in on some very pertinent issues when it comes to love, gender equality and prioritizing values. But the astonishing developments didn’t stop there.
18. Shock Factor
As Edwards explained, immediately after revealing his outlook there was dead silence on the other end of the line. Edwards’ mother was momentarily left speechless. As he allowed his mother time to process his remarks, he continued putting dishes in the washer.
After a few moments, however, his mom finally addressed the fact that her son had disagreed with her about the importance of cleanliness when it came to finding a life partner. He couldn’t have guessed, but his mother completely surprised him with what she said next.
19. A Change of Heart
“Well… that probably is more important than a clean house,” she eventually said, seemingly having a change of heart. Clint Edwards had not anticipated his mom’s answer, but was glad she agreed gender expectations had changed and reaffirmed saying: “Yeah, I think so too.”
That breakthrough moment for mother and son was quite remarkable given the generational gap. The account initially seemed like a small family occurrence and example of a husband not only standing up for his spouse but for interpersonal relationships in general. However, the story doesn’t end there.
20. Blast from the Past
Clint Edwards is no stranger to the subject of gender roles in marriage. Back in 2014, he wrote a piece in “The Washington Post” about how he used to think it was his stay-at-home wife’s duty to make sure the house was in good shape. But some insightful words she told him made him see things differently.
“I’d rather not be that mom who ignores our kids, and myself, because I’m so busy worrying about what the neighbors might think of our messy house,” he quoted his wife as saying. Seeing the value of what she said, he immediately stopped slinging blame and did something else.
21. Eureka Moment
“I realized that this was not her mess, but our mess, and I started pitching in more,” he reflected. He went on to add, “I stopped worrying about the house, and started paying attention to the development of our children.”
“I started to pay attention to how happy they were, and the kind of relationship they shared with their mother, and I noticed that we have a messy house, and really happy, bright kids.” Edwards’ realizations and insights into successful marriages didn’t’ stop there though.
22. The Secret Ingredient
In yet another piece for the “Huffington Post,” Edwards explained his ultimate suggestion for maintaining a successful married life with children, which he explains as something that is simultaneously stressful and rewarding and also a “messy thing that changes every day.”
“Ditch your expectations because they are probably wrong, expect the unexpected, spend more time looking at what your partner is doing rather than what they aren’t, and don’t compare your marriage to anything you see on TV,” he advised. As it turns out all of Edwards’ musings have done more than improve his approach to family.
23. A Flourishing Father
Although he presents himself as mostly winging it when it comes to his personal life, Edwards’ honesty about his mistakes, frustrations, confusions and triumphs seem to be very pertinent to the greater masses and his words have landed him with some high-profile gigs.
Apart from his personal blog, Edwards pens riveting columns on the same subjects for a handful of popular publications, including “Mashable,” “Scary Mommy” and Disney owned “Babble.” When you think about where it all started the results are pretty impressive.
24. Not Just a Family Matter
While issues of feminism and gender roles have become increasingly prominent concerns at the forefront of the social justice and gender equality movement, the account about Clint Edwards, Mel and his mother became more than just a private family matter.
As it turns out, the seemingly minor event struck a chord with some other people too. One thing led to another and the end result of the unassuming day during which Edwards had a conversation with his mom while doing the dishes was unbelievable.
25. An Astonishing String of Events
Among what Clint found important in life was maintaining his parenting blog. At one point, he was trying to post new material on the platform at least five times a week. Of course, the story about his discussion with his mother made it onto the Web.
Edwards posted the account on his blog and shared it on social media. The story became an instant viral sensation, as has since garnered nearly nine thousand likes on Facebook alone. Other outlets started picking up on the story too, leading to an incredible string of events.
26. Going Public
With all of the attention that Edwards’ post was attracting, his blog became more of a viral sensation and he soon found himself accepting invitations for interviews on some of the most watched stages, like on Good Morning America and the Today Show.
The public swooned over his honest and humorous reflections on parenting, marriage and family. Various viral threads picked up on his story and hailed his views as ideals of gender equality and as a modern-day example of positively shifting perceptions on previously misogynistic concepts. The responses that ensued were enough to make a grown person cry.
