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To think ironing is part of a SAHM's chores?

(169 Posts)
TillyIpswitch Tue 05-Jul-11 06:54:02

OK, argue back with me people - and tell me IABU!! grin

I have recently taken up a full time SAHM positionWWIth 2 DC (2 and 11 months).

Before this i was in a full time job, very good salary, yada, yada, but we've recently immigrated (to my home country) so gave that up. Now, the full time Mum gig I can get in board with, but the housewifery bit... eeehh...

But what can you do? Surely if you're the one at home full time, and bringing in no income to the house, then swiping an iron over a few shirts is part and parcel?

I often see threads where people say they won't iron their DH's shirts but it seems a bit churlish to me to pick the DH's stuff out of the ironing pile and leave it for him.

My DH would never expect, let alone ask me to do his ironing, but I dunno, if I was in his position I honestly think I'd be privately thinking, 'you really can't do it...?'

For the record, I'm not some Stepford wife; I'm a long-time feminist trying to get my head around my new role, and yes, I do realise that you can do or not do whatever you want, housework-wise in the privacy of your own home grin but it would be good to hear from any other SAHMs if they have an particular tasks that they flat out refuse to do and your rationale.

GreenTeapot Tue 05-Jul-11 06:56:41

YABU to iron. End of.

Whorulestheroost Tue 05-Jul-11 06:57:49

I never iron any of my husbands clothes, never have either. That's not because I'm not willing but he does not trust me with his shirts confused so I iron mine and the childrens clothes. I also work full time smile I think if you are happy to do it then go for it

Witchofthenorth Tue 05-Jul-11 06:58:52

I don't refuse to do anything, however, if I am having a play with the kids all day, day can't be arsed DH will help if I need him too. Plus he knows if I can't be arsed then he is not coming home to a gleaming house, therefore if he wants something done, he does it himself smile

Don't think that answers your question though confused

marriedinwhite Tue 05-Jul-11 06:59:04

I iron, shop and cook and I have a full time job and two dc. I do not clean, do the garden or pay the household bills smile.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Tue 05-Jul-11 06:59:10

Oh, fuck, not this argument again.

SAHM: primary task is to look after the children. Secondary task is to look after the house. Third task is, possibly, to look after the husband, although why he is suddenly incapable of ironing escapes me.

If you can look after two children of that age to a high standard AND keep the house clean and the meals cooked AND have more time left over than if you're working outside the home, by all means iron. But I would frankly question how much time you can possibly be spending with your children in that scenario.

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Tue 05-Jul-11 06:59:23

I think that it is about fair division of labour. So you take everything that a family needs done in order to, well, survive grin or at least not descend into chaos!

So that's - earning money, looking after the children, cooking, cleaning etc etc etc

Each of these things has equal value.

So then you look at who does what and in what proportions. So if both are working f/t outside the home, then both do 50/50 in the home. If one is working f/t outside the home and the other part time, then the p/t outside the home picks up more inside the home. If one is working f/t outside the home and the other is not working outside the home at all, then they should be the one to do the most inside the home.

Basically aiming for a matching 'working week'.

I think that's fair.

MollysChamber Tue 05-Jul-11 07:00:58

I don't mind ironing <shrugs>.

borderslass Tue 05-Jul-11 07:02:56

YANBU DH works bloody long hours often finishing in the early hours ie 5 am however I will be looking for a job after the summer and will expect more of a contribution off DH and DD2 with regards to housework when I get something

Tee2072 Tue 05-Jul-11 07:02:59

I don't think ironing is part of anyone's chores so if my husband disagrees (and he does) he iron his own shirts.

Taking care of children is a full time job.

I wish more people, men and women, realized this.

QuinnFabray Tue 05-Jul-11 07:04:00

He likes to iron his own shirts. He gets to watch sport on the telly, in peace, on a Sunday afternoon whilst he's doing it.

GilbonzoTheSecretPsychoDuck Tue 05-Jul-11 07:04:33

This is why being married to a builder and living in the sticks in a non-school uniform country is so great - no ironing!

borderslass Tue 05-Jul-11 07:04:34

Plus ironing is very stress busting and i've always enjoyed ironing.

itsstillgood Tue 05-Jul-11 07:05:10

Dead mice (and pets)! Unclogging the washing machine, unblocking sinks. They are DH responsibilities. My rationale is they are gross and disgusting and I don't want to do them!

Everything else is pretty much shared. I do the ironing (I'm better at it), and toilets/bathrooms/kitchen/shopping/laundry again better at it and have more time. Cooking, tidying, hoovering, dusting etc we all share (including kids).

EldonAve Tue 05-Jul-11 07:07:28

Stop ironing altogether

or send the shirts to the dry cleaners

Yama Tue 05-Jul-11 07:07:32

YABU - you can't dictate someone's chores.

I manage to iron my own clothes and I work f/t. Dh manages to iron his clothes and he works f/t. Dc will iron their own when they are old enough.

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Tue 05-Jul-11 07:08:15

The other thing that I think escapes a lot of fulltime working parents is that just by being present in the house during the day, young children generate a huge amount of housework.

