Why do women do the bulk of the housework?
No word of a lie, I sat down 6 times today to write this article. Every single time the words started to flow so did the questions from the kids, and more so the guilt of looking at all the housework that needed to be done.
I started to write in between jobs. Put on a load of washing, write a paragraph. Unload the dishwasher, write a paragraph. Went to do groceries, wrote paragraphs in my head. Then it dawned on me. This is how women, especially mothers function every day. We never actually get to fully focus on one task. We are always juggling thoughts, and tasks, and kids, and that is before we have even acknowledged what we as humans want or need.
Guess what my husband was doing while I battled through the above. Playing a computer game. The. Whole. Time.
That was his priority for the day. It’s almost like he didn’t see everything that needed to be done. Did he not see it? Do I notice it more because I feel obliged to tidy up and clean? Or does he not see it because he knows I will do it?
Apparently, men are helping out more around the house, and true, housework has become less of a woman’s job and slightly more of a shared task. A recent Gallup poll suggests that men are doing twice the amount of household chores now compared to 1965, but women still outlast them by an hour.
We have the constant discussion in our house that he does the yard work and I do the inside work. And every single time I find myself wondering exactly how that levels out. I am one hundred percent certain that he doesn’t have to sweep the lawn three times a day, or clean the lawnmower as often as I load the dishwasher, and I can guarantee you that the path doesn’t needed to be hosed down for as long or as often as the bathroom needs cleaning.
Now I’ve got one of the good guys for sure. He works his butt off to make sure we have a fantastic life and I appreciate that he needs some winding down time. But as a wife and a mother I don’t think there is such a thing as winding down time for women. Unless we have done every single chore there is to do, our job is never done.
Why can’t men see that?!
One of my very best male friends once explained to me what he thinks foreplay is. He believes that foreplay starts in the morning, not just at the start of a romantic encounter. His process? Make his wife a cup of tea, take care of the laundry, clean the kitchen, and by that night, she is not exhausted and she is up for some fun. He thought he was that clever. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that what he is saying is just common sense!
Women are nurturers, it is ingrained in our souls and etched onto our hearts. It’s not difficult to understand why we want to have a clean and tidy house or why we work ourselves to the bone to try and do everything around the house while holding down a full-time job and raising kids. It’s when our desire to have a clean space becomes an expectation and an assumption that it is our job is when the problems arise.
Twenty something years ago I had a stand off with my husband. We had been together around 2 years at that stage, and were living in our second home. As he carried the recycling tub out, a water bottle fell on the floor in the middle of the hallway that ran beside our loungeroom. I went to pick it up, and then I thought no. I wonder if he will pick it up or expect me to.
Two weeks it sat there for! I vacuumed around it, walked around it, explained its presence to people who came over and then it just got the better of me and I picked it up. His response, I knew you wouldn’t last. Of course, it was all done in good humour, but it made me wonder if women end up with the lions share of the house work because the men in their lives know how to outlast them.
The original paragraphs that I wrote today in between tasks, I scrapped those. I sat down and made this article my priority and while I hope I haven’t projected; it has certainly been cathartic!
We have seen equality make its way into so many areas of our lives so I can’t wait for the day it encompasses household chores!