all the unpaid unthanked work round the house - a feminist issue?

(104 Posts)
semirurallife Tue 15-Oct-13 18:08:01

AIBU for regularly thinking of quitting my job(s) as full time mum, part time worker, part time job hunter? what gets my goat (?) is the thankless tidying, cleaning, cooking, shopping, sock-pairing, ironing, drawer tidying, hovering, mopping, shoe-lifting - I could go on - that I do. I can't get a proper job coz have taken too much time off looking after the DH and DCs, so feel stuck. a separate issue! but isn't it (house and family care) a feminist issue, and why doesn't mainstream feminism seem to care about all this sh*t we do? they all seem glamorous media savvy Londoners rather than stuck in the sticks with boring mundane problems... anyone know what am talking about?...

oliveoctagon Fri 18-Oct-13 12:43:23

semirurallife - I work in a nursery and you have to tidy up so my children are trained from 1+

5madthings Fri 18-Oct-13 12:31:12

oh and this morning whilst i was out with dd dp has done some more diy, tidied the kitchen and done some laundry. he has also been out bought a newspaper and read that and been uploading photos to photobox. he has sat on his arse and read for a bit as well. poor hard done by man that he is ...

5madthings Fri 18-Oct-13 12:28:14

i havent been yet, where can i find details?

btw there are a few norwich/norfolk mnetters and we have a fb group as we organise nights out etc. pm me if you are interested, we are planning an xmas meal out which will involve lots of alcohol and setting the world to rights grin

semirurallife Fri 18-Oct-13 12:22:37

5mad - excellent! you ever go to Norfolk feminist get togethers (I haven't, yet..)
love the idea that DH has 5 hrs but didn't spend all of it building the shelves... a friend of mine once threw her DH's xbox out the window. was well proud of her, till heard she bought him another to say sorry...
Olive, how did you get your 5 yr old to do these things? you need to write the manual...! it takes me a week to bribe/threaten 9 yr old to pick stuff off the floor.
re why WOMEN care about socks on the floor is in 5mad's post - MILs and others - i used to live in Surrey and it was like desperate housewives, people really did care about the state of their kitchens. scary. knew one woman who would invite people round to admire her new kitchen. so its all these demands of women, some like it, like her, she wanted to wear a pinny and grow vegetables. .. or your mother in law, or your own mother.. a lot of the pressure is woman on woman, not meant to sound raunchy, its dull.

sashh Fri 18-Oct-13 11:49:23

This is not about housework.

This is about women doing all sorts of extra work to make men's lives easier, both in the home and in the work place.

I live alone and due to disability have a carer. A man. Who does the washing, cleaning, some cooking (I like to cook but I don't have to).

OP
I find it quite insulting that you think I 'do' all this 'shit' - I don't.
Why not just leave it to pile up? The world will not implode.

Yelling at kids is not instilling respect, you are teaching them that everyone dances around daddy to make his life easier. Stop doing it.

If you can't get a 'decent' job then get a cleaning job. If you are going to do all these things do them for someone else and let them pay you.

If it stacks up at home then give dh an estimate for doing the jobs. If you are both out of the house several hours a day how can he not do his share or pay for someone to do it for him?

I actually believe that it is in the interests of society that as soon as you can afford a cleaner you employ one. You are then contributing financially tot he economy as a taxpayer and creating employment for another person.

5madthings Fri 18-Oct-13 11:13:28

and he has had a week off work but neither of has had a week off from the kids/house etc as oddly enough we cant turn them off. we have just shared it between us in a way that works, i have done most pick ups, he has dropped off. technically as i have done pick ups he has had over an hour each afternoon 'off' as i have taken the toddler with me, unlike the morning where he has left toddler with me.

or are you suggesting he should have a week off from work and home life as well?

5madthings Fri 18-Oct-13 11:09:25

well yesterday after he did school drop off i took little one out for the day so he had five hours with no-one to look after. he built some shelves which didnt take five hours and i have no idea what he did with the rest of the time. think he played xbox, read the papers etc.

today he took boys to school and i have brought dd to toddlers, no idea what his plans are.

re lie ins, he has the odd lie in but tbh he is a morning person and i am.not so he prefers to get up. i am normally up on his days off as well but its easier for him to hop in the car and take boys to school, its over an hour round trip if i walk it (which i do every morning he isnt here). i will still have helped get kids up and ready and i will look after toddler so he just has boys to take. obviously when i do it i have to take toddler as well. and when he takes boys i am not doing nothing i am dealing with toddler, tidying up from bfast etc.

we both just pitch in to get everything done and that includes the kids.

we have the odd evening out together or i go out with my friends and dp goes out with his friends seperately, or he will go watch motorbikes maybe on his own or maybe with the elder two boys

DavesDadsDogDiedDiabolically Fri 18-Oct-13 10:14:11

5mad - So when does he get a week off? Not being provocative, but I assume he gets time to lie in bed, go out etc. too & isn't either working at work or working at home?

oliveoctagon Fri 18-Oct-13 08:31:18

I meant tidy all her own stuff etc 5madthings. The rest takes couple of hours max each a week in our place.

5madthings Fri 18-Oct-13 08:10:43

semirurallife i am in norwich btw.

my mil is visiting at the moment and i was out with her and dd yesterday and mil was quite stressed that dp was at home on his own and i wasnt there to make his lunch!

he has this week off work and she is aghast that he is doing stuff around the house as he works hard so he should be resting...

thankfully dp is not a nob and sees the kids and the house as a joint responsibility.