27. Making Hearts Melt
Edwards received hundreds of responses to the anecdote he shared. Both men and women chimed in to the discussion ready to add their two cents. “I love your thoughtful response…you showed respect to both women. Well done,” wrote one fan on Facebook.
“You have so many years to have a clean house. You have the blink of an eye to make memories with your babies while they’re small,” wrote another. Mostly praise rolled in from readers, but what did those closest to Edwards think of the whole episode?
28. Public and Private Perceptions
While it is obvious that Edwards’ response to his mother’s question that was riddled with outdated perceptions was commendable, the sheer volume and content of the responses he received on social media demonstrate how much society shifted in just one generation.
The mass response to the whole event says a lot for social progress when it comes to archaic gender roles. Yet, with all of this public attention on a private family matter, it may make you wonder how Mel felt about details of their personal lives in the spotlight.
29. Happy Wife, Happy Life
Most partners would likely be happy to have their spouse stand up for them and acknowledge that that in a marital partnership, both parties should take on the responsibilities of chores, child rearing and playing an active role in family life.
And indeed Mel was pleased with her husband’s actions. In fact, she later told the online magazine “Babble” that she was “pretty thrilled” with his response. Edwards’ thoughtful on-the-spot reaction was truly inspiring, but you might be surprised to find out what led him there.
30. The Student Becomes the Teacher
Clint Edwards went from being a child of a single parent to a parent in a multi-child home. Although he still struggles sometimes with not having someone to turn to for fatherly questions, he seems to be a sound role model for not only his family but others who are or aspire to be in similar situations.
His tale provides an example of how a little conscious effort and a lot of love and flexibility can result in achieving the most unexpected goals. As he’s demonstrated, although we try to teach our children the ways of the world, more often than not, we end up learning the most important lessons from them.
31. The Benefits of Fighting
In a heartfelt blog post about a conversation he had with a recently divorced friend, Clint Edwards shared his relatively unconventional views on keeping the relationship healthy. Edwards explained how he felt that fighting, even about things as mundane as loading the dishwasher, was actually a good thing.
According to Edwards, arguing over silly, everyday things like cleaning, as well as more substantial things like keeping in touch with exes is an opportunity for the couple to “call each other out,” and eventually change and evolve. Looks like every hardship is a chance for growth in the blogger’s eyes.
32. Learning to Feel Safe Again
Clint Edwards’ family life wasn’t always as healthy and cheerful as it is today. Having gone through his parents’ tough divorce when he was just nine years old, as well as the many marriages and divorces that followed, made Edwards feel like everyone he loved would only end up leaving him.
As a result of his turbulent childhood, Clint Edwards revealed he had a difficult time realizing his beloved wife, Mel, was there to stay. Fighting over silly things like cleaning the house just wasn’t worth fighting over with the person he loved and cherishes so much. But how did people react to his views?
33. Not everyone was feeling the love
When stories like Clint Edwards’ turn viral, they tend to spread like wildfire and attract all sorts of opinions. Though many would agree with Edwards’ unconventional take on keeping up with the housework, some strongly disagree and are not afraid to voice their opinion.
One Facebook commenter, a woman by the name of Barbara Palombo, had a more traditional approach to everyday chores. She described how she “did what was needed to be done,” even after a hard day’s work. However, not everyone shared her views.
34. Everyone should Pitch In
Commenter Darlene Kehoe Decker was definitely feeling Clint Edwards’ approach to keeping the house clean. In her comment to his story, she said her husband took part in the house’s upkeep, not because she didn’t do it, but because he wanted to.
Kehoe Decker went on to offer fellow parents some advice–they should make sure to teach their kids to cook, clean, do laundry and to overall function in the outside world. Otherwise, they won’t be able to take care of themselves as adults.
35. On Being Too Neat
Another Facebook commenter by the name of Joan Buckner Torres described how putting too much emphasis on a clean house was one of her biggest regrets in life. Instead of keeping her house spotless and her husband happy, she would have rathered spending more time with her little ones.
Buckner Torres also added that she and said husband are now divorced, meaning her attempts to make him happy by keeping the house clean weren’t very effective. Or maybe she just got fed up with keeping up appearances while neglecting the ones she loves most.
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