Browne wrote this about Phyllis Major, a model and actress for whom he had ended a relationship with Joni Mitchell. Major was also pregnant with Browne's child at the time. When Major heard it for the first time, she was furious as she thought it unfairly cast her as somebody who had designs on domestic life. "She hated that song," Browne recalled to Mojo. "She said, 'I wasn't having a baby to get you. And the bulls--t about the washing machine is just insulting. So f--k you.'"
"And she was right," he added. "I should have said in that song, Oh s--t, I'm about to become a parent and I have no idea how to do this.' But I was not emotionally mature enough."
Browne and Major later married, but she took her own life in 1976. After her suicide, the singer-songwriter stopped singing this number out of respect for his late wife because she hated the song. Many years later he started singing it again but he still leaves out the part that she didn't like.