5madthings Fri 18-Oct-13 08:05:09

so your five yr old does all her own laundry and cooks for herself and washes up the mess and changes her bedsheets and makes her own lunches and sorts all her school stuff..etc eyc.

i am a sahm so when dp is at work (shift work so long variable hours) i do everything. but the minute he walks in the door its all hands on deck and he will cook dinner, wash up, do laundry, deal with kids. i can arrange to go out or away for the weekend and he just gets on with it.

he has a week off and so i am currently in bed and he is getting boys sorted for school.

he is not perfect and his standards are prob not as high as mine but his standards are fine.

scallopsrgreat Fri 18-Oct-13 07:23:59

Did you mean to be so unpleasant there olive?

oliveoctagon Fri 18-Oct-13 07:04:47

I will say I work full time and definitely dont spent my spare time running around after dg hmm Im not desperate

oliveoctagon Fri 18-Oct-13 06:59:14

I cant think of one task I have due to living with dh and do no extra work for him. Oldest dd who is 5 tidies all her own stuff so housework takes up a very small proportion of mine and dhs week

semirurallife Fri 18-Oct-13 06:42:43

bad news here too... worrying about the socks can make you fat (fact). [hope these links work?]
http://gu.com/p/3jjqh/
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/18/housework-overweight-research-physical-activity

I had a tesco fantasy relating to earlier bit of this conversation, where there was debate about how to get the feminist message out there - and Thanks motherinferior for that summary of whEre it can go, a bit wrong...?
basically what would happen if you made 1,000 copies of a feminist leaflet - explaining some basics, some history, and a web address and handed them out at Tesco - directing women to a site where you could poll them about how relevant they think it is to their lives and why not etc. - maybe I need to get out more?

Habbibu Thu 17-Oct-13 11:10:50

Oh, Lord, no, not that kind of thanking, you're right. It really does need to be mutual respect, and if that isn't there from the start, I'm not sure how you create it.

youretoastmildred Thu 17-Oct-13 10:49:06

Thanking each other is great, but it is not necessarily good advice for a woman in a man-taking-domestic-services-for-granted relationship because if she just starts thanking unilaterally, it reinforces that he is a special hero for hoovering, or whatever, and nobly taking the task that rightfully belonged on her list.

It's tricky - you want to do all the "positive reinforcement" stuff but some men will just receive all your gushing as an affirmation that they have to do very little to be a domestic god. If you ignore their minimal efforts, though, they get all bitter and twisted and "you can't please her why bother"

Habbibu Thu 17-Oct-13 10:27:30

And also, yes, if you are the one mostly keeping the place tidy, then the sock thing is galling, absolutely, and it's actually keeping on top of the small irks (i.e. getting them sorted out and discussed, not ignored) that is the work on the relationship, in my mind. As I said upthread, DH and I do thank each other for stuff we do, and that does help, because it maintains the feeling of mutual respect, and the fact that household stuff is seen in terms of tasks rather than duties.

Habbibu Thu 17-Oct-13 10:24:15

Well, yes, the flatmate example is awful, and I'm with you. I think really what I meant is that it's about mutual respect, shared loads and communication. I do think, however, that girls are brought up to think that tidiness matters more, and that kinds of makes it default to them as a responsibility, iyswim?

middleagedwoman Thu 17-Oct-13 10:22:16

Of course nearly everyone wants love and to be special to someone.

I totally agree with Basil that we are taught to ignore "petty" stuff like this, and to work at our relationships. Personally I think the work at our relationships, is a harmful message to many women who put up with a load of shit they shouldn't do. But I totally understand why women don't leave because their DP doesn't do their fair share of housework or childcare.

But I do think it is a sign of a lack of respect within the relationship if your DP does this. I don't think it actually is a petty or unimportant thing. People who truly love and respect each other, want to make each other happy and care for each other.

youretoastmildred Thu 17-Oct-13 09:56:09

ok habbibu you are right, but I personally do care so I guess I am projecting. I also think that more men care than will do something about it. I have heard a million flatmate-seeking young men say "we have a 3 bed house, and me and Gavin are in already, so now we are looking for a girl because houses with all blokes tend to be a bit, er".

Thanks motherinferior, didn't want to put you on the spot but thanks for the overview.

Habbibu Thu 17-Oct-13 09:21:56

"much better to get to the younger ones and say "watch out for disrespectful socks. A sock on the bedroom floor, near, not in, the linen basket, is a punctuation mark on your life story: a question mark over your future happiness.""

This is interesting - it rather gives the impression (and I don't think this was intended) that women are meant to care about socks on the floor, that overall tidiness is a profoundly desirable outcome. I'm not wording this well - would you say this to your sons? I guess in my case I'm messier than dh, but not by much, so sometimes our socks sit together on the floor. So maybe socky togetherness is what we're after?

Sorry, that sounds facetious, and it's not meant to be - I just rather feel women are expected to crave tidiness and order, and men to respect that, which doesn't quite sit right with me.

motherinferior Thu 17-Oct-13 08:51:17

Mildred, I actually feel a little worried about going into details here. The KCWC was quite malign energetic in rebutting criticism at the time.

The v short version: KCWC was the hub of a number of different campaigns including Wages for Housework, British Collective of Prostitutes, Women Against Violence Against Women, and others. Not all were started from there, but those that weren't very soon became run by a v particular, specific agenda spear-headed by Brown and James. Yellow Gate at Greenham became an outpost for a while. If you weren't with them, you were against them and a racist lackey of The Man.

My problem with the fundamental underpinning of the wages for housework campaign was the vociferous insistence that women in heterosexual arrangements had to do all the housework. Which was objectively not always the case, and ignored the work of a lot of women within the domestic sphere to change this.

This is the thread.

youretoastmildred Wed 16-Oct-13 22:08:34

sorry motherinferior, but I don't understand the reference, would it be terribly bad form to ask you to explain?
Also - what thread?!

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 22:04:41

Yes I remember Wilmette being around at Greenham mother but I don't remember too much tbh.

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