On the days when we all get up, take DD to childcare and go to work, we split the chores the way we would do pre-DC - someone cooks, someone cleans the kitchen, we do a bit of tidying and stick a load of laundry on.

On the days when I'm home with DD, she needs meals cooked and cleared up after, toys got out and put away, clothes changed and washed, the stroller loaded and unloaded for excursions, etc., etc. There's a lot of effort required just to keep the house in the same state throughout the day.

If you've had yours in fulltime care until now, you may well be thinking "but now I've got an extra 8 hours at home, they both nap for 1-2 hours, so that's freed up time to do housework/ironing". I think that's what a lot of WOHP think. But in my experience, them being at home will create that much extra work per day and more.

I've said this before, many times, but with one 2.5DD who doesn't nap, if I have absolutely NO breaks during the day then I can keep the place as tidy as when I got up, get dinner and a load of laundry on, run a couple of errands, and that's it. And that includes several repetitions of "I can't right now, DD, I've just got to [do this chore]". If I really have to do a proper clean, then we don't go out anywhere and I use TV, and that's not doing my mothering job properly.

janey68 Tue 05-Jul-11 07:10:03

I agree with the magnificent. Its about a reasonable and fair division of labour. In virtually every case, this will mean that if one partner works only part time, or is a SAHP, then the majority of domestic duties falls to them. Not because they are some downtrodden Skivvy, but simply because if you are physically at home, its far easier to put on washing, run the hoover round or stick dinner in the oven than if you're 30 miles away at the office! There are also periods of the day when for a SAHP, babies and toddlers will be napping and older children will be at playgroup or occupying themselves for 15 minutes or so, so it's not exactly non stop. Once the children are in school, IF one parent is still a SAHP then I would expect them to do everything domestic - related, because frankly they have plenty of time and would seem very strange to pass domestic chores over to the partner who is working to enable you not to!

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Tue 05-Jul-11 07:12:09

But Tee, it's not one that means that nothing else can be done while you're doing it. My children are currently having breakfast. I am on here. I have just emailed a rather wonderful copywriter who is doing some articles for me and emailed off a bit of promo blurb that is going to be <proud> distributed to all FSB members.

In a bit I will be making sure they get ready for school. Then my husband will take them. I am out all day today, he's working from home. Not much childcare going on there! grin then one of us will pick the children up, bring them home and give them dinner. Then one of us will support them to do any homework while the other one does some housework. We'll try valiantly to get them to talk to us about their day. This will be met by huffs and eye rolls before they lose patience and stomp off to their room, shutting the door behind them! The children will then totally ignore us for a few hours while they fight play on their wii/ds, then we'll try our best to get them to engage with us, then it's bath and bedtime.

Small children require more - want you more!! but you can still take care of a million things with 2 small children swinging from your skirt/trousers!

Yes, it's a full time job, but it's not a big deal. None of it is. You just - do it.

GilbonzoTheSecretPsychoDuck Tue 05-Jul-11 07:14:22

Tortoise you have hit the nail on the head. If I take the dcs out for the day it decreases my workload by about 3/4. Having the kids at home makes a massive amount of difference. Although, next Sept when they're both t school dh will be the smartest builder in town grin

twooter Tue 05-Jul-11 07:16:49

If you want to give up work to become a cleaner, fine. I gave up work to entertain the dc, so I'll try and clean while I'm going about the house, but I don't get anal about it. That's a directed way to be clamouring to get back to work.

But, I do iron, as it gives me an excuse to virtuously watch any old crap on the telly for the odd hour.

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 05-Jul-11 07:17:22

I think if your partner works to support the household financially and allow the other the luxury of being a SAHP then its only fair that they pick up the bulk of the housework. If kept on top of, it doesnt take that long and nobody should be classed as "ignoring" their children to do the housework.

TillyIpswitch Tue 05-Jul-11 07:17:29

Thanks all, this is helpful.

Tortoise - your second post hits a bit of a nail. In order to get housework done, I do have to put them in front of the TV for a wee while and this is making me feel a bit guilty.

This is much more my issue that my DH's who doesn't have any expectations of me in this regard. I guess I just feel a bit of a failure if I can't manage to keep the house ticking over, as well as look after the kids.

twooter Tue 05-Jul-11 07:17:46


Tortoiseonthehalfshell Tue 05-Jul-11 07:18:33

There are also periods of the day when for a SAHP, babies and toddlers will be napping and older children will be at playgroup or occupying themselves for 15 minutes or so, so it's not exactly non stop

I see this sentiment a lot, and it just isn't true for me. DD has only napped if in a stroller or car since about 18 months, which is not a lot of use. And now she doesn't nap, and is reluctantly willing to play on her own, if she can see me, for...oh, up to three minutes before starting to ask for me to come play with her. All the housework I achieve is a combination of getting her to 'help' - which means it takes about two or three times as long - and persuading her to be patient and wait while I finish a task.

I've never thought she was a particularly high maintenance child, but I see the above so often that I'm starting to wonder.

(Sorry, OP, clearly I feel strongly about this. I am an odd duck who enjoys housework and cooking, so having to accept that I am unable to do as much as I want has been a really hard part of staying home with my daughter)